And Why Mel Gibson Really Needs To Read To Kill A Mockingbird

Sometimes Good Enough Mother has to shake her head at the irony.

This time it comes courtesy of Mel Gibson’s profane, racist rant at Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his baby. But the truly head shaking part is that it comes at the same time that one of the great works of literature turns 50 years old.

We all remember the Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill A Mockingbird from English class. Written by Harper Lee, it addressed topics that this nation was struggling to come to grips with. It was nearly impossible to read the book and not be transformed by it as Lee’s classic shone a light so bright and piercing into our national psyche. It made us examine how we felt about race and class and made us think about how we treated people who were different from us.

Too bad Mel Gibson didn’t have a copy on his nightstand because maybe he would have done some thinking before he launched into that profanity-laced tirade that was leaked last week. If you have not heard it, here it is but I must warn you, it’s tough to listen to.


Clearly the wheels are coming completely off for Mel Gibson.  He is an accomplished actor and director but his personal life is a hot mess. Married for 28 years to his wife Robyn, they separated and he began dating Grigorieva. They now have an 8-month-old daughter. Gibson is currently being investigated for domestic violence against Grigorieva, who says he knocked two of her teeth out during a fight. Prior to that he was arrested for driving under the influence and he has a history of making anti-gay and anti-Semitic remarks. And it doesn’t end there. Gibson was also caught on tape calling a Latino employee a racial slur. Nice Mel, equal opportunity hater.

In the past, Gibson has blamed his loose lips on his well-documented troubles with alcohol. In other words, he’s really a swell guy, until he drinks and then the clutch is released from his tongue and he goes off half-cocked.

Does anybody REALLY believe that? Because I sure don’t. Not for a minute do I believe alcohol CHANGES what you believe as much as it makes it hard to keep up the façade. I think his actions, whether alcohol related or not, have allowed us a peek into his soul and it is not pretty.

Scout learned, when she and Jem were called “n” lovers because of their father’s defense of Tom Robinson, that words hurt. It pains me, as an African American woman and the mother of two to hear things like the Gibson tape. This is 2010 and we have a Black president for crying out loud. I am not naive enough to think that all racism ended in the 60’s or never made it north of the Mason Dixon line. But when it escapes from the lips of someone so prominent it underscores to me we still have a way to go.

What did you think when you heard the Gibson tape? Will you ever see any more of his movies? And is it possible for him to right the damage he’s done…?