On Mel Gibson: The Ears of the Deaf Unstopped! Aug19

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On Mel Gibson: The Ears of the Deaf Unstopped!

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a guest blogumn by Sarah Fazeli

I was 14 and on a family vacationwhen I first set foot on Hollywood Blvd. Amidst the key chains, T-shirts, and fools’ gold awards, I claimed my prize and sole souvenir from the City of Angels: an 8×10 photo of dreamy, blue-eyed Mel Gibson.

A few weeks ago, I sat alone at my kitchen table in front of my laptop, the house dark except for a pink glow off the Radar Online webpage. My hand hovered over the mouse, cursor over the play button. Do I really want to hear this?

“Don’t listen to it!”

I jolted, hand to heart, before it registered: the voice belonged to my husband, whom I’d thought was asleep. I exhaled. I hate being startled.

“Don’t do it!” he shouted again– as if I had just mistakenly lifted a glass full of ammonia to my mouth instead of my soda.

“Why not?” I snapped.

“You won’t be able to sleep.”

Now, a split-second dilemma: give in to the burgeoning warmth brought on by the knowledge that my husband knows me so well, or cede to my defensive nature, in the vein of don’t you tell me what to do!

I pressed the play button.

“Suit yourself,” he mumbled, and went off to bed.

The next morning, bleary-eyed and drowsy, I kicked myself. I had read snippets of those recordings in print; was it necessary to hear it as well?

My answer surprised me. Yes. Yes, it was.

There are some things we have to hear for ourselves. Mock me if you like for losing sleep over Mel Gibson, but I suspect I’m not the only one. He was my Braveheart, my Maverick. Turns out he’s more like a Lethal Weapon.

Of course, I’d heard rumors early on. Homophobia? Nah. My Mel Gibson would never be so small-minded. Surely, he was misconstrued.

In 1997, Conspiracy Theory came out, and along with it a sidebar story that spread like wildfire: But what you don’t know about Mel Gibson is that he is a zany prankster! The practical joker sent a wrapped gift to co-star Julia Roberts: the star screamed bloody murder when she opened it to find a dead rat!

My first instinct: that’s very odd. Strange. Kinda freaky. Huh. Everyone else thought it was just ha-laaar-ious. The story showed up in magazines with headlines like Mel’s Movie Set Mischief! Gibson’s Gags! Hollywood Hottie a Playful Practical Joker!

So, I laughed it off. I probably just knew way too much about the bubonic plague. Or was projecting a latent response to a deeply suppressed April Fool’s trauma.

I heard about Gibson’s anti-Semitic father, Hutton Gibson, and held to the conviction that it’s unfair to damn the son for the sins of the father. It was Mel Gibson’s response to the issue of his father in the 2004 Diane Sawyer interview that was troubling. “Gotta leave it alone, Diane. Gotta leave it alone,” he warned her. Geesh. Kind of on-edge there.  But, hey – the poor guy is conflicted about his nutjob father. That’s gotta be rough.

Fast forward to the DUI, and the accompanying “f*cking Jews” quote. Straight from the horse’s mouth! But…gosh, Jackie Mason had such nice things to say about him.

So, he’s an alcoholic and needs help: this I could accept. I’d probably be an addict too if I grew up with a freaky, fanatical father.

I hit a wall with the “Sugar-Tits” bit.  He said that? But, wait a sec – wasn’t he great friends with amazing women like Jodie Foster? Women who would never give a guy who thought like that the time of day?

Punching his girlfriend? The N-word? Impossible. And isn’t he friends with Danny Glover?  How does that friendship work? I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t believe it.

Until now.

Like one who finally leaves an abusive relationship, I’m done making excuses for Mel Gibson. Regardless of what happens from here on out in the courtroom, tabloids, or at the movies – thanks to the opportunity to hear it for myself, the eyes of the blind have been opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

And, to all those cast-not-the-first-stoners, let me clarify: I’m not casting the first stone. I’m pointing to the guy and screaming, “This guy’s throwing stones at everyone! OMG! Look! He’s picking up more stones! Someone’s gonna get killed!” Probably the woman he’s telling he’d like to see gang raped. And a bat taken to the side of her head. And buried in a rose garden.

It hurts to let go of a fantasy; it makes us question our judgement, faith in people, and face our own romantic delusions. It’s painful to admit you’ve been sleepwalking in a fool’s paradise.

It’s been 20 years since that dewy-eyed girl first fawned over that 8×10 close-up of Mel Gibson. Hearing those recordings, I realize that my girlhood heartthrob still makes my heart race: only now I’d use the word palpitations: the kind you get when someone follows you into a dark parking lot.

Or, when– heart pounding—you are jarred awake from a beautiful dream.

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Photo Credit: 12th St. David (click on the pic for more details)