Three cheers for aggressively straight Christian hunk-icon Mel Gibson's fall from grace.
Gibson achieved the remarkable rabble-rousing hat-trick of allegedly, according to various news sources, being caught driving drunk, going on a berserk anti-semitic tirade and making rude, R-rated comments related to the physical appearance of an LA county policewoman.
However, to the probable relief of his millions of true-believing fans, he seems nevertheless to have managed to make it through the night without breaking any one of the ten commandments. (Indeed, as Gibson pere has made comments which one might associate with Holocaust denial, young Mel could be seen as fulfilling both the letter and the spirit of the fifth commandment.)
I think this points to what is thus far an underreported angle on the Gibson story: the basic insufficiency of Old Testament morality in the fight against modern anti-social behaviour.
Later, Gibson released a somewhat vaguely worded statement expressing some kind of general regret for the incidents.
To this point, though, he has yet to suggest that he has given up on the ultra-traditionalist Catholic doctrine of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, meaning that he believes those without a superior morality such as his own are eternally damned. Yes, that means - most likely - you and me. (I mean, I don't believe this sort of fairy tale, but still, it's not so nice for someone to make this kind of assumption about me.)
And, charmingly enough, he would seem to think that this would extend to his own wife.
According to MSNBC:
Gibson was interviewed by the Herald Sun in Australia, and the reporter asked the star if Protestants are denied eternal salvation. “There is no salvation for those outside the Church,” Gibson replied. “I believe it.”This must be it, then: what women want.
He elaborated: “Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She’s a much better person than I am. Honestly. She’s, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it’s just not fair if she doesn’t make it, she’s better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it.”
And a fine redeemer of the values of sad, degenerate and atheistic Hollywood he is.
However, since a great deal of modern Christianity seems to revolve more around 'do as I say' than 'do as I do', one might after all see Gibson's drunken foolishness as rather more mainstream than many true-believers would care to admit. But since so many self-professed Christians seem incapable of taking a joke or even understanding the notion of satire itself, it may be that we need to revert to a far more simple level of discourse in our dealings with them.
Schadenfreude, as I said, is a very useful emotion. And I for one am making the most of it.