The War on Mel Gibson

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Over the
last four weeks, I have written a book, The War on Mel Gibson.
I have decided to give it away this weekend, but only this weekend.
I will pull it off the Web on Tuesday. In short, “Download now,
or forever hold your peace.” Until Tuesday, you can download it
here by clicking on the title:

War on Mel Gibson

Save the
book to your hard drive by using the floppy disk icon on Acrobat
Reader. Alternatively, right-click on the link, and click Save
Target As…
Name it: Gibson. (This way is also good if you
have trouble downloading the book: a blank screen.)


I argue
in my book that the media’s war on The Passion of the Christ
has been systematic and increasingly frantic. It is part of the
overall culture war that is being waged by the Left on America
specifically and the West generally. The chief theoretician of
this war was the Italian Communist, Antonio Gramsci, who died
in 1937. I go into this background in my book. Gramsci understood
eighty years ago: Christianity is the enemy of Communist revolution.
He wrote in 1921:

remains to be done? Nothing other than to destroy the present
form of civilization. In this field, ‘to destroy’ does not mean
the same as in the economic field. It does not mean to deprive
humanity of the material products that it needs to subsist and
develop. It means to destroy spiritual hierarchies, prejudices,
idols and ossified traditions.

and libertarians have fought an amazingly successful counter-attack
over the last three decades in the area of economic theory. Socialists
have been routed, both intellectually and politically. The Soviet
Union went belly-up. In the battle of ideas, we have scored victory
after victory.

In the culture
war, however, we have been beaten again and again. On every front,
we are surrounded by the enemy: in literature, television, and
especially the movies.

Now, in
a stunning reversal, Mel Gibson has handed us a victory so overwhelming
that the Establishment media are in shock. They mounted a full-scale
battle against Gibson, beginning almost as soon as he announced
his plan to produce the movie. The Left unloaded on him with everything
it had. The attempt failed. So far, the failure is in the $300
million range, and it is not yet Easter weekend. The movie has
not yet opened in Europe, Latin America, and South Korea.

Like the
guerilla officer he played in The
, Mel Gibson caught the enemy with its collective
pants down — which, for this particular enemy, is a familiar
condition. He did this with the most appropriate weapon at his
or anyone’s disposal: the story of the death and resurrection
of Jesus Christ.

He aimed
his weapon at the belly of the beast. He hit dead center. The
beast hardly knows what hit it, let alone what to do about it.
It is screaming. Gibson is accused of anti-Semitism. His movie
has repeatedly been called pornographic because of its violence.
Mexico’s humanist government has rated the movie X — no children
allowed. There is fear — gut-wrenching fear — in the
Establishment. I say it’s good for them. They deserve it.

Gibson sent
the media into apoplexy as soon as he revealed his plans for The
Passion. Major newspapers began doing hatchet movie reviews
before Gibson even began shooting the picture. Someone stole a
copy of the script and released it to selective reviewers.

pressure was placed on Gibson to change the movie. Right up until
opening day, Hollywood moguls said they would never work with
him again. (They changed their tune when the movie took in $117
million in five days.)

Why? Why
did Hollywood walk away from what instantly became a blockbuster?
For the same reason that the studios continue to lose hundreds
of millions of dollars producing films that attack religion and
morality: its intense hostility to Christianity and the value
system it teaches

The financial
success of the movie has sent them a message: there are millions
of ticket-buying patrons who do not share Hollywood’s values,
and who are willing to put their money where their values are.
So was Gibson. This is the only reason the viewers are in a position
to send Hollywood and the New York Times a message. Gibson
put at risk tens of millions of dollars of his own money to fund
this project. He is now a very rich man. He is going to be much
richer by the time the movie goes to DVD. And then the “annuity”
begins. This movie will be rented for the rest of his life, in
many languages.


We should
recognize The Passion for what it is: an experiment that
has revealed the tip of a very large iceberg of discontent. Hollywood
did not want to acknowledge that this iceberg was there. Prior
to the movie’s release, a supposed expert in Hollywood, one Michael
Levine, told the Washington Times: “This film has all the
makings of a [box office] bomb.” Thank you, Mr. Levine, for your
insight. You opened the window on the inner workings of Hollywood’s
movie-makers. Unlike their forebears in the 1930s and 1940s, they
don’t know what the audience wants.

Mel Gibson’s
victory has sounded an alarm bell: the powers that be can be transformed
into the powers that were. The powers that be have heard the alarm.
The question is: Have their victims also heard it?

The Sanhedrin
had the Romans seal Jesus’ tomb because they knew that Jesus had
prophesied His resurrection in three days. The Sanhedrin feared
that the disciples would steal the body and claim His resurrection.
But they completely misjudged the disciples, who had all fled.
It was the women who discovered the open tomb, not the disciples.
The disciples were the last to know about their deliverance
from bondage. Their rulers saw the great reversal coming before
they did. This has not changed. But it should.

Gibson has
touched a nerve. In full public view, he challenged the cultural
powers that be. He beat them to a pulp in full public view. Whether
he can do it again is now of major concern to Hollywood and the
Establishment media.

The conservative
public was given an opportunity to test its own strength of numbers.
This is the first time in my lifetime that any artistically first-rate
movie has challenged the Establishment’s view of Christianity.
This is the most important counter-offensive that we have seen
in the culture war.

In Europe,
the spiritual erosion process is almost complete. But the inheritor
will not be Communism. Unless there is a great reversal, the inheritor
will be Islam.


My book
was rejected by a major Christian publishing house. The editor
says it is too negative. It is not 50-50 optimism and pessimism,
he said. Quite true; if you want a happy-face book for the culturally
uninformed, this is not the book. It must be rewritten, he said.
Not likely, I said. Hence, this offer. I would rather get the
“original, uncut version” out to the hard corps.

The significance
of Gibson’s effort is that this is the first major cultural watershed:
a counter-offensive to the mass media. This is a war. Christians
who spend their money in Christian book stores (women, ages 45
to 75) have been engaged in this war at the family level, but
not the mass-media level. I was unable to write a happy-face,
“Jesus loves Hollywood, and has a wonderful plan for its life”
book. I had to write the truth.

The truth
of the culture war is that we have been losing it on all sides
in the public arena. There is no way to paint a happy face on
this loss. We must begin where we are: in the corner. The first
step is to understand our enemies and why they have been successful.

I think
there is an army of Christians out there who are sick to death
— no, sick to life — of what this era’s cultural masters have
shoved down their throats. I am convinced that we have seen a
turning point. I wrote my book accordingly. It is no happy face
cheer-me-up. It is a call to a war in which we are in very late

Mel Gibson
has become very rich betting because of the existence of an audience
that was ready to see the truth. I think this is also true of
the Christian book-buying public. But the editor was not persuaded.

the book. Read it. Draw your own conclusion. But I warn you: I
name names, quote verbatim, and take no prisoners. If that’s your
kind of weekend reading, download the book.

Who knows?
Maybe the publisher will reconsider. I can think of some Hollywood
chief executives who would like to reconsider optioning the distribution
rights to The Passion of the Christ. Unlike them, the publisher
still has time.

If, after
reading the book, you think the publisher should reconsider, I
would deeply appreciate it if you would spend 37 cents to send
him a note recommending the book. I provide details on the title
page. You’re not in any way obligated to do this, of course. But
I need a little help from my friends.

if too many of you try to download it at once, the site may go
into overload mode. The book really is there, even if the site
gives you a 404 error message. Try later. Economics defines scarcity
as follows: “At zero price, there is more demand than supply.”
This law applies to bandwidth.]

27, 2004

North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money
. Visit
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