It was recently reported that several celebrities, including Brad Pitt, Jason Alexander, Ed Norton and Danny DeVito, are part of a group very interested in Israeli politics, and even more interested in vociferously airing their voices in an effort to persuade Israelis to vote out Prime Minister Netanyahu. Don’t get me wrong – as an American, we all enjoy and treasure our right to free speech. Everyone gets to have an opinion. But –maybe, just maybe – celebrities leverage their fame to convince those who can’t form their own opinions to adopt those of the celebrity. Sadly, a lot of people buy into it. “Yeah – Eddie Redmayne played Stephen Hawking, so Eddie Redmayne must know String Theory.” “Wow – Benedict Cumberbatch cracked the German Enigma machine!” “Bradley Cooper’s a really good shooter!”
All too often, someone famous for action-adventure films or walking a runway wearing wings, or throwing a no-hitter in the major leagues or hosting celebrity roasts on a cable network, instead of wisely thinking, “I won the looks lottery,” or “the talent lottery” or “I’m not even particularly talented or good-looking and if I had half a brain I’d still be missing half a brain,” finds it necessary to stick his nose and his often less-than-informed opinion into the faces of people who think that the fact you might have been People magazine’s “Sexiest Man of the Year” means that your thoughts on world peace, sports, politics, agriculture, global warming, or microwave popcorn are welcome, relevant or valid. Sadly, a lot of people buy into it.
For those who do, perhaps it wouldn’t be unwise to occasionally consider your source. I have…
Were it not for being cast as NBC’s first “Biggest Loser,” (Seinfeld’s George Costanza), most people would nod in vague recognition that you played Richard Gere’s balding, chubby and deviant lawyer in the 1982 film, “Pretty Woman.” When we see you on the occasional talk show or dinner-theatre performance, we think, “Oh yeah—that’s George from ‘Seinfeld.’” And yet, according to Google, Jason Alexander is quoted as referring to himself as a “Peace Ambassador” for the Middle East. Really? Really? A Gortex Ambassador, I could buy. Maybe a “Shrinkage” Ambassador. A Napping-Under-Your-Desk-While-at-Work Ambassador? Absolutely. I’m going to proffer that perhaps you should be spending less time on foreign affairs and more time looking for acting work because, according to my calculations, he’s about a year away from competing on “Celebrity Apprentice.” In the inimitable words of George Costanza, “Remember who you’re talking to. No one’s a bigger idiot than me.”
Kudos for taking the “good looks” card and running it as far as humanly possible. In fact, people almost think you can act. You are a movie star who has mistaken fame for intelligence. I’ve heard you speak. I heard you’re philanthropic, and that’s great. You can continue to give money away to worthy causes but that’s not a free pass to espouse your political views. No one elected you. People are pretty much angry that, because of your good looks and your wife’s good looks, stupid people the world over think the two of you are a latter-day Winston Churchill and Golda Meir, only good-looking. Your wife represented the U.N., an institution that’s as fair to the State of Israel as Peter Minuet was to the Native Americans.
You’re against Bibi? Your choice. I’m against just about every film choice you’ve ever made. “Benjamin Button?” You looked like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. “Meet Joe Black”? You played “Death” as in “bored-to-death” as in how most people feel watching that movie. “Troy”? “The Mexican”? I know you’re not interested in what I think. Now you know how it feels when I have to hear your opinions on anything other than, maybe, dental whitening strips.
DANNY DE VITO
First, you’re about as relevant as Shecky Greene, only shorter. You’ve played Louis De Palma in every series and film you’ve been in since Taxi, and you make the Travelocity Gnome look statuesque. Do you impose yourself into Iranian politics? No – they’d shoot you. North Korean politics? No, they’d hack into your computer and then shoot you. Cuban politics? No, they’d sell you some really good cigars. And then shoot you. You aren’t Israeli, you aren’t a Jew, I’m not even sure you have 23 sets of chromosomes. Stop trying to be a political activist. Stop blaming us just because you’re married to Carla from “Cheers.”
First, I’d prefer listening to the political rantings of Ed Norton from “The Honeymooners,” than to you. All over the Internet, you are quoted as proclaiming yourself “an honorary Jew.” By whom? I spoke to every Jewish person I know and none of us remembers bestowing this honor upon you. Honorary “Actor-We’ve-All-Kind-of-Forgotten”? Sure. Honorary “If-You-Were-A-Woman-And-Looked-Like-You-You-Wouldn’t-Have-Ever Gotten-Work” actor? Absolutely. Being a guest at Bar Mitzvahs when you were 13 year-olds doesn’t make you an honorary Jew. Sorry. But on behalf of all of us, thanks for the savings bonds and fountain pens.
Gentlemen, clearly no one has reminded you of Mark Twain’s aphorism, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” The State of Israel needs your advice about who to vote for about as much as they need an ISIS pre-school. Perhaps the brilliant writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz said it better than I ever could in his Oscar-winning American film, “All About Eve,” when playwright Lloyd Richards remarks to a very whiny and entitled actress, Margo Channing, “I shall never understand the weird process by which a body with a voice suddenly fancies itself as a mind.”