“From a human standpoint, I shouldn’t be here to tell the story. All the glory should go to God. No telling how many times the Lord has spared my life.”
Desmond Doss, 1998
This is interesting. Mel Gibson is directing the film Hacksaw Ridge that is due to be released on November 4, 2016. The movie tells the story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist conscientious objector, who earned a Medal of Honor on Okinawa while serving as a medic with the Army 77th Division. Here is his citation:
He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.
Doss survived the War and passed away on March 23, 2006. Continue reading
Often times Popes are asked questions they would be wiser to decline to answer simply because the answer has nothing to do with the Faith, and their response would be a personal opinion rather than one that pertains to their office. A perfect example is this question and response in the La Vanguardia interview:
All division worries me. There is independence by emancipation and independence by secession. The independences by emancipation, for example, are American, that they were emancipated from the European States. The independences of nations by secession is a dismemberment, sometimes it’s very obvious. Let’s think of the former Yugoslavia. Obviously, there are nations with cultures so different that couldn’t even be stuck together with glue. The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases. Scotland, Padania, Catalunya. There will be cases that will be just and cases that will not be just, but the secession of a nation without an antecedent of mandatory unity, one has to take it with a lot of grains of salt and analyze it case by case. Continue reading
Is it time for Hollywood to stop blacklisting Mel Gibson? Journalist Allison Hope Weiner thinks so:
In the years that followed, Gibson made several comments that went public, made him seem anti-Semitic and racist. They made him persona non grata at major studios and agencies, the same ones that work with others who’ve committed felonies and done things far more serious than Gibson, who essentially used his tongue as a lethal weapon. As a journalist who vilified Gibson in The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly until my coverage allowed me to get to know him, I want to make the case here that it is time for those Hollywood agencies and studios to end their quiet blacklisting of Mel Gibson. Continue reading
Back in 2011 I reported that Mel Gibson was working on a screenplay about the Maccabean revolt. Go here to read the post. I hoped that this movie would help Gibson work out the personal demons that afflict him. Alas, such is not the case. The project has been shelved, and the screenwriter of the play Joe Eszterhas has unloaded on Gibson in a nine page letter that may be read here. (Caution as to strong language.) Mel Gibson is the most prominent Catholic of his generation in Hollywood. His Passion of the Christ is a masterful film that inspired, and inspires, huge numbers of people around the globe. To see him destroy his life and reputation since then has been painful. Gibson needs our prayers and a swift kick in the hind end.
Update I: Hattip to commenter Chris P. Go here to read Gibson’s response to the Eszterhas letter.
Update II: Go here to read Eszterhas’ response to Gibson.
Something for the weekend. The overture from Handel’s Judas Maccabeus. Judas Maccabeus is a musical tribute to the revolt of the Maccabees, 167-160, against the attempts by Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes to forcibly convert the Jews to paganism. The revolt was not simply against the Selucids, but also against a sizable chunk of the population of Judea who were only too happy to embrace the ways of the Greeks. Led by Mattathias, the father of Judas and his brothers, collectively known as the Maccabees, the revolt started in 167 BC when Mattathias, in the village of Modein outside of Jerusalem, cut down an official of the Selucid empire who was attempting to cajole Mattathias, a priest of Yahweh, to offer sacrifice to Zeus. Mattathias and his sons then literally took to the hills, with Mattathias uttering a cry that has rung down the centuries: “Let him who is zealous for the Law, follow me!”
Mattathias, an old man at the start of the revolt, soon died, and leadership descended to his son Judas. Fighting a crafty guerilla campaign, Judas and his brothers, against all the odds, established an independent Jewish state. After the heroic days of the Maccabees, the new Jewish state eventually descended into a fairly squalid series of civil wars, which ultimately led to the Romans under Pompey the Great seizing Jerusalem in 63 BC. The Romans thereafter ruled Judea through puppet rulers. Our Catholic Bibles have First and Second Maccabees which retell the heroic saga of the Maccabean Revolt. This of course brings us to Mel Gibson, who has brought two heroic revolts to the screen and is apparently working on a third. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of news on the net, The Onion. It is only a rumor that the 5 year old screen writer was brought in to do last minute patch ups on the screenplay for Mel Gibson’s beaver opus, The Beaver.
From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion. Wait, no, that’s not right! The above video certainly seems like a creation from the warped minds at the Onion, but even they would have a hard time dreaming this one up: Actor with alcohol, anger and fidelity “issues”, portrays deranged husband and father who gets back in touch with his family by using a beaver hand puppet. It would take a heart of stone not to laugh endlessly at the sheer lunacy of it all. I wouldn’t be surprised if the film makes a huge amount of money, at least from audiences who enjoy truly dark comedy and perhaps from the select few who love the irony of it all.
Mel said that he took an axe to his marriage, so perhaps this is all some bizarre attempt at redemption in the eyes of the public at least, if not in the eyes of his ex-wife and kids. What this film does establish beyond question is that Mel Gibson truly is one strange character. I say this as someone who enjoyed most of his films dating back to his road warrior days, and who defended him on blogs for years, especially against the shameful charge that his masterpiece, The Passion of the Christ, was, in any way, anti-Semitic. Alas, someone can be a fine artist, and still be a man with massive flaws and that is the case with Mel. Through alcohol abuse, adultery, and out of control rants, the actor many Catholics pointed to with pride, revealed himself to have very common Hollywood failings. Continue reading
Last night I was exercising and flipping through the channels and saw Mel Gibson on the Jay Leno Show- very disturbing stuff. He joked about having a lot of off-color jokes, he offered up some profanity to quote some girls he ran into while filming in Boston. To top it off he promised Leno that if and when he decides to get married again he would announce it first on Leno’s show.