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Why George Clooney should be acting up

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Why George Clooney should be acting up

Post by Katiedot on Sun Mar 25 2012, 12:22

Very interesting take on him:

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Why George Clooney should be acting up

Published: Sunday, Mar 25, 2012, 10:00 IST

By Shreevatsa Nevatia | Agency: DNA

George Clooney knows how to keep himself busy. After spending a week finalising the release details of his upcoming brand of tequila — called Casamigos for some reason — he went and topped his shot-glass by joining the Obamas for dinner, helping them entertain the British prime minister. But since sitting next to Michelle didn’t prove to be all too entertaining, George decided to do the next best thing. He got arrested the day after while campaigning for Sudanese rights in Washington.

This latest move has found him detractors from both sides of the liberal divide. They find his plurality of selves and assumption of disparate roles contradictory in nature. But in my mind, it is not so much hypocrisy that one can detect in Clooney’s activism, it is the actor’s ability to constantly metamorphose himself, either for his own gain, or as in the case of Sudan, for a greater good of others. And let’s face it — shifty chameleons with disarming faces could make us all feel a little uncomfortable.

Seeing Clooney in handcuffs must have undeniably appealed to the more basic instincts of many a squealing woman, but more interestingly, Clooney’s arrest was not entirely without a sense of parody. He identified himself as Brad Pitt while being cuffed, and while this might seem nothing more than an off-handish typical Clooney quip, it works as both an indictment and defence of celebrity activism.

Our perception of celebrities and the glossiness that clouds their much-gossiped lives doesn’t always leave much room for altruism. So it really wouldn’t make much of a difference if it really was Brad and not George getting into some trouble. That’s what these men do for a lark, or at least that’s the assumption. Worse still, the stereotype of a toiling activist seems a far stretch from the cushioned life of an actor. If an Arundhati Roy can be accused of being disingenuous because she doesn’t live like the subjects with whom she empathises, Clooney and the rest of the brat pack hardly stand a chance. But where being convincing can never be that simple, the aura of celebrity can arguably be useful when the lack of a voice needs to be heard. The brouhaha that surrounds Clooney’s arrest is evidence of just that fact.

Clooney’s critics are miffed for many a reason. Their most important grouse is that when Clooney talks about the conflict in Sudan, he has no idea of nuance. That, for him, the bombing of civilians in the Nuba Mountains by the government in Khartoum is just a massacre of blacks by Arabs. Many have argued, and justifiably so, that the blood which has flown has been the result of a far more convoluted historical fabric that must also take into account factors such as personal aspirations, varied ethnicities and grazing rights. Data of this kind would perhaps be hard for Clooney’s Save Darfur campaign to compile, even with all its precise satellite tracking that helps the actor claim the advent of a “genocide paparazzi.”

There is undoubtedly a bit of Hollywood in Clooney’s ways and a bit of Tony Blair too, especially when he parrots “I want to be on the right side of history”, but never have I found issues surrounding Sudan being discussed with such passion in recent times. The trick, if it were that, seems to have worked. A few hours in prison has the Guardian enthralled and the Huffington Post in a huff. It was as easy as all that.

Let’s face it, George Clooney has always been a bit of a do-gooder. He started of as a doctor in ER and then bought down the evil corporation in Michael Clayton. He also tried to save the United States by staring at goats, and recently brought together a warring family The Descendants. But more than his acting career, long and eventful as it has been, it is his directorial efforts that compel one’s critical consideration and make it very difficult to separate the man’s larger ethics from his profession.

Three of the four films that Clooney has directed — Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night, and Good Luck and The Ides of March — have been unabashedly political. Each one has portrayed a politics that is not only well thought, but also substantially wary of the establishment. If Good Night, for instance, pleaded for a more evolved journalism, Ides of March clearly demanded a domestic politics that wasn’t sullied by all-encompassing greed and ambition. The film, which based itself on impending presidential elections, came right before the Republicans brought their fresh artilleries out in 2011. There really wasn’t a more political statement that the actor could have made. More importantly, you couldn’t fault him for a lack of nuance.

By the end of Ides, it becomes rather difficult to say whether Clooney’s character of a cheating, back-stabbing, yet imperious governor is a fill-in for Brutus or Caesar. I suspect that Clooney’s critics have much the same problem when they look at him hobnob with governmental heads on the one hand and espouse an inclusive worldview on the other. It was recently argued that he might have chosen Sudan and not Afghanistan to champion because he’ll have less to lose. That might well be true, but for now, Clooney is our man at the high table, and whether it is tequila that he is selling or Sudan that he is saving, he does seem to be the right fit.

Even if you don’t agree with the juxtaposition, Aamir Khan’s varied social interests make him an ideal counterpart to Clooney. Not everyone was pleased to see him sit next to Anna Hazare as the Gandhian decided to break his fast, but in hindsight if it is dialogue that we really want to engineer, it may be better to start with the table at which Obama eats or that at it which Anna doesn’t. Because the desk that we thump and use to pontificate has sadly become far too much of a cliché.


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Re: Why George Clooney should be acting up

Post by davidarochelle on Sun Mar 25 2012, 14:13

Like it or not most of the world follows celebs and their antics, rather than the more depressing "straight" news stories. G in handcuffs joking that he is really Brad Pitt is entertaining. Shedding light on atrocities is the one thing a celeb can do that the rest of us cannot. And G must "court the press" if he wants to keep the power of his celeb status, rather than always be dissed as a "Hollywood do gooder." By having dinner with the Obamas, G shows that he wants to work within "the system." In contrast G proves that is still a "fun guy" and who enjoys and promotes tequila and partying. Definitely not boring to the paps.

Super clooney-astic fantastic

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Re: Why George Clooney should be acting up

Post by it's me on Sun Mar 25 2012, 17:47

exactly what he wants

it's me
George Clooney fan forever!

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Re: Why George Clooney should be acting up

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