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9:55am — Mel, Mel, Melting Down

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Drudge runs megastar’s apology to Jews … dated tomorrow!

That Matt Drudge is sure is quick on the draw. His big headline at this hour is "Mel Says Sorry to the Jews," a hitherto unpublished, undelivered statement … unaccountably dated "August 2, 2006." Is it from somewhere on the other side of the International Date Line? Australia, perhaps? Is it even real?

This is different, by the way, from the brief statement put out earlier this week by Gibson’s publicity people, in which he apologized for driving drunk and for being belligerent to the arresting officers, but said nothing about his remarks about Jews.  That he addressed in today’s statement,  which you can read for yourself.

(10:40am UPDATE: It must be true … it’s being reported by The Associated Press.)

Meanwhile, you also can read a distinctly contrary view of Gibson from contrarian columnist Christopher Hitchens, in the online magazine Slate, which focuses today on the whole Mel Gibson mess, even including a very specific account of how drunk Gibson actually was when he was stopped by Malibu police last weekend.

While the media world indulges in Mel-Mania (what Middle East war? what turmoil in Iraq?), Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen — who has gotten in a bit of trouble himself lately for calling the creation of Israel in 1948 a "mistake" — has a kind of interesting take (we found it on the RealClearPolitics Web site), tying celebrity troubles with the Mideast War.

It’s called "A Moment Mel Would Understand," in which he says that if the world does not, as Gibson allegedly roared to a Malibu cop, hold Jews "responsible for all the wars in the world," then it seems everyone "is ready to blame Israel alone for the carnage in Lebanon and, in the addled formulation of some, the war in Iraq as well."

And if you haven’t tired yet of reading All Mel, All the Time stories, there’s a strange article titled "`Christ’ director needs forgiveness" in an even stranger place — the Hong Kong Standard, China’s Business Newspaper (posted on Lucianne.com) — that talks about the possible impact of Gibson’s remarks on his financial future.

And finally (but hardly the end of it), there’s a sardonic account in National Review Online of the whole sordid affair titled "The Circus Comes to Malibu: First the humiliation, then the redemption," by a Los Angeles cop who writes under the name Jack Dunphy.

Jim Villanucci, in his talk show Monday afternoon on 770 KKOB, called the Mel Gibson story "Christmas come early" for talk-show hosts. And sure enough a couple of crackpots called to say that maybe Gibson had something there … thoughts that Villanucci appropriately and scornfully dismissed.

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