“Picasso is a communist. Neither am I.”
Over the weekend, I watched a film called, “Silence”.
Based upon the 1966 novel by Shūsaku Endō, it tells the disturbing story of the persecution of Catholic Christians in 17th Century Japan. It was beautifully directed by Martin Scorsese, and stars Andrew Garfield as a Jesuit priest in search of his mentor (played by another one of my favorites, Liam Neeson), who is rumored to have renounced his faith under the boot of the Shogun authority. I highly recommend this film. It is flawless, inspiring, gorgeous cinema.
Moreover, I highly recommend the acting of Andrew Garfield. He is a brilliant young artist. He is also, in my humble nerd-opinion, the finest Spider-Man to have ever graced the silver screen. It just sucks that the Spider-Man flicks he was in weren’t as good as he is. I look forward to his future projects.
Speaking of Martin Scorsese, I am also a lifelong fan of the filmwork of Robert De Niro, ever since I first snuck into the TV room in the middle of the night to watch “Taxi Driver” in the early days of HBO, back in the Olden Times, a.k.a. The Late Seventies. From “The Godfather, Part II” to “Goodfellas” to “Cape Fear,” De Niro is, without question, one of the finest film actors this country has ever produced.
That having been said, I could not care less what Andrew Garfield or Robert De Niro (or Marty Scorsese or Liam Neeson, for that matter) think about politics.
This is not because I believe they don’t have the right to voice their political opinions, as both Garfield and De Niro did last night during the Tony Awards. Of course, they do. This is, after all, America.
My problem with movie stars and film actors voicing their politics is, well…it’s boring.
I believe that in the era of Obama and Trump, American politics have become shrill, repetitive, and, thanks to the rewiring of our primitive brains via social media addiction, damned narcissistic.
In other words, the least interesting thing about Robert De Niro is what he thinks about Donald Trump, just like the least interesting thing about me is what I think about Donald Trump. One of us hates his stinking guts, and the other voted for him with a smile on his face. You’ll have to figure out who is who, ha-ha. Ha-ha. Ha-ha. Insert snare-drum hit HERE.
Now, a lot of folks on both sides of the aisle will actively shun an artist’s work if they don’t like their politics. I think that is nonsense. Moreover, I find it dispicable that any artist would be discounted because of their poltics. This is something I routinely experience on a personal level.
I can tell you that because of what I do for a living, there have been plenty of people within the artistic and literary communities who have shunned my writing simply because I have some Conservative views. This, despite the fact that I have been a poet longer than I have been a Talk Show Host. It doesn’t matter to me, of course. After 38 years of “chasing the poem,” as Bukowski calls it, I’m fairly secure in my creative output, and do not require that anyone read it. It’s wonderful when people do, and I am thankful for it when people tell me nice (or not so nice) things about my writing. But it isn’t necessary for me in order to keep doing it. The only person I need to impress is me.
I just think it’s unfortunate that one side of things have become so personal to the Art world, to the extent that I can no longer enjoy watching awards show because of all the political bullshit and sanctimonious preaching coming at me from the one community where folks should be intellectually-free to think whatever the hell they want to think about anything.
If Art requires something (beyond discipline and passion), it requires freedom of thought. Good art demands it.
I wish Hollywood would embrace that idea.
Then maybe we’d see more “Silence” and less remakes of old 80’s TV shows.
Jesus loves you and so do I,