Thursday, July 15, 2010

How Mad Is Mel?

The seemingly unending stream of leaked recordings of telephone conversations between actor Mel Gibson and his former partner Oksana Grigoriava have shocked and appalled all who have heard any or all of them. The ranting and raving is disturbing to listen to, and would seem to be an indication that Mel has in some way lost the plot. Much of what is heard on the tapes is indefensible, and many of the Hollywood community have distanced themselves from any connection with him, including the agency which has represented him for years. And yet, there are some hints that there are some who are beginning to feel some sort of sympathy for him.

While making it clear that she did not condone what was contained on the tape recordings, Whoopi Goldberg has publicly stated that she does not believe that Mel is a racist. She is better placed than most to know, as they and their families have socialized in the past. Here in Australia, long time friend and colleague John Jarrett has complained that the treatment of the story has been one-sided and that many relationships involve arguments which would be embarrassing if they were made public. And after new excerpts appearing in the media each day, day after day, other commentators are asking whether the whole thing is being manipulated to do as much damage as possible.

In the recordings, Mel Gibson says he “can’t be like this anymore” in a tone of desperation. Without knowing what it is that has pushed him there, whether it is circumstances, or the demons inside his own head, it would seem that even he knows things are not normal. Although the recordings have not been officially verified, it is pretty widely accepted that they are genuine, and if that is the case it becomes impossible to avoid the truth that Mel Gibson can only blame himself for his predicament. Listening to the recordings it is clear that we are listening to someone who has gone over the edge. That being the case, it is reasonable to ask how he got to that point and whether he was in some way pushed.

In any relationship, things can become very complicated very quickly if things turn sour. And it is often far from a simple matter of who’s to blame and who’s not. Matters can get out of hand very easily, and people say and do things that they will later regret very deeply. Watching any relationship from the outside it is difficult, and even unwise, to pass judgment, because we will never really know all that has happened inside that relationship. But, when the spotlight of celebrity is focused on an otherwise private and personal crisis, it is inevitable that judgment will be passed by total strangers, and judging by what we have heard, Mel Gibson will have a tough time convincing anyone that he is the victim.

The bottom line is that, no matter how provocative a wife or a partner or a lover might or might not be, any man in a situation of this nature is going to lose the argument as soon as he loses his cool.

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