June 26, 2006


H'WOOD WARRIOR RIPS CLOONEY (PageSix, June 26, 2006, NY Daily News)

Pat Dollard was Soderbergh's 10- percenter until he ditched his lucrative Tinseltown career to make a pro-war documentary about U.S. Marines fighting insurgents in Iraq. Last year, his Humvee convoy was blown up in Ramadi, killing two Marines and sending Dollard to the hospital with a concussion and shrapnel wounds.

So it's understandable that Dollard might have been annoyed when Clooney chastised Democrats last year for not having the guts to condemn the war. While Dollard was careful not to name names, he told Page Six that he went into "a black rage" while in Iraq after reading a certain movie star's pompous pronouncements online.

"I read something on the Internet in which someone was patting himself on the back for having the courage to oppose the war," Dollard recalled. In an obvious reference to Clooney, who owns a villa in Italy, he said, "They actually equate bravery with speaking out against the president because [losing fans] might cost them one less servant at their Italian villa . . . It put me into a black rage and made me sick to my stomach." [...]

Dollard says his enthusiasm for the war has left some of his former showbiz colleagues cold. "Being a Republican in Hollywood today is not much different than being a communist in Hollywood in the 1950s," he said. "I'm not trying to overstate the case, but the reality is there is a blacklist in Hollywood. It's very McCarthy-like. It just shows the hypocrisy of the left."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 26, 2006 8:01 AM

To my knowledge, no one has ever asked Clooney exactly why he 'opposes' the war. He won't go on O'Reilly, so my guess is he is short in the courage dept. And long in the self-congratulations dept. After all, claiming to be bold for speaking out against the war from Hollywood is like a fish claiming boldness for staying the water.

Has he gone to Iraq or Afghanistan? Many have. David Letterman went to Iraq. George has some catching up to do.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 26, 2006 8:24 AM

It's a pretty pathetic commentary on the state of intellectuals in America that a pretentious line-reader is taken seriously as an artist and intellectual force.

Posted by: jeff at June 26, 2006 11:07 AM

"It's a pretty pathetic commentary on the state of intellectuals in America that a pretentious line-reader is taken seriously as an artist and intellectual force."

Just to tie this in with the subject of one of Clooney's recent movies, that's almost exactly the same way that historically we've lionized television news readers, as Burt Prelutsky, himself a veteran Hollywood screenwriter recently turned conservative, noted.

I'd like to think that in terms of both Hollywood and television news, the American public is becoming smarter about the fact that what we're praising is the ability to properly emote during key words and sentences, not some kind of advanced mental reasoning that gives these people keen insight. But I think there's always going to be those who hold both groups on a pedestal.

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at June 26, 2006 12:44 PM

Ed: Following up on your linked post, the sense that it is faintly ridiculous to pay someone millions of dollars to read a teleprompter led to my least favorite tool of modern journalism: when the anchor interviews the reporter. Leaving aside that it is always stilted and contrived, and that it is self-evident that the reporter wrote the "questions" to which he is responding, it is one "newsman" interviewing another. There really is no there there.

NPR being the ne plus ultra of the modern newsbiz, Morning Edition and ATC consist of almost nothing but the anchor interviewing the reporter.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 26, 2006 1:43 PM

I think people will always admire acting talent, because acting is something that not everyone can do well. What's changing, I think, is that people used to (or, at least, the media sure made it look like people used to) equate acting talent with what might be called "general intellectual omnicompetence." So long as actors were smart enough to maintain a classy image in public (however debauched they were in private), and the media was willing to go along with the pretense, this fiction could be maintained. With the rise of celebrity journalism, actors with more sense of entitlement than common sense now routinely embarass themselves in public, and the fiction collapses.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 26, 2006 2:36 PM

Intellectuals? Clooney, someone who may or may not have finished high school? How about narcissistic pompous big mouths?

Posted by: ic at June 26, 2006 2:40 PM

Mike Morley,
I agree with your post but I don't think it applies to most actors. Many of the most popular actors (Clooney, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood ...) play the same character in most every movie. When you see them in an interview, their gestures and expressions are the same as when acting. It's more about luck and genetics than talent.

Posted by: Patrick H at June 26, 2006 4:33 PM


"When you see them in an interview, their gestures and expressions are the same as when acting. It's more about luck and genetics than talent."

I think that especially with some of the older actors, you could/can see the difference between acting and their public personas when they went on a talk show. I know James Garner has said that he's terrified of public speaking, and he was always incredibly reserved when appearing, on say, The Tonight Show. I think Paul Newman is a bit the same. But given a decent script and a competent director, they can both turn it on and project star power.

(But that doesn't mean I should care about their opinions on anything beyond which camera lens and lighting fresnel makes them look the best.)

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at June 26, 2006 9:12 PM