Mel Gibson, Hungary, and the Sense of Normal
Welcome to Budapest, Mel. Hungarians are happy to see you.
Good news for Budapest, the new safe haven for Western conservatives: Mel Gibson came to town. Around the end of November, locals were happy to see the famous actor around the city. Everybody knows Mel Gibson, and Hungary is no exception. The movie star was in Hungary’s capital to film the John Wick prequel series, The Continental.
When browsing the U.S. press for recent articles about him, though, I bumped into some very intriguing headlines. “How Does Mel Gibson Still Have a Career?,” Variety asked. “Mel Gibson Is Living Proof That ‘Cancel Culture’ Is Mostly Bullshit,” the Daily Beast concluded.
The militants of cancel culture are always shocked when their methods don’t work. Over the years, so much effort has been wasted on trying to cancel Mel Gibson, but to their horror, people still like him. How dare they?
The thing is, normal people around the globe like good actors and good movies. And by “good” I don’t mean woke, but something that you can actually enjoy. There were times when the main purpose of movies and series was not indoctrination. Now if you watch any random new series or movie on the streaming platforms, you realize that everything is secondary when compared to the big ideological message. And it’s not much fun, really.
In the above-mentioned Variety article, Howard Bragman, longtime Hollywood crisis manager, correctly pointed out that “you have to separate the PC police from the moviegoing public.” He went on to say, “Mel Gibson has not had a career without controversy and through it all, he’s been incredibly resilient. Right, wrong or indifferent, his fans have not left him—and I don’t think they’re going to leave him now.”
Well, of course not! The influence of the political correctness police is limited. It’s very powerful in a certain bubble and can easily break careers and bully people, but its logic doesn’t necessarily reach the moviegoing public. It’s particularly true if we remember that American pop culture is global—the world is full of moviegoers who have seen a dozen Mel Gibson movies but have little idea about the scandals around him. Or they just don’t care, because frankly, why should they?
Reality ultimately wins over fake narratives based on ideology and the desire to manipulate societies. Ironically, those who want to completely change our societies prove themselves wrong by their efforts, because otherwise they wouldn’t have to brainwash us starting from kindergarten. They want us to question everything about our existence, our sex, our identity, our heritage. Apparently, most of us should feel guilty for simply existing.
Hollywood stars are usually painfully boring when it comes to politics. Most of them say the exact same things and it’s usually only their celebrity status that is supposed to make their point worth hearing. There’s an immense peer pressure in the entertainment industry. You can get canceled if you have the “wrong” opinion or if you don’t support the “right” one loud enough.
I called Budapest a safe haven for Western conservatives; but, of course, I know this is not the reason they’re shooting The Continental here, but rather because Hungary is a popular movie location. Nevertheless, if Mel Gibson walks around Budapest, he can experience something that’s natural for the locals but remarkable for many conservative expats: a sense of normal.
From a Hungarian point of view, the absurdity of cancel culture and P.C. terror is easy to understand. We have the Brussels elites, our own P.C. police who are more furious and frustrated every year, because, despite their efforts, Hungary is still a well-functioning country. Viktor Orban won three elections; the economy is doing fine. The so-called Hungarian model has been criticized so much that Brussels people can’t figure out how is it possible that it still works.
Hungary’s government thinks that it makes more sense to support families than to manage demographic problems by allowing mass immigration from different cultures. Not because we hate other people, but because we love our own and because it’s a very simple truth that mass immigration is unsustainable. According to our constitution, “the mother is a woman and the father is a man.” I believe this doesn’t sound controversial to most people.
So, we welcome Mel Gibson to Hungary: neither him, nor our country can be destroyed by the woke elites. But they’re trying hard and we can be fairly sure that they won’t give up anytime soon.
Mariann Őry is head of the foreign desk and senior editor at Hungarian conservative daily Magyar Hírlap.