Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nicole Kidman's Hot -- She Condemns Terror, Too!

Yesterday's Los Angeles Times ran a full-page advertisement -- signed by a number of top movie stars -- lamenting the civilian casualties in Lebanon and denouncing "the terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas." The statement continued: "If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die. We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."

That's strong! Nicole Kidman's perhaps the biggest star to sign-on to the statement, although a bunch of other top Hollywood celebrities also endorsed the document: Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas, Patricia Heaton, Dennis Hopper, William Hurt, Don Johnson, Bernie Mac, Gary Sinise, Bruce Willis, James Woods, and Sylvester Stallone.

Well as it turns out, Jules Crittenden, in an online commentary over at the Boston Herald, couldn't resist getting some humorous mileage out of the ad:

I’ve been wondering if it is possible for me to describe exactly how much I don’t give a damn what actors think. Or rock stars. I should state at the outset that when actors lend their celebrity to raise money for cancer research and similar causes, I think it’s wonderful. On foreign policy, I just don’t give a damn. George Clooney has been almost as incensed about Iraq and the evils perpetrated by the Bush military junta, I mean administration, in the last few years as he was pre-911 about paparazzi paying attention to him. I don’t care.

Susan Sarandon and Barbra Streisand, amazingly, have stumped against Democratic presidential fodder Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman for their unforgiveable support for the war in Iraq. That, I cared about a little, because I am after all a tabloid newsman and it does have that "pigs aloft" quality to it. Ditto the Dixie Chicks, because everyone was running that naughty photo of them with the stories about them bashing Bush. Theirs is a special case. The Chicks, as a country act, have learned it isn’t wise to poop where you eat. Country fans didn’t appreciate their heartfelt peacenik blabbering.

Preachy Irish rocker Bono on third-world debt? Bono is loaded with cash. Hundreds of millions of our fan dollars. Maybe he should pay that debt off instead of coming after our tax dollars. I have appreciated his silence on Iraq, however. That’s a smart rocker. He still gets invited to the White House.

Crittenden goes off next on Sean Penn, and generally bemoans the preachy opinions of the glitter crowd. He does, further down, indicate that some stars occasionally buck the herd and come out with some backbone on an issue:

The problem with the gratuitous yammering is, actors and rock stars generally aren’t very bright. They are superficial. Their professional focus is on conveying emotion, whatever emotion the paycheck and the director demands at any given moment. They spend most of their time on stage, on movie sets, in Hollywood or in various vacation locales where the emphasis is not on reality. They are surrounded by staff whose jobs depend on keeping all mortal nuisances at bay. Presumeably, we’re supposed to care what they think, because we feel like we know these people, and they are everything we wish we could be. They say clever things on screen, look good and have money.

And war is bad. The tragic plight of innocents is important. These are easily grasped truths. Bitter experience shows us it is sometimes necessary to look beyond these immediate undeniable facts. This is a cruel truth. Foreign policy and war are extremely complex matters. Sometimes it has been that innocents are accidentally, tragically killed in the process of removing parties who purposefully have killed hundreds of thousands, or intended to do so. Sometimes those parties are directly responsible for the deaths of innocents when they hide and fire from among them.

This level of complexity is generally beyond the scope of the glitterati. Yesterday, a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times by an A-list of actors denounced the killing of innocents in Lebanon and Israel. They laid the blame exactly where it belongs. La-la luminaries Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas, Danny DeVito, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton of "Everyone Loves Raymond," William Hurt and 73 others said they are "pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas." The amount of logic and empathy on display, the willingness to break from prevailing views that Israel’s act of self-defense was "disproportionate" and that Hezbollah should be allowed to fire from within civilian populations, is astonishing.

I still, by and large, don’t give a damn what actors think. But in this case, the pigs have taken flight. I have a prediction. More of them will emerge. Actors who think it’s cool to oppose murderous terrorist groups and have the totally cool sophistication to appreciate some level of complexity in world affairs. Actors who have the ability to look past the immediate emotional impulse, buck the cocktail party clucking, and transcend superficiality. This is something different, and I’m interested.

Besides, Nicole Kidman is hot.

And she condemns terror, too!

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