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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Maureen Dowd, "A Lost Civilization": A Tribute to Mel Gibson

As those who read this blog are well aware, I am crazy about the movies, and I recently began a part-time second career acting in television commercials on my way to Hollywood stardom. My last commercial? Don't ask. I was almost completely edited out, and I challenge anyone, other than those who participated in the filming, to identify me and my role.

But heck, what does any of this have to do with Maureen Dowd's most recent New York Times op-ed entitled "A Lost Civilization" ( Well, Dowd, it turns out, is also a movie fan, and has devoted a portion of this opinion piece to none other than Mel Gibson.

Mel Gibson? Yup. In her op-ed, which is primarily dedicated to gloating over the demise of the Republican Party, Dowd writes:

"Too bad the Republican Party didn’t have my mom to keep it on its toes. Then it might not have gone all Apocalypto on us — becoming the first civilization in modern history to spiral the way of the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans.

. . . .

Someday, it will be the subject of a National Geographic special, or a Mel Gibson movie, where archaeologists piece together who the lost tribe was, where it came from, and what happened to it."

Is that all the evidence I can conjure up to make my case linking the Dowd op-ed to Gibson? Hold your horses, there's more. Intellect that she is, Dowd then states:

"As the historian Will Durant observed, 'A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.'"

Now just by chance, Mel Gibson's 2006 film "Apocalypto" begins with the same Will Durant quote, "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."

Did Dowd not only see Gibson's "Apocalypto," but also read Volume 3 of "The Story of Civilization" by Will and Ariel Durant? I suppose you should ask her, but given that I am a betting man, I know where I would place my money in this regard.

More important, however, I think Dowd would have done well to consider the very next sentence from "The Story of Civilization":

"The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars."

Hmm . . . people, morals, class struggle, failing trade, bureaucratic despotism, stifling taxes, consuming wars. Does this remind you of some place closer to home?

Before gloating over the demise of the Republican Party, I would merely remind Dowd of the teetering fortunes of her own newspaper. My guess is that the Republican Party will still be around decades after The New York Times maneuvers its way into the trash bin of American history.

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