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Over at the Corner

They’re talking about what Mel Gibson should do with his profits from the Passion

Started by Jonah Goldberg, who gives his last word, after much give-and-take:

Again, as I said, I take Gibson at his word that he didn’t go into this for the money. He went into this as an artist, a believer, a messenger. And the message of that movie is significant, isn’t it? Or has all of the praise on NRO and the condemnation elsewhere been for show? Ramesh and others even argued, rightly, in response to Gertrude Himmelfarb’s op-ed that the message is so special it is sui generis. Well, I think if Gibson made the movie as a true believer and artist, then the profit he makes from it should have some connection to the message as well.

It would be best if commented not just on Goldberg’s comment, but when through this am’s Corner postings on the matter as well.

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posted March 12, 2004 at 3:00 pm

Personally, I hope to never know what Mel Gibson does with the profits from this movie. I benefited from it as a spiritual event. I mostly enjoyed it as an artistic endeavor. As a business, it interests me not at all.
Besides, isn’t this just another way of expressing disapproval of the movie itself, not to mention the man who made it? When an image-maker runs on about the object of his interest having an “image problem”… well, it seems too perfect a self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn’t it? And it’s getting old.

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craig henry

posted March 12, 2004 at 3:02 pm

JG’s question really annoyed me… maybe because it echoed Andy Rooney’s gibe. But also because it is none of anyone’s business right now. Gibson did not make the movie to get rich, quite the opposite. That it now looks like he will receive a windfall is his good fortune.
I hope he will use his new found freedom and resources to make other worthwhile movies. But that is my hope, not his obligation.
Should he choose to give to charity, i hope i don’t find out. Some things are better done quietly and in private.

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posted March 12, 2004 at 3:09 pm

I think it’s rather none of our business what Gibson decides to do with the profits. Judging by his personal character and the way he has generously donated to charitable causes in the past, I wouldn’t be suprised if Gibson decides to give a large portion of the profits away.
But how is it Mr. Goldberg’s (or anyone’s) business whether he does or not? That is a matter between his conscience and God. Are we to assume that if Gibson decides to keep the profits for his family, that Goldberg will in self-righteous indignation condemn the man? If so, that’s a far worse matter in God’s eyes than Gibson’s keeping the profits.

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John C

posted March 12, 2004 at 3:43 pm

I agree that it’s his business what he does with the money. But he’ll easily have a lot of it to, again, singlehandedly make more Christian movies. He’s won the trust of millions of Christians with his handling of bible material. I think he could make himself a billionaire and I see that as good. We’d finally have a strong Christian force with a lot of power in Hollywood. And I’m sure he would use the money far more wisely and charitably than the current Hollywood brass.

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posted March 12, 2004 at 3:59 pm

I wonder if the ADL would accept a sum of the profits from Mel?

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posted March 12, 2004 at 4:16 pm

Some context is needed here. To be fair to Goldberg, he does say that Gibson is perfectly free to do what he wants with his money. However, he also said that people are free to express opinions on the way Gibson chooses to spend this money. His point was that if conservatives (like Goldberg himself) feel free to criticize the way millionaire liberals choose to spend their money they should also be willing to criticize the spending habits of conservative millionaires. In any event, I didn’t see anything wrong in what he said. Much too much was made out of his comment.

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posted March 12, 2004 at 5:34 pm

I have a factual question here: does anyone know if there is anything in orthodox Jewish law about a strict injunction not to give money to projects that could be blasphemous to Judaism?
I’ve seen a number of Jewish individuals preface their remarks with “I haven’t seen it yet” but I’m writing a column about it. . . and that seems really weird to me. Even if I were going to write a column about “the Last Temptation of Christ” I’d see it first, or I’d just write about how I wasn’t going to see it. But if i was writing about it, it’d really be no skin off my nose to pay for it, because of double effect.
Anyone know anything here?

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posted March 12, 2004 at 8:08 pm

First they said Mel was an anti-semite. Then he was a sadist. Then he was a pornographer. Now he’s GREEDY! Give me a break!
Sadly, Jonah Goldberg sounds like just another anti-Gibson (subtley) Jewish conservative like Krautheimer and Safire. I’m not sure Safire is a conservative but I think he is a Republican. Why does Ramesh Ponnuru entertain that Gibson might be an anti-semite? Has he not listened to anything Mel Gibson has said?

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posted March 13, 2004 at 3:21 am

Disappointing, but not surprising, coming from the twerps at National Review.

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posted March 13, 2004 at 4:11 am

I think he should give it all to the Church, but it’s really none of my business (and none of my concern).

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Steve Cavanaugh

posted March 13, 2004 at 8:17 am

Of course Mel Gibson should use the profits from his movie to further the kingdom in whatever way he discerns God’s will to lead. Isn’t that true for every believer? Don’t we all have the same standard for ourselves?
Of course, it’s also true that it is not for us to inquire into what he does. If the left hand is not to know what the right hand is doing, far less should I know what Mr. Gibson does with his money. But if he should use it to advance the Gospel in some way, as Tom Monaghan has attempted to use his fortune, well and good.

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Oengus Moonbones

posted March 13, 2004 at 11:12 am

What Gibson does with the proceeds from his movie is his responsibility, and a heavy one indeed.
“To whom much is given much is required.”

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Sandra Miesel

posted March 13, 2004 at 4:55 pm

By the way, Friday’s WALL ST. JOURNAL estimated Mel’s personal profit will be $200M.

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Rinon Mavar

posted March 14, 2004 at 9:37 am

I think Icon is based in New Zeeland?
He may well, by the grace of God, the opportunity to have an alternative to Hollywood, and even employ blacklisted actors in future films.
Hollywood has blacklisted a number of well-known actors for their conservative or Christian beliefs.
An pray that Mel doesn’t make B grade bombs like Left Behind or Omega Code!

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Lead and Gold

posted March 14, 2004 at 12:48 pm

The Limits of South Park Conservatism

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posted March 14, 2004 at 2:40 pm

I know one thing for sure. The cynics and cranks who said a film in Latin and Aramaic would never fly don’t have a damn thing to say about where the money goes or what Mel’s business sense is. They gave themselves away as the short-sighted mediocrities they really are.

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posted March 14, 2004 at 2:42 pm

Here . Let me see if I can get rid of these italics.

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thomas tucker

posted March 14, 2004 at 4:06 pm

Jonah also said that it was “the appearances” that look bad, even as he noted that Mel was free to do what he wants with his money. My question- why should we care so much a about “appearances”? That’s for People magazine and Paris Hilton types to worry about. I doubt that Mel Gibson is much worried about “appearances.” Nor should he be.

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posted March 14, 2004 at 10:27 pm

“Hollywood has blacklisted a number of well-known actors for their conservative or Christian beliefs.”
May one ask for the specifics of these assertions, Rinon Mavar ?

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posted March 15, 2004 at 11:53 am

Peace, all.
Hollywood sure has done Ahnold wrong for his conservative beliefs. If he were a liberal, he’d be a billionaire for sure. Hollywood loves moneymakers above all else. If you’re a poor liberal, you’re still a schmuck in their eyes.
WSJ’s estimate of Mel’s take is conservative. After video, dvd, and foreign sales, plus merchandising, I think our man stands to rake in a bil, or dang close to it. Always said he was a clever guy. Now he has the Big Dough to prove it.
From the liberal side, I care nothing for what he does with his money. He’s earned it fair and square, so far as I can see.

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posted March 17, 2004 at 1:04 am

In the field of famous actors and actresses, there are few conservatives… Hollywood is know for being overwhelmingly liberal. I have known for awhile, however, that Mel Gibson is a conservative. In the 1996 presidential elections, he supported Pat Buchanan in the Republican primaries. I don’t know who he supported for President in the general election, but he did not like Clinton and Dole (though that doesn’t mean he didn’t vote for one of them), as did many conservatives.
Some hours ago, I saw this news item on World Net Daily, about how Gibson gave an interview to Sean Hannity (who some of us students went to see on Saturday, at a stop on his ‘Hannitization’ book tour, as I said in recent blog entry). That World Net Daily piece says that Gibson is having doubts about President Bush, and that he’s troubled by the weapons of mass destruction claims.
Mel Gibson is a principled conservative. A lot of people have been talking about how the Hollywood left has been anti-war, but I pointed out in a blog entry that many liberals and Democrats supported the recent Iraq war, including some celebrities. I have been focusing a great deal, in my past blog entries, comment posts, and other writings, on the conservative opposition to the Iraq war. Many conservatives opposed the Iraq war, and if Mel Gibson opposes it, then that could confuse some pro-war conservatives, many of whom have been misled into believing that this war corresponds to conservative and Republican principles, and that conservatives overwhelming support it. Some of them have likely already been confused when they see prominent conservatives, on television and elsewhere, such as Pat Buchanan, Bob Novak, Paul Craig Roberts, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, and others, speaking out, or writing commentary, in opposition to this war. But if Gibson, one of the few conservatives in Hollywood, opposes this Iraq war (I don’t know if he does or not), then that would be a good thing – it will show that even among the small minority of conservatives in Hollywood, there is disagreement about this issue, as there was for the national conservative columnists and conservative organizations.
One thing that could happen, though, is if Gibson criticizes President Bush, or his policies, then some of the same conservatives, and others, who have been supporting and liking him could have second thoughts, or may not have as good of an opinion about him as they did before. They shouldn’t think like that, though.

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posted April 13, 2004 at 9:22 pm

If Mel Gibson believes the Bible literally as he says he does then he will surely be giving it all away except what he minmally needs for himself and his family. Jesus said, “It is almost impossible for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. I say it again — it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God!” But then people get squirmish about this one, and they begin to make excuses and new interpretations to fit their needs to keep their money, to thwart any guilt of keeping it, a fact of life in these times.

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