Monday, 16 August 2010

On Whoopi Goldberg's Defense Of Mel Gibson.

So, this is a little late to be truly topical, but it’s something that’s been nagging at me since the story broke.
Mel Gibson is a bigot. He is. He is. He is.

I don’t care if you know him. I don’t care if you know him and you’re a Black woman, and he has been nice to your kids in the past. I don’t care if he was drunk when he said it.
The. Man. Is. Bigoted.

Sorry, everything I hear about Mel Gibson speaks of a terrifyingly bigoted mindset. I could have accepted the inherent anti-Semitism in the Passion of the Christ, and the anti-English sentiment in Braveheart as valid directorial decisions. I mean, in any kind of historical-ish drama packaged to become a blockbuster, a nuanced and sensitive exploration of both sides of a conflict is unlikely to occur. The side your hero is on will be the ‘good’ and those fighting against him will be ‘evil’. That’s Hollywood. If it makes me feel uncomfortable, well, hey, it’s had an effect on me, so well done. I’ll accept any amount of apparent bigotry on screen or stage if I can be convinced it’s an artistic decision.
The moment the director of a potentially anti-Semitic film drunkenly verbally abuses a Jewish police officer by claiming Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world? Boom. The claim that the anti-Semitism in your film was an artistic decision loses all credibility.

The fact that as an aside, he then called a female officer ‘sugar tits’ - I mean what the fuck? HOW do you explain that one? All alcohol does is remove your inhibitions, so anything you will say when drunk, you would say when sober if you had the guts. Did he say it to mitigate his situation? “Oh shit they seem mad. Seems like my internal monologue about hating Jews slipped into my outdoor voice again. Maybe if I pay the woman a compliment it’ll ease my way…D’oh!”

This all pales into comparison for me, though, when compared to the utterly egregious, stomach churningly awful things he’s been caught saying SOBER, on tape to his ex. The one that stands out is this.
"You look like a fucking pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of niggers, it will be your fault."

"You look like a fucking pig
in heat,

and if you get raped
by a pack of niggers,
it will be your fault."

Let’s just take that apart for a second, k?
He kicks off with a personal insult, implying a weight problem. Good start, Mel, crass, sexist, unnecessary and woefully inaccurate. Yes, the woman has a weight problem: you can see her ribs and skull through her skin!
He then goes on to imply that a woman comes into season much like an animal, both dehumanizing her and portraying female sexuality as a distasteful phenomenon.

Then he goes on, charmingly, to imply that rape is the fault of the victim because of the way they dress/carry themselves, that rape is in some way a ‘deserved punishment’ because of the aforementioned disgusting female sexuality. That on its own would have had me boiling,

But then the piece de resistance.
Raped by a pack of niggers.

By a pack
Of niggers.

Just pause to take the enormity of this one in.

One, Nigger? Really?
Two, gang rape is an appropriate punishment for female sexual independence?
Three, gang rape is more likely to be perpetrated by Black men and/or it’s worse and more humiliating for a white woman to be raped by a Black man than by a White man?
Four, Black men are animals? Animals that run in packs?

The appropriate collective noun for a group of humans is never, ever, EVER ‘pack’, you racist fuck!

This comes from the same kind of lexicon that refers to a young, sexually mature Black man as a Buck Nigger. I nearly shat myself the first time I heard that one. It’s not even name calling, it’s just allowing your own language choice to betray exactly how much you dehumanize other races in your mind. It’s not using a word deliberately to shock, it’s allowing your bigotry to rise to the surface.

If I were Whoopi Goldberg, and I had known Mel Gibson for many years, and he had been to my house and played with my kids, this would come as a nasty shock.

If I suddenly found out, as a Black woman, that my longtime friend was as filled with hate and bile for women and Black people as all that, well it would take some taking in.

But faced with that amount of evidence, I can't help feeling that by defending him on camera, making excuses for his behaviour, swearing blind he was a good guy really, Whoopi Goldberg has let her own internalized racism, antisemitism and sexism show.

Whoopi, please. Think about it. This man is no friend of yours. Don't be an Uncle Tom (Aunt Tommie?) about this. He doesn't deserve your defense and, by defending him, you sully yourself with his opinions and attitudes.

If I were you, Whoopi, I'd re-examine the motives behind Mel Gibson's friendship with you, and if he turns up at your front door again, I'd set the dogs on him.

See Whoopi's baffling defense of Mel here.


  1. I'm confused. Is this the same Mel Gobson...sorry, GIBson...who, a few years ago was lionized for being such a wonderful Christian family man? Plus it was kinda cute, his being Australian, like a big admirable koala bear! Well you know those Christians, how they run in pa--, er, I mean stick together.

    Let me start again.

    Is this the same Mel Gibson who used to be devastatingly handsome? Hey, I'm a dyke (sorry, Julie) and even I sat up and took notice. But now his looks have started to seriously curl and yellow around the edges...okay not just the edges...and the man has lost his mind. He means well, really, You know how it wake up, look in the mirror, and see crow's feet. The next thing you know, you're spewing filth about anyone handy. It's like buying a red sports car, just more embarrassing and, well, vile.

    Now then. Isn't Whoopi Goldberg the one who got famous wearing a nun's habit and singing? Mel dwelt on it for years, and had to be talked out of making his big religious epic into a musical. And isn't she also the one who showed up with then-squeeze Ted Danson with both of them in black face? Verrrrrry nice. Not. I think she became unhinged after that. It spiraled into her fashion disasters on Star Trek Next Generation and has only gotten worse over the years. So there she is, she and Mel, clinging to each other in an uncertain world.

    But, bullshit aside, Gibson's words are no accident and should be horrifying and repugnant to anyone with a membership card in the human race. People who make such comments about rape particularly turn my stomach. To defend him on these things is...indefensible.

  2. He's a sicko, period, end of story.

  3. Actually, I need to make a retraction. The collective noun fro a group of Brownies or Cub scouts is, in fact, pack, in a direct reference to the wolf pack which features in Kipling's The Jungle Book. That's why a Cub scout pack leader is called 'Akela', after the Kipling's pack leader. In this case, humans are described using terms better suited to animals for POSITIVE reasons. In no way did I mean to imply that Brownies or Cubs are subhuman. ;)