No Need to Apologize, Gary, You Got it Right the First Time!
At one time you would occasionally see a man wearing a T-shirt with the phrase “I read it for the articles”. The “it”, in question was Hugh Hefner’s men’s magazine, Playboy. The statement was a joke, intended to provoke, whether spoken or not, the response of “yeah, right you do”. For the first thing that comes to mind when one hears the name of that magazine, or sees its familiar rabbit’s head logo, is the photographs of nude models and celebrity actresses that have been its selling point since Marilyn Monroe’s appeared in their premier issue just under sixty years ago.
It was an amusing joke but I found it funny for entirely different reasons than the ones intended by those telling the joke. The only reason anybody would feel compelled to offer such a lame excuse for buying a girlie mag is societal and cultural disapproval of such erotica, which disapproval more or less vanished within the same decade the magazine was launched. What I find downright hilarious about it all is that it was the articles all along which were the most disgusting and evil thing about the magazine. It was in the articles that Hef’s morally corrosive message of sheer, self-serving, pleasure-seeking hedonism, i.e., “The Playboy philosophy” was preached, poisoning the souls and minds of those who read it. By comparison, the pictures were considerably more wholesome. “I only look at the pictures” should have been the more respectable thing to say.
I mention all of this because a recent Playboy interview has made the news and, judging from the content of the interview, the angry response it has received and from whom, this would appear to be the first article they have ran that was actually worth reading since their interview with William F. Buckley Jr.
The interviewee was British actor Gary Oldman. He is a well-known actor with whom it is probably safe to say most people are familiar. He first became famous with his portrayal of Sid Vicious, the bass guitarist of the Sex Pistols in a 1986 biographical film. At one time he was best known for playing bad guys, like Count Dracula in the 1992 Francis Ford Coppola version of the story or the madman in Hannibal (2001) who made Dr. Lecter look sane and sympathetic by comparison. More recently he played Commissioner Gordon in the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films, took on a more Sirius role in the film versions of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and put on a Smiley face to star in the film version of John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He will next appear in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, scheduled to be released next month.
Towards the end of the interview, Oldman makes a remark about how he can understand why Mel Gibson would want to finance his own movies, leading the interviewer to prompt him further about this, at which point he goes off on a rant about political correctness, about how it is crap, and how people can’t take a joke anymore. Going back to Mel Gibson he says “I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things.” Expanding upon that last remark, he questions whether the policeman who arrested Gibson has never used racial epithets, and says “It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy.” He then defends Alec Baldwin over the incident where he called someone who was harassing him a “fag” before again returning to Mel Gibson and saying:
Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him—and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, “That fucking kraut” or “Fuck those Germans,” whatever it is? We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That’s what gets me. It’s just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, “Isn’t that shocking?”
Shortly after this he tells Playboy that the interview has gone badly and that “You have to edit and cut half of what I’ve said, because it’s going to make me sound like a bigot” which, of course, they did not do.
Well, there you have it. The Anti-Defamation League immediately denounced Oldman’s remarks as “anti-Semitic.” It’s notorious director Abraham H. Foxman said “it is disturbing that Mr. Oldman appears to have bought into Mr. Gibson's warped and prejudiced world view” and Oldman wrote a grovelling open letter of apology to the ADL. Foxman’s response, predictably, was to say that it was not good enough. “At this point, we are not satisfied with what we received. His apology is insufficient and not satisfactory.” On Wednesday, Oldman appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to apologize yet again.
Well, listen up Abe Foxman and you listen up good. You did not deserve a single word of apology from Mr. Oldman because he had every right to say what he said, and moreover he was right in saying it. We all remember the incident in which Mel Gibson was arrested for drunk driving and went into an anti-Semitic tirade. Some of us, remember what preceded that incident. Gibson’s arrest was in July of 2006. Two years previously he had released the movie The Passion of the Christ, a film that you, Foxman, had complained might spark “anti-Semitism” because its portrayal of events of Christ’s trial and crucifixion was true to the New Testament. Some of us also remember, Foxman, that your pogrom against Gibson began before you had ever seen the movie. The year before the film came out you went to Gibson expressing “concern” that the film might be anti-Semitic and then acted shocked when he turned down your request for an advanced viewing of the film. Oh, I am sure you were very polite and civil in your request. I’ve read your ex-post facto self-justifying account of how you “reached out” to Gibson. Look up the expression “concern troll” to see why I am not impressed. I also remember that at this same time Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson, an ultra-traditionalist Catholic was being dragged through the mud in the press over his unconventional views of the Holocaust. Perhaps you expect us to believe you had nothing to do with that? Well I’m not about to buy your ocean front property in the middle of the desert either. Gibson, from his remarks to the press at the time, was clearly under the impression that somebody was putting pressure on him to denounce his father. It is not that difficult to put two and two together and come up with a pretty good idea as to who that might have been. To expect a man to turn on his own father to appease your wrath is the kind of arrogance for which I find the Greek word hubris to be insufficient. Lets call it chutzpah shall we?
When someone is put through all that nonsense it should not shock or surprise us if negative feelings towards the Jews start coming out when he gets drunk. Frankly, it would be more surprising if they didn’t. Oldman was absolutely right to come to Gibson’s defense and, rather than apologize, it would have been better if he had directed some of that colourful language he used in his interview in the direction of the Anti-Defamation League. For that is all that the ADL, which has for far too long gotten away with cloaking its bullying behaviour under the guise of “reaching out” and its Christophobia behind the mask of “tolerance”, deserves. As for what he said about who runs Hollywood, in its haste to evoke the old “old anti-Semitic canard” canard against Oldman, the ADL and its like-minded supporters perhaps failed to notice the lack of the definite article before “Jews.” Had Oldman said “in a town that’s run by the Jews” it might have been anti-Semitic, i.e., the idea that the ethnic group as a collective is in charge of Hollywood, but he said “in a town that’s run by Jews”, which merely suggests that the people in charge happen to be Jewish. In Hollywood, that is a basic and obvious fact. See Neal Gabler’s An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood which, according to Oldman’s grovelling letter he has just been reading, or Ben Stein’s article of a few years back entitled “Do Jews Run Hollywood? You Bet They Do…And What of It?”
What a pity that Oldman did not stick to his guns when he was right all along.
A Protestant Christian, patriotic Canadian, and a reactionary High Tory with a libertarian streak, at the same time a monarchist, indeed a royal absolutist, and a minarchist.
You can e-mail me at gerrytneal(at)hotmail(dot)ca