After the insane fallout and the highly polarized sides to the Mel Gibson debacle, any amount of amusement from me is gone. Instead, I’m depressed as everyone involved has come out looking a little worse for wear.
I have not seen Gibson’s film “Apocalypto” because by all accounts it was too violent for my tastes. When my roommate told me several heads roll down temple steps and a jaguar gnaws on someone’s head, I said no thanks. He did tell me that the storytelling was very compelling and the cinematography was great, though. I also know that Mayan culture wasn’t all violence and religious sacrifices.
So could his film be racist in its depiction of Mayans? Possibly, and in my opinion, probably, although I doubt he would consciously do so. But then again, it is a movie based on historical fact and as we should all know, filmmakers take liberties to make stories more exciting, compelling and to sell them better. No one should be looking at a Hollywood film and taking its content as fact.
While I agree that sources should be questioned and examined, especially in such a volatile depiction of a group of people, the event was originally intended as a showing and Q’A session for CTVA students about film-making. If that’s the case, the main point of the event wasn’t to question the content of the film, but rather to educate students on the methods used to shoot the film. So while the questioning of research is valid, I don’t think an event on the facets of filmmaking, not film content, is necessarily the best place to raise these concerns.
Mr. Gibson made the mistake of losing his cool and dropping the f-bomb. Honestly, had he not cursed, I doubt this would be such a big deal. We wouldn’t still be talking about it, and he would have come out of this situation looking quite good. “Gibson Keeps His Cool Under Criticism!” is not going to make any headlines. But he did curse, again sullying his reputation with slips of the tongue, whether he meant what he said or not.
Something to note that wasn’t reported that Gibson apparently apologized to the audience for his outburst and continued the Q’A session. I would expect someone of his fame to leave after such a fiasco. He also asked for her microphone to be turned on again after security turned it off and asked the crowd to quiet down so he could hear her comments. While this in no way justifies swearing at a faculty member, it does show that the entire event wasn’t him on a tirade.
And then the audience members who shouted “This is America, speak English” are not doing CSUN any image favors. While, yes, the common and civic language of the United States is English, a diverse campus like CSUN is no stranger to the Spanish language. We even have a Spanish language newspaper and at least one journalism class I know of conducted solely in Spanish.
It’s just very depressing that instead of an education experience for students, the night became part of the growing media circus.