March 06, 2006

Monday Bits

In what can only be described as a bit of divine intervention, our power went out last night during the Oscars, and so I was spared George Clooney's "Neener, neener neener" self-congratulatory "we're so cool and brave and daring" speech.

George? I will concede that you look nice in a tux, but that's it. If you want to do something daring, how about you adapt The Satanic Verses into a screenplay and star in it? Now THAT would be daring. Texaco isn't likely to issue a fatwa against you over Syriana, but I'm thinking some mullahs won't be quite so circumspect if you get wacky with the prophet.

Speaking of, I've been following the "student tries to run over people at Chapel Hill to protest treatment of muslims story," and I have to admit I'm surprised. Surprised that students aren't shying away from denouncing this guy, surprised that the campus is not yet awash in counselors and "vigils for understanding," and mostly surprised that the student rag ran its own controversial Muhammed cartoon. Of course, these are the students. The profs and administrators are behaving much more predictably, calling for students to remain calm, avoid retaliation, etc., etc.

Yes, we must stop the bloody campus anti-muslim pogroms now! What? There haven't been any? What. A. Shock.

Sigh. I'd ask why academic types seem so bound to assume that non-muslim students are always ready to riot at the drop of a hat when there's no evidence for it, but at this point exploring the default manichaeanism of their thought processes is useless.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at March 6, 2006 01:45 PM

I don't think Clooney was implying that Hollywood is daring, but rather that they're progressive and I think he made a convincing case.

Posted by: CM at March 7, 2006 11:31 AM

How about Hollywood just sticks to trying to entertain us, rather than trying to be progressive, provocative, or socially aware? The clips of classic Hollywood films which were shown during the ceremony did nothing more than demonstrate the juxtaposition of excellent past work and the current drivel Hollywood churns out.

Posted by: Monty at March 7, 2006 03:23 PM

You're free to make films of your own that are just entertainment. Plenty of filmmakers do. It takes talent to make a film that's both socially conscious and entertaining. Quite a few films have become classics because they've found a balance between the two.
The clips they showed were from a variety of movies, some of which were crappy. They were also cherry-picked.
I don't understand why you think filmmakers should go out of their way to avoid making socially conscious films.

Posted by: CM at March 7, 2006 11:17 PM

If they're going out of their when they are avoiding making socially conscious films, then why is it remarkable when they do make socially conscious films? It's not like any actors or directors are being jailed for their beliefs.

Posted by: Laura at March 8, 2006 08:15 AM

Being jailed isn't the reference point for whether someone is making a sacrifice. Edward R. Murrow was never jailed, but he and his colleagues did risk their careers and reputations.
Not every socially conscious film is remarkable in any case. The remarkable ones are the ones that are really good films or far ahead of their time.

Posted by: CM at March 8, 2006 10:15 AM


Hollywood makes their "message" films as penance to make up for the crap they produce with only making money in mind. It's like tithing for rich celebrities. Great art, however, is timeless, apolitical, and automatically courageous because it challenges beliefs on either end of political spectrum. Choosing to make a film that merely reinforces your politics and the prejudices you and your friends hold is no big sacrifice. How's it a sacrifice to stay in the circle jerk when you feel so superior being there?

Clooney is actually one of my favorite actors working today, but the last GC film that came anywhere close to what I might call great art was "Three Kings," and I don't think he was the mastermind behind that. (And even David Russell probably didn't anticipate that questioning the morality of leaving the Iraqi people in the lurch could someday damage his street cred.)

The irony of his comments is that Hollywood has always proven to be much more profit-driven than anything else. The Left within Hollywood, much like the rest of the Left, are in love with their own mythology, though, which is why even trying to debate with them so often is taken as an insult to their character, or more likely, an indictment of your own.

The other thing that I find so boringly predictable is the progression from Bachelor Party to Philidelphia, from Batman and Robin to Syriana. Also, all a known actor has to do is publicly state a few complete sentences that criticize the Right, and shortly thereafter their work is being judged as genius, and from there getting a golden statue is merely a matter of timing. Sacrifice, my ass.

Posted by: Brad K. at March 8, 2006 03:21 PM

CM, what sacrifices do you imagine that socially conscious actors are being required to make today? And crying all the way to the bank doesn't count.

Posted by: Laura at March 11, 2006 11:06 PM