Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mel Gibson's Tirades

Greetings Friends,

The great thing about being a movie star is having yourself immortalized on film; so, when you're old, grey, and apparently losing your marbles faster than the water rushing over Niagara Falls, you have something to reflect on and be proud of.

I've always had a "thing" for Mel Gibson. Not so much because of the "Mad Max" movies, but the "Lethal Weapon" quartet. I've since moved on to Russell Crowe. Maybe deep down it's more to do with the fact that both men hail from New Zealand/Australia, but I think it's more that they are scruffy tough guys. I've always been a sucker for the scruffy tough guys.

Is it me, or is most of Hollywood on the brink of self-destruction these days? Or do I just spend too much time paying attention to it? Probably me... As I've said ad nauseam, I have a propensity towards procrastinating on the online gossip sites. This past week has seen a couple of ripe plums fall off the tree: Lindsay Lohan will soon take up residence in the Paris Hilton suite of the L.A. women's detention facility, and Mel Gibson seems to have lost the rest of his six-pack, as evidenced by those awful tirades his ex-girlfriend conveniently recorded.

And why is that, by the way? I may not be as technologically adept as I'd like, but so far, in the slightly more than 40 years I've been breathing, I've never had a legitimate reason to record a phone call. Then again, I've never been in a relationship with a man who is worth as much as Mel Gibson. All the same, you'd think a man like him would, at this stage of his life, not let his, um, you know, do the thinking for him. I guess that's one of the side effects of Viagra they don't talk about during the commercials.

Regardless of any rationale, I did listen to all three tapes, and was not particularly impressed by any of them. Maybe because Mel should really have known better, and because his so-called girlfriend didn't sound at all like she was threatened in any way. For a certain segment of humanity, technology is a tool that can be utilized quite effectively as a means of extortion. We've come a long way from "wiring up" with microphones; these days, anyone with even the most basic of mobile phones can record conversations, take pictures and send them viral with the push of a couple of buttons. It's never been easier to get yourself in trouble on so many levels, and trouble seems to attach itself to some people like barnacles to a ship.

While I would never wish ill on someone I have never met, have never spoken to, or haven't the first clue what it's like to be them, I really think Mel is not fully to blame in all this. His ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, is probably somewhat barnacle-like. Mel has gotten into a few significant scrapes of late, involving drunken, racially motivated ranting, questionable projects, and the simple fact that he's no longer the scruffy, sexy tough guy pictured above. That being said, at age 54, with the legacy of his Hollywood stardom taking up residence in the "cautionary tale" category, Mel should have recognized the side effects and regrouped. I'm not just talking about the primal urges - those, combined with technology have gotten a lot of public figures in a hell of a lot more trouble than he's in. I'm sure the same can be said for individuals who don't have the extra added burden of having to live out their personal dramas on or in the supermarket tabloids. All the same, it behooves us one and all to watch our collective asses (pun intended), when there's an abundance of technology in our midst, capable of capturing our missteps and preserving them for time immemorial.

R.I.P. George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard: It would be bad form, even though I'm a New York Mets fan, to let the passing of these two men go by without proper acknowledgment. George Steinbrenner, the now former principle owner of the New York Yankees, died yesterday in Tampa Florida of a massive heart attack at the age of 80. His legacy is one of turmoil, controversy and championships, and it always made for great press clippings. The Yankees won 7 world championships during his tenure as owner, and things were always interesting up in the Bronx.

Bob Sheppard passed away this past Sunday at the age of 99. He was the public address announcer at Yankee Stadium (and Giants Stadium for Giants & Jets football games) from 1951 until 2007. He was nicknamed the "Voice of God", and having heard his voice in person many times, I can say with all honesty, his only known rival in that department was Cecil B. DeMille as the voice of God in The Ten Commandments. Both men are two irreplaceable elements of New York culture, that I say sincerely, will be sorely missed.


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