Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! The value of art: Claude Lanzmann may be pompous and insufferable. But he also made Shoah, so nothing else really matters. The Nation | 31 min (7,717 words) All the President’s drones: Looking at Obama’s favorite military tactic through the prism of Just War Theory. Boston Review | 19 min (4,853 words) Joe Eszterhas went to work for Mel Gibson, hoping to making a movie.
Two Thumbs Up
May 18, 2012
On the morning of June 2, 1929, a detachment of federales gunned down a middle-aged former army general outside a hacienda chapel in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Enrique Gorostieta was the commander of a Catholic peasant militia known as the Cristeros, which had been fighting the government of President Plutarco Calles for three years. In 1926, the fiercely anti-clerical Calles had moved to curtail the Catholic Church’s activities in Mexico, demanding the registration of the clergy and stripping the Church of the right to own property.
John Derbyshire Crashes and Burns
April 09, 2012
[Guest Post by Isaac Chotiner] When Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was released eight years ago, a vigorous debate ensued in newspapers and magazines over whether the film was anti-Semitic. A couple years later, an intoxicated Gibson was pulled over by the police, and took the opportunity to go on an anti-Semitic rant. I remember thinking that those who defended Gibson's movie must be strong believers in coincidence.
David Thomson on Films: ‘The Beaver’
May 10, 2011
There are things wrong with The Beaver, starting with the gamble of giving that title to a Mel Gibson picture in the moment of his lowest public esteem. The considerable courage in making his character a profound depressive is not adequately explained—in life, depressives are often suffering because they don’t understand their problem, but, in drama, it’s hard to offer just a numb stare to such questions. We expect explanation, where depression sees only chaos. In addition, as this story trails away it tries to slip a facile feel-good disguise over its persuasive claim that life is shit.
Review: Obama on ‘The View’
July 29, 2010
Say this for the president: He knows how to charm the ladies. Obama’s sit down on “The View” this morning seemed to go about as smoothly as one could hope. POTUS stayed cool, confident, and charming as he answered questions ranging from “Why don’t we get out of Afghanistan?” to “Where is your message machine to combat the right’s?” to “Were you invited to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding?” (No. He was not.) His one clear moment of not knowing how to respond was when Joy Behar asked if Mel Gibson needed rage therapy.
Say It Ain't So, Mel Gibson
July 01, 2010
Who could have guessed that an ultra right-wing, mysoginistic anti-Semite would also turn out to be a racist? In one of the most explosive, racist and vile outbursts by a celebrity ever caught on tape, Mel Gibson told the mother of his love child that the way she was dressed would get her "raped by a pack of n***ers," RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.
The Forest and the Trees
September 29, 2009
Understanding the construct we call Nature.
That Mel Is So Romantic
August 12, 2009
Maybe I've been oversensitized to Mel Gibson's misogynistic tendencies and general obsession with torture, but I find something troubling about the fact that the jaw-droppingly bad music video he directed for his girlfriend features her fictional lover hurling knives, circus-style, at the scantily clad singer (including a particularly nice shot at her eyeball). I wonder if Mel's pet name for his new baby mama is Sugar Tits. --Michelle Cottle
The Usual Suspect
October 08, 2007
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 484 pp., $26) In October 2002, Osama bin Laden issued a statement in which he analyzed America's inexhaustible number of sins and prescribed ways of repenting for many of them. The statement was, by the standards of bin Laden's cave encyclicals, unusually coherent.