Several people have responded to my post about Mel Gibson by saying that they’ll never see his movies again. I have to confess to being baffled by that. I don’t get it when those on the right do it and I don’t get it when the left does it either. When those on the right freaked out about the Dixie Chicks because they criticized the president (“on foreign soil”, they always add, as though that is the least bit relevant – does the validity of a criticism change as it crosses a border?) and started burning their records and boycotting their concerts, I frankly thought they were acting like idiots. If you like the Dixie Chicks’ music (I don’t), then listen to it and see their shows. Their music is the only reason you know about them at all and is the only thing you should care about.
The same is true of Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Sting, Bono or any other performer who speaks their mind on political issues. I simply don’t care what their political views are or whether I agree or disagree with them. Their political views are as irrelevant to my decision to see their films or buy their CDs as their taste in clothes or their choice in fine wines. Sean Penn is a shallow, pretentious poser; he’s also a hell of an actor who tends to do very good work on film. And since his ability as an actor is the only reason I am even aware of his existence, it’s the only thing I care about in that context. I don’t care if he hates President Bush or loves him any more than I care whether he wears boxers or briefs or what basketball team he roots for.
Mel Gibson seems to me to be a bit of a nut and, on the whole, not very bright. He says lots of stupid things. If he tried to write a book about his views, I likely wouldn’t read it because I think he’s an ignoramus. But that has nothing to do with his acting or the quality of his movies. In that department, he’s a mixed bag. He’s done some good work and some bad work. But if I see a film he’s made that looks interesting, hell yes I’m gonna see it and his stupidity when it comes to evolution or politics won’t even enter into the decision.