Friday, October 13, 2006

Mel Gibson and TV News: Trivial Pursuit

The second part of Diane Sawyer's interview with Mel Gibson aired this morning and I had no choice but to watch because every TV at the gym was playing it.

Kudos to Diane for asking important, probing questions to a public figure who really, really effed things up for himself. Not only does Mel have a drinking problem, he's also, possibly, an anti-Semite. How upsetting that the man who helped create one of the most moving films about Jesus Christ should be reduced to explaining inexcusable, dangerous behavior on national tevelevision.

As pissed as I am at Mel (who unfortunately still looks kinda cute) I am more angered with the American press who has made his behavior an issue of national importance on par with the war in Iraq and the threats posed by North Korea. It is shameful that I am getting more cynical, thought provoking commentary from Rosie O'Donnell than I am from Wolf Blitzer or any other hack on CNN (with the exception of my baby daddy Anderson Cooper, who can do no wrong).

I'm in between jobs now and the past week has afforded me the opportunity to spend more time at the gym, more time on this blog, and more time dissecting the state of affairs on American television. My cable box says I have access to 1000 channels and yet I would not be any wiser to the goings on in the world if I lived glued to the set.

Oprah actually talked about this on her show yesterday. Frank Rich, one of my fav writers at the Times, was on the show talking about the danger of infotainment and about our nation's willingness to be manipulated by the media and politicians. He was there to promote his book The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina and to answer questions from the studio audience. In short, Rich makes a startling, though absolutely true, observation about Americans' unintentional complicity with the lies that are coming out of Washington that have 1) muddled 9-11 with the war in Iraq and 2) impugned George Bush and his cabinet from the disaster that is Katrina.

While he defends President Bush as someone who at least tried to do something about the Middle East and their threat to us, the reasoning for this war has gone from one of a pre-emptive attack to a humanitarian effort. Whatever the reason for this war, which Rich says we'll probably never know, we're almost 1 million casualties into it.

His attack, really, is on the media and on consumers who are engaged in an endless, innocuous dialgoue that ignores the real issues of our times. So, bravo to Diane for grilling Mel like he should be. So Diane, do you think NOW you can go and ax W a few questions for me:

1. Do you, in your heart, believe Saddam had anything to do with 9-11?
2. Do you feel any responsibility for the woeful mishandling of Hurricane Katrina?
3. Are you open to shifting the strategy of the war on terror to a more robust intelligence gathering and espionage program as opposed to a ground war?
4. What made you decide to pursue diplomacy with North Korea, a nation who is boasting about its nuclear program, while engaging in combat with Iraq?
5. Are you proud of your achievements in office thus far?


I'm heading off to Paris for the weekend and will be back in the States on Tuesday. In the meantime, I plan on posting an entry or two while I'm away. I'm sure the French will give me plenty to talk about.

But first, it's time for The View (dammit, it's not for another 2.5 hours!)


Anonymous said...

was on the show talking about the danger of infotainment and about our nation's willingness to be manipulated by the media and politicians.

Yeah, that's FAR more dangerous than the al-Qaeda Times leaking national security information.

RobustoTenor said...

While I agree that the Mel Gibson issues have been detracting from, and perhaps obfuscating, more important news stories, I feel there is a certain pleasure in watching him spiral down into a pool of shame and disgrace. I am glad that his anti-Semitic comments and drunk driving have betrayed his sanctimoniousness and that his arch-conservative religious stance has been revealed for the bigotry and close-mindedness that it really is.

In fact, I found that Passion of the Christ movie extremely uncomfortable to sit through because, instead of a thoughtful exploration of Jesus' life, I felt like I was watching some twisted, deeply-repressed homosexual S&M fantasy played out on the big screen. Instead of hiding behind a screen of religious righteousness, maybe Mel Gibson should do a little more soul searching to discover his demons and not flaunt his stunted sexual fantasies to the paying movie-going public.

Red Tulips said...

I have to agree with robustotenor here - it is pleasurable to see Mel Gibson's downward spiral.

And btw, I have finally updated my blog, if you are interested! :-)