Saturday, May 08, 2004

Jude Law is smart. 

From the latest issue of Playboy:

Playboy: You played a sniper in Enemy at the Gates, but you live in a country where it's hard to buy a gun. What do you make of America's fascination with firearms?

Law: Unfortunately it seems that guns and the gun culture are a part of most world societies. What troubles me more is that people are shocked and surprised when tragedies like Columbine or the D.C. sniper shootings hit the news. Mix guns freely into a culture in which people are dealing with emotional problems and stress, and you end up with body counts because guns are so easy to operate. It is sad but inevitable, whether it's starting a war or cornering a nation or a religious faith into a position in which it feels it has to kick back to be heard. We know how humans react, just as we know how a gun works. So why are we surprised when it goes terribly wrong?

Playboy: Did watching Arnold Schwarzenegger become governor of California leave you thinking that anything is possible for Hollywood actors, or did it leave you scratching your head about the power of celebrity?

Law: A little of both. The most interesting theory I've heard was described as narrative politics -- involving the audience in the process, letting them conclude a story. The idea that the people can make it possible for an Austrian bodybuilder turned movie star to become governor empowers them to create a great story. Just as it's a great story to vote in a president whose father was in the White House and who is a reformed alcoholic.

"Narrative politics" is a term I'm going to have to write down. It does indeed seem like politics of late have been turned into a sort of spectator sport, but that of course is a lie; everything about our greater institutions has been, since the dawn of civilization, subverted into a kind of entertainment. I'd even go so far as to suggest that making a spectacle of even the most vital life-and-death issues is what seperates us from the animal kingdom and kicked us into our own peculiar brand of evolution, straying so far from the rest of the species.

The caveman hunted and killed its prey to survive, as did the tiger. The tiger, however, never felt the need to write about it on a wall.

(I don't want to hear any wiseass opposable thumb comments. You know what I'm getting at.)

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