Gibson and conservatives
What a ridiculous culture we live in—and that includes the mainstream conservatives. Mel Gibson in a drunken rant that was surreptitiously recorded said a pile of extremely offensive things to his ex-mistress. But because in the midst of this geyser of verbal abuse, he used the word “nigger” once, his rant is constantly billed—by conservatives—as a “racist rant,” even though the rant overall had nothing to do with race. When it comes to race, meaning, when it comes to blacks, the mainstream conservatives are precious little Victorian ladies, ready to faint dead away at the sound of the “N” word, even when uttered in a private conversation by a man who was obviously drunk.
As for Gibson, I’ve been saying for 15 years, based on his movies, based on his appalling demeanor in TV interviews, that the man was not a conservative but a messy product of our debased contemporary culture, a point I particularly emphasized in VFR’s huge debate about his movie The Passion. Conservatives, especially paleocons, couldn’t see this about Gibson, because his Catholicism and his seven children with one wife designated him automatically as a traditionalist conservative in their minds. They didn’t see the non-conservative qualities and attitudes he was actually expressing in the public realm. It was the same with Victor Hanson. Because Hanson lived on a six-generation family farm and wrote about classical history, the paleocons thought, “Ahh, here’s a man living the true paleocon values of hearth, home, and heritage, our kind of guy,” and so they kept defending him from criticism. Because paleocons judge things by symbols that press their buttons (whether positive or negative), and not by the actual content of things, they didn’t see Hanson for what he was, a hyped-up neocon, a liberal universalist with a gun.