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?