Friday, May 19, 2006

READING LINES

"POWER TO THE...line!...”
“People."
PEOPLE!”
“Keep rolling, we’ll fix it in post."


Tim Robbins
Something that can be easily forgotten is that the very essence and job of an actor is to read and deliver lines in a convincing and charismatic way. Some actors want to be taken more seriously than simply a thespian, and will be more politically active, such as Sean Penn, Charlton Heston, and Susan Sarandon. Often, however, the lines that the actors deliver in their political endeavors are no less artificial and unoriginal than the ones they are given to say by a script. Actor/Director Tim Robbins was interviewed in 2004 by the UK Guardian; Andrew Anthony gives the account, including this exchange:
He then explains that while, in the wake of 9/11, he could not bring himself to protest against the war in Afghanistan, he did not agree with the strategy of 'indiscriminate bombing'. If he had been president, he 'would have trained special ops to go do the job right' and not interfered with Afghanistan sovereignty. 'The democratic movement in any country has got to happen on its own. It's never going to happen through bombs and airplanes. Never going to happen that way.'

For the sake of historical accuracy I merely point out that there is a historical precedent for bombs and airplanes bringing democracy.
‘How? When?’ He sits up, suddenly rattled.

I mention Germany and Japan in the Second World War.

‘It seems to be that we always come back to that. I don’t know it didn’t happen without the determination of the people involved.’

I point out that it didn’t happen in East Germany, and he replies: ‘I’d have to go into the history and the specifics of that. It came at the end of the gun but with the influx of a huge amount of money: the Marshall Plan. In Iraq, the money is going into war-mongering. It has nothing to do with democracy. It’s about destabilisation. That’s what Kosovo was about. It’s the same thing any time there’s a threat to US national security.’ This is not the typical conversation one has with American film actors, and I feel a professional obligation to steer it back to more familiar territory such as marital infidelity and substance abuse (neither of which appear to loom large in the Robbins biography) but I recall something he had said in an interview some years back. ‘The only responsibility I have to anyone is to make sure that when I talk about something, I know what I’m talking about, that I’ve done the research. I take that responsibility very seriously. I read a lot.’

So I ask how Kosovo was a threat to US security.

‘Ahm ...’ he hesitates. ‘I believe ... I’m not the right person to talk about this ... but that region of the world, this is the way I’ve heard it put ... Can I go get a cigarette?’ He disappears and, as if having remembered his Noam Chomsky, returns a minute later with a ready-fit anti-imperialist answer. ‘Where it’s all flawed is this hegemonic belief that if you bring business to a country it will help them.’

Tim Blair carried this story, noting

As I understand it, the law in every Western democracy permits up to eight undefended punches for any public use of the word “hegemonic”. But I’ve never studied law. Could be as few as five.

and his commenters read their lines:

This confirms my suspicion, drawn from experience, that many actors can faithfully repeat words they read without the slightest comprehension of what they’ve just read.

“What’s that in the road… a head?”
“No, dear, the line is, ‘what’s that in the road ahead?’”

"POWER TO THE...line!...”
“People."

PEOPLE!

“Keep rolling, we’ll fix it in post."
-by richard mcenroe

”...the law in every Western democracy permits up to eight undefended punches...”

What’s the equivilant in kicks to the jimmies?
-by JohnO


In the U.S., what is legally acceptable is determined by state or municipal law. In the one state, Louisiana,that is still heavily influenced by the Napoleanic Code, the assailant is entitled to 12 slaps or one kick to the, ah, jimmies (les gonades, in the strict legal definition). In North Carolina, one is entitled to a one-two combination, but neither punch is permitted to be landed on the same spot (there is a variance to state law operative in the town of North Wilkesboro which permits one chin punch with the butt-end of a squirrel rifle). New Jersey allows for two shots from a handgun to the knee of the hegemonaphile, but only with a caliber not to exceed .25 (since nobody in New Jersey carries a handgun of such small caliber, the law there is effectively inoperative).
-by paco


I know what you mean, Andrew. Actors are bad enough even if they seem like nice people and don’t have a political agenda; speaking for themselves, they just sound...dumb. And when they’re blowhards like Robbins, it’s painfully embarrassing.
-by Sonetka's Mom


David Sedaris comes to mind here -

“Fortunately, going to the movies seems to suddently qualify as an intellectual accomplishment, on a par with reading a book or devoting time to serious thought. It’s not that the movies have gotten any more strenuous, it’s just that a lot of people are as lazy as I am, and together we’ve agreed to lower the bar.”

The main problem with Sarandon, Robbins, Diaz and the rest of them is that society’s lack of time has meant that their pretty pictures are now an art form rather than a pleasant Sunday afternoon diversion. These days, to qualify as an intellectual, all you need is your Dendy membership card and a pair of nerdtrend black glasses. There’s no call for any real intelligence because leftist twats are terrified that they’ll leave someone out and that someone might be a member of a minority group. God forbid we alienate the black, one legged, lesbian dwarves.

At first their activism was funny, if a little pathetic, and I found the odd misinformed leftist comment to be a welcome change from blatherings about their “craft” and botox, but it’s getting to be irritating. And worse, the general public is pathetically star struck and unable to tell the difference between a genuine expert in his/her field (hint, no diet/divorce/bitchfight magazine covers) and a coked up starlet determined to make a “difference” and boost her multimillion dollar pay packet in the process.

Hollywood sucks.

"Robbins is not a politician and it is therefore a little unfair to parse his words, teasing out the contradictions and inconsistencies.”

This is my favourite line. Celebrities are mostly stupid, but even they know how much the public looks up to them, unlike politicians.
-by erin_j


Richard, thanks for reminding me.
From Benny Hill:

“...and next we’ll hear a song from Roy Orbison’s musical bum.”

off-stage: “That’s music ALBUM!”
-by Merlin

Michael Medved once remarked that in his experience, taken as a whole, Hollywood actresses are the stupidest group of people on the planet. Can Hollywood actors be far behind? Oh, I forgot, Tim Robbins isn’t a Hollywood actor:

He makes it clear that he doesn’t go in for Hollywood gossip. Indeed, he takes every opportunity to remind me that he doesn’t go in for Hollywood. He and Sarandon and their three children live in the more bohemian environment of downtown New York.

Yes, all real actor-intellectuals live in NY, London or France--anywhere, really, but in Hollywood. Hollywood is just so déclassé.

He then explains that while, in the wake of 9/11, he could not bring himself to protest against the war in Afghanistan, he did not agree with the strategy of ‘indiscriminate bombing’. If he had been president, he ‘would have trained special ops to go do the job right’ and not interfered with Afghanistan sovereignty. ‘The democratic movement in any country has got to happen on its own. It’s never going to happen through bombs and airplanes. Never going to happen that way.’

He would have trained, huh. What a monumental twit. Never in the history of American “bombs and airplanes” has the bombing been so discrete as in Afghanistan. Who would have guessed that Tim would be such a supporter of the oppressive Taliban. I am a little surprised, though, that he didn’t support Bill Clinton’s war. Usually leftists love a war in which the US has absolutely no strategic stake (notwithstanding Timmy’s assertion that Kosovo “threatened” national security).

This confirms my suspicion, drawn from experience, that many actors can faithfully repeat words they read without the slightest comprehension of what they’ve just read.

Exactly, except I would say “most actors”, or perhaps, “all actors except maybe one or two”. Reminds me of when Ed Asner spouts off in Free Mumia mode. One time a reporter had the audacity to ask if Asner had actually read the testimony about which he was expounding. He said, no he hadn’t, that it wasn’t his job. Righto, Ed, I’ll give you this, you know your job.

As playwright Lloyd Richards said to actress Margo Channing in the wonderful All About Eve:

I shall never understand the weird process by which a body with a voice suddenly fancies itself as a mind.
-by Kynda Sylvester


Tim Robbins politics are horrid, and as a member of the celebrity culture--constantly asked to do interviews--obviously, he can’t resist the temptation to tell people what he thinks, no matter how ill-formed his knowledge and opinions.

Yet, I must offer a nugget of a story regarding Robbins’ good works. Following the 9/11 terrorist attack on the WTC, he spent weeks volunteering his time and money doing good works for the families of NY firemen killed. And he did it without any desire for publicity. I only know about it because a good friend--a Lt. in the FDNY--drove him about to visit different fire stations, etc., in the course of this.

Doesn’t change much, as all kinds of people, from all walks of life, volunteered their time following 9/11, but it’s worth knowing he’s not 100% certifiable.
-by Forbes

I agree with paco’s and The Real JeffS’s comments. I want to add to it by asking a question. What would happen if a team of Army Rangers was captured by Mullah Omar and paraded down the main street of Kabul? How does the US extract a small team of soldiers when it has virtually no other forces in the area?

Answer: It can’t.

I’ll tell you what would happen instead. The Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandons would come out en masse and accuse their own country of heavy handed imperialist murderous actions against innocent people. They are gadflies with blinders on, holding neither a responsibility nor a desire for resolving very difficult issues. Instead, they want only to grandstand and make themselves feel special for basically selfish and conceited reasons.

Going further, what would be the reaction in the US to captured American soldiers? Conceivably, isolation, the raising of drawbridges, and the forming of an “everyone for themselves” geopolitical philosophy.

How is that a positive thing for the world in today’s turbulent and troublesome times?
-by wronright


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