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Nina In New York: Braveheart! Shalom!

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The actor's infamous rants and anti-Semetic slurs turned a lot of people off.

The actor’s infamous rants and anti-Semetic slurs turned a lot of people off.

A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
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By Nina Pajak

Oh, hi Mel Gibson. Or should I say: Shalom!

Remember that time you were a raving anti-Semite, spewing hateful statements about Jewish people during a drunken rampage? I remember that. I don’t think about it a lot or anything, though, so don’t worry. I know you were super sorry you accidentally said stuff out loud which you have probably been thinking for a long, long time but previously knew better than to shout publicly. You told everyone you wanted to heal and you went to rehab and asked for some super rabbi healing power, and then a whole bunch of tapes came out that made you look like a wife-beater and a more generalized, equal-opportunity racist, so the whole story really broadened its scope and snowballed from there. Then I imagine you went and hid somewhere, like wherever celebrities can go and hide, and slowly our wrath and hatred for you died down to strong distaste and we got mad at one of the other racist/homophobic celebrities for a while.

And now you’re back! With a movie about . . . what else? How great the Jews are were. You know, before all that unfortunate Jesus-killing business which you so equanimously portrayed in your movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” And before we became “responsible for all the wars in the world,” as you’d proclaimed back in your above-referenced drunken rampage days.

So this new flick focuses on Judah Maccabbee, who . . . oh . . . fought a war. But, uh, that one doesn’t count, because it was olden times and the battle resulted in the miracle of Hanukkah, which as everyone knows has a lot to do with getting presents. Plus it was a revolution of the people against the Empire (Braveheart, anyone?)! He was a great and respected Jewish warrior, he won religious freedom in the face of persecution, and he also made way for the invention of latkes, so he’s a double hero in my book (I spent much of Hebrew School gossiping in the girls’ bathroom and drawing doodles of stick figure dancers).

Anyhoo, as a Jew, there is nothing I find more heartwarming than seeing a questionably-reformed anti-Semite making a movie about one of our sacred heroes. I expect him to do great things with this. I mean, if you think about it, who better to present a multi-faceted story and character portrait than someone who may or may not hold in disdain all Jewish people and their faith? Oh, and the best part is, he may act in it too. Did somebody say “Oscar?” I can only hope it will be every bit as good as Tom Cruise’s performance as Sigmund Freud, Michael Richards’s turn as Malcolm X, or Tracy Morgan’s cameo in “The L Word.”

I look forward to this trajectory for Gibson. Next up, he’ll have to tackle the roles of César Chávez and Gloria Steinem. Good stuff. Important stuff.

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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