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Personal Responsibility

Alright. So... all this going on in the news about Mel Gibson. I'm listening to Ron and Fez and they've got a lot of callers who don't seem to understand the whole deal with personal responsibility. There are a lot of people who seem to think that if you're drunk or you're an alcoholic, you are not responsible for your actions or what you say. Alcholism is a "disease" and you can't be held responsible for what you do if you're an alcholic. So if you have a self-created condition where you injest so much of a substance that is NOT addictive that you become addicted to it you are absolved of any blame for any of your actions.

This is what I'm hearing from people who are in the "alcoholism is a disease" front. That poor jew-hating, drunk-driving, rich as hell, privaledged white movie star, Mel Gibson shouldn't be held responsible for the anti-semitic remarks, beligerent behavior, resisting arrest, and inappropriate comments toward a female police officer... because he's an alcoholic and that's a disease. I wonder how this would play out if it was Louis Farrakhan drunk driving and screaming about Jews starting wars.

Wait.. we all know Farrakhan hates jews. That's not a good example. Uhm... Okay.. Martin Lawrence. Or... Chris Tucker.

Basically, anyone who isn't a rich white guy who as in one of the most popular film series ever.

Anyway, is it really any shock that Gibson talked a lot of shit about the Jews? I think it was pretty *known* at this point his feelings on the issue. He just finally said it instead of tip-toeing around it. Personally, I'm a lot more comfortable with American South "I'm just gonna tell you I hate you" racism than American North "I'm going to pretend we're equal to your face but still treat you like a beast behind your back" racism.

So - anyway. Some people have brought up Andrea Yates. The woman who killed all her children and was recently deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. She had long standing emotional/mental issues. She'd been on medication on and off for years and had been hospitalized multiple times. She suffered *intense* post-partum depression after every child she had and was hospitalized nearly every time. Every time her doctors urged her and her husband not to have any more children. However, her husband, the "competent and responsible" one in the relationship wanted a big family. So they kept having children. She kept having psychotic episodes and landing in institutions. So, like many many people who are bi-polar, she decided "hey, I feel fine. I don't need these meds anymore. I feel really sane and level. I'm fixed!" and stopped taking her meds. Which lead to a psychotic episode during which she drowned all her children one by one.

Apparently this woman is THE PERFECT COUNTERPOINT to Mel Gibson according to these "alcohol is a disease, he's not responsible" asswhipes. A woman with a long-standing history of psychotic behavior not being properly looked after by the responsible party somehow equals completely not crazy, simply drunk, supposedly competent to take care of himself dude choosing to get tanked and take a drive.


personal responsibility, I understand is a touchy subject. Becuase no one wants to have any. We like having people to blame, that's totaly understandable and human and one of those weird flaws we have. But you have to stop and look at the difference between what you want to be true, and what is actually true. And recovering alcoholics probably need that more than anyone.

Which is why I think Mel should just have a press conference and ADMIT publicly that he hates Jews becuase his dad taught him to and he hasn't had his mind changed through life. Confession is good for the hard-line catholic soul. Hell he can do the press conference in Latin if that would make it better. But tht might screw with his Catholic guilt. And as Bill Donahue says... guilt is good.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2006 05:57 pm (UTC)
Alcoholism isn't a disease. It's a lovely, fun habit that brings out the best/worst in people.

If anything it makes you ultra honest, and all courts should force defendants to get drunk then just ramble on. They could have peanuts and kebabs too mmm.
Aug. 2nd, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
Alcoholism has been shown to be genetic, and thus a disease (not solely brought about by excess), but that means that those predisposed must be even more careful and responsible then their less-susceptible comrades.

I don't find insanity to be a good defence, either. If you did something once while crazy, what's to stop you from doing it again if you aren't incarcerated or executed?
Aug. 3rd, 2006 02:11 pm (UTC)
Typically people who are deemed unfit to stand trial due to insanity are incarcertated in instituions for as long if not longer than they would be if they stood trial and were sent to actual prison. Andrea Yates at the time she committed the crime was not deemed fit to even be her own legal guardian... even while on her meds.

There is a genetic PRE DISPOSITION to alcoholism present in SOME alcoholics. Not all. It's not like... you get the gene, you are an alcoholic. And drinking to excess for long periods of time due to an "addictive personality" (people who usually do more than one thing to extreme excess) will result in the physical condition of being an alcholic, regardless of there being a genetic pre-disposition or a history of alcoholism in the family.

Saying "alcoholism is a disease" is like saying "my tendency toward language arts is a disease" if you're taking the genetic route. It's a pre-disposition based on genetic factors. It is NOT like having blue eyes or detached earlobes or a curved thumb or color blindness, etc. where you have the gene therefore you have the result.

If you're taking the purely behavioral "I have now become addicted" route, without leaning on the genetics of the thing, It goes into the same class of "disease" as eating disorders.

Aug. 2nd, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
Even accepting that alcoholism is a disease, that doesn't mean one is just excused from such behaviour. If you've got diabetes, you watch what you eat. If you're going through chemotherapy, you take antibiotics and stay away from sick people.

If you're an alcoholic, you would hopefully know not to drink.
Aug. 3rd, 2006 09:59 am (UTC)
I think that calling something a disease in no way defines what level of personal responsibility one takes for it. Pathology does not imply anything except for pathology. Here we have a man who has at least two diseases relevent to this case. Alcoholism and bigotry. I don't necessary fault someone for things that they say when they're experiencing alcohol wothdrawal induced psychosis, but I feel perfectly fine strapping assholes to their hospital beds and telling them to fuck off when they're being drunk bigots. (Incidentally, I've strapped people experiencing psychosis to their beds too, but felt differently about it).

Drunk isn't psycho, it's drunk... Withdrawal is pretty psycho, but they got themselves to that point so they need to take responsibility afterwards anyway (a big step out of the 12 -- number 3, I think?)

Yates won't have it easy anyway. What's the difference between psych lock-up and lock-up lock-up? It's all about what we have to say about it. Fuck what we have to say about it. It's about treatment, it ain't about philosophy... That's the kinda shit bigots care about!

How do we treat Gibson? Shun him. Doesn't matter what we think, it's what we do. Drunk antisemites have proven to be very effective in creating mayhem and they need to be pooped on.

I'd proofread this better, but I have a paper to write.

I just wanted to say that I agree and stuff.

Hope all is well Holly!

Aug. 3rd, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
See, exactly. He's an alcoholic. Which means he has a physical addiction (doesn't matter if that's from a genetic pre-disposition or through his own excessive behavior) to alcohol.

Are crack heads excused from their behavior because they're crack heads? Speed freaks... is it just a "disease" that they should be supported through and their behavior completely excused? No.

We've got some kind of wacky ass thing where one type of addiction is a disease to be understood, taken into account, and treated with kid-gloves while any other is a disgusting personality flaw that makes you less than exactly human.

This wasn't Mel in the middle of the DT's... which I actually think would give him a lot more leeway as far as whatever he was spewing. This was a well off rich guy getting caught doing something that would hurt his career and letting his true "I own malibu, I'll have your jobs" colors show.

Aug. 3rd, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC)
nope. - and I'm getting pretty sick of speedfreaks and crackheads sucking on the asshole of society as well (my tax money) -- sorry to sound insensitive, but once you've gotten yourself to a certain point, you've gotten beyond what others pushed you into and you've become an ADULT

yeah - it definitely wasn't DT's -- people say some shit that has nothing to do with them when they're in DT's (much like a bad acid trip), but being drunk is a whole different enchilada -- not quite honesty in the cognitive sense, but the emotional portion is real
Aug. 3rd, 2006 10:00 am (UTC)
oh, and sorry about the spelling -- I'm also drunk -- it facilitates good papers (I use spellcheck for those)
Aug. 15th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
I think everyone is missing the point: Tom Cruise and Scientology can cure both of them!!!

In all seriousness I pretty much concur with what you wrote. I also think who cares if he hates jews? Most of America hates Muslims...
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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