Deo volente.

Rob Reiner is a Jack Ass


Mel Gibson’s apology for making drunken anti-Semitic remarks isn’t enough to redeem him, actor-producer Rob Reiner said. The actor also must acknowledge that “his work reflects anti-Semitism,” particularly the 2004 hit movie “The Passion of the Christ,” Reiner told Associated Press Radio.

Of course it does. Of course it does.

How much of this is jealousy? The Hollywood establishment had a veritable cow when Passion did well, precisely because it was made outside of the usual production path that most movies take. What’s more, it was a huge success even though it is overtly religious. Certainly the teeming masses couldn’t appreciate such … mythology. Now Reiner is criminalizing the work based on the crime of the producer.

“It’s not a matter of just apologizing for some words you’ve said,” said Reiner, who is Jewish. “It’s to really understand why it is you’re anti-Semitic and where those feelings came from. I believe that people can be redeemed and people can change, but that’s going to be a very long process,” he added.

Of course you do. Of course you do.

In the meantime, of course, it is license for the Hollywood establishment to call for retreat to that safe sterility that characterizes the majority of film-making today, but especially those works that revolve around religion.

There are two things that really bother me about this. First is the anti-Christian / ant-religious bias that this shows. Gibson made one of the most successful religious movies of all time in a production climate that is at least anti-religion. Like it or not, he put the subject up as fair game, and in so doing, opened the larger debates on the issue.

Of course, there was also debate about the film. At the time, there was a fair amount of concern about the anti-semitism of the movie. Most of it has been debunked. There is really nothing there to talk about – the movie sticks very closely to the four Gospels, and in a bit of license, associates the “activist”, anti-Jesus Jews with Satan. Meh. A lot worse has been said and done through history, and that particular artistic vision says less about Jews in toto than about the Jews actively seeking the Christ’s destruction. It’s not as if, for example, Satan was barking orders from the Temple – he was active amongst the populace.

Again, meh. Reiner is just using Gibson’s gaffe to attack the work at large. He knows these things. He’s just playing his part. Jack ass.

The bigger issue by far is the one that Ace brought up a few weeks ago:

Does a work stand or fall on its own merits, or is it partially judged according to the character flaws of the man creating it? And, again, if the latter — how much weight do we give to such extratextual considerations? Much weight, enough to condemn the entire work, or very little, deserving only of a brief mention in the introductory materials?

By extension, no work would be worthy of reading, since all authors are flawed and limited by dint of their humanity. If, for example, we require a historian to give the historical truth and all of the historical truth, then we would never read a history book again. You take what you can get from an author, and you take their POV as you need to. All work is autobiographical at some point.

But the work has to stand on its own. Popular writers write popular books that are bad – it happens all the time. If, for cultural reasons, a work is deemed important or popular, then it needs to be judged on its own merits, of which authorship is only one portion. By the same token, untalented hacks create art that receives cultural acceptance only because of personal traits of the author. A lot of people watch Rock Hudson movies because he was gay and nothing else.

What is ugly about Reiner’s argument is that it is an outright attack on a body of work based on the weakest part of the work, namely, the author. Next week, he’ll be claiming that we all need to see some film because the writer was a Buddhist transvestite. Hollywood, then, becomes the central processing office for what we should and shouldn’t see, what is culturally acceptable, what is appropriate, and so on. And Uncle Rob will be there to shepherd us all along on the journey, I’m sure.

So add Reiner to the list of central-planning, authoritarian-loving, socialist hacks who want to play cultural arbiter because they know better than thee. He is, in short, a jack ass. This will probably come as no surprise to most of you, and so you could have saved yourself a few minutes and just gone with the title.

But think of Uncle Meathead the next time you are looking for entertainment and you don’t agree with Hollywood’s leftist politics. Maybe it’s time to ask that they all seek counseling before we can accept any more work.

But dammit all, Spinal Tap is still a really cool movie.


August 28, 2006 - Posted by | Art and Aesthetic, Philosophy - General


  1. Aww, c’mon…see what a great Governor he would have made??

    Comment by Scott | August 28, 2006 | Reply

  2. Still can’t quite bring myself to watch it. Someday. I guess that shouldn’t stop me from forming and spouting an opinion though. Isn’t that what blogs are for? 🙂

    Now I’ll shut up or your site will look like it’s been skinbad bombed. And we all know how painful that can be.

    Comment by skinbad | August 28, 2006 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: