During the media frenzy surrounding Mel Gibson’s arrest for drunk driving, some people claimed that his anti-semitic remarks revealed the “true Mel”. The justification for this position was usually the concept of “in vino veritas” which is Latin for “you get a guy drunk and he’ll tell you what he really thinks” or something like that.

But how reliable is this principle? Is alcohol really some kind of truth serum, or are people just assuming those were Gibson’s true feelings because they wanted them to be? My feeling is that most people using “in vino veritas” to criticize Gibson probably wouldn’t think it applied to things they said while drunk. I can’t state that with certainty, but I do believe I have a simple test to determine their commitment to the reliability of alcohol as a truth detector. You just ask the following question:

“So based on the whole in vino veritas thing, wouldn’t the best way for a guy to determine whether a woman wanted to sleep with him be for him to get her drunk?”