Thursday, March 09, 2006

2258 Peggy and Ben pick on George

No, not our president, but a man who looks like he's thinking of following in another handsome movie star's footsteps. George Clooney. Peggy Noonan comments on his Oscar speech (which I missed along with most of the United States).

"Orson Welles had a canny respect for the audience while maintaining a difficult relationship with studio executives, whom he approached as if they were his intellectual and artistic inferiors. George Clooney has a canny respect for the Hollywood establishment, for its executives and agents, and treats his audience as if it were composed of his intellectual and artistic inferiors. (He is not alone in this. He is only this year's example.)

And because they are his inferiors, he must teach them. He must teach them about racial tolerance and speaking truth to power, etc. He must teach them to be brave. And so in his acceptance speech for best supporting actor the other night he instructed the audience about Hollywood's courage in making movies about AIDS, and recognizing the work of Hattie McDaniel with an Oscar. . . He doesn't even know he's not heroic. He thinks making a movie in 2005 that said McCarthyism was bad is heroic.

In an odd way [the Clooney generation] haven't experienced life; they've experienced media. Their films seem more an elaboration and meditation on media than an elaboration and meditation on life. This is how he could take such an unnuanced, unsophisticated, unknowing gloss on the 1950s and the McCarthy era. He just absorbed media about it. And that media itself came from certain assumptions and understandings, and myths." Peggy Noonan

Peggy is more nuanced and kind than Ben Steyn: " “I’m an old-time liberal and I don’t apologize for it,” Clooney told Newsweek. Good for him. And certainly, regardless of how liberal he is, he’s “old-time”. I don’t mean in the sense that he has the gloss of an old-time movie star, the nearest our age comes to the sheen of Cary Grant in a Stanley Donen picture, but that his politics is blessedly undisturbed by any developments on the global scene since circa 1974. . . In Good Night And Good Luck, he’s produced a film set in the McCarthy era that could have been made in the Jimmy Carter era. That’s to say, it takes into account absolutely nothing that has come to light in the last quarter-century – not least the relevant KGB files on Soviet penetration of America." Steyn on Screen


Anvilcloud said...

Golly and gee whiz, I heard the speech and thought nothing of it. I didn't think it political or offensive in any way. In fact I thought it refreshing to not hear the usual littany of 250 mumbled 'thank yous.' Do these people that you are referencing here have pickles lodged in uncomfortable places? I mean really.

Anonymous said...

To say that Good Night and Good Luck isn't releveant today is saying you are not paying attention. It relates as much to today' society as it is a historical portrayal of what happened 50 years ago.
You know, Arthur Miller's The Crucible isn't about witch trials, either.

Norma said...

If you don't get Steyn's point about the naivete of Hollywood, or that perhaps Hollywood isn't the moral compass of the nation then I certainly don't have anything to add. Read again what has been learned in recent years about that era.