The blond leading the blind crusade

White liberals like to think they have vast moral insight absent in lesser mortals. This is what gives them that tiresome smugness and allows them to sneer at white folk to the right and below, in politics and income, respectively. But these armchair revolutionaries don’t actually want to live out their social-justice dreams; they leave that to those poorer lab rats. Instead, they while away many a theatrical moment making facsimile stands of subversive timidity.

We need to give them a taste of real-life shitville on time-share basis. I propose PincheLand right here in my own little corner of the world. PincheLand offers exciting rides in stolen cars driven by drunk delinquents. Our cultured visitors can prowl the Lankershim corridor with amusing pimps, hookers and pock-marked johns. Lotta spit on the sidewalks, too. Say “midnight gang-bang” for sheer feminist enticement.

At night, they can retire to the WilliamNoTell Motel, where high intensity “anti-multicultural” street lights beam into their windows all night, accompanied by the brassy diversity and dulling thump of narcostrafficante mariachi howling at ear-splitting, foundation-cracking audio level.

Our betters may not exactly relish this particular vacation; by the end of two weeks, they’ll likely want to blow out their brains.

That’s something for the rest of us to relish.

If ever there’s a celebrity liberal’s liberal ready for a ticket punched to PincheLand it’s George Clooney, who managed to get himself arrested at Washington’s Sudan embassy last week, in a remarkably mild act of civil disobedience for which booking was the point, not regrettable outcome. This apparently was to call attention to Clooney’s particular cause – Darfur. (You thought I was going to say – what? – female wrestlers?)

He joins a Hollywood who’s who of celebrities printed and mugged for their political beliefs (as long as they’re out in time for cocktails at the Weinberg bros’ spread.) Hayden Panettiere! James Cromwell! (Now, there’s an NC-17 love scene match.) Some have quite long rap sheets. Darryl Hannah and omnipresent Susan Sarandon practically qualify for suspension of voting privileges.

It is admirable that he is willing to dedicate his time, health and resources to an issue he feels strongly about. I don’t doubt that he is earnest. But it has rubbed Sudanese – the most important interlocutors – up the wrong way. The eye-rolling offence that most Sudanese took at this latest incident doesn’t mean that they are necessarily fans of the government in Khartoum, but that they have a deep-seated suspicion of US selective moral outrage.

As a Sudanese, I am concerned not because I would like foreigners to stay out of internal affairs, but because the view Clooney is presenting to the world is not an accurate one. This is not out of any deliberate manipulation on his part, but Clooney’s campaign is rooted in a political culture that does not care for nuance. [The Guardian]

Leave it to those killjoy Brits to put pin to this balloon of politics and ego. Imagine! Actually getting reaction from a real Sudanese. Why, the very idea!

American news media prattled constantly about this or that aspect of Clooney’s arrest. Ordinarily, they don’t pay this much attention to off-set celebrities unless one of them unleashes a racist or anti-Semitic tirade.

At least that’s fun.

The late Elizabeth Taylor gave one of her best performances testifying about AIDS in 1992. Back in ’92, when a big movie star like Liz Taylor swept onto the Hill, dripping in pearls and diamonds, lawmakers and their staffers listened. When George Clooney appeared in a suit with carefully manicured stubble, senators did the same. [NPR]

Sometimes, as in the case of celebrity agitations against Syria’s crackdown on regime-change “opposition”, the campaign seems conjoined with other forces at work. Natalie Portman, Patrick Stewart and the ubiquitous Sarandon have posted public letters promising Syria’s Assad regime the world won’t forget its savagery.

“We hope they will help impress on the Syrian government and its few remaining supporters, including Russia, that the rest of the world will not turn a blind eye while mass atrocities are committed against the civilian population,” said Bolopion. “It was conceived as a show of solidarity to Syrian victims who must feel abandoned by the UN Security Council, whose hands have been tied by Russia and China.”

There have been calls that the U.S. “intervene” militarily in both Syria and Darfur. If you’re a little queasy at celebrities juggling such hot potatoes, join the fuckin’ club. In this militant mumbling, they join America’s neoconservative press – which also pressed war in Iraq and are doing so for Iran. Let’s take a moment and review success of our operations in Iraq, which will be decades repairing itself from our wondrous “liberation”.

Truth is, we’ve intervened enough over the past decade. When we do, more civilians end up dying than did under dread tyrannies we topple. There is nothing to do following such intervention but stick around to occupy the country until “stability” is restored – if ever.

Again, nothing could trouble a celebrity less. It’s absolutely certain they won’t see combat in such strategic missteps, they won’t be shredded by roadside bombs or strafe cameramen from helicopters hovering at distance. If anything, they’ll pop a few blanks or allow a squib to blow a hole in clothes they don’t own in made-for-cable movies about the invasion and subsequent boondoggle.

When art mixes with politics, both suffer. That’s a point I never tire of making.

And nobody listens. Shhh. Mr. Clooney is sermonizing.


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