We live in stupid times. Al Franken is a jerk. Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, is a jerk. Merv Adelson is an even bigger jerk.
Their inane reaction to Mel Gibson apologizing.
For those of you who have not been following the story, and for those who have been relying on a single "news" source, here's the deal.
A week ago Mel was pulled over for speeding, going almost twice the limit on a 45 mph road. He was drunk. While he was being arrested, he said to the policeman ''The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,'' and asked him, ''Are you a Jew?''
The following day, he apologized for his ''belligerent behavior'' and ''despicable'' remarks. But that wasn't enough for Franken, Foxman and Adelson. So Mel got back on the soap box and made the following statement:"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologise specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI (driving under the influence) charge. I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words. The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God's child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.
I'm not just asking for forgiveness.
I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing. I have begun an ongoing program of recovery and what I am now realising is that I cannot do it alone. I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery.
Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.
This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic license. This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have. It's about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad."
I heard Franken on the radio as he was read this statement. Instead of taking it in the spirit it was given, he chose to pick it apart word by word, claiming it couldn'r be sincere because of the phrase "profess to believe". As if it meant Mel didn't really believe the tenets of his faith. You're a jerk, Al.
Foxman made noises on TV to the effect that he was content with the second apology, but then wrote an op-ed piece for a major east coast daily saying he didn't think it was sincere. You're a jerk, Abe.
And after the statement came out, Adelson took out a big ad in the LA times yelling for Hollywood studios to come down hard on Mel. Merv, you're a jerk.
Mel got drunk, said some nasty things which he may or may not have believed (people who are drunk do not necessarily speak their hearts, usually they just say stupid things like "Sure I can drive home safely"). He apologized. Twice. He's getting Professional Help. He's asked the people he offended to help him change at the deepest level.
And for those who were offended by his movie Passion of the Christ, and want to tag him as anti-semitic for it, think about this: He went to the trouble of doing the film in Aramaic. It was the language which supplanted Hebrew during the latter days of the empire of Judah, and some of the Old Testament is written in it. Yet I don't see any Jews making films in Aramaic.
I say Mel has gone above and beyond. I hope the courts treat him as any other first-time offender who owns up to, and sincerely regrets the offenses he committed while drunk.