(l-r : persecuted Jew, guy with box office clout)

Actor/director Mel Gibson is “a born and raised anti-Semite” argues the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick, “What am I supposed to do, look past it, get over it? Enjoy his movies, anyway?” Only if they’re as much fun as “Payback”, Phil.

As TV commercials for Gibson’s new movie appear, and earlier this month, when Gibson appeared on NBC as a presenter of a Golden Globes award ” host Ricky Gervais only poked fun at Gibson’s fondness for excessive drinking; Gibson’s anti-Semitism was politely indulged by all.

It got me to thinking about what it would have taken for Gibson to have genuinely suffered the slings, arrows and fortunes of race and/or religion-based hatred.

No wishful thinking here. Just the honest application of what you and I know about TV and modern American life.

Do you think that if Gibson’s father proclaimed South African apartheid and/or American slavery to be exaggerated ” no big deals ” and if Gibson then delivered a drunken, hate-filled spew about African-Americans, he’d have been invited, two weeks ago, to the podium at the Golden Globes?

If Gibson swapped Jews for blacks, do you suppose that TV networks would have accepted advertising for a new movie starring Mel Gibson?

It’s a legit enough question, though surely there are enough real life examples that Mushnick could’ve cited to disprove his own point. Drunkenly calling Ray Charles “a blind, ignorant nigger” wasn’t enough to keep Elvis Costello — one of the more critically feted musicians of the past half century — out of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.  Nor was Michael Richards dropping N-bombs in a semi-crowded theatre the sort of thing that precluded his participation in this past season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (with Richards playing himself and the show’s writers openly mocking said incident).  One outburst may or may not be enough to sink a career — it all depends on the degree of contrition (Costello) or earning power (Gibson).  But one thing is for certain ; whenever a public figure faces censure for racism towards black people, you can count on Phil Mushnick to suggest there’s some kind of crummy double-standard at work. We know plenty about Mel Gibson’s upbringing — what was up with Phil’s?