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August 4, 2006

A Brief Note on Artsy Alcoholism

I've been studiously avoiding the Mel Gibson discussion, mainly because those who take the episode as an "Ah ha!" tend to disregard all points made about anything. Arguments made about The Passion, the obvious case in point, are still valid, and drunken comments of the movie's creator don't amount to a blanket nullifier. As for the other side, what is there to say? Yes, stupid, offensive comments; no, won't throw out my DVD.

However, for no specific reason, a post by Jonah Goldberg made me feel obligated to make a point from experience. Regarding alcohol as a truth serum: hogwash — alcohol is an emphasis serum. Perhaps we did indeed get a glimpse of Gibson's true feelings; I certainly wouldn't declare otherwise. But perhaps we instead got a glimpse of some erroneous drunken notions about creating a stir. Perhaps it was nothing deeper than the impulse of the contentious drunk to snap back at wrongly perceived aggressors, e.g.: "This Jewish cop must agree with all those people who trashed me for being an anti-Semite. Well, how 'bout I give 'im what he expects!"

(I'm not, here, blaming the victims, as it were. I'm merely stating that I would find such thoughts completely plausible for a drunken artist to have had.)

Frankly, I haven't read the transcripts, and I haven't thought more than a smidge about the arrest's implications. However, I do suspect that a majority portion of those who take the incident as open and shut evidence haven't much personal experience with the twisted euphoria of drunkenness to the artistically inclined, out of which you may get the truth, or embellished insecurities, or belligerent contrarieties.

Posted by Justin Katz at August 4, 2006 7:37 PM