Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Friday, February 05, 2010

Once More, With Feeling

The always-insightful Jim Henshaw has a great post on his blog where he brings up Mel Gibson's recent antics and essentially asks the question:

When do we let people go back to being 'normal' after they screw up?

The answer, sadly, is when we let ourselves forget; More so: when we stop caring.

This is problematic when you're a star.

Doubly so when you're prone to fits of furious, drunken, anti-Semitic tirades.

Here's what I've gleaned from the US star-system:

When you're someone famous, you're only as good as your last headline. And the media, dumb and predictable as it is, is at least consistent in this regard. Whatever bad crap you did before is going to get thrown in your face the moment you sit back in that junket chair.

You don't think Winona Ryder got the rundown of shoplifting questions the moment she stepped into the press room? Or Eddie Murphy and his dalliance with a transsexual? Or Hugh Grant with his hooker?

Maybe Mel was right to be pissed off. To him, 4 years have passed. He's lived four years of his life since that moment. He did all the 'necessary' things -- in his mind -- to make it right.

What he may be forgetting is that those 4 years for Mel are as fresh as a Google search for those lazy journalists needing something 'edgy' to push past their editors.

Were they valid questions? Technically, sure.

Were they designed to elicit a response? Absolutely.

Here's my question: Is Mel Gibson a hot head? Does he have a temper? Or is he just sick of hearing the same question lobbed at him through different milquetoast filters?

I don't know if you've ever seen a press junket for a film, let alone one featuring a major star, but the lineup of reporters and cameramen can stretch around the block. It can take hours, all broken down into 10 min (or less) chunks of reporters coming in to get as many usable soundbites from you as they can.

If you're someone who feels like they've paid their dues, there's only so many times you can answer the proscribed PR answer before it starts to grate on you.

That's just Human nature.

That said, he's an ACTOR; his entire career is based on pretending he's someone else. And this is not exactly his first press junket or his first scandal...

Maybe Mel just wasn't playing along anymore.

Maybe he, at whatever point, just decided to say 'fuck it' to the game that they're all playing.

The 'game' -- which is really no secret at this point thanks to our Perezes and TMZs -- is that we love to see our celebrities humbled. Once they've had a taste of being 'us' again, they're free to go.

Just ask Hugh Grant -- the current reigning champ of the public apology -- who, after his dew-eyed mea culpa on the Tonight show, was quickly huggled back into the fold by the waiting masses. His trick -- if you want to call it a trick -- was that he went before the masses and publicly LOOKED apologetic. He seemed genuinely contrite.

Was he acting? Was he hiding a secret Tiger-esque cache of hooker-hook-ups? We'll never know and, more importantly, we don't care. He kissed the ring, threw in a bit of tongue for the ladies and strolled off the lot looking like crisp dollar bill.

Mel Gibson not only failed the ritualistic 'trial by douche' that all returning actors go through, he flipped them the bird and showed -- to the public that had 'forgiven and forgot' -- that he really didn't mean it.

Even though he kneeled and kissed the ring, in his heart, he was still looking down on the plain-clothes folk; cursing them for making him kneel.

And so the outrage begins anew.

Do I agree with it? Do I think it's right?

Personally, I don't care.

Ask me about a penal system that locks away instead of rehabilitates. Ask me about regular folk who've paid their debt to society and only wish they could have that kind of podium with which to earn their forgiveness; to be granted their proper re-entrance to the world.

To not live the rest of their lives marked by past mistakes.


Hey! Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone?

Send our 'contrite' stars to work with inmates who're legitimately trying to get back on the straight and narrow.

Some sort of 'one of us, one of them' approach.

First up, our Wynonas and our Hughs followed by our Bubba's and Lloyd's -- give'm all a few minutes to make their case and their apologies. Then release'em back to the wild.

Hey, it might even make for some good TV.

Just a thought.


No comments: