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April 06, 2008

Comments

Raul

I personally think George Clooney is a great actor. He might not always play in blockbuster movies but he brings that old style hollywood to the screen which is hardly ever seen anymore. I guess if he is not popping pills, getting drunk, or going to hyde, the media will hate on him.

I want to go see Leatherheads but the wife isn't really into football so I have to figure out a way to go and not be that guy who is alone looking around making sure no one is saying, "Hey look at that guy, is he alone".

Diane

I wouldn't pay to see a football team with Michael Vick at QB. Though, in my defense, I'd say that Vick's crimes are a tad bit worse than Clooney's perceived transgressions.

brother john

I don't think many will be surprised that my political views differ from George Clooney's. However, I don't think he's a bad actor and I don't boycott his films on account of them. If a film is Anti-America I have no interest in seeing it no matter who is in it.
Formal education is not necessarily an indicator of wisdom, nor is it a disqualifier.
Bad behavior is bad behavior regardless of whether you agree with the actor.
Any group competing for dollars has to be conscious of their overall image. If a business wants to alienate a portion of its customers by pushing an agenda then it's fair game to boycott them.
BTW. I happen to like Rene Zellweger's face.

HeatherMichelle

Bean, I have to admit that I do not allow anyone's political views to have any bearing on my life. Certainly not any actor or singer since, with a few exceptions, none of them are as eduated as myself. I do, however, think less of Obama since the ant-christ, Oprah, endorses him. Which negates my previous statement, I know. But to me, she, more than any other celebrity, thinks she can touch poop and turn it to gold and that annoys me. Do you know else annoys me? Living in the red state of Georgia.

Jeff Smick

@HeatherMichelle please don't let the *endorsement* of someone by another affect you in regard to something as important as a presidential election.

Bean, Clooney's great. Since O' Brother Where Art Thou? I've thought he was a phenomenal actor. Political views be damned. He's entertaining, why would I let who he is outside of that forum taint the fact that he can entertain me?

As far as Leatherheads, the movie looks great. As much as I'm annoyed by Rene Zellweger's all around demeanor, I'd go see the movie. My fiancée, on the other hand, would be happy to never see her again. I may have a difficult time getting her to go with me, but I'm going to try and get there.

I think you have it exactly right in your last question. Though, to be fair, the political views of other occupations aren't easily thrust upon us. If the barista at my local coffee shop started to preach politics at me, I might hesitate to visit again (all dependent on just how good the coffee is). I feel the same about any occupation.

The one thing that disgusts me more than anything is when someone tries to push their political or, more so, religious views on me.

If I'm waiting for coffee it's difficult to simply walk away. If I'm watching Clooney ranting on TV, I'm empowered to hit a button and move on.

stk

Bean, even if I disagree with them, I don't mind entertainers/celebrities speaking out on issues. Often, unfortunately, that's the only way to raise awareness of the issues. Given our culture's emphasis on celebrities and fame, without a recognizable face it's often difficult for issues to get the attention they need.

As a liberal, it irritates me when Washington and the rest bash people like George Clooney and Susan Sarandon for speaking out; there are as many conservatives as there are liberals in Hollywood, and several who have become elected officials, are politically active, or sponsor causes: Ah-nold, Fred Thompson, Ronald Reagan, the guy from Love Boat, Sonny Bono, Charleton Heston (RIP) who headed the NRA, Bruce Willis, Tom Selleck, etc.

If the person is well-informed, seems sincere in their cause (and a lot of them seem to just hop on a bandwagon), actually work on those efforts even when the cameras aren't around (like Angelina Jolie), and it's an important, wide-spread cause (Kelsey Grammar's wife, I'm looking at you with your irritable bowel syndrome) then, it's easier to listen to them. Even if their politics are different, it's always good to listen to the other side. Plus, to add a bit of humor to this, it helps to look at someone who's easy on the eyes when you're talking about mosquito netting or third-world poverty.

Unless it's Paris Hilton. She could be against bashing baby seals for all I know. I'd go out and bash them just b/c it's Paris Hilton. Can't some of the celebrities start a "Go Way Paris" organization? That, would get lots of support I bet.

 cathy

I would DO him in a heartbeat!...end of story...

Stacey

The last time I checked, no one in this country is required to be a non-actor with a PhD in order to have an opinion. Every single one of us, from the high school dropout to the rocket scientist, gets to have an opinion - no one needs to be an expert to vote or speak out for or against the status quo. So if George Clooney wants to have an opinion, then so be it, I'm fine with that.

Also, the last time I checked, we have freedom of speech in this country, so if he wants to say what he thinks, then fine, so be it, that's OK with me too.

If you don't care what actors think, then that's fine, you don't have to listen to it. If you don't want to know, then turn off the Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, for cryin' out loud!

Since when does expressing an opinion = "pushing it down our throats"? Most people don't express their opinions because somewhere along the line, they got the idea that SAYING it is the same thing as PUSHING it. Agreeing to disagree goes a long way.

Just because someone says it doesn't mean that they are requiring you to agree with it. Guess what, you can ALWAYS disagree. And guess what else, they can ALWAYS disagree with you, too. Having a little tolerance for those that don't think the exact same thing that you is a beautiful thing.

I don't look to entertainers to tell me what I should think or do, no more than they look to me to tell them what they should think or do. God bless America.

Aside from his views on the papparazzi, I couldn't even tell you what George Clooney's views are, because I don't pay attention to that stuff. (And I happen to agree with his views on the papparazzi, and I came to that conclusion all by my little self.)

While I am currently unemployed, I have to say that at my last job (a bank), I actually found a little clause in the employee manual that pretty much said that any political activities that I participated in should not be detrimental to the bank.

And, I'm sorry to say, that is not the only time I've seen a clause like that in an employee manual while working at a previous job. Now THAT is un-American.

George Clooney wouldn't keep me from seeing Leatherheads - I enjoyed Ocean's Eleven (hated Ocean's Twelve, didn't even bother with Ocean's Thirteen). I enjoyed Goodnight and Good Luck.

And I'm not going to see Leatherheads because I hate football.

John E

I think the 'anti-Clooney' person who used the phrase "WE decide..." gave something away about their agenda and the country's direction as a whole.

I think we, as a country, decide on things everyday. We do it with our dollar, and that was a valid point the obvious mid-westerner brought up. However, the fact that the 'flyover dweller' decides NOT to vote with his dollar for an individual that has:
(1) taken rewarding risks with their career
(2) invested their earnings wisely
(3) has obviously strong networking capabilities
and
(4) evidently has talent

says something alarming. It says that they would rather pay to hear meaningless information that does not educate them on the state of affairs instead of listen to a well traveled artist rupture the current status quo they subscribe to. Scary.

stk

I want to add to my earlier post ... I don't let actors/celebrities determine my view. I can think for myself. But given so few people can, it's nice to know they help others. :) It is informative, though, to learn of a new issue and see that issue be raised in the public's conscience.

And regardless of his box office performance or political views, George Clooney is hot.

Charlotte

Bean, that is great that someone is finally coming to the defense of poor ol' George Clooney! Way to champion the underdog!

Nicole

I don't know if I would boycott my dentist if his opinion's differed from mine. This is mainly because I don't see my dentist on TV discussing them. If my dentist is giving his opinion in his office, more power to him. The minute he or my Starbucks barristas appear in the media discussing the, I'll let you know.

I think it's more obnoxious that it's assumed we should believe in something or someone because of a celebrity endorsement.

And frankly I am a little annoyed at you that you automatically assume that people don't like him because they disagree with his opinion and not because he's stating his opinions on tv, radio, magazines etc.

Steve-O

Wow, Nicole, that is slicing it kind of thin. You don't mind a celebrity's views as long as he doesn't tell too many people at one time?

Say it in a room of 1000 people and it is okay with you but not on a radio show or TV show if more people will hear or see it? Weird.

What is the cutoff number of ears?

Rose

What strikes me about many of these posters is how they've decided that Hollywood (and, to an extent, NYC) is "them" and everyone else is "us".

Part of the Republican party strategy for the past 15 years or so -- yeah, Karl Rove, I'm looking at you -- has been to identify things that polarize voters and hammer them home. One of those wedge issues seems to be geography -- i.e., L.A. is home to a bunch of godless liberals who don't have any opinions or values in common with the rest of the country, who are all trying to impose their will on the rest of America. (I had no idea that I lived in the left-wing Vatican! Shows what I know.)

I may be missing something, but I don't see the posters citing specific disagreements with George Clooney. I wish I could ask them what they hate so much about him: His efforts to highlight what's happening in Darfur and encourage the parties to work towards a resolution? That he's made some common-sense observations about Iraq? That he made a movie about McCarthyism? Or do they just hate him on principle?

stk

Bean, you've struck a note given some of the responses.

I wanted to add one more thing ... George, Tom Selleck, Susan Sarandon, Bruce Willis, etc. have every right to speak their mind whether they're celebrities or not. They, too, are tax-payers, voters, citizens, etc. If the rest of us were in their positions and had a platform from which to speak our opinions, we would too.

DavidPaolo

Here's the thing. I don't believe anyone has ever said that celebrities shouldn't be able to speak their minds. They should and they do -- that's their right under the first amendment. However, freedom of assembly is also part of the first amendment and part of that is who I choose to associate myself with -- even if it's only distantly by giving them my money, time and attention at one of their movies.

While George Clooney and other celebrities have every right to speak, they do not have the right to an audience.

To answer bean's question, yes people can and do boycott Starbuck's or other businesses for political reasons. Entire invetsment funds exist to support or deny companies money becasue of their stands on things like global warming or Third World sweatshops or doing business with Israel.

To bring it down to a local level, I might shop at a local grocery store even though the manager insists on putting up anti-war or pro-life posters in the building. If however, every time I went in there I was harangued by the staff about their views, I might choose to shop elsewhere. That's the way many people feel about going to the movies these days. It's not the Syrianas and the Good Night and Good Lucks and In the Valley of Elahs that offend them -- you go to those movies, you know what you're in for. It's the wince-inducing messages that drop into stuff where it's just not appropriate. A gratuitous slam at home-schoolers in Horton Hears a Who, it's the take-you-out-of-the-story slam at the Iraq war in Away From Her, it's the speechifying against the issue of the day on every David Kelley TV show, it's the gratuitous Bush-bashing in The Ant Bully. That's what really ticks people off -- when what artists have to say is so important they feel the need to just yell it at you in the theater when that's not what you came there for. And yes, it would annoy me if right wing artists did it, but really, how often does that happen? It's not like Hollywood is swarming with conservatives -- you can pretty much count them on two hands.

Rochelle

Nice post, DavidPaolo.
Along the same lines... "If an entertainer is equally outspoken politically ... but shares your views, is it also offensive?"

How about those who think that they are so open-minded, but will not even think twice about bashing right-wing conservatives? Don't conservatives have the same rights as liberals? Just don't call yourself open-minded if you can't accept those who are different than you... even if different means they are displaying pro-Bush, pro-life, pro-war sentiments on their car. Oh, that one hurts, doesn't it?

pwr

Personally, I will not boycott this film on DVD, but I have no desire to see this in the theater. Clooney's viewpoints are an irritant and a contributing factor to this decision, but so are ticket price, subject matter, time of the year it was released (so many great films are released in April and August/September).

However, my problem is with your questions. Are you more likely to consider someone's education before assuming their opinion is valid? If Snoop Dogg or the Red Hot Chili Peppers offer their take on inflation versus Ben Berenake, who do you listen too? Other actor/actresses have also has plenty of degrees (Jodie Foster, Natalie Portman, etc.), but I tend to skip their movies where their politics are known and may be involved. Why? Because either they have little to no experience with the subject matter or they have acting degrees. Regardless, there is diversity of opinion even within disciplines (just not always in the university).

On the second question, really how many outspoken conservative actors/actresses are there? Ron Silver, Bruce Willis, Tom Selleck, and Dennis Miller are all on the downsides of their careers and rarely get to espouse these viewpoints through their art. There were and are plenty of complaints directed towards Fred Thompson and Arnold. Also look at the nastiness directed towards Elizabeth Hasselbeck. The reality is there are no real good comparison points to Clooney and Leonardo. When has a non-Democrat/non-liberal had the same level of clout of those two? Also if I share someone's view why would I find it offensive?

People do stupid things with boycotts. This is not a one-way issue. There was the stupid "buy blue" website promoting businesses primarily donating to Democrats. If the Buffalo Bills brought OJ back as a spokeperson, I think people should have the right to reject it. Ultimately, it would be a political statement (and one in poor taste). For me, that type of move would make me question the entire NFL. What about people's rejection of Wal-mart or Nike? It happens on both sides and can happen to anyone whether the entity has a outspoken viewpoint or not.

Back to Clooney, movies may be political "art". If someone outside of their work starts talking, then it probably will taint whatever else they do. What subtley or difference in message does the viewer really need to expect? I think I have a good read on what he is going to say and do (especially when they have control), so why plop down $10 to see it.

Ken

I always separate the art from the artist; if I didn’t, how much would that limit my exposure to art of all kinds? Remember, artist are not a savory bunch. Clooney’s point of view is “his” point of view, which I can take or leave. I would no more rely on George Clooney’s point of view on politics than I would rely on Dick Cheney’s take on the proper handling on firearms.

As far as being “open minded” is concerned if someone has carefully considered a point of view then rejected it based on its merits, or lack of merit, an open minded assessment has taken place, it doesn’t make you closed minded if, from that point on, you stand by your decision to reject the concept. BTW - if I did see a car with Pro-Bush, Pro-Life, Pro-War bumper stickers, I’d give them a very, very wide berth…or assume I got sucked into a time vacuum because all that is so 2004…

dana

Personally, I sometimes find myself upset with actors/personalities/etc who talk about their political opinions and world views because I just can't take hearing about another horrible thing, or controversial thing that needs some resolution but will never get it, or needful thing that i can do nothing about because i don't have the money to give or the time to spend. Maybe it's because they're telling me about something else in my life that I don't have any control over makes it feel like nagging or whining, which are bad and inspire negative reactions (like ranting on posts). I do what I can, volunteer-wise, but sometimes they inadvertantly (I'm hope) make me feel like it's just not enough. And then I want to trash them.

DavidPaolo

Re: Ken's statements

"Seperating the art from the artist" is a delightful Platonic ideal that fails the most basic real world test -- can you appreciate the work of Leni Reifenstahl or watch "Birth of a Nation" without reference to their pro-Nazi and pro-KKK storylines? Both filmmakers had obvious talent from a technical aspect and in the case of Birth of a Nation, DW Griffith was WAY ahead of his time as a filmmaker, but their views make their work difficult to stomach.

And no, I am not comparing George Clooney or any other liberal celebrity to a Nazi so please stop that outraged typing now.

The point is that an artist's point of view of necessity affects their art -- it'd be pretty poor art otherwise. George Clooney is an avowed liberal. That point of view comes out in his work unless you think Syriana and Good Night and Good Luck were conservative films? Why is it then wrong for someone who has seen those films or even heard what he says to say to themselves "I disagree with what this person believes, I'm not going to support him with my money."

True, "Leatherheads" doesn't seem to have any political agenda but given Hollywood's recent track recond of dropping stealth political bombs in thematically inappropraite locations (see my Ant Bully reference) and Clooney's own outspokenness on the issues, why should I give him the benefit of the doubt? I'd much rather stay home and play Guitar Hero III on my xbox 360.

You also rather betray your own closed mindedness in your closing paragraph. You'd give a wide-berth to someone with a pro-life, pro-war or pro-Bush bumper sticker? Why? Have you so locked in to "the truth" that a continued discussion even after you'd made up your mind would be of no value? Nobody can possibly come up with a new angle or argument that would make you reconsider your decision? Somehow I doubt you're quite as willing to consider as "open-minded" people who have "carefully considered a point of view then rejected it based on its merits, or lack of merit" then come to a Pro-life, pro-Bush or Pro-War opinion. The phrase "close-minded religious reich warmongering neocons" comes to mind.

Johnny Socko

To follow-up on what PWR said (regarding that there are no good conservative equivalents to Clooney & DiCaprio):

Sure,, liberal (or at least non-Fascist) Hollywood types may *seem* to get more exposure for their views, but such celebreties are (1) invariably slammed by a great many people (such as Bean related), and (2) rarely elected to office.

There may be relatively fewer Hollywood conservatives, but it seems like they are the only ones who get elected to public office when they run. Can anyone think of a Hollywood liberal who has been elected in the past 40 years? But conservatives seem to have done all right: Reagan, Schwarzenegger, Bono, Thompson, Grandy.

Why is it that when entertainers espouse a liberal POV they are taken less seriously by many people, but when they slant conservative, they get elected?

And what the hell is with the view that they are somehow less "qualified" to talk about such things? As citizens, they are no more or less qualified than any of the yahoos who disagree with them.

Ken

Wow David, you give me far more credit than I deserve, you read things in my post I didn’t realize I’d said. But what the hell, I’ll defend what you think I said, just the same. Absolutely, I could sit through ‘Birth of a Nation” – I have, it’s an incredible historical piece recalling vividly the period in which it was filmed. It reflected the accepted morays of the time. It’s no secret the US was (still is?) institutionally racist, running from it and sticking my head in the sand won’t change that. The really cool thing about B of a N is I didn’t become a ragging racist lunatic after watching it, despite what Griffith had in mind or his politics. I’ve seen every western John Wayne and John Ford ever made and I have no desire to buy a boat and live in Newport Beach Harbor. I’ve seen The Knute Rockne story and have no desire to sell weapons to Iran. I’ve seen Clooney films and have no desire to join the Peace Corp (ok, maybe a little).

What truly makes the US great is the fringe and our tolerance of it – the people way out of the mainstream - the extremes on both ends of the spectrum, the individuals you would never hear from, if what George Clooney has to say bothers you. I want to hear from the fringe. I want to see and know what is beyond acceptable, not run from it. These are the people who test the system and take the Constitution to task. They give open minded people something to think about beyond the same stale rhetoric we get force feed every day. If I go to a pro-Bush, pro-life, pro-war rally will I really hear one new argument? Really?

Again, I, me, speaking only for me, make a policy of separating the art from the artist. I also make a policy of not telling anyone else how to conduct themselves, it takes every once of energy I can muster to keep me in check, let alone anyone else, and most important – David, please don’t boycott me…please

Jon

First off, "Leatherheads" was a good movie and an entertaining period piece in it's own right in regards to Prohibition and the developing music of the time. Secondly, I find it interesting that people seem to apply the "I won't give you business because of your outspoken beliefs" standard to actors but not as much to musicians. Lastly, to the poster that said that Bruce Willis was on the downside of his career...really?

LA

It depends.

I'm a democrat, but I'd go see a Bruce Willis film or a Governator film (if they made one I was interested in). I've read that Letterman's a registered republican (not sure I believe it, though), but I love him and watch it regularly.

That said...

Not political, but I boycott Tom Cruise's work because I think the guy is a dangerous nutjob. Ever since the couch-jumping incident, I've been unable to look at his face without seeing 20 shades of crazy.

Agree with Diane above in boycotting anything Michael Vick does.

Politically speaking, ever since Patricia Heaton got noisy about opposing stem cell research, I turn the channel whenever I see her ugly mug on television. If she made a film, I would not see it. I also wrote a letter to Albertson's telling them I wouldn't shop in their stores as long as she was their spokeswoman because I disagreed with her political views. My dad died of Alzheimer's, and I'll go head to head with anyone, including the Pope, over stem cell research.

In fact, any celebrity who openly opposes stem cell research will get a boycott from me. And I will seriously consider voting for any republican who is in favor of stem cell research.

There was a book shop here in my town that, during the 2000 election, had a huge sign for Bush in their storefront window. Even though I'm an avid reader, I quit shopping there. When I was self-employed, I was very careful to keep my political opinions to myself because I didn't want to lose potential business over it.

All that said, I agree with the notion that Clooney is experiencing a Sarandonesque backlash. I love the guy, but there are def people out there who don't.

cathy g.

WOW.... I cannot even think of a comment after all these long winded comments.


Movie was OK --- George Clooney has an opinion as does every one of these people who left an essay responding to your question.

I do not think people are boycotting George Clooney's movie because of his political views, I think he is not interested in making movies that hit that target audience and that is why his movie did not do well (not too mention it had that sour puss ugly ass renee zellweger in it)....

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