First it was Rosie O'Donnell.
Then it was Tom Cruise.
Now, with Mel Gibson, I'm putting my foot down.
I don't want to know anything more about these people other than that they are enjoyable to watch on my favorite movies and programs. I don't care if Rosie O'Donnell is an angry lesbian and she's rude to adults and won't give them autographs. I don't care if Tom Cruise is a crazy Scientologist weirdo who wouldn't allow his wife to scream during labor. I don't CARE if Mel Gibson beats his wife, how many children he has, or if he's racist.
What I care about is, did they entertain me in the media form for which I plunked down my hard-earned cash and provide me with the escape, amusement, knowledge, or whatever I was requesting at the time.
That sound harsh, I know. I SHOULD care if Mel Gibson is a violent bigot. And I do--to one level--the same level with which I read about abusers in the paper and think "man, I really wish they wouldn't do that." The difference is, I'm not emotionally tied to those folks in the paper. Rosie, Mel, Tom and I all shared a lot of good memories together (and other celebrities too...I'll just use these three as examples), and the most upsetting part of this whole situation with Mel Gibson is that I can't ever watch a movie with him in it without feeling a) guilty that I'm supporting him, or b) thinking about his violent outbursts.
Do I blame him? Sure. But, the fact is, if he is a violent bigot, he probably always has been. And Hollywood (and all of us) have supported him smiling and nodding the whole way through. But now, because the media has this compelling need to tell me every disgusting detail about every single person who has ever crossed the threshold of Hollywood, now I can't just simply enjoy those celebrities. Mel Gibson shouldn't beat his wife. He shouldn't threaten to hit her with a baseball bat. BUT, we live in an age where there is zero privacy--and that's not okay. A private argument between two people--however combative it may get-- does not need to end up on CNN. Even if it's Mel Gibson. Even if it's Tom Cruise freaking out. Even if it's Heath Ledger screaming at a grip. We all have moments when we lose our shit. And this attitude that the DJ on KDWB knows jack about Mel Gibson's personal life because he heard a snippet of an illegally recorded phone conversation is complete BS. And yes, they are (and should be) held to a higher standard--I teach high schoolers who look up to these celebrities and no one wants the celebs to be good role models more than me. But, the media has to play fair. They have to give people a chance to make mistakes, to pay for them, to listen to all sides before condemnation.
And, you may say, "just don't watch/listen to it." Believe me, I've tried. I can't turn left in my own bathroom without hearing some trash about some celebrity or another.
So, though I turn it off whenever I can, I'm sad that I can't watch 'Signs' and that tragic scene where Graham Hess finds his wife pinned to the tree and knows he has to say goodbye without hearing Mel's latest rant in my head. I'm sad I can't watch Top Gun without thinking "man...too bad he went crazy...".
Can't we leave just a little bit of fantasy in the world? Not to ignore or deny bad behavior...but do we need to seek out the bad behavior? Magnify and glorify it? I don't think so....and I'm irritated.