Mel Gibson's Jesus Christ Pose

The Passion of the Christ Marks the Latest Chapter in the Making of a Hollywood Martyr

In its finished form, The Passion of the Christ may prove to be a spectacularly misjudged tantrum—against Jews, the Vatican, lapsed Catholics, or ancient Romans. It may instigate violence, stir religious awe, or inspire indifference. If it strings up Gibson for the crucifixion of well-founded ridicule, he will only have himself to blame—or thank, for that matter. Like Saint Catherine, Gibson's métier is gluttony for abuse. As a Payback baddie prophesied, "He just wants to get himself beat up, that's all."

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photo: Staci Schwartz
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