can I just say…

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Freddie

Freddie deBoer used to blog at lhote.blogspot.com, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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21 Responses

  1. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    I dunno, Freddie. I think Hollywooders should keep politics out of their speeches for a few reasons, not the least of which is they’re perfect targets for their critics, who can then use whatever is said to pass judgment on the entire cause. Sean Penn is just such an easy target now, and to some extent deservedly so. There is just so much perceived hubris (and often very real hubris) when dealing with movie stars and musicians etc. It’s not that they don’t have a right to their opinions, or that they aren’t valid opinions, it’s just that it’s sort of hard to take anyone living in that realm of glitz and glamor seriously, whether or not they have valid things to say. This is the trouble with Bono, also. Everything in Hollywood is an illusion. How are we mere mortals supposed to take anything they say as the truth?Report

  2. Avatar Freddie says:

    I just wonder if you would extend that criticism to someone who makes a movie about domestic violence and then makes an impassioned speech about it. Surely the content of a film is an appropriate point of discussion for what an acceptance speech should contain? If so, I don’t know how Sean Penn doesn’t mention “hey look, four months ago a whole lot of gay people got their right to marry taken away.” Seems significant to me.Report

  3. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Yes, but here’s the problem: The film is supposed to send that message. The film, if done well, does send the message, does convey the moral lesson. “Milk” which I haven’t seen yet, I imagine makes a lot people consider the gay marriage debate as it stands today in California and America etc. It does this on its own. When an actor from the movie then feels the need to further drive the point home he is either being redundant, or unintentionally doing harm to the cause he is advocating.

    It’s the old “show, don’t tell” adage. It’s not that they don’t have a right or that it doesn’t make sense, it’s that it’s counter-productive. So yes, I would extend this to any sort of them, be it domestic violence or gay rights or war. Let the picture do the talking.Report

  4. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    That should be “theme” there at the end. Not “them”…Report

  5. Avatar Cascadian says:

    I don’t expect arts award programs to be less partisan than a religious conference.Report

  6. Avatar Dave says:

    The Oscars were on?Report

  7. Avatar Bob says:

    E.D. – I find your statement, below, very very odd.

    I guess you mean speeches at award shows, but you don’t really make that clear. No matter. Do you really believe that their critics will hold fire if “Hollywooders” restrict their speech to other approved venues? I really doubt it. Celebrities, for lack of a better label, incur the wrath of the Right regardless of the venue. So I say, speak to any and all audiences, let the chips and criticism fall where they may.

    “I think Hollywooders should keep politics out of their speeches for a few reasons, not the least of which is they’re perfect targets for their critics, who can then use whatever is said to pass judgment on the entire cause.”Report

  8. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    No, I think they should let their art do their talking for them, no matter the venue.Report

  9. Avatar Bob says:

    So, any and all, political or issue oriented speech is verboten? May they make contributions, canvas, work the phones?Report

  10. I’m going to go with Freddie on this one. I’m thinking most of the people who made Milk cared deeply about this gay rights, and people who loved the movie cared deeply about gay rights. He gave voice to the motivation behind the film, the common cause without which the movie would not have been what it was.

    If somebody starts talking politics when it has no relation to their film, I’d find it in bad taste, but in this case it’s relevant.Report

  11. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    This is not as though I’m saying “celebrities shouldn’t do this or that.” I am saying that usually this ends up backfiring, and that from a strategic standpoint it’s much smarter to let the film/music/poetry whatever say what it has to say. It’s bound to be more impacting on its own merits.Report

  12. Avatar Bob says:

    God knows Holywood and “bad taste” have never meet.Report

  13. Avatar Bob says:

    Does “Milk” have an impact? Yes. But the audience is self selecting. I can’t prove, only suspect, that few anti gay folk paid good money to see men kissing. So Mr. Penn had a much more diverse audience last evening. I glad he spoke his mind, I glad the movie was made. It’s all good.Report

  14. Good point, Bob—bad taste is actually appropriate for Oscar night.

    E.D.: Maybe so. I don’t want to believe that social movements in the USA stand or fall on celebrity speeches at the Oscars, but it wouldn’t really surprise me.Report

  15. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Honestly, I don’t have much vested in this one way or another. I personally could care less. I mean, yes I’m all for gay rights, but no I’m not really expecting many people to be swayed by Sean Penn. Maybe by the movie “Milk” but probably not Sean Penn. That’s the problem as I see it. I think it falls on deaf or even hostile ears. The Hollywood celebrity class is widely viewed as arrogant and out of touch, as the worst of the liberal establishment. Rich, pampered, and full of themselves. So I just think that that scene as mouthpiece to any movement is inherently counter-intuitive. Perhaps I’m just a cynic.Report

  16. Avatar Bob says:

    E.D. – I hope this is my last comment on this post, I think any more would just repeating myself. So……

    Speech = good — censorship (especially self censorship) = bad.Report

  17. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Bob, that’s a total dodge. Nobody is speaking about censorship or self-censorship. This is about strategy and wisdom. Speaking just because you have the pulpit to do so does not mean its wise; conversely, choosing not to speak at such a moment is not de facto self-censorship. Sometimes less is more.Report

  18. Avatar Bob says:

    I’ll agree with only one thing. I should not have used censorship since that denotes some authority limiting action. I will stick with the “self” part.

    I’ll also stick with my last sentence in #7.

    You are the one doing the dodging,” Honestly, I don’t have much vested in this one way or another. I personally could care less.”Report

  19. If our concern is a glamorized lifestyle rendering its inhabitant untrustworthy of dealing with important political issues, then we have bigger fish to fry than Sean Penn making a politicized speech at the Oscars.Report

  20. Avatar Bob says:

    Brovo! I guess.Report

  21. Avatar Bob says:

    E.D. at #8, “No, I think they should let their art do their talking for them, no matter the venue.”

    So which “art” (movie) is determinative? Mr. Penn in the re-make of “All the King’s Men” in which he plays a corrupted politician or “Milk” in which he plays a crusader for homosexual rights? Is it realistic for Penn, or any artist, to just say, “look to my art, the answers are there.” No sane person would accept such a response. Or perhaps the real Penn is exposed in “Sweet and Lowdown” where he plays Emmet Ray/Django Reinhardt grifter?Report