Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Gibson, Robert DeNiro

Ben Hider/Getty Images; Michael Kovac/FilmMagic; Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

Hey AB, what do you think about Whoopi defending Mel? He must have been a really good friend to her at some point to deserve that.
—Jacquie S., via Facebook

Well, that's one very altruistic way of looking at it.

Or there's a more cynical approach to analyzing Whoopi's oh-so-certain assessment of her buddy. (And she's not alone by the way. Other celebrities, including Robert De Niro and Craig Robinson, have weighed in with generally supportive messages for Gibson. We may see Gibson's rant as a threat, or offensive, or even as evidence of domestic violence. But we'd be wrong, see. Per Gibson's Hollywood defenders, Gibson simply made an "unfortunate" "mistake.") So why on earth would Goldberg think we'd buy her insistence that Mel "isn't a racist"? Well, here we go with the more cynical assessment...

...starting with a recap of some of the celebrity defenders.

Goldberg: "I know Mel, and I know he's not a racist. I have had a long friendship with Mel. You can say he's being a bonehead, but I can't sit and say that he's a racist having spent time with him in my house with my kids."

Robinson: "He's a human being, we all make mistakes."

Jamie Foxx: "I made mistakes, too, not quite like that...hopefully he'll get some help."

Robert De Niro: "'I hope he gets through all this. It's unfortunate, you know."

Now, the analysis, with some help from a real psychologist who deals with real celebrities and their really insanely huge heads.

According to celeb psychotherapist Dr. Gilda Carle (who has not treated these stars, btw), Whoopi Goldberg's defense of Mel Gibson has very little to do with Gibson—and his laudable decision to avoid bigoted diatribes around her kids—and everything to do with Goldberg. And Hollywood culture.

The thought process can be broken into two parts: self-preservation and self-delusion, Carle explains.

First, the self-preservation.

"The thought process is all about, ‘Today it's him, tomorrow it may be me, so let's wait and see and whitewash it in the meantime.'" Carle tells me. In other words, sure, Mel is a total freak, but I may need that freak or his money one day, so, guess what, everyone? Mel Gibson is so not a freak, because Whoopi says so, that's why.

As for the delusional part, here we go:

"In defending her friend, Whoopi is showing she doesn't want to see the reality" about her own wisdom, Carle explains. "If she sees Mel's behavior for what it is, then she has to question her own judgment in letting people into her world. This is not about Mel Gibson anymore. It's about the lenses through which the defenders see."

And those lenses cannot be troubled with notions of flawed thinking. This is, after all, Hollywood, and Hollywood-size egos we're talking about.


Photos: Mel Gibson's Crazy Faces

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