This Issue's Letter to a Star!
Dear Mel Gibson,

In this issue, one of your movies is featured and although it’s not a
work of art it provided a vehicle for the introduction of Jet Li to North
America. I just spent the weekend watching a couple of the Mad Max
movies and I am impressed by how your career has evolved.

Yet, the successes of late have been tempered by poor personal
decisions and inopportune moments before the paparazzi. Now some
might say that you’re a prime target as a celebrity while others might
say that all that has happened to you is deserved for the views you
hold. At this point it doesn’t matter who’s right; the public perception
has already been formed.

Your drunken ramblings on that fateful night were not simply the liquor
talking. Nor were they evidence, in my opinion, of any deep-seated
bigotry or racism. Rather they were endemic of a society that is
experiencing frustrations at every turn and like most societies looks for
a scapegoat. For the poor it’s the rich; for the rich it’s government; for
government it’s other countries; and for many ordinary citizens, it’s
their Muslim, Jewish, Greek, Black, Chinese, Latino ( neighbors
who are to blame. Being color blind has been supplanted by a
willingness to hold differences under a microscope and this has resulted
in an America that is more divided today than it was decades ago. Your
ramblings, as misguided as they were, reflect the character flaw that
runs through the American culture like a plague.

So what can you do? Owning up to it was a great first step. Addressing
your alcohol problem was a great second step. But quite frankly I don’t
buy celebrity apologies. No matter how contrite and abashed you may
be, you will always appear insincere. Meeting with community leaders,
most of who are out to push an agenda is questionable to me. A general
apology, followed by ACTIONS is more effective in confronting our
inner hatreds. The idea that everyone is a victim is repulsive; it makes
us lesser beings.

The solution, Mr. Gibson, is for you to continue doing what you do.
Make movies, star in them and continue giving us the entertainment you
always have. But on your journey treat your crews, costars and bosses
(the odd time you have one) with the respect they deserve, not as
representatives of ethnicities but as individuals. Forget about world
conspiracies and hateful propaganda. Judge each person on their own
merits and if that person is a jerk, it’s perfectly acceptable to dislike
him/her. Just don’t let their culture or race be a determiner because
ultimately it never is.

Peter Katsionis

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