The piece by Peter J. Boyer in last week's New Yorker is the most calm and even-handed I've read about Mel Gibson and his self-described mission from God to make The Passion. Boyer gets good access, talks to lots of Catholics and Jews who argue with Gibson's read of the Bible, and explains the "Traditionalist" Catholicism that inspires Gibson to say that his wife, a Christian he calls a saint, won't enjoy eternal salvation because she's not of the right church.
That is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it.
I only mention any of this because of the L.A. media angle. In the story, Gibson's wife Robyn advises Mel to have his morning coffee before reading a Tim Rutten column in the L.A. Times that disparaged the film. Later, Gibson "was still fuming" and derided the Times as "an anti-Christian publication." He also tossed that bomb at the New York Times, which ran a magazine piece about The Passion and Gibson's beliefs last March 9 by L.A. writer Christopher Noxon. Boyer writes that Noxon was put up to the piece by his father, a homeowner who objected to Gibson building a new church in Agoura Hills.
If you're interested in more, go track down the Sept. 15 issue -- its week on the New Yorker website has passed. For those keeping score at home, yes, Boyer was an LAT staff writer long ago. He's now on the New Yorker staff.