How much booze does it take to turn a nice guy like Mel Gibson into a raging anti-Semite? Two brave writers ordered some rounds to find out.
By John D. Spalding and Billy Frolick
We all know the ugly turn fate recently handed Mel Gibson. He got pulled over by the police in Malibu, exploded in an expletive-laden “barrage of anti-Semitic remarks,” and was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. The next day, he issued a statement admitting that he “acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable...” (Emphasis ours.)
See, the actor-director-darling of the Christian right desperately wants the world to understand that it was the booze talking. He personally does not believe that the “fucking Jews” are “responsible for all the wars in the world,” as he put it to the arresting cops. That’s merely what the alcohol made it seem like he believes.
So here’s our question: How does quaffing a few chugs of grandpa’s old cough medicine transform a person like Mel Gibson, who is not a racist when he’s sober, into a raging anti-Semite when he’s potted?
There was one way to find out. We hit the nearest bar, ordered some drinks, and turned on the tape recorder to catch any racial slurs that might happen to fly out our mouths. The results of our scientific study may not be pretty—or very scientific—but they’re certainly revealing.
(Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed below are those of the alcohol consumed during the research phase of this piece, and do not represent the views or opinions of, and, should not be attributed to, the authors or SoMAreview.com. In other words, if you don’t like what you’re about to read, then write an angry letter to Anheuser-Busch, not us.)
* * *
John Spalding: What beer are we on, you reckon—10, 11?
Billy Frolick: [Belches] Ah, try three. I think. I stopped counting at two… Hey. Are you feeling anti-Semitic yet?
JS: Not yet… Maybe it takes a couple more beers. How about you—feel a tirade against the Children of Israel welling up?
BF: No, but after one drink, this Jewish boy fo’ sho’ begins to feel more Catholic. The question is, how many beers does it take for Mel Gibson to lose control of his brain and start spewing racial hatred?
JS: Wait, I know this one…
BF: No, I’m serious. The issue is how many beers he consumed.
JS: We could ask “Sugar Tits.”
BF: Who’s that? What’s that? Some new bar snack? I hate bar snacks…
JS: Nay, my Hebraic friend. It’s one of the arresting officers. Gibson turned to a female sergeant and yelled, “What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?" I bet she has an idea how many beers Mad Max knocked back.
BF: Speaking of the Road Warrior, guess what they found in Gibson’s car? An open bottle of tequila! Maybe that would rev up our little experiment…
JS: Bartender—two shots of Patron, por favor!
[The insanely expensive drinks are served, and promptly slammed.]
BF: [Wincing] Damn! Forgot to ask for salt and limes… I don’t know if they make you blurt out religious epithets, but they definitely take the edge off the tequila.
JS: Hmmm. I still don’t feel anti-Semitic yet.
BF: Me neither. Let’s try another tack. Are you feeling the desire to kill anyone yet?
JS: You mean the way Mel Gibson did, when he told the New Yorker he wanted to kill New York Times critic Frank Rich? “I want his intestines on a stick,” he said. “I want to kill his dog."
BF: [Heavy-lidded, like Homer Simpson] “Intestines on a stiiiiiick…”
JS: I thought you said you hate bar snacks…
BF: But in fairness to the Gibber, it’s not uncommon for movie people to want to kill critics.
JS: Yeah, but this wasn’t over a review. Gibson said he wanted to kill Rich—and his dog—because Rich accused Gibson’s people of using "PR spin to defend a Holocaust denier," after Gibson’s pop said the Holocaust was mostly “fiction.”
BF: Wait! I’ve suddenly got the urge to blurt out something totally reckless. Here goes. “The Passion of the Christ” was mostly fiction!
JS: [Grabbing Frolick’s elbow] Shhh! People might hear you—you irresponsible, drunken heretic.
BF: Wow. That felt great. Very cathartic. You gotta try it. Just let the booze take over and allow your soul to yelp.
BF: Come on! I’ll provoke you into it, say something to piss you off...
JS: Good luck.
BF: OK, you asked for it…. “Bird on a Wire” was the greatest film ever made.
JS: I beg to differ, amigo. “Lethal Weapon 4” was the greatest film ever made.
BF: Fine. Want to play hardball, I’ll play hardball…. You went to see “What Women Want” to learn how to be a sensitive male.
JS: [Snaps] No, I went to “What Women Want” to watch Mel Gibson make sweet monkey love to his enormous ego for two hours!
BF: Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere. That was awfully snarky. Feel better?
JS: [Pauses, pats himself down] Yeah, I see what you mean. That did feel kind of good…
BF: But don’t stop now. Take another swig of that Amstel Light and really vent this time… People magazine has a restraining order against you because every year you show up at their offices, naked, to protest that Mel Gibson never gets re-named “Sexiest Man Alive.”
JS: Yeah, but I only think he deserves that award based on his appearance in “The Man Without a Face.”
BF: Weak. OK, I’ve got one… The plot to “Conspiracy Theory” didn’t make much sense.
JS: [Rises to his feet and pounds the bar] That’s it, Frolick! Make fun of “What Women Want” and “Bird on a Wire” all you want. Heck, you can even ridicule “Pocahontas,” “Maverick,” and “Tequila Sunrise” if you’d like. Just don’t touch “Conspiracy Theory,” man. Don’t go there! [Angrily tries to rip a cocktail napkin in half, and fails, sustaining a paper cut.] Ouch!... OK, fair enough—I did find Gibson’s rambling, paranoid, bug-eyed taxi-cab driving character to be annoying as hell. But the point is valid—that just because his character thinks everyone is out to get him, doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t out to get him—and out to get Mel, and you, and me, out to get all of us. And it’s the whiny, fucking critics out there, people like you…
BF: Oh, I see. People like me, huh? You mean the Jews, don’t you?
JS: I didn’t say that!
BF: I know, I know. The beer said it… Well, I think we found our answer. It only takes a person two and a half light beers and a shot of tequila consumed over, what, four hours, before they turn anti-Semitic, just like Mel.
JS: I’m not sure, Billy. I think it was the bar snacks.
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John D. Spalding is the editor of SoMAreview.com. His last piece was Santiago! Contributing editor Billy Frolick is a director and screenwriter. His most recent credit is the animated DreamWorks film “Madagascar.” His last piece for SoMA was A Narf Is a Narf, Already!
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