Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Politics of Acting

San Francisco's Matier & Ross reported on a little spat brewing between Warren Beatty and Gov. Arnold:

Warren Beatty took a few shots at the Gubernator this past weekend, warning fellow actor Arnold Schwarzenegger that if he keeps sucking up to corporate interests, some "stooge" or "girlie man" might "pop up out of nowhere and eat you for lunch."

The ever-liberal Beatty delivered the warning shot at the annual Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights dinner down in Los Angeles, where he received the Phillip Burton Public Service Award.

(From his biggest fan, John Burton, naturally.)

After thanking the assembled politicos, Beatty fired the arrows. First, on Arnold's politics:

"A Schwarzenegger Republican is a Bush Republican who calls himself a "Schwarzenegger Republican."

On Arnold's no-tax pledge:

"The only taxes the governor has suggested raising are called fees and tuitions."

On Arnold's fund raising:

"If you're looking for something to terminate ... terminate your dinners with the brokers of Wall Street.... Terminate your dinners with the lobbyists of K Street.... Terminate collecting out-of-state right-wing money." Do the right thing, because after dining out at all of those rich and powerful fund-raising dinners, who knows—some 'stooge' or 'girlie man' or 'loser' may just pop up out of nowhere and eat you for lunch."

Asked Monday about Beatty's broadside by MSNBC'S Chris Matthews, Schwarzenegger quipped, "If he promises menot to give me advice in politics, I
promise him not to give him advice on acting."

By the way, despite rumors to the contrary, Beatty made it clear he won't be the one to eat Arnold for lunch.

"Make no mistake," Beatty said. "I don't want to run for governor. I'm not nearly as generous with my time as Arnold is."

No, but he is more generous with his thoughts.

These actors crack me up. Sure they're entitled to their opinions and maybe they actually do us a favor by vocalizing their views on the off chance it gets their little fans interested in governance, too. It's just so silly, though. Beatty might be on the other side of the fence, but linguistically he doesn't sound any different that Schwarzenegger. I'm always offended whenever lines from tv and the movies enter the debat. I usually like clever little double entendres and doublespeak, but I'm so sick of references to The Terminator and "girlie man" and all that crap.

I also find Beatty's actions ironic in light of his role in Bulworth, which I long resisted seeing but ended up liking a lot. Beatty wrote, directed, and starred in the 1996 political satire about a burned-out, incumbent Senator up for re-election who just wants to be done with it. All of it. At the start of the film he has a very real death wish, but he accidently decides he wants to live after accidently discovering that the way to America's heart is to speak one's mind, especially about ugly racial matters. It's damn funny in an absurdist sort of way. Like this banter between two actors, one of whom holds the highest office in the country's biggest state.

Beatty says he doesn't wanna run for governor, but I'm not sure I believe him, and believe me, without even having set an agenda, I'd vote for Beatty before Arnold. And remember how early in the last presidential race, people got all excited about a potential Martin "West Wing" Sheen candidacy? Talk about life imitating the movies. Reality is hard enough to handle sometimes without everything bleeding into everything else.


Anonymous Steve Rhodes said...

Beatty flirted with running for president in 2000, but I don't think he'll run for office.

He is right on the issues.

With a tax increase on rich people like him and Arnold, we wouldn't have needed to float another bond or make all the cuts being proposed.

And because the state has cut back on money that traditionally went to cities, they have had to raise fees and in some places taxes.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Eric Olsen said...

dude made a hagiographic movie called Reds, which positions him pretty firmly

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Richard Porter said...

Actually, there is a very interesting article profiling all of the good things Governor Schwarzenegger has done and is currently working on for California. Here is the link:

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Tristan said...




7:35 PM  
Anonymous Sydney said...

I think it is good that he's embracing alternative fuels but I think it's probably a less ambitious plan than that article suggests.

Also, though those initiatives they outline in the article may be well intentioned, don't all governors have a series of great inititiatives that they try to impliment? It's more important to focus on the destructive policies they stand behind.

As far as BEatty is concerned... I think actors should voice thier opinion but they should stay out of politics. Especially a nimwit liek Arnold. Using all that cheesy rhetoric instead of talking about the issues.

7:36 PM  
Blogger mpho said...

I don't think Beatty's gonna run; I just don't believe when he says he doesn't want to. In other words, I believe he'd like run the show, but he won't run. As for his politics, I'm probably like minded but it is the cheesy rhetoric that I find aggravating. It contributes to the downward spiral of political literacy. I'm not sure that I agree they should stay out of politics, but they should leave their characters behind.

The 2006 race for the CA governorship will be interesting no matter who runs though. See the next post...

As to Sydney's comment, I don't think being an actor should disqualify one for a candidacy--but it shouldn't automatically qualify someone either. I think a lot of the general public isn't sophisticated enough to make that distinction. It's like the Sprite commericials--obey your thirst not the glamour and glitz. Like one of the early candidates has already said, he'll be taking on a global action-hero, which is an unfortunate truth.

7:37 PM  
Blogger mpho said...

Richard, thanks for the NY Post piece. Haven't read it yet but I will.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Dave Nalle said...

I think Beatty wants to RUN for governor, he just doesn't want to have to do the hard work he'd have to do if elected. And I sympathize with him completely on that. I imagine nothing would be more fun for an aging actor than to get to make some really good invective-filled speeches and pound the podium in a political campaign. But it's not so much fun when you have to start bean counting and making deals.

8:51 AM  
Blogger mpho said...

Really well put, Dave. For that matter, I'm sure a lot of people fantasize about holding political office (regarding it as political power though the two are not always one and the same), but not a lot of people have the gumption and wherewithal to do it. It goes back to that "you can be anything you want if you put your mind to it. you can even be president" speech that many of us get in grade school no matter what color, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or whether we're fully physically abled. Then you start thinking about "If I ruled the world...." But for some it's "When I rule the world," and I think those are the people who really do it. Case in point: Arnold. There was never a doubt in his mind that he'd be master of the universe and he hasn't stopped marching towards that goal. In a way, I admire it. In other ways, it terrifies me. Not just him but all of those who feel they're just manifesting their destiny and that their destiny includes ruling over others.

8:52 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home