In a way it's a good thing. Gibson's movie was lauded as a wonderful thing, anti-Semitism and all, by millions of Christians who saw the movie, who embraced the movie.
Now, we see the man, the inner heart and soul of the man who made the movie.
So, what's good about Gibson's ugly utterances?
Well, he's a star-- a super-star, not just a Hollywood celebrity, but a church celebrity. He's an icon of America and now, we see that inside of him, underneath his smooth, star-veneer, he's a Jew-hating, bigoted anti-Semite, no different than millions of rednecks, neo-nazis, KKK members and their friends and families.
Gibson, by losing control of his inner censor, probably by becoming "blacked out" alcoholically, allowed his shadow, the dark side of his SELF to "shine" through, so people could actually see, beneath the veneer, what at least a part of him thinks and feels.
It's not surprising. His father is an "outed" bigoted, anti-Semitic, holocaust denier-- a totally despicable hater.
What's good about this is that he's now forced to apologize. He's already had one contract cancelled and it is likely that there are millions of people who will never pay to see a Mel Gibson movie again. I'd already joined that group because of his Passion of the Christ movie. It was not an easy decision. I love some of Gibson's past movies-- Braveheart, The Patriot, What Women Want-- but it won't be hard to give him up. On the other hand, I would love to see him do what it takes to earn my forgiveness.
A simple apology is NOT enough. Gibson has the power to do something big, something huge-- to face the reality of the anti-Semitism he holds within him. He says that it is against his faith, but regardless, Gibson has, inside of him , some serious anti-Semitic, bigoted... parts? Feelings? Thoughts? Emotions? Whatever way you characterize what he has, it needs to be exorcised. Saying he doesn't think that way may be trued, but that doesn't get to the marrow of the problem.
Gibson has to, face it, that like his alcoholism, he has a problem with bigotry. He has to accept the reality that it is not something he can deny, it is something that he must face and deal with. Alcoholics who successfully get off the wagon must learn to see themselves as alcoholics. Denial only weakens them.
Gibson could accept the fact that he has been a bigot and then start DOING things to compensate for what he has said and done. He's a very creative, passionate, influential guy with a lot of money. If, with the right intentions, he honestly faces his bigotry and starts to engage in projects and works that expose and fight bigotry, he COULD help millions of Americans to understand their shadow selves-- the bigotry lurking beneath their conscious selves or, for some, not hiding or lurking at all. Gibson could become a speaker, make movies that show how bigotry works, how it hurts, how it is present where "nice" people live.
I believe that Mel Gibson wants to be a good person. I KNOW he's afflicted with demons-- or he wouldn't be an alcoholic. Apparently, he's been invited by a Hollywood rabbi to give a talk at a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, when we can all atone for our sins. A sin is something you do. Gibson IS a bigot, deep inside. I have no doubt that the thoughts and feelings he expressed the other day, while drunk, were there before and are still there, somewhere inside of Gibson. There are billions of people who have shadow selves that are bigoted. Some of them face their shadows. Some of them confront their shadows and deal with them. Most ignore their shadows or don't even know they have them.
Gibson could make a difference. He could take this opportunity his alcoholism has fatefully cast in his path and do something good with it that would go beyond atonement. It could save his soul and rescue millions whose shadows have kept them from being the good people they would really rather be. I would love to watch a Mel Gibson movie that makes me cry-- thankful for the work he's done inside himself so he could make a movie that touches peoples' hearts and wakes their spirits so they face their shadows and take charge of them. If Gibson does this act of redemption, he'll be a man the world will honor, rather than disdain.
PS If he's going to seek advice from the Jewish community, I suggest he speak to Rabbis Michael Lerner and Zalman Schachter-Shalomi