Commentary Magazine


Posts For: March 2, 2008

And the Oscar for Biggest Hypocrite Goes to. . .

The most interesting thing the French actress and new Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard said in a recent interview is not that she believes 9/11 was an inside job. There are plenty of big names in American entertainment who’ve said the same. Willie Nelson, Charlie Sheen, and Mos Def, for example, have brought their extensive political and engineering backgrounds to bear on the “question” and have determined that the perceived attack was really a flawlessly executed succession of high-tech tricks in a global Rube Goldberg scheme intended to . . .who knows? Something about insurance, gold, Israel, PNAC, and Iraq, I think.

No, the most interesting thing this successful, famous and wealthy Academy Awards winner said is that she’s not interested in prestige or riches, more specifically that she has no “Anglo-Saxon ambition.” Presumably, she was forced into a profession in which all that cumbersome money and adoration gets heaped upon those who make it. Furthermore, she must have been dragged kicking and screaming to the Academy Awards and forced, when her name was called, to cry and gasp and swoon as she did (or perhaps she was genuinely distraught to be the beneficiary of so much Anglo-Saxon recognition.)

Ms. Cotillard’s anti-Anglo-Saxonism and her painful paradox made me think instantly of the following passage from Walter Russell Mead’s book, God and Gold:

The true Waspophobe hates America because it is an insolent sea of vulgarity in which a triumphant and unrestrained rabble heedlessly treads underfoot the complex and subtle achievements that only the cultivated minority can support; he also hates America because it is a land of hideous inequality where the all-powerful plutocrats trample the silently suffering and impoverished masses into dust . . .The American must be hated because he is indifferent to the world, wrapped up in his own concerns to the exclusion of all else; he must be resisted because he is inflexibly and permanently determined to impose his values on the rest of the world. One despises America as a contemptible, exhausted, decadent society; one resists it because it is voraciously dynamic and expansive.

The weeping Oscar-winner hates America because it is the culmination of everything she wishes she did not desire.

On a related note, it’s worth commending a particular American actress who has come to an unpopular conclusion after surveying a much-criticized theater of “Anglo-Saxon ambition.” After visiting Iraq, Angelina Jolie wrote in a Washington Post op-ed:

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

I wonder: Does Marion Cotillard think Angelina is in on it, too?

The most interesting thing the French actress and new Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard said in a recent interview is not that she believes 9/11 was an inside job. There are plenty of big names in American entertainment who’ve said the same. Willie Nelson, Charlie Sheen, and Mos Def, for example, have brought their extensive political and engineering backgrounds to bear on the “question” and have determined that the perceived attack was really a flawlessly executed succession of high-tech tricks in a global Rube Goldberg scheme intended to . . .who knows? Something about insurance, gold, Israel, PNAC, and Iraq, I think.

No, the most interesting thing this successful, famous and wealthy Academy Awards winner said is that she’s not interested in prestige or riches, more specifically that she has no “Anglo-Saxon ambition.” Presumably, she was forced into a profession in which all that cumbersome money and adoration gets heaped upon those who make it. Furthermore, she must have been dragged kicking and screaming to the Academy Awards and forced, when her name was called, to cry and gasp and swoon as she did (or perhaps she was genuinely distraught to be the beneficiary of so much Anglo-Saxon recognition.)

Ms. Cotillard’s anti-Anglo-Saxonism and her painful paradox made me think instantly of the following passage from Walter Russell Mead’s book, God and Gold:

The true Waspophobe hates America because it is an insolent sea of vulgarity in which a triumphant and unrestrained rabble heedlessly treads underfoot the complex and subtle achievements that only the cultivated minority can support; he also hates America because it is a land of hideous inequality where the all-powerful plutocrats trample the silently suffering and impoverished masses into dust . . .The American must be hated because he is indifferent to the world, wrapped up in his own concerns to the exclusion of all else; he must be resisted because he is inflexibly and permanently determined to impose his values on the rest of the world. One despises America as a contemptible, exhausted, decadent society; one resists it because it is voraciously dynamic and expansive.

The weeping Oscar-winner hates America because it is the culmination of everything she wishes she did not desire.

On a related note, it’s worth commending a particular American actress who has come to an unpopular conclusion after surveying a much-criticized theater of “Anglo-Saxon ambition.” After visiting Iraq, Angelina Jolie wrote in a Washington Post op-ed:

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

I wonder: Does Marion Cotillard think Angelina is in on it, too?

Read Less

Silly Women — And Men

This very amusing, somewhat insightful but vastly overdrawn column on women overlooks a more interesting question than whether women have lost their rational minds. Rather than ponder why women swoon over Barack Obama or why Oprah has a media empire or why men make better drivers, it might be more interesting to ponder why men have fallen prey to the worst aspects of cliché feminism and emotionalized politics.

After all, a wide majority of Democratic men favor Barack Obama and apparently show no concern for the “tea with dictators” and “can’t we all get along” approach to foreign policy that may come with the deal. In some ways Hillary Clinton’s latest gambit has been to argue that Obama is a wimp who’s not man enough to take on the terrorists. She is trying to shake some sense into the fuzzy-headed Democratic electorate. (Granted that some of these male Obama voters, like the SNL skit suggests, may simply be fleeing from “Someone so annoying, so pushy, so grating, so bossy and shrill, with a personality so unpleasant, that at the end of the day [they] will have to go enough! We give up! Life is too short to deal with this awful woman!” ) It was Bill, not Hillary, who seemed to perfect the biting-the-lower lip, empathy-in-lieu of analysis style of politics.

One explanation for this mass wimp out by men is that male politicians, particularly Democrats, have simply learned to play on women’s emotions, adopting an excessively emotionalized style of politics and the language of self-help therapy that permeates feminine culture. Another is that liberal men have bought into the victimhood narrative of the women’s movement and have adopted the language and mindset of the “oppressed” while casting off that of the rational, linear “oppressor” male worldview. Whatever the explanation it seems plain that there are a lot of silly men who sound an awful lot like silly women.

Now, regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, we may be heading for one of the greatest gender gaps in political history. John McCain is perhaps the politician most immune to the feminization of political language. He not only does not feel your pain, he has little patience with it. He’s not going to whisper sweet nothings in your ear; he is going to give the hard truths and tell you to buck up. (Ask the Michigan auto workers, if you have any doubt.) By contrast, if Obama is the Democratic nominee, we are going to hear plenty about inclusion, less about confrontation and more about “dialogue” in both domestic and foreign policy. There is no problem too big for an encounter group. If Hillary is the nominee we will get more of the woe is me/fighting against the mean men complaints sprinkled with a heavy dose of “win one for the sister” identity politics. Let’s hope enough women (and men) haven’t lost their minds entirely as they assess the demands of a real world in which talk, conciliation and tears don’t work magic.

This very amusing, somewhat insightful but vastly overdrawn column on women overlooks a more interesting question than whether women have lost their rational minds. Rather than ponder why women swoon over Barack Obama or why Oprah has a media empire or why men make better drivers, it might be more interesting to ponder why men have fallen prey to the worst aspects of cliché feminism and emotionalized politics.

After all, a wide majority of Democratic men favor Barack Obama and apparently show no concern for the “tea with dictators” and “can’t we all get along” approach to foreign policy that may come with the deal. In some ways Hillary Clinton’s latest gambit has been to argue that Obama is a wimp who’s not man enough to take on the terrorists. She is trying to shake some sense into the fuzzy-headed Democratic electorate. (Granted that some of these male Obama voters, like the SNL skit suggests, may simply be fleeing from “Someone so annoying, so pushy, so grating, so bossy and shrill, with a personality so unpleasant, that at the end of the day [they] will have to go enough! We give up! Life is too short to deal with this awful woman!” ) It was Bill, not Hillary, who seemed to perfect the biting-the-lower lip, empathy-in-lieu of analysis style of politics.

One explanation for this mass wimp out by men is that male politicians, particularly Democrats, have simply learned to play on women’s emotions, adopting an excessively emotionalized style of politics and the language of self-help therapy that permeates feminine culture. Another is that liberal men have bought into the victimhood narrative of the women’s movement and have adopted the language and mindset of the “oppressed” while casting off that of the rational, linear “oppressor” male worldview. Whatever the explanation it seems plain that there are a lot of silly men who sound an awful lot like silly women.

Now, regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, we may be heading for one of the greatest gender gaps in political history. John McCain is perhaps the politician most immune to the feminization of political language. He not only does not feel your pain, he has little patience with it. He’s not going to whisper sweet nothings in your ear; he is going to give the hard truths and tell you to buck up. (Ask the Michigan auto workers, if you have any doubt.) By contrast, if Obama is the Democratic nominee, we are going to hear plenty about inclusion, less about confrontation and more about “dialogue” in both domestic and foreign policy. There is no problem too big for an encounter group. If Hillary is the nominee we will get more of the woe is me/fighting against the mean men complaints sprinkled with a heavy dose of “win one for the sister” identity politics. Let’s hope enough women (and men) haven’t lost their minds entirely as they assess the demands of a real world in which talk, conciliation and tears don’t work magic.

Read Less




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