Neither George Clooney nor Donald Trump seem like someone I’d want to hang out with. Clooney’s talented and has made some great movies—I just watched Michael Clayton again recently and it’s a really gripping, well told story—but on politics Clooney strikes me as being a typical Hollywood limousine leftist about a lot of things, arrogant and condescending. I’ve never met him though so I only know him from what I see and read, just like with President Trump, whose arrogance and pettiness, among other things, I also find objectionable. In any fight between the two I obviously lean toward the “rooting for injuries” camp but I’ll still watch.
A recent interview The Daily Beast did with Clooney naturally touches on the politics and Trump and there are some interesting cultural ideas to be drawn from it. At times Clooney makes some sense but comes across as the guy who is more interested in scoring a good put-down on whomever he’s criticizing than he is about making a larger point–again, a lot like Trump.
I found some points of agreement with Clooney, like with regard to the issue of Confederate flags. (I don’t adhere to the right’s conventional wisdom on this sort of thing.)
the Confederate flag was designed to be marched into battle against the United States of America in favor of racism, and they lost. It’s important to remember all these things. It’s literally a symbol of hate that was designed as a symbol of hate. So OK, you can wear it on a T-shirt or a hat because that’s freedom of speech and you can do whatever you want. I don’t give a sh*t. Those are the rules we’ve made as the United States, and I believe in them. But to have the Confederate flag on a statehouse paid for by African-American taxpayers? No f*ckin’ way!
Give or take a few nuances and that’s pretty much where I stand on that issue. The Confederates were wrong. They lost. Their symbols are a barrier to bringing people over to our side. Continuing to honor them is stupid. Sacrificing the future for a misguided and failed past makes no sense to me.
Clooney’s also right about Trump’s attempt at playing both sides when it comes to white nationalists.
Well, think about it this way: if I was President of the United States and David Duke is praising me and the white nationalists were talking about how I was on their side, the first thing I would do is I would come out and say, “F*ck these guys. Anyone who believes this is not in my camp, I don’t believe it, and I completely reject it.” Don’t play coy and claim that you don’t remember who David Duke is when you were actually running for president 25 years earlier and said that the reason you got out was because David Duke was in the party. That’s just a lie! So what you’re doing is winking at everybody and saying, “It’s OK, come on over, because that’s my base.” Well, that shouldn’t be your base! It’s the simplest thing in the world in politics: “Nazis bad.” It really doesn’t get any easier than that.
It’s hard to believe anyone would argue otherwise, but they have and they do. One of the many reasons I remain happily tribe-less.
The only film work of Steve Bannon’s with which I’m really familiar is his Sarah Palin documentary Undefeated some of the Andrew Breitbart related films to the extent he was involved, but Clooney seems familiar enough to poke fun. His first line about Bannon may be an insight as to why Trump
grabbed hired Bannon in the first place.
Steve Bannon is a p*ssy. Steve Bannon is a little wannabe writer who would do anything in the world to have had a script made in Hollywood. He wrote one of the worst scripts I’ve ever read—and I’ve read it. His fake Shakespeare-rap script about the L.A. riots. Oh, you’ve gotta read it! It’s just f*ckin’ terrible. But here’s the truth: if Steve Bannon had Hollywood say, “Oh, this is really great, and a really good script,” and had they made his movie, he’d still be in Hollywood writing his f*ckin’ movies and kissing my ass to be in one of his f*ckin’ films! That’s who he is. That’s the reality. It’s almost like someone in Hollywood should’ve given him a script—or approved one of his scripts—just to keep him out of the right wing.
I haven’t read that script but Shakespeare rap about the L.A. riots sounds like it would be as bad as Clooney describes it.
Clooney slides back to his lame leftism with a typical brain dead assessment of the media and politics, specifically regarding Trump’s crusade against “fake news.”
Watch how good Jake Tapper has been, and watch how good The New York Times, Washington Post, and even The Wall Street Journal have now taken their jobs, and watch how the other arms—the legislative branch, the judicial branch—they’re taking hold, and I’m optimistic. I feel that, well, with the exception of the one thing the president can do by himself, which is push a button, the checks and balances are starting to take hold. And I’m excited by that.
Suddenly the lefties are interested in checks and balances and in depth reporting, while it wasn’t long ago they seemed to want to make Obama their king. Another thing that makes Clooney and Trump similar is that their opinions and statements all seem to be generated in isolation from one another. Neither man has a strict ideology he adheres to so you can find things with which you agree and things that you just think are pure crazy. Often they can be self contradictory. Such is tribalism.
The best example is how Trump and his surrogates like to rage against coastal elites as if Trump is the quintessential everyman. Clooney’s assessment of that is a good one though most will judge it according to which tribe they belong to.
Here’s the thing: I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door-to-door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. I grew up understanding what it was like to not have health insurance for eight years. So this idea that I’m somehow the “Hollywood elite” and this guy who takes a sh*t in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.
It certainly is.
One thing though, George. Keep making movies and stay out of Washington. No more celebrity politicians, please.