Statement from Edward Champion

There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-New York Times remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone at the NYTBR for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to Sam Tanenhaus last night. I had intended to call him “sugar tits,” but instead called him “sugar daddy.” I know very well that Mr. Tanenhaus is not in the position of employing me as his catamite, much less a book reviewer at large.

I am a public person, and when I say something, either half-articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment where the twelve shadows of Neptune tango with the coarse stupidity coruscating in my head, my words carry little weight in a public arena, even one as pedantic as this blog. Nevertheless, I must assume that personal responsibility for my words and learn that there is a fundamental difference between “tits” and “daddy.” In fact, under most circumstances, I prefer the former. I also apologize directly to those who have daddies with tits, or tits with daddies. But I think we can all agree that, drunk or sober, I was very clear on the “sugar” front. So we’re 1 for 2 here and I think we can all agree that the glass is half-full, not half-empty.

The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise avarice and self-absorption as a way of life. Every blogger is a first-rate solipsist and, of course, I am no exception. I am one of those atheist heathens who is likely causing the nation great harm. Certainly, such a notion is incompatible with the New York Times. But please know that from my heart that I am not anti-New York Times. I am not a New York Times contributor. I only kissed Maureen Dowd once and we settled this dispute out of court.

I’m not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the New York Times community. I want to bake them bread. I want to bake them brownies. I want to hug them and I want them to let me suck on their earlobes with an ardor I cannot seem to find in San Francisco. I want to have a one-on-one discussion with the sugar daddy himself and then show him what I can do with sugar. It wouldn’t involve sex or money, but if you need me to suck any cocks, I’m game. I know I said that my life was fucked. But perhaps in fucking someone, I might be able to show you how much I care.

I have begun an ongoing program of recovery and I have been urged not to look at the New York Times for the next six months. Sam Tanenhaus gets a free pass from me. So the specialists say.

This is not about a blog. This is about real life and recognizing that taping up multiple photographs of Sam Tanenhaus on my wall and staring at his beard and glasses, and sometimes doing this while standing naked against the dying sun, is probably not very healthy behavior. It’s about existing in harmony and knowing that the newspapers, and the people who run them, aren’t going to get you.

Mel Gibson

There is little to be said about Mel Gibson that hasn’t been said already. But I have to ask why Gibson’s anti-Semitic remarks, which shouldn’t have shocked or surprised anyone, have even the Hitch contributing a rant. Anybody who has been following Gibson’s paranoid answers to interview questions, the demented one-frame cameo appearance in the Apocalypto trailer, and his insistence that Jews be maligned (without the consolation of subtitles) in The Passion of the Christ should know by now that Mel Gibson is as feral and unstable as Martin Riggs. His comments were depraved, hateful and clearly the heartfelt vitriol of a kook caught drunk. But why do the words of a Hollywood superstar dwarf the hatred spewing in Israel and Lebanon? Why the outpour from Gibson fans and blogs and cultural commentators? There’s a bloody war going on right now. Could the Western world be so hopelessly swirling within the seductive spiral of celebrity that it is only capable of understanding anti-Semitism and hatred through the likes of Mel Gibson? Is that how low the bar is now set?

I won’t abjure myself of cultural navelgazing. I’ve been just as guilty too, but let’s put this into perspective. 37 children died because of an air strike on Lebanon within hours of Gibson’s arrest. Do you mean to tell me that it takes a Mel Gibson arrest to get people aware of hatred these days? Has our culture become so depraved that gossip means more than the lives of children? Have we reached the point where we have merely a refractory Hollywood context for the way we perceive the world?

The big issues now making the rounds: What does this mean for Gibson’s career? How will Apocalypto make money?

I’d like to put forth some more profound questions to think about.

Is it possible to reconcile Israel and Palestine, much less Israel and Hezbollah? Why are the United States and the United Kingdom the only nations championing Israel? Will Iran get involved? Will this mean more American involvement? More lives lost? More hatred unfurled?

All of these are difficult questions to answer. They’re neither as easy nor as satisfying as pointing to Mel Gibson and saying, “There is a man who, in his own words, fucked up. There is a man who has problems.” But perhaps we should be pointing the fingers at ourselves instead. Here is a nation that has perception issues. Here is a nation that has fucked up.