Hannukah, as Understood by Mel Gibson

By Jeffrey Goldberg

There is no further word about Mel Gibson's plan to make a biopic about Judah Maccabee (come to think of it, there has been no further word about Goldblog's forthcoming biography of Judah Maccabee, either). For those of you who missed this the first time around, I spent some time with Mel Gibson (at the behest of Christopher Hitchens, actually -- you can read why here) talking about his fascination with Judah Maccabee:

His interest stemmed, he said, from the simple fact that the Book of Maccabees (I and II, he said) are "ripping good reads."

"I just read it when I was teenager, and it's amazing. It's almost like" -- here, he grabbed my digital recorder, held it to his mouth, and spoke in a portentous movie-announcer voice -- "They profaned his Temple. They killed his father. They... all kinds of stuff. In the face of great odds for something he believed in" -- here he switched out of movie-announcer voice -- "Oh, my God, the odds they faced. The armies they faced had elephants! How cinematic is this! Even Judah's dad -- what's his name? Mattathias? -- you kind of get this guy who more or less is trying to avoid the whole thing, but he just gets to a place where had enough, and he just snapped!"

This is one interpretation of Hannukah, of course. A little too frenetic and nutty for me, but serviceable. What Gibson didn't mention was the doughnuts. The doughnuts are very important. I'm off to find the doughnuts. I'll be skipping the Lubavitcher lighting of the world's crassest menorah outside the White House. Getting the doughnuts seems more important. See you tomorrow.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/hannukah-as-understood-by-mel-gibson/250304/