Barack Obama

Don't Shut Up, Just Act

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I've never subscribed to the shut-up-and-sing school of thought regarding the political statements of musicians with whose politics (or earnestness) you might disagree. It's a free country, blah blah blah, and sometimes (though just sometimes) political emotion is part of the brew that makes the music compelling. Even with socialist jackholes like Billy Bragg.

But, as regards yesterday's Lincoln Memorial gaguplift-athon, of which Nick Gillespie wrote about below, can we save one word of opprobrium for…the actors? For those of you who didn't watch the HBO telecast, the various predictable musical performers (Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, a very Robert-Blake-in-Lost-Highway-looking Johnny Cougar) were broken up, Oscar-style, with portentious teleprompter speeches from famous actor-types telling us about The Democracy and what the man from Springfield once said about our ever-perfecting union and so on. So, here's the thing, Tom Hanks, and, uh, Jack Black? JACK BLACK??? WHAT THE HELL??? You are actors, remunerated handsomely for the skill of persuasively and artistically reading a line. "Delivering," I think they call it. What you are NOT paid for, and indeed not very talented at, is talking like an earnest, humble, half-stammering fellow patriotic citizen. Deliver the line! British actors understand this. Samuel L. Jackson, alone up there, understood that an actor's voice and enunciation can create special drama of their own, and in fact if Samuel L. Jackson read this blog post out loud it would sound much, much more convincing.

But seriously–Jack Black was talking earnestly about democracy. This Jack Black:

It's going to be a long week.

Also, while certainly inappropriate, and not safe for work, this is the kind of artistic inaugural celebration I prefer:

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  1. I’ve never understood what the big deal is. So, actors are citizens. Musicians are citizens. They tend to be wealthy, and in the public eye, and have an easier time that you or I of getting heard.

    And so what. Their money and their social position buys attention and influence. Before them it was preachers or priests, and doctors and philosophers, and captains of industry. And so what.

    They can talk, and people can choose to listen or not. Is it because they’re liberal? Not for nothing, but many of them are not, but even if they were all liberal…who cares?

    And of course, the Washington video is a classic.

    “He’ll save the children, but not the British Children. He’ll save the children, but not the British Children…..”

  2. I always thought that if you had to have famous people deliver your message to the masses, then you don’t have much of a message.

    Have Tibor Machan or John Stossel or, dare I say, NICK GILLESPIE debate one of these fucktarded retreads, and they’d show themselves to be the principle-lacking ignorate bags of cunt juice that they are.

  3. Jamie Kelly —

    There is that. But what if you get surprised? I wouldn’t want to be the guy who gets publicly pasted by Ashton Kutcher because he super-secretly was a debating genius.

  4. Ashton Kutcher because he super-secretly was a debating genius.

    Don’t put the phrases “Ashton Kutcher” and “debating genius” in a sentence together again. The fucking universe might implode.

  5. That’s a good point, Matt.

    Except for Jackson, the actors didn’t seem to realize that this was a performance.

  6. Fucking British chidlren.

  7. You gonna finish that sentence or what, Warty?

  8. For those of you who didn’t watch the HBO telecast…

    Finance and encourage this idiotic extravaganza? No, thank you.

  9. I remember when Viggo Mortensen was ranting about Bush. While I tended to agree with the underlying sentiment, the thought of an foreign actor lecturing us how to run our own country made me want to vomit.

  10. 6 foot 20 fucking killing for fun

  11. Maybe actors get so much attention because people think they make up the lines they say in the movies. Actually, as we sophisticates know, they are sock puppets.

  12. So Washington was the one that invented cocaine. That explains why his dentures were made of wood, he was grinding his teeth too much.

  13. I remember when Viggo Mortensen was ranting about Bush. While I tended to agree with the underlying sentiment, the thought of an foreign actor lecturing us how to run our own country made me want to vomit.

    Not for nothing, but because of the US’ self-arrogated role in the world, what happens in US politics is *everyone’s business*.

  14. They tend to be wealthy, and in the public eye, and have an easier time that you or I of getting heard.

    That’s galling enough for people like you or I, but imagine how it must grate on those who actually aspire to be influential. People, like, oh say journalists.

  15. jk sez The fucking universe might implode.

    No, no, the universe LOVES irony, that’s why it’s so rich in it.

  16. Strangely enough, Steve Carell said just a few months ago, “I stay clear of declaring my political choices. I feel like my voice is no more valuable, no less valuable than anyone else’s.” (Source: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1816484,00.html. With Ron Paul joke!)

    I guess he changed his mind.

  17. bb sez the thought of an foreign actor lecturing us how to run our own country made me want to vomit.

    Then you must be very thankful not to live in KalEEfornEEya.

  18. Don’t just stare at it, eat it!

  19. I remember when Viggo Mortensen was ranting about Bush. While I tended to agree with the underlying sentiment, the thought of an foreign actor lecturing us how to run our own country made me want to vomit.

    We have no king. We need no King!

  20. While I tended to agree with the underlying sentiment, the thought of an foreign actor lecturing us how to run our own country made me want to vomit.

    Mortensen is American. He was born in NY. Google is your friend.

    We have no king. We need no King!

    You just made me think of this.

  21. Tyler Cowen nailed it when he said:

    Contemporary stars are well-paid but impotent puppets

  22. Mortensen is American. He was born in NY

    He was a year behind me at my high school.

  23. What amuses is the how the “shut up and sing” crowd of conservatives/republicans flips out whenever a liberal celebrity speaks out about something because they’re just a musician or actor or whatever, but they’ll immediately start fawning on any celebrity who sucks up to “the troops” or outs themselves as a republican.

  24. republicans’ hatred of actors talking about politics in public is partison hypocrisy at it’s worst cause (excepting the recent al frankin) they’re the only ones who elect entertainers to public office. yes, it’s annoying that most actors who speak out are mindlessly liberal but what republicans don’t understand is liberals don’t care what actors think anymore then “small town american folk” do. noone voted for obama cause george clooney thinks he’s rad i assure you.

    besides i’ve heard republican actors like clint eastwood or sly stallone talk about why they were going to vote for john mccain and their reasons was just as flimzy as any of the fluff reasons that swooning liberal actors give for liking obama. actors are paid to feel things and speech well, not for their critical thinking skills.

  25. What an idiotic piece of work! (I refer to the video.) Why on Earth would you encourage it?

  26. Huh. Mobile phones have come a long way since Lost Highway.

    From what I remember, Jack Black’s lecture about Abe Lincoln saving a grove of redwoods in Yosemite Valley was a lot better than Drew Carey’s nonsense; although I did like the bit where Carey did a ‘Who’s Line Is It, Anyway?’ and asked if Obama wanted to snort a heap of cocaine. Very well done.

  27. Was this the concert with Renee Fleming?
    I really want to have sex with her.
    She is like the hottest older babe ever.

  28. Metal Messiah,

    Too true. About the only good thing to come out of the awful Big Hollywood blog is oodles of evidence of the shallow, thoughtless airheadedness of conservative actors. It looks like it is a problem of profession rather than ideology.

    Though in fairness, Dems did elect a mediocre former Redskins QB to Congress, Heath Shuler, in 2006. Not sure if it’s worse or better than electing Bunning. However, at least Dems can claim they voted for him purely as a person rather than his performance on the field (unless they were a Cowboys fan).

  29. Gawd, L.A.! Was just there and for the first time ever found it pleasant. Of course I was the guest of the fabulous woman that Doherty snagged as a wife and only attended cool functions that were deeper than the deep end of any pool these days.

    Anyway, let the actors perform without molestation. There seems to be more strikes looming on the horizon and this may give them a reason to reach deep inside and find real pain later. Hell, they’ll likely be more marketable once they have to deny their religion.

  30. “but they’ll immediately start fawning on any celebrity who sucks up to “the troops”

    Yeah, fuck them. How dare anybody praise individuals who go into a war zone to entertain people who risk their lives.

  31. “Too true. About the only good thing to come out of the awful Big Hollywood blog is oodles of evidence of the shallow, thoughtless airheadedness of conservative actors.”

    And the Huffington Post proves what deep thinkers left wing actors are?

  32. B, you shoulda kept reading:

    “It looks like it is a problem of profession rather than ideology.”

    i tend to agree, though there seems to be a congenital humor disconnect with conservatives.

  33. It is impossible to take Jack Black seriously when he is trying to be earnest. I happened to tune in for his bit and it just sounded like he was trying to tell a joke that wasn’t funny.

  34. I really don’t mind at all if actors want to present their views to the public. Reason seems to have no problem with Drew Carey, for example.

    As with all freedom, however, there is a responsibility side as well. Actors who speak out and make total asshats out of themselves (perhaps Jack Black in this case) are risking their public image. Tom Cruise is an example of how an actor can ruin their image by being a bit… crazy. And I’m sure that less people went to see his movies because of it.

    If they make asshats out of themselves and are further appreciated by their audience, that speaks as much about the audience as the speaker. This may be the case with a country music audience that goes wild at the mention of boots up asses, or Obamatrons getting all Hoped up when an absurd comedian hops on the Changewagon.

    Stupidity is not partisan. Stupidity is when partisan people would have you believe otherwise.

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