Thursday, September 25, 2008

It Hurt My Feelings, but I'll Take You Back

Michael did wonders for my Sunday night blues, which had actually hit around noon that day, when he discovered it was Emmy night. I don't know why that one always sneaks up on me. The Oscars I obsess over starting about - well, now actually. (They don't happen until February or so.)

If you've read my blog before, you know I have a love-hate relationship with Hollywood. Except without the hate. I expect good things from them. Expect them to impress and thrill me. I'm very generous with the way they dress on the red carpet and usually very willing to approve all kinds of flamboyant colors, big fat bows by their necks, strange messy hair-do's, geometric patterns - all of it. Bring it on. I love their funny speeches, love it when they make fun of themselves, love it when they cry.

But this Emmy night I found myself being a little . . . flinchy. I think it's because I had seen this video with Matt Damon shortly before. Now, like I said, I love Hollywood. Matt Damon to me is the nerdy, adorable thief in the Ocean's movies who beat out Brad Pitt and George Clooney one year for People's Sexiest Man Alive and wrote the endearing note that "this dad from the suburbs" was extremely grateful for having been noticed in that way. I like him very much both for that and for being practically in junior high when he won his Oscar for Good Will Hunting, because I like seeing really big dreams come true. And, as I said, I love Hollywood in general. Along with the messy up-do's and gaudy bows, I also allow quite a bit of political bent in them. I think they have every right to spout a political opinion now and then. They're Americans. Just because I prefer it when they play pretend doesn't mean they're uneducated.

But Sunday, like I said, I was flinchy. It seemed that every one of them when they walked onto the stage was actually snarling. As a group they seemed so angry about the past eight years. So very angry. And they seemed to be angry with me - the little conservative girl in the midwest whose been a little too slow to acknowledge global warming and a little too narrow-minded in her social views. I mean, I pay these people's salaries. Not like an employer pays an employee but like tax payers pay the king, or perhaps like tribes-people sacrifice to the gods. I adore them. And I adore what they do. And I just wish they would keep influencing me through their art instead of their hatred. That's all I'm saying.

So I chose this picture by watchwithkristin on Flickr becuase it has Josh Groban in it (and in the background, Claire from Lost) because he was probably the only part of that night that was sheer happy entertainment. It's hard to snarl when you're singing the theme song to Friends.


Lori said...

Matt Damon made me so mad! He was just so mean! I have actually pretty much quit watching CNN (it's the only cable news I get) because they are mostly very biased and snarky about it. I understand people being mad but, jeeze, do they have to get out the knives? *Sigh*

Andrea said...

O.K. I can't decide which is scarier, Sarah Palin and her inexperience, or the fact that national news gives someone like Matt Damon, who openly admits that he doesn't know anything about her the platform to speak so openly and vehmently against her. Doesn't anyone see the inanity of all that? I have decided that the press thinks we are all morons, Hollywood believes them, (maybe that is why they are all so angry)and there is nothing I would love more than to see the election in Nov. prove them ALL wrong. Great blog!

Molly said...

Hmmm, I think you lost me on this one right about the time you said, "I expect good things from them".....

Tracy Pingel said...

But you see, throughout mankind's existence, art has always been influenced by, or is the expression of man's ideas/beliefs - not the other way around. Or another way of saying it is art, in it's varied forms, is a reflection of human condition. It is never, ever pretend.

serenity said...

"Just because I prefer it when they play pretend doesn't mean they're uneducated."

Tracy, your comment is very true. I don't think I wrote this part well. It was supposed to be tongue in cheek, addressing the suggestion that actors have no place in politics. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that they basically already have one - because their art reflects their beliefs - political, spiritual, social, etc.

I also use "play pretend" when I sincerely wish it was my job.

Matt Bowman said...

A part of me thinks I ought to keep this to myself, but that's probably just cowardice. I definitely respect your feelings, but I can't say I understand them. I don't know much about Matt Damon, but a lot of what he said has occurred to me as well. I didn't hear anything mean-spirited, just a statement of his concerns. I realize he is only getting on TV (or whatever that was from) because he is a movie star, but that's what movie stars do. If I wrote a novel and became famous (very unlikely!), would I then be automatically disqualified from expressing my opinion publicly? Journalists regularly get man-on-the-street opinions from random people about issues that are just as important. I put as much weight on what he has to say as those random man-on-the-street-interviews. If you put more, could that say more about your relationship to fame than it does about Matt Damon or the media?

I have heard confidence and polish in the bits of Sara Palin's speeches I've heard, but numerous times when I've heard her have to answer unscripted questions, she seemed to have no idea what the interviewer was even asking. Yes, that scares me in someone who could be president.

Being a soccer mom doesn't disqualify her. I think a woman having a chance to be in the White House is wonderful. Lack of knowledge about world situations and nuance in dealing with them could in my opinion.

Just some thoughts. :-)

Lucinda said...

Being a libertarian my desire is to see more equal representation of the different parties - there aren't just 2 of them. Secondly, I wouldn't buy whole heartedly into global warming either. Third, there are some pretty smart and stupid people in Hollywood. Fourth, I like to number my thoughts so you can keep them separate. And last of all I hate this $7Bil bailout.

Thanks for letting me express my thoughts on your board.

On a final note, I love to be entertained and Hollywood does a darn good job of it.

serenity said...

Matt, there is one thing you must have misunderstood. I am the very last person to say that actors have no right to speak publicly about their opinions. That is definitely not what I was trying to say, and I wish it hadn't seemed so.

Unfortunately, I just walked right into the slippery, horrible slope of having to talk about my politics (which are frankly almost nonexistent) - if only I had run this one by Felic, so she could have stopped me!

I'm surprised that you don't agree that Matt Damon shows some pretty strong emotion in this video. His sarcastic comments about the bad Disney movie seem quite personal and aggressive to me.

It very well could speak to my relationship to fame, because I care very much about what he said. I care that so much of our country is hurt and angered and appalled by the current administration and the mere thought that a similar one could be voted in this year.

But, despite having not decided yet how to vote, and despite feeling his concerns are rather valid (I saw the "Bush doctrine"/Charlie Gibson interview too), I still felt that I was on the other side of his politics. I have been slow to appreciate environmental issues. My interpretation of the bible tends to make my social views rather narrow and sometimes, I think, inadequate. I am trying to weigh current issues correctly, but will always be more conservative than someone of his opinion could appreciate. Therefore, I felt he was talking directly to me.

Then I tuned in to the Emmys, and felt the same opinions coming from many of the other actors and with similar emotion. I was tuning in to watch an awards show, awards for television that I love because entertainment has tended to inspire and motivate me. Instead, I felt I was being looked down upon and chastised. You can of course imagine how I flinch at that.

I probably didn't need to go into all that, because I think the reason you can't understand me is the difference in our relationship to Hollywood. I adore it - I cheerfully admit that - and I don't like feeling that It is angry with me. :)

Tracy Pingel said...

Hey Serenity,

Actually, I thought you wrote very well and made good no apologies needed. And it seems you've generated some interesting dialogue. Again, no apologies needed for braving the slippery slope. Keep on brave soul, keep on! :)


Matt Bowman said...

Tracy's right--no need for any apology as far as I can see! Your explanation makes sense, Serenity. I suspect the reason the comments didn't feel personal to me is a combination of my lack of relationship to Hollywood as you suggested and the fact that I might be one of those people who has been rather frustrated by some of what has gone on over the last eight years. Compared to some of the feelings I have had, the comments seemed mild!

I'm sorry if I made you talk about things you rather wouldn't or regret your post!

serenity said...

Far more than the politics thing I was just bummed that I hadn't written the post well enough for you to understand why I felt the way I did. I think we get each other now. I just hope Matt Damon and I can still be friends.

Tracy Pingel said...

Ouch, Seren. That makes me wonder if you write only to entertain yourself.

Matt Bowman said...

"Far more than the politics thing I was just bummed that I hadn't written the post well enough for you to understand why I felt the way I did. I think we get each other now."

Remember, it takes two to make a misunderstanding. Don't take all the credit! I think I was unintentionally associating some of the comments with your original post.

"I just hope Matt Damon and I can still be friends."

I'm guessing you'll manage. ;-)

Tracy Pingel said...


My last comment may be too blunt, and could cause unintentional offense.

Let me explain the 'ouch' part: I flinched when I read 'I just hope Matt Damon and I can still be friends', as if you might be dismissing the dialogue and other points of view your post generated.

My 'entertainment' comment is an honest wondering if your goal for your blog is to post for your own enjoyment, sort of like writing a diary, but one that everyone can see; to which I say great, fine, but calls for me to not be so pointed.

Lori said...

One of the many reasons I blog is because I love to entertain myself, and as we all know, I am easily entertained! I blog about political stuff because a)having a kid w. special needs makes A LOT of things political, b)the responses help me to get a thicker skin and c)again, as we all know, I am the Queen of Opinionated! I am glad to see all the discussion here and the working through of thoughts. So that alone makes your post awesome, Serenity. :)

serenity said...

I write for many reasons. Not one of them is to change anyone's politics, which is what I meant by the first part. By the second part I literally meant that everyone who has commented here is my friend first and will, I believe, be willing to work through disagreements with me. Matt Damon on the other hand I have no relationship with, and I don't like the fact that I dragged him into a debate in which he couldn't participate. It was also a reference to my "relationship to fame" that Matt B. referred to. It was meant to lighten the mood.

I think most writers write first for themselves and then for others. But I wouldn't put it here if it was only for me. You should feel free to continue being pointed.

To Lori, Andrea, Molly, and Lucinda (I loved your numbered list, Cindi!), I haven't reponded to you directly. I hope you know how much I love and appreciate your comments. Please don't think I love Matt Damon more than you.

serenity said...

*responded, it should say above.

Tracy Pingel said...

To be a little cheeky and frisky...I see I have more than Hollywood to go to, then, for entertainment. This is Tracy, signing out.

Molly said...

Of course I know you love me more than Matt Damon! I may not have his washboard abs, but I do have my own charms. Hehehe.

And as far as politics go, at least with this go round I think I might be the stereotypical social conservative and vote based on only one issue -- life. The rest is just wood, hay and stubble.

Widney Woman said...

Wow. I love a good blog discussion!!

Ah, Seren, I get what you said about "not writing the post well enough..." But if you had, we might not have had such great discussion.

Molly, I do think the decision for president of the country has to do with more than just one position - life. The current administration is pro-life, but I don't think the moms and wives and children of our war dead would agree with that categorization.

I get that the unborn need to be protected. But if the economy is tanked, and joblessness is high, how many young women do you think are going to make the choice to be a single parent as opposed to abort?

The economy is of serious concern these days. We have a war going. People are scared. The presidency of the United States of America does not just affect unborn babies. The presidency of America does not just affect Americans. The presidency of America affects the world. It affects the safety of many nations. It affects the world economy.

In the last 28 years, pro-life presidents have been in office for 20 of those years but Roe vs Wade has not been overturned. I'm wondering how anti-abortion those pro-life presidents really were/are. Or if they are maintaining a stance for votes.

I hope all Americans do research on the candidates and vote based on truth and not media hype or religious hype. Too many of us research our next car purchase in greater detail than we research our vote for the next president. I wonder how many people have even done the simplest task of research - reading the full Wikipedia write up on each candidate.

jasonwidney said...

widney woman - can you even vote?

Widney Woman said...

Well, Jason, as a Canadian, I was able to speak first hand to the impact America has on other countries...

I believe most Canadians feel they should be able to vote in the US presidential election - And not just because all of our prime time shows are pre-empted for political debates...

serenity said...

I heart the Widneys. I definitely think Canadians should either get to vote or get their television shows back. (Speaking of television, Look how it's come full circle!)

You made great points, Widney Woman. And you're right (and Lori and Tracy for also pointing it out), I am glad there has been discussion here.

Also, to Lucinda, I got a phone call last night from a computer asking which candidate I would be voting for, and McCain and Obama were my only choices. I thought of you and hung up in protest to the exclusivity of it. Thank you for pointing that out!

Tracy Pingel said...

Serenity, what do you mean by television coming full circle? And were you protesting the computer only listing two choices...because there are definitely more candidates running from other parties.

Andrea said...

I found this quote today, and it humbled me, something I am always in need of and I'll share it.
Discussion is ALWAYS good, otherwise how would we ever really know each other, warts and all. Keep writing Renie!

Our opinions, like our salvation, must be worked out with fear and trembling.
- Peter van Inwagen

serenity said...

Television coming full circle, i.e., my post was technically about the Emmys, which is the television awards show.

And, yes, Lucinda had pointed out that she wishes there was equal representation for each political party, not just dem and repub. That was fresh in my mind when I got that phone call which asked me only which of those two tickets I was choosing. I tried to cast my vote as undecided rather than actually protesting (since I probably will vote for one of the major ones), but I was on a rotary phone, and it didn't work. I wanted to point out to Cindi, though, that she opened my eyes to something I hadn't seriously considered before.

serenity said...

Awesome quote, Andrea!

Molly said...

I think perhaps I need to clarify. I did not mean that I had not researched our candidates or the issues that face America today. What I mean is that I think the whole system of Washington is broken and it is going to take a lot more than one candidate who believes in change (they're both running on that platform now, have you noticed?) to fix it.

As far as that fixing goes I think John McCain has as much credibility as anyone as his record does show that he has worked well in the past with both parties.

BUT I also know that the political climate in America is such that nobody wants to be seen working together right now because they come off as soft, or as devaluing their party's positions. (which is why a lot of republicans hate John McCain-stupid) And I'm therefore not very hopeful that things will change anytime soon no matter who gets elected. But you gotta start somewhere I guess.

As far as the economy is concerned, neither of them have education or experience in this area, yikes. I can't really speak for the decisions that people will make because of money, I can only be responisble for my own choices and I cannot in good concious vote for someone who is pro-choice. I agree with Cindy that I wish there were more -- viable, election winning -- choices in candidates.

Now seriously, where IS Felicity when you need her to stop you from writing ill-advised blogs/comments???

Tracy Pingel said...

Thanks Serenity, for explaining 'TV full circle' comment. I didn't even connect it to your original post! I thought possibly you were referring to Canada and interrupted TV shows and debates... And with your last comment on 'equal representation', where do you think the inequality comes from? Or who controls it?

And by the way, with my posting here, again, I'm not assuming you must reply. You've certainly been busy enough today. :)

FYI...another post idea would be to talk about what does Andrea's quote mean.

And, sorry Molly, but I couldn't disagree with you more. I don't see what's wrong with what Serenity posted or why she would need to run it by someone. I truly mean that.

Molly said...

Tracy, with the Felicity comment I meant ME, not Serenity, AND it was a joke.

See, she did need to stop me from an ill-advised comment. The internet can be such a tricky venue for conversation.

Tracy said...

Molly, the same goes for you...I don't see anything wrong with what you wrote either. :)

Felicity said...

Oh, don't worry, I'm here, Molly. As protective Big Sis I am always here and have typed and deleted several comments myself.

I've just been practicing the Mark Twain quote Mom and Dad used to say all the time: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!"

This may become my new blogging philosophy! :)

Molly said...

I swore to myself I wasn't going to say anything else, but I was just reading back through and Serenity? A rotary phone? Seriously? Those still exsist? :-)

Widney Woman said...

Molly, you and I totally agree...I did not know rotary phones still existed outside of the A G Bell Museum.

Widney Woman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Widney Woman said...

sorry Serenity. I accidently posted the same comment twice and tried to delete it but it didn't quite disappear in cyberspace. Downside to blogging on an iPhone perhaps. I'll put it away and watch my $11.50 movie now. I am so going strictly DVD from now on!!

SolShine7 said...

You know what I just realized...I like waiting to come to your blog so I have a bunch of posts to read at one time. Kind of like not watching a TV when it originally airs then waiting to buy the DVD so you can satisfy your craving with a bunch of episodes at a time. Now onto the topic of your post:

I kind of agree with you. I like a happy Hollywood. I used to live in Hollywood, right around the corner from Grauman's Chinese Theater and in general Hollywood has some really dirty looking grimy parts out the hot spots. But I digress, I like it when I hear acceptance speeches that are filled with hope and thankfulness. When actors are overwhelmed with emotion to have "finally made it."

On the other hand, I am really amazed with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's dedication to human rights issues. And I'm glad to see more actors speaking up for causes that are close to their heart. But I prefer the actors who aren't pushing a political party but instead just simply out there trying to help people live a better life.

Great post Serenity!

serenity said...

Solshine, I like it when you do that as well because then I get a boatload of lovely comments from you on the various subjects. I hope I get a real life sit-down heart to heart with you someday. Thank you for the kind encouragement you wrote on previous posts!

Tracy said...

HOLY CRAP! (Can I say that here?) What a lot of posts!!! It must be an election year.
Just wanted to let you know, Serenity, that I SOOO enjoy your posts and they often either a) give me something meaningful to think about or b) make me smile.
I like both kinds!!

Anonymous said...

Seren-now you didnt think I could sit quietly did you? :)
One thing: if I ever go to the internet and see your blog has gone away, I would be very sad. This post has generated fantastic discussion/debate.

That, my friend, is a good WRITER.
Political comments? nah, I'll call ya
(LOL) *I listened Felic*

Andrea said...

I was just re-reading all the delicious discussion this particular blog has fostered, and saw this statement you wrote in response to Matt at the beginning of all this : “My interpretation of the bible tends to make my social views rather narrow and sometimes, I think, inadequate.” It reminded me of something I heard Chuck Swindoll say on the radio the other day. “We have taken our faith and made it fit our culture, whereas, we should take our culture and make it fit our faith.” It made me ask myself, do I do that? Your blog has made me see that many of us do that, or try to. Because in making our culture fit our faith, particularly in politics, is very hard. As to you going down that “slippery slope” of politics, perhaps in the old days the code of the day for public conversation (and I’m showing my age here), is that there were three things one never discussed in general public conversation, sex, politics, and religion. But then having lived through the 60’s and 70’s, we found, something’s HAD to be discussed, and we did. We’ve come a long way from the “old days” haven’t we?

Ben said...

Wow! What a conversation! Great post Serenity. I too feel the same way about Hollywood. Love it...yet at times I hate it.

Thanks so much for posting my Dad's book to your site. Great blog!


Lucinda said...

AWESOME!!! A POLITICAL DISCUSSION! You know Serenity, if you want this discussion to end you can tell us all to go to he.....hijack someone elses blog.

Thank you for appreciating the thought that goes into numbering lists. I also must in all seriousness thank you for thinking about what I said about representation, for no other reason than that you saw something you hadn't before.

My choice will always be the candidate I feel is the most interested in protecting my freedom. I don't care what party that is.

Are you sure you don't love Matt Damon more than me....He's a pretty cool guy, kinda hot! I don't know - Matt Damon, Cindy...Cindy, Matt Damon - man, it's a toss up.