Sunday, July 30, 2006

in vino veritas?

You all know by now that Mel Gibson was arrested under the following circumstances:

According to the report, Gibson became agitated after he was stopped on Pacific Coast Highway and told he was to be detained for drunk driving Friday morning in Malibu. The actor began swearing uncontrollably. Gibson repeatedly said, "My life is f****d." Law enforcement sources say the deputy, worried that Gibson might become violent, told the actor that he was supposed to cuff him but would not, as long as Gibson cooperated. As the two stood next to the hood of the patrol car, the deputy asked Gibson to get inside. Deputy Mee then walked over to the passenger door and opened it. The report says Gibson then said, "I'm not going to get in your car," and bolted to his car. The deputy quickly subdued Gibson, cuffed him and put him inside the patrol car.

TMZ has learned that Deputy Mee audiotaped the entire exchange between himself and Gibson, from the time of the traffic stop to the time Gibson was put in the patrol car, and that the tape fully corroborates the written report.

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you." The report also says "Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me."

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"

The deputy became alarmed as Gibson's tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?"

A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"

We're told Gibson took two blood alcohol tests, which were videotaped, and continued saying how "f****d" he was and how he was going to "f***" Deputy Mee.

Gibson was put in a cell with handcuffs on. He said he needed to urinate, and after a few minutes tried manipulating his hands to unzip his pants. Sources say Deputy Mee thought Gibson was going to urinate on the floor of the booking cell and asked someone to take Gibson to the bathroom.

After leaving the bathroom, Gibson then demanded to make a phone call. He was taken to a pay phone and, when he didn't get a dial tone, we're told Gibson threw the receiver against the phone. Deputy Mee then warned Gibson that if he damaged the phone he could be charged with felony vandalism. We're told Gibson was then asked, and refused, to sign the necessary paperwork and was thrown in a detox cell.

Gibson, now reasonably sober, has issued a lengthy apology for his words and behavior, which reads in part:

"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested," he said in a statement issued by his publicist. "I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse."

He said he was taking "necessary steps to ensure my return to health."

Alcohol doesn't bring out the "real you." While it may be true that alcohol lowers one's inhibitions, those very inhibitions are a normal component of your personality. They're what keep you from killing the neighbor who whistles loudly in the hallway, or from slapping the rude cashier who looks down her nose at you, or from grabbing the ass of that fine-lookin' thang in the elevator. The absence of inhibitions doesn't make you more "real" to those around you; it more likely makes you a fucking asshole, not to mention a moron-- prone to doing stupid shit like, well, accusing the Jews of instigating all armed conflicts (which accounts for the situation in places like Nigeria, Ireland, and Sri Lanka, I'm sure).

I don't drink. I'm not against drinking, so please don't misunderstand me. If you're a happy drunk and want to get pissed, be my guest. Just don't drive, asshole. My dad was hit by a drunk driver, and I have little sympathy for people whose "disease" takes other people down with them. What I am saying is that whether the lowering of one's guard is a good thing or a bad thing depends greatly on the situation. A little lubrication might get you talking with that bored-looking cutie in the corner, for example. But drunkenly leaning over and booming to a Supreme Court justice, "Come on, Sandy baby; loosen up! You're too tight!" during a Washington Press Club dinner doesn't strike me as an obviously good thing.

I don't have stats to back up the following insight, but I do have experience from college: the number of people who regret things they've said and done while drunk is far greater than the number of people who regret nothing. Alcohol lowers inhibitions; it strips away the civilized cortex that-- ideally-- differentiates humans from other animals. Drunkenness is a lowering of the self, not an exaltation.

I suppose one could counter-argue that teetotalling control freaks have caused their share of problems. I don't doubt it. But teetotalling control freaks aren't usually the cause of unwanted pregnancies, car accidents, domestic violence, and a goodly proportion of accidental and deliberate gun violence.*

I'm willing to cut Mel some slack and take him at his word: he probably didn't mean most of what he said while drunk. I'm willing to bet that Monsieur Gibson is nuts enough already: alcohol plays little to no role in revealing the "real Mel" to the world. The man has worked with all types in Hollywood, and you can't do that without possessing some measure of openness and tolerance-- at least while sober.

By the way, what is "Mel" short for? Melvin? Good Lord.

*A link that might interest you: Alcohol Factsheet

Plenty of stats to keep you busy. Pay special attention to the section titled "Alcohol-Related Health Effects from Excessive Alcohol Consumption." This section goes into just how large a chunk of the pie graph is attributable to dumbasses who drink in excess. Of special significance is the rape statistic: "Approximately 72% of rapes reported on college campuses occur when victims are so intoxicated they are unable to consent or refuse."


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