Monday, April 28, 2008


"My brain hurts!"
-T. F. Gumby

Twiggy and Churchill
There are two industries where really stupid people can make it big: The entertainment industry and sports. In America, the land of opportunity, that's great, it gives idiots a chance to make something of themselves other than begging for navel lint and bashing their heads with rocks.

At the same time, for some odd reason the entertainment industry has gone beyond mere whim and spectacle to being actually influential on society and politics. It's one thing to put on a show to distract people from life, its another to think that, since you can put on a show, you are actually a meaningful and significant part of society, let alone some wise pundit. Here's a sampling:
"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."
-Brooke Shields

"We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees."
-Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks

"I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada"
-Britney Spears

"I'm not Anorexic. I'm from Texas. Are there people from texas that are anorexic? I've never heard of one. And that includes me."
-Jessica Simpson

I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman
-Arnold Schwarzenegger

"What's Walmart, do they sell like wall stuff?
-Paris Hilton

“It’s not that I dislike many people. It’s just that I don’t like many people.”
-Bryant Gumbel

“I look at it as something I’m doing for black people in general.”
-Naomi Campbell on modeling

“I cried over beauty, I cried over pain, and the other time I cried because I felt nothing. I can’t help it. I’m just a cliché of myself.”
—Keanu Reeves

“I’ve got taste. It’s inbred in me.”
—David Hasselhoff

“I was asked to come to Chicago because Chicago is one of our fifty-two states.”
—Racquel Welch

“[I hope] my child will be a good Catholic like me.”

"I make Jessica Simpson look like a rock scientist"
-Tara Reid

"So, where’s the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?”
-Christina Aguilera

"I think that the film 'Clueless' was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness.
-Alicia Silverstone
Politicians say a lot of stupid stuff too, but for the most part I give them a pass because they talk all day for a living and have cameras on them. I say stupid stuff, but nobody has me on camera to repeat it for days afterward. For example, when Vice President Gore says (twice) that a Zebra doesn't change its spots, he just speaks so much in public he messes up a line or says something silly once in a while.

As Dan Quayle said: "Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things." The more you say in public, the more likely you'll say something really embarrassing. Yet actors and actresses don't stand around and extemporaneously answer questions and make speeches for a living. Almost all of their job consists of doing what they're told and reading what someone else wrote, much like a news anchor. They are glorified bingo callers, repeating what someone hands them.

So when they stand up and talk in public, the dumb things they say come from within, not from repetition and constant talk slipping up sometimes. They're saying the stuff that they think is thoughtful and important, they're revealing who they really are. The results can be hilarious or very sad, depending on your perspective. It's the political arena where stupid quotes by celebrities become particularly depressing and hilarious:
"I don’t know what our government does except put us into debt and blow up other countries."

"Our country has hit a point where we have lost so much,"... "We have lost lives, we've lost sacred freedoms, we've lost financial stability; we've lost our position of respect on the world stage."
-Robert Redford

“Very selfless and moral. One of the world’s wisest men.”
–Oliver Stone (on Fidel Castro)

“If you believe in freedom, if you believe in justice, if you believe in democracy, you have no choice but to support Fidel Castro!”
–Harry Belafonte.

“Fidel, I love you. We both have beards. We both have power and want to use it for good purposes.”
–Francis Ford Coppola.

“Socialism works. I think Cuba might prove that.”
–Chevy Chase.

"The oceans will be dead by the year 2000"
-Ted Danson

"70% of the world’s fisheries are at a point of collapse."
-Ted Danson when it was pointed out the oceans are not dead

"Bush stole the elections and since then we have all been suffering the consequences,"
-Jessica Lange

"Bush wasn't elected, he was selected— selected by five judges up in Washington who voted along party lines."
-Alec Baldwin

"If you asked would I live in London the rest of my life, yeah, I'd be very happy to stay here. There's nothing in America that I would miss at all."
-Robert Altman, who still lives in the US

“Bush says you’re either with us or against us. I don’t know who ‘us’ is."
-Susan Sarandon

"This is a racist and imperialist war."
-Woody Harrelson

"Bin Laden didn't come from the abstract. He came from somewhere, and if you look where ... you'll see America's hand of villainy."
-Harry Belafonte

“You think everyone over there is a college graduate? They’re 19 and 20-year-old kids who couldn’t get a job… You know, the soldiers are not scholars, they’re not war experts… They’re not the best people to ask about the war because they’re gonna die any second.”
—Richard Belzer

“Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America."
-Rosie O’Donnell
Now, in a sense I feel sorry for a lot of these actors because let's face it they aren't the sharpest pencil in the drawer, and most of them have probably been misled by people they work with and for. They are pretty insulated: they are surrounded by people who treat them like gods, they don't mix with people other than celebrities, they are not hearing any contrary viewpoints. It's sort of like poking the village idiot to hear him make funny noises, in a way it's cruel how they're kept from the whole story yet are trotted out to say stuff like this.

At some point I'd like to see the celebrity activist machine wind down so that they stop pontificating on things they clearly are clueless about and get back to just doing their jobs and having fun. The problem is, celebrities tend to feel like they aren't taken seriously (justifiably) and want to present themselves as more than just a script reader or a pretty face. They want to be seen as important, as more significant than being an actor.

Some, perhaps many, make so much money and are generally leftist that they feel guilty for not doing more, and this gives them a way of doing something to "give back" without actually, you know, doing anything. So Ted Danson works with Oceana and gives a small portion of his income to it, he gets quoted about the ocean and he can feel like he's done something worth while.

The problem is, they approach it in a childish way: I said something smart, did you see? I really feel like I've done something wonderful about the environment, I told people to buy a hybrid. I bought a Prius, did you see? I care. Do I drive it? Are you crazy, in LA? The good they are trying to do usually ends up being misguided, ill-informed, and is normally about everyone else doing more while they live their wonderful life. That's why Barbara Streisand can tell everyone else to dry clothes on a line and protect the ocean shore while living in a mansion that erodes the ocean cliffs and scoffs at the idea of personally hanging clothes on a line.

It's not about them being any better, it's about them being perceived as being better. The goal is not to fix things or make a better world, but to feel better about yourself. Some day I hope that changes again. Actors used to be considered pretty low on the totem pole, they were looked at as talented and entertaining, but crass, immoral, and poor company. Now everyone wants to be with a celebrity if they cannot be one themselves. I think the whole culture is poorer for it.
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1 comment:

erica said...

"I’m just a cliché of myself."

At least one of them is honest....