One of the benefits of avoiding televised “news” programming is that I am no longer aware of every move that famous people make. Of course I’d argue that such stories aren’t actually “news”, but that’s another can of worms. Apparently one of those big news stories of the last few months was a roiling feud between Joe Eszterhas and Mel Gibson.
Stupid Mel. Feud all you want with singers and cops and housekeepers. Never feud with a writer; a handsome man’s recourse is to smile and glow invitingly but a writer’s first instinct is to tell a story. Eszterhas is a master storyteller and what else was he going to do but put all of this in a book?
Specifically, it’s now a Kindle Short–one of those beasts that’s shorter than an actual book but longer than an intense magazine article. It opens with a long section about Joe Eszterhas’ testimony about his conversion to born-again (his term) Catholicism. That ended up being my favourite part of the story; from there in veered into the same old Celebferatu story line familiar to anyone who’s read Mommy Dearest, My Mother’s Keeper or any of the other books cut from that same mold. One minute you’re enjoying a sunny holiday, the next minute there’s a psychotic meltdown and you’re hiding from the wire hangers or the flying cold meats or–in this case–a crashing totem pole over by the pool table.
We all know that these famous people who grow rich off their narcissism can be cuckoo-bananas. That’s not so newsy. What grabbed me about this particular telling of the tale was how much a part of it is played by both men’s devout Catholicism. More than half a dozen priests enter and exit the story, one of whom blesses Eszterhas’ holy medal and another of whom has a reported banter with Gibson about the woman they’d both like to unlawfully carnally know.
Several times during the reading I found myself saying prayers for both author and movie star. Gibson believes he’s being tormented by Satan; I’ve believed that he would be from the minute I heard about him making The Passion of the Christ. I believe Satan is real because I’ve seen the evidence. (It’s all over those news programs I now avoid…) I believe Satan torments followers of Christ because I’ve felt the evidence. According to Eszterhas Gibson routinely prays the prayer of exorcism for himself as part of his daily meditation. The saddest part of the story I read last night was that Gibson is clearly struggling between temptation and torment. Either way, he is living with Satan as his constant companion. Satan hates it when Jesus is glorified, so of course he’s going to go after someone who so publicly glorified Jesus. It must be nice for the lightbearer that Mel Gibson is such easy pickings. Nicer still that by target Jews Gibson has squared off against God directly.
I’m not so worried about Christ or Christianity. Both have had to suffer far worse fates than two egotistical Hollywood men feuding over scripts and screeds. But I do worry about those two men who are my brethren in faith. I worry that in this world where Satan doesn’t get enough credit they’re both sitting in the crosshairs.