I share Ruth Marcus’s bewilderment at the absurd and morally abtuse refusal, on the part of Hollywood types, to outright condemn Mel Gibson for his anti-Semitic rant. (She imputes mercenary motives — which is rather a rich irony when you think about it.) Sure, the guy’s an alcoholic, but the notion that this explains his comment, made apropos of nothing whatsoever, that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” is pitiful.
No less an icon* than Patrick Swayze offered that “people say stupid things when they happen to have a few, and especially if you don’t drink any more, or have limited your drinking for a long time and all of a sudden you decide to have one too many with the boys – you are stupid.” When drunk, people do say stupid things–like, “You’re an idiot!” or “I never liked you in the first place!” or “I slept with your wife.” [Update: or “husband.”] Rarely do they say things on the order of “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” — unless, I presume, that’s the kind of thing that’s always floating close to the surface of their minds. Alcohol doesn’t alter people’s basic beliefs (if only!); it just seems to bring them into the open.
[* Sarcasm is being (pettily) deployed here, which should, but evidently doesn’t, go without saying.]