• http://nonbreakingspace.com/ howard

    Exactly – I haven’t exactly followed Matt Damon’s political commentary to this point, but I have a feeling we’re on pretty much the same page about Sarah Palin’s vice-presidency.

  • Jack

    1. Listening to political commentary from actors is like eating every meal at dinner theater it might be somewhat entertaining but offers no real substance or true nutritional value; and in large quantities is rather harmful for your health
    2. The only actors whom I listen to about politics are those actors whom have chosen to exclusively portray politicians for a large part of their career like Ronald, Arnold, Fred, and Jesse*

    *Sorry WWE fans its acting

  • http://www.merujo.com Merujo

    Jeezus – this is exactly what I keep saying to friends. Seriously. I *heart* Matt Damon.

  • Spencer

    Hmm – you could say the same about most politicians. Honestly you could say the same about most people.

    I happen to agree with Matt – and I’ve heard him talk on politics before – he’s not your standard Matthew McConauhey style himbo.

  • grace

    I think it’s funny when people say actors should shut up about politics. They are just citizens, like the rest of us. If they vote, they can talk. It didn’t stop Charleton Heston. Building substance happens from a conversation to which every citizen can contribute. I’d like to know who is qualified to comment and who isn’t. Where is that line drawn?

  • Jack

    I am not saying that he does not have the right to state his opinion…he does…its just that his ability to portray another person in dramatic and/or humorous matter provides him a much wider distribution of his ideals/thoughts/opinions than say my Mother (whom votes). Yet his opinion is at the end of the day is no more valuable than the avg voter…because he is famous for simply pretending to be other people and being really good looking. Yet many folks will feel that he is somehow more informed or smarter (famous people should be emulated is the CW); but he is not any smarter based on his profession he just has a much bigger megaphone. The actuarial tables thing is a bit over the top; I mean I somehow doubt he had the time to run those while he was bulking up for another Jason Bourne film. But he certainly acted very informed and smart.

    People find role models in sports stars and hollywood people; I guess I just like to look a little closer to home thats all.

    I do not think Heston ever ran for or held office. He was a very interesting man a fairly liberal democrat in the 60′s whom participated in the civil rights movement and stumped for JFK; becoming president of the NRA toward the end of his life as he became more conservative.

  • Spencer

    When Michael Jordan played, he was criticized for not using his fame to promote tackle some of the ills facing this country, Especially considering those poor kids that would drop $100 plus dollars on his sneakers.

    I would be one of those critics.

    I think that if you are blessed with the good luck, good looks, or whatever it is that allows you to make significant sums of money off of people, for a skill that only intrinsically valuable as entertainment, then you owe it to your community to give back and speak out. You have a pulpit that most of us won’t have. Use it for good. I think it’s refreshing in this day of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, et al.

  • Jack

    I hear that…and working for social causes is a little different for me…people whom have the means should help the people whom do not…entertainers (successful famous ones anyway) have more means therefore more help. Bono, Gere, Sting (hey I am olde OK) I get it and agree. Social issues bring them on.

    Involvement in politics is a right; no matter how famous or fiscally challenged someone may be…we all have a right to be involved…plenty of famous actors stump for politicians and have for years (e.g. Heston) some just fund raiser (e.g. Bon Jovi)…I just get bad taste in my mouth when I see famous folks portraying themselves in positions of great insight like they have all the answers. It is a slippery slope, look no farther than Sean Penn. I mean I have respect for a guy who goes to New Orleans to help people (even if he does bring a photographer) but his personal views on the war which get represented as facts and his Hollywood jumbo megaphone gets his words twisted internationally by Chávez whom he later goes meets. It can all go out of control. And for the record I know he and many people look at the war in Iraq as a social issue and I do not disagree with that.

    I also have more respect for Matt; as he he has written good stuff before and not just been a pretty face.

    Because they are famous, other people will emulate them; and take what they say as fact and the right thing and act as they do. I am not saying Matt’s wrong, not saying that he is right…its just that if he would emulate a more constructive position and tone (which would be boring and not as entertaining) maybe more people would follow that more positive constructive example.

    Finding a good actor (or athlete), good role model, good leader, and good politician in one package is tough. Sometimes the best places to eat are ala cart

  • http://fortyninepercenter.blogspot.com/ Joey

    The only qualification Matt Damon needs to comment on politics was one he was born with: he is a citizen of this country.

    Because of that, he has the right to an opinion.

    If an actor wants to weigh-in on the upcoming election, so be it.
    If their opinion is ill-informed, someone else is allowed to point that out.

    The Right has been attacking candidates because actors endorse them, and its foolish. Just because the Republicans are the “ugly girls at the dance”, it doesn’t give them the right to label actors or anyone with a different opinion “unfit to make comments”, or (my personal favorite) Un-American.

    I don’t need Matt Damon to tell me what I can see with my own eyes.
    Sarah Palin was chosen because she is a woman and it had nothing to do with her qualifications to be VP, or…..god help us, the president.

    Enough already with talking around Matt Damon or anyone else who doesn’t like Sarah Palin. I don’t really care what he thinks. This time around, I agree with him.

    Stop making this about actors and musicians. All of this just keeps us from the issues at hand. We need someone/anyone who can help turn this country around and restore the respect we have lost at the hands of George W. Bush.

    The end.

  • http://fortyninepercenter.blogspot.com/ Joey

    I think it would be funny if HE would release a video called “I”m Fucking Sarah Palin”.

    C’mon….who’s with me?

  • http://www.merujo.com Merujo

    Okay, Joey is forcing me to admit this… when I first came to this post, I immediately assumed that’s what the clip was going to be. I’m glad I’m not the only one with the evil, evil mind. ;)

  • Spencer

    I just think if I were suddenly made rich and famous tomorrow – I would want to talk about politics just as much then as I do now. So who’s to say that I shouldn’t talk about it. That said, to Jack’s point – my future stature as a star shouldn’t immediately make my commentary more valuable than anyone else.

    I AM NOT A ROLE MODEL!

  • Spencer

    Someone get out the video camera!

  • grace

    I am actually aware that Heston never held political office. I’m saying he was quite vocal about his political views, and his qualifications were nothing more than being famous.

    I have two important points to make in response to your thoughts, Jack. And might I point out that you sound very thoughtful and level-headed, so I’m thinking we can probably hear and understand each other.

    First, I find it so disheartening that when an actor / entertainer comments on politics, the American people (mostly the ones who disagree) want to shout him down and call into question his qualifications to do so. Yet those same American people will enthusiastically embrace an actual political candidate like Sarah Palin without hesitating, even though no one knows very much about her and her LACK of qualification is apparent. I mean, Matt Damon isn’t making policy, Palin might. Can we figure out who to study, already?

    Secondly, I actually see the whole ‘famous people get a wider distribution and it’s unfair’ argument to hold no water at all. I probably see it the opposite way you do, Jack. For the precise reason that my voice as a regular citizen is so small I am therefore relieved when a person who will be heard voices my concerns to the media. Maybe you don’t agree with Matt Damon and that’s why his comments turned you off. But I’m sure at some point a famous person made a strong comment with which you agreed, and you felt empowered by it being said where others could hear it.

  • grace

    I really felt that Matt’s comments came from his gut. I think his concern is real and I share his concern. The truth is that people like Sarah Palin are destroying this country, people who are religious zealots with very narrow cultural goals in mind who cling to emotionally driven religious issues–they are allowing the foundation of what makes a great nation to rot.

    For example, perhaps McCain / Palin would make sure abortion is outlawed, or at least limited, and that more Christianity is allowed in schools. What good did that do for the very, very sick people in this country who cannot pay for treatments or medicine? The bankrupt? Minorities? The extremely poor, and those teetering on the edge of becoming extremely poor? What about the arts, and education, and innovation? What about an economy that is completely reliant on a limited resource like oil, yet our leaders refuse to make any bold moves toward changing what drives our economy? What about the millions of Americans moving toward retirement and old age with no savings?

    Where do you see the USA in 30 years if we continue to burn so much of our political energy on these purely social / cultural issues? There are several countries right now out-educating their children, while we’re trying to dumb ours down. Thirty years from now, we are at the mercy of the countries that are pushing the envelope on science, medicine and invention, and who no longer have to get on their knees for middle east oil. But who cares because–YAY–no one will be able to get an abortion!

    That’s what is driving the absolute terror at the prospect of someone like Palin getting into Washington. We’ve seen what eight years of it can do, and it’s already going to take 25 years to recover.

  • grace

    You may not be a role model, but I’d pay $100 for your shoes. OK, maybe $5.

  • Jack

    1. Spencer would make a good role model in my book…but he is not famous
    2. Unless you like Doc Martins you won’t like my shoes
    3. Heston is an interesting debate he might have done more for civil rights in the 60′s than he ever did for the NRA; yet people seem to only remember the older gun waving Heston. He had stopped acting before he ever really started taking up a conservative mantle, but I hear your point.
    4. I like informed comments (like yours) from any and every side of the debate. However, I seriously doubt that Matt actually ran the actuary tables on McCain, or looked at any, he simply took some ill informed rhetoric and passed it along with his good looks and Hollywood megaphone. Is McCain pretty old; yes; is he going to drop dead in the next four years with any greater certainty than Obama, statistically there is not much of a difference between them. Dislike Palin or McCain or Obama or Biden for who they are, use facts and don’t give me a bunch of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt)
    5. Just to show that I see this both ways the Obama is a Muslim bit in Jan was very distasteful and was brought on by both folks in the Clinton camp and some GOP supporters…the man is a Christian, his church’s old pastor has been criticized for his views…so what are we to believe mud slingers that he is both a radical Muslim and a racist Christian at the same time…geez give it a rest and just give me the facts and stop spewing the lack of facts and BS commentary
    5. No matter what your views this is an important election we will end the cycle with either the first Women VP or the first non White Man Prez…all at a time of crossroads in our history…for me facts matter…truth matters…good debate matters
    6. I am surprised that we ended up with McCain and Obama; I am also surprised that McCain picked Palin and Obama picked Biden…certainly this election has not gone the way some people saw this (e.g. Rudy and Hillary) and than when that did not happen and we got Obama and McCain. These some pundits said they would pick people from electoral battle ground states and we end up with people from the two of the smallest states in the nation. What are the candidates saying why they picked who they picked?; judge this ponder this???…McCain would have a much better shot to bring home PA if he picked Ridge; and getting PA is going to be key this cycle (thats a fact for you!).
    7. Finally Matt has a right to say what he wants; but he has a responsibility to be a little more factual. If Ben Afflick started spewing Obama is a Radical Muslim crap I would say the same thing…
    8. Joey has a funny video idea

  • http://nonbreakingspace.com/ howard

    I’m quite amused by this thread, but I only get around to reading it once every couple days, so I can’t remember half of what I wanted to respond to.

    But I would ask for a little clarification from Jack:

    So as not to risk painting you with the same brush you’ve used on Matt Damon, I’m curious to know whether you’ve run the actuarial tables. I only ask because I have a friend who works in the field and has run the numbers based on publicly available info – and based on her assessment, McCain is significantly more of a life insurance risk than Obama.

    When you assert a proximity between their statistical likelihoods, are you guessing or do you also have expertise in those sort of matters. And are you taking McCain’s personal and family health histories into account when you assert this similarity between the two?

    Just wondering.

  • Spencer

    @Jack – One of the interesting things about the whole conservative/liberal thing is that if you look at someone like Nixon or Ford – their policies would look liberal by today’s standards. Nixon is a man that instituted the first affirmative action program.

    It’s quite easy to see how someone like Heston can look so different over the course of 30 or so years.

    Oh and Jack – my cats think I’m pretty famous around 5pm and 11pm.

  • Jack

    McCain is more of an insurance risk than Obama yes…but his eminent demise is not such a fact.

    Some actual facts (or as close as I can find them)

    1. I have been told from an actuary that a 72 yr old’s life expectancy based on the current actuarial tables is about 15 years which puts him dying at about 88 years of age. Another wealth mgt consultant and insurance person has cited the same table and shows a very similar figure on the Internet (I do not know the Internet guy); so I am inclined to believe this fact. Apparently the tables themselves are not really public and the math involved in figuring this out all rather complex e.g. not really for the lay people. Another actuary put the math equation in the link below, tough stuff.

    http://www.linkedin.com/answers/personal-finance/individual-insurance/PFI_IVI/309651-28568285?browseCategory=PFI_IVI

    2. Using publicly available information and assuming John eats right and works out a little now and than, fudging the driving in a car numbers to be US normal (most motorcades have non drunk drivers and don’t get hit by other cars) , and saying that he does NOT use a condom when he has sex with only one partner in the last 12 months this UPENN tool gives him a median age expectancy of 89 years of age. One would hope that one of the best business schools in the nation would vet their online forms, but maybe this is crap science.

    http://diskworld.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality/perl/CalcForm.html

    3. He is a white rather wealthy male; and has better access to healthcare than most people in this country. If elected this only gets better. Better healthcare = longer life.

    4. While a bit of a political stunt his Mom has been on the road stumping with him…she is still kicking…longevity does run in families. Yes his dad and granddad both died before 70; so this cuts against him however the point is that he has some good genes in the pool. At 96 she is not only just alive but still driving and getting speeding tickets (also if you follow that link it will show that when she was in Europe they would not rent her a car as she was so old, so she just bought one…see I try and be balanced…I wish I had the cash to go on vacation in Europe and buy a car to just drive around.)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/25/mccains-mom-gets-another_n_109103.html

    http://www.nia.nih.gov/NewsAndEvents/PressReleases/PR20020610Findings.htm

    Bottom Line:

    Unless Matt forgot to put on his headshot that he is a member of the Society of Actuaries he has not seen the math equation or the tables, let alone done them. Yet he did a very dramatic and entertaining presentation that McCain will not live much longer, which appears to be BS. Famous people who spew mis truth as truth while portraying themselves as intellectual do not get a lot of love from me. Is the guy a talented actor hell yes, but as a political role model he does not work for me.

    Is McCaon old yes, is he going to die in the next three years, statistically speaking he should be able to give 8 years if elected.

    Facts can be spun…and I am trying to be balanced.

    I wish that he and other famous people would take constructive supportive roles of their causes and even politicians that they feel matter. I am sure that Bono and Bush do not have so much in common but they can find common ground on more AIDS research; and Bono saying some nice supportive words for W.

    http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1985000/images/_1986677_bono_ap_300.jpg

    Its easy and fun to say negative stuff; but thats what the Internet is for people…celebs in mass media should stick to the facts back their people and causes and help model positive behavior.

  • Jack

    @ Spencer

    As usual some good points, I also feel that polices have gone away from the center. Although I am not sure I would look at Nixon’s secretly bombing Cambodia and Laos as very liberal; but you did say some polices ;)

    I will stop hijacking your blog comments now…

  • Spencer

    @Jack – I think this kind of ignores the issue. Both candidates can die in office, 8 Presidents have, and only 4 of those by assassination. The issue is that understanding this, his health history (I believe 4 bouts with skin cancer), and his advanced age (at the very least common sense says that McCain has fewer years ahead of him than behind), that McCain chose a political neophyte to be his Vice Presidential candidate.

    Oh yeah – I’m not saying Nixon was a liberal – but compared to Bush, he might seem so.

  • Spencer

    @Jack – No worries, I should thank you – I love all this activity. I rarely get this many comments. I wish more people would be willing to talk politics.

  • Jack

    @ Spencer

    Thats true Nixon just bombed them he did not roll in a huge army after that.

    Politics are touchy for some…I like to think of myself as a moderate so I am little less hesitant to dive in.

    I will also still see the new Borne movie; but I might choose to sneak in after watching another movie.

  • grace

    “Facts matter, truth matter, debate matters.” I could not agree more. That’s the best quote here.

    I’m no Democrat, and I’m obviously not a Republican. I just want someone in office who can handle the job, sees the bigger picture (and not a tiny isolated picture that involves making the other party look foolish or forcing a religious agenda down my throat) and will protect rights for every American, not just the ones they approve of.

    I love the debate going on here, too. It’s healthy!

  • http://fortyninepercenter.blogspot.com/ Joey

    Seriously, you got a lot of juice out of posting this video.

    Today, on my blog, I will be posting video of me racing snowmobiles with Sarah Palin and trying on glasses. Then, we’ll box for charity.