Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Lion

                                  The Witch     and The Warlock

Conan O'Brien, Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen. 
Ann Nathanson/NYTimes, Getty, UStream

by Omar P.L. Moore/        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW
Sunday, March 13, 2011

Conceded: it's grossly unfair to even put Conan O'Brien in this conversation.  He has been guilty only of seeking what's right and equitable for himself in the rigorous, back-biting world of television.  Mr. O'Brien has, for all the humiliations of the last 12-plus months, come out smelling like a thousand roses, his brand and name intact.  His documentary, "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop", is debuting this week at the South By Southwest Film Festival.

End of story.

                                        *                                *                             *

This, however, is where the story begins in the tale of The Witch and The Warlock. 

"Witch" is probably -- not probably, it is -- the wrong term to describe Mel Gibson and his criminal exploits.  Many would use far more choice language for the actor-filmmaker, who appeared in a Los Angeles court last Friday to enter a plea in a misdemeanor spousal battery case: no contest, which has the same legal effect as a guilty plea in California.

A somber, low-key film star sat in the courtroom, grayed, weary, defeated.  In a deep, yet barely audible voice he uttered a few words.  He understood his punishment --  some would call it a wrist-slap -- for his mendacity.  No hand puppets could save him from the adjudication he faced.  Hand puppets were spared harm.  Not a trace of an edge of darkness anywhere to be seen on that Friday.

This is not a laughing sport.  Hand puppets aren't funny.  Nor is domestic violence.   Just ask the millions of women on Super Bowl Sundays (or any other days) about that.  Those past few words stink of self-righteousness, I know -- but are not meant that way.

The survivor was not present in the same courtroom on Friday.  The spectacle did not warrant her presence.  After all, it would have been another case of torment.  She had suffered more seriously last year.  The tapes, the racist and sexist language. 

The violence.

Instead of sixty-hours of community service, would a better punishment see Mr. Gibson having all the abused women of L.A. County take one free swing at him? 

What if the Internet users of the world (or specifically Los Angeles) could vote on Mr. Gibson's (or any other accused person's) fate, instead of the procedurals of the criminal justice system taking hold?

Would ye say "aye" to that?

Meanwhile, The Warlock had wined, dined and snorted his way to infamy.  He had abused.  He was accused: a wife-beater.  He was "guilty".  He's been "contrite" (see the "Piers Morgan Tonight" show.) 

Now the Warlock is a man without children, who were recently removed from his custody.  He does, however, live with somebody's children -- I mean, goddesses -- sorry.

"Winning!" was the cry.

Two million plus followed this winning Warlock in record time online, enabling and emboldening the madness of his ways.  Like the Pied Piper, like Jim Jones, they were led to the edge and over it but all were thankfully left alive to tell the tale.  They drank the Tigerblood, and smartly left the Kool-Aid alone.

What I just wrote in that last paragraph shouldn't be erased wasn't fair.  The comparisons aren't warranted, and I sincerely apologize for them. 

What follows however, is warranted.   

The women who left the Warlock, the women who say they were beaten by him -- none of that mattered to the followers of ye Tigerblood drinker-in-chief.  (Not Tiger Woods's blood, in case you were wondering.)


One troll online (not me) declared: "Losing!  Bad dad!"  And there were these peculiar-looking things -- # -- in front of the exclaimed words. 

What is t##t about????????

Some of those who followed Mr. Sheen on that indispensible seven-letter electronic sounding board were quick to assail Mr. Simpson as this, that and a lot worse than a wife-beater, but somehow lost the syllables of the English language to care to utter that their fearless Warlock leader had reportedly beaten women too.


Only a troll would say that word.  And only one of the trolls of the world would write the words you are reading.

The Warlock's show was gone, and his Korner went on online before he finally pulled the plug on it.  Never mind that the Warlock had made anti-Jewish references to CBS television's "Two And A Half Men" executive producer Chuck Lorre, derisively uttering Mr. Lorre's given first name last month.  And like everything these days it was recorded for eternal posterity. 

That bit of grievous offense to Mr. Lorre was quickly forgotten by the Warlock's electronic war council of millions, even though in the same month of February 2011 a number of those very followers registered their outrage about John Galliano, the British fashion designer whose hatred and anti-Jewish rhetoric -- drunk or not drunk, the behavior is always inexcusable  -- got him fired (as it should have) from Christian Dior.

Of these I write and speak of are private affairs, yes, marked by public vitriol, hate and stupidity. 

We indulge, we follow, we judge instantly -- we all do -- obviously myself included. 

The public expected celebrities to behave as robots.  The Witch defied them.   

The Warlock made everyone forget about robots.  The electronic swoon-throngs and some mainstream media outlets rejoiced in winning, even on an international day when some women (and men) declared the un-following of the Warlock on his instant message headquarters.

Too late for that.   

The show-less Warlock, with his "raven-wise, Gibson-shredding napalm poet(ry)", will tour next month in two U.S. cities.  Mr. Gibson isn't doing any last-laughing these days, but alas, the Warlock's bellows have just begun.

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