Michael Medved has a very clear and very short (so read it all) article in USA Today on the Mel Gibson meltdown in Malibu. I agree with everything he says in it but I think the most important point he makes is this:
The "Mad Mel" Moment might change how we perceive Gibson’s character, but it alters nothing about the images and messages he put on screen in The Passion of the Christ. It’s still the same movie, frame for frame, line for Aramaic-and-Latin line. The millions of people who felt inspired and uplifted by a remarkable piece of cinema need not feel guilty because its creator insults a cop with ancient hatreds. In the same sense, moviegoers who are moved by the upcoming World Trade Center, with its stirring (and apolitical) story of heroes of 9/11, shouldn’t question their reaction because of past outrageous, America-bashing off-screen statements (and drug busts) involving its director, Oliver Stone.
I would only add that this all points to an irritating and counterproductive intellectual development in our culture. Why is it that we’re always looking for deep-seated psychological explanations for people’s behavior? Worse, why do we assume that once we have pegged down a person’s psychological profile (nevermind the question of whether we’re qualified or justified in doing that), we can view everything that person does through the prism of the profile? Gibson behaved very, very badly. He will be judged accordingly and he so he should. He did some very stupid things and said some hateful and outrageous things. Clearly, the dude has issues.
But don’t we all have issues?
If everything that everyone does must be viewed through the prism of their "issues" is rational conversation or dialogue even possible? Must every author be deconstructed and every artist given an enema before we can look at his work?
Is it possible that a person’s deep-seated hatreds or nuttiness could have some impact on his work? Sure. If it does, by all means we should point that out. But it is also (thank God!) possible to overcome one’s passions and prejudices and reach for truth in one’s work and art.
And that’s why I prefer "hypocrisy" to being "true to oneself." At least the hypocrite reaches for a higher standard.