Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Limousine Liberals

Liberals like to pose as the champion of the little guy.

They claim to be the ones who are in tune with the blue collar worker.

They sympathize with the plight of the downtrodden.

They stand up for those who are exploited by evil corporations.

But occasionally, one of these big-hearted liberals slips up and reveals what he really thinks.

On Sunday night, Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin was co-hosting a radio program with Brian Whitman on WABC in New York. He made some disparaging remarks about Sean Hannity, and Mr. Hannity called in to discuss the remarks. Alec Baldwin, who has publicly called Vice President Cheney a terrorist and suggested that Henry Hyde be stoned to death, was not willing to defend his comments with substance. Instead, he immediately launched a personal attack against Sean Hannity. The actor searched for the deepest, darkest, most demeaning insult that he could conjure up, and he came up with this gem:

"Why would I want to come on the show with a no-talent, former construction worker hack like you? "

In a single sentence, Alec Baldwin revealed what he truly thinks of real Americans. Construction workers are the people who make America work. We all depend on them for the houses we live in, the buildings where we work, shop, and live out our lives, and the roads we drive on. Baldwin shows the height of his arrogance and condescension by using "construction worker" as an insulting epithet. He believes that his career of pretending to be someone not only makes him better than the rabble who pay admission to his films, but also makes his opinions more valid and more important than anyone else's. The fact that Baldwin thinks that calling someone a "former construction worker" is an insult reflects much more on Baldwin than on the target of Baldwin's diatribe.

Although Baldwin's self-importance has not yet reached the level of Richard Gere, who claimed to speak for the entire world, it is getting close.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Making it all worthwhile

Sometimes something happens which makes it all worthwhile.

Yesterday, my wife was talking with our 6-year-old son. He was telling her about how he was going to have eight boys when he grows up. He told her that he would need a big house for all of those kids.

My wife said, "You'd better work hard in school so that you can get a good job. You need to be able to support that family, and you don't want your wife to have to work and put the kids in day care."

My son said, "What is day care?"

At that moment, all of the effort we have made to be sure that one or the other of us is always available to be with the kids paid off. We could live in a fancier house, drive a nicer car, and have a bigger checking account, and get more sleep if we dumped the kids in day care while we both went to work. But what is the point of having kids if you are going to hire someone to raise them? Investment in things which last and things which really matter will always pay off.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Real Westerns

I used to watch the Academy Awards, or at least I was interested enough to find out who won. I watched two years ago when the third Lord of the Rings movie swept most of the categories. I will not be watching this year. Politics have taken over the Academy, and people are voting to prove how "enlightened" they are, rather than based on the quality of the films.

Brokeback Mountain is a perfect example of this. The Actor's Screen Guild was right in passing it up, but it will almost certainly win a bunch of Oscars on Sunday. Personally, I much preferred Crash for best picture. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. Joaquin Phoenix would get my vote for best actor, for his role in Walk the Line. And why didn't Russell Crowe even get a best actor nomination for Cinderella Man?

One positive note is that Brokeback Mountain was not nominated for best documentary, even though the equally fictitious "Bowling for Columbine" won that category two years ago, again based on politics rather than merit.

Brokeback Mountain is not the only nomination which reveals Hollywood's political agenda. Other nominated films show a gay writer as a soulful artist, a transsexual as a responsible parent, a Palestinian suicide bomber as a thoughtful, conscience-driven activist, greedy oil company executives as, well, greedy oil company executives, and Senator Joe McCarthy as (gasp) a threat to American civil liberties. Positive representations of Christians, conservatives, or white hetersexuals are strangely missing.

Brokeback Mountain is popular in Hollywood because it is an attack on the American history of the west as a place of rugged individualism where the men are, well, manly. Although I am not a big fan of westerns, I love the distinctly American culture they reflect. I plan to spend Sunday evening celebrating the American West by watching a true, red-blooded American Western. I have not decided on which one to watch yet, but my prime candidates are: True Grit, The Shootist, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, or Red River.