February 10, 2006


My husband summarized an article about George Clooney for me, which was enough to make me not want to read the article. However, I did seek it out just to check one quote:

Clooney is as vain and materialistic as the next guy in Hollywood - "[F] it, I love my house in Italy. It's big and audacious and ridiculous, and nicer than any human being has the right to have" - but he is also one of the few really grown-up movie stars. "I have Irish Catholic guilt," he says, smiling, "and want to make up for [my successes]."
The way Clooney atones is by making, alongside the romantic comedies and heist numbers, a range of films that bring him a different kind of attention altogether.

My husband was absolutely mortified by the phrase "nicer than any human being has the right to have," as if some Equality Police could come and knock down half of your house because you're not allowed to live extravagantly. For him, the fact that George Clooney thinks that people shouldn't have the right to a big house is just beyond words. I, however, find something differently but equally reprehensible in this paragraph. Clooney's attitude reminds me of something I heard Ben Affleck say on TV right before the last presidential election. He was upset that he had gotten a tax cut because he said he didn't need the money and he would've rather the government kept it.

Do these celebrities want us to think that they don't have any will of their own? You know, the world is just the way it is and I wish it weren't but that's life so I gotta stay ridiculous rich. That's what we're supposed to believe?

Ben Affleck, if you want to take your $1.5 million tax cut and donate it to charity, guess what, you can! Hell, you can even opt to pay more taxes in Massachusetts, as O'Reilly trapped Affleck into admitting he didn't even know. Here he is, complaining that he couldn't give more in taxes, and all he had to do was, you know, give more. You could donate it to cancer research or stem cells or veterans benefits or all the other stuff you say you care about. You don't have to wait for the government to do it for you. Your hands aren't tied because they gave you your $1.5 million back; it means you have MORE OPTIONS.

Same for you, Clooney. No one is forcing you to live in a big house. If your wealth makes you feel guilty, then buy some land, build a modest-sized house on it, and start donating some of your money. But don't you dare say that the way you compensate for your Catholic guilt is that you make more movies. Even if it is Syriana and you think you're doing some good by educating people to the Ways Of The World, you're still raking in the dough doing it. That's supposed to make us feel better about you? Poor Clooney, he's so big and famous, he can't help but be a bazillionaire, but at least he makes Films That Matter. Are you serious?

Last night we got the Grammys here. I swear I nearly spat on the TV when Alicia Keys said "this is the most important night in the world." Get over yourselves, people. You know, I can accept it if you're filthy rich and lovin' it. I read once that Christopher Walkin will do any movie that's put before him because it's a job and he's in it to make money. I can respect that; my husband and I are out to make as much money as we can too. But to hear celebs ask for millions of dollars for each movie they do and then complain about being rich, that's too much for me to accept.

No one put a gun to Clooney's head and made him buy that stupid house. Get over it.

Posted by Sarah at February 10, 2006 10:51 AM | TrackBack

Do these celebrities want us to think that they don't have any will of their own?

No. They're mere automatons whose main purpose in life is to make people respond to their imageby opening their wallets. Their freedom to choose was limited to and terminated by their decision to choose acting over say rational thought.

Posted by: John at February 10, 2006 02:33 PM

I don't get it. Clooney isn't asking for yourpity, and he doesn't say that he was forced to do anything. He seems to be admitting that he has a choice about whether to be rich or not. That is when we feel guilty: when we could have done something other than what we did.

Posted by: Pericles at February 10, 2006 05:39 PM

Let us help poor dear Mr Affleck out:

Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the United States Government may send contributions to a specific account called "Gifts to the United States."

This account was established in 1843 to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States. Money deposited into this account is for general use by the Federal Government and can be available for budget needs. These contributions are considered an unconditional gift to the Government. Financial gifts can be made by check or money order payable to the United States Treasury and mailed to:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 6D37
Hyattsville, MD 20782

We have also received numerous inquiries from individuals who wish to donate their tax relief checks back to the Government. In those cases, individuals should endorse the check and write "Pay to the Order of the United States Treasury" on the back of the check, and then mail it to the address shown above.

Posted by: MaryIndiana at February 10, 2006 07:33 PM

He seems to be admitting that he has a choice about whether to be rich or not. That is when we feel guilty: when we could have done something other than what we did.

No. You don't feel guilty when you save a drowning person just because there was an option of not having to save the drowning person. Or you don't feel guilty for having saved money when you know you could have spent it on dumb things. Gult is dependent on one's idea of rightness and/or wrongness, not possibilities. I think the point trying to be made is: what makes these people think that being rich is morally lesser than being poor? You could only be gulty if your wealth is from crime, or if you have this romanticized view of the virginal poor who can never be morally reprehensible or made responsible of their poverty, which is a very condescending notion of poverty.

Posted by: John at February 10, 2006 07:51 PM

You are being unfair. Of course I wasn't saying that we feel guilty whenever we do one thing and realize that we could have done something else instead. I don't feel guilty because I chose the shirt that I'm wearing today instead of a different one. I was giving a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. My point was that we do, or we should, let ourselves off of the hook for doing something that would normally be wrong if you really couldn't help it. Clooney wouldn't feel guilty if he didn't think that he had a choice about being rich.

Posted by: Pericles at February 10, 2006 11:37 PM

Being comfortably self-sufficient isn't anything to feel guilty about, but being overly rich is, I think, a worthy thing to feel guilt over. Without those kind of feelings, the human race would be nothing but Enron CEOs, and look what happened there. Avarice is a sin, and sometimes you just have to admit that you don't need all that money. It's not about a poor person being morally better. It's that a rich person has the option of making the world a better place, so its incumbent upon him or her to be the most moral person out there.

Posted by: Will Somerset at February 11, 2006 02:08 AM

Will -- but Clooney appeases his guilt by making Syriana? I suppose that's one option, but I think if he really felt guilty about having so much money, then *giving the money to a good cause* would be a better option. But I guess I can't tell someone what would make them feel less guilty...that's his issue.

Posted by: Sarah at February 11, 2006 09:30 AM

Surely everyone passionate about a set of ideas believes that difussing those ideas is a good cause.

Posted by: Pericles at February 11, 2006 07:18 PM

Not to detract from the celeb talk, but I agree with you about the Pampered Chef cookbooks--question: do you have the spiral bound PC book with the healthier recipes...I wasn't sure if that's what you were referring to as "Cooking light?" The one I have is called "It's Good For You" and I also have "All The Best." I may have to consult you for some additional light recipes. What is your "light" book called??
By the way...I do know your friend Kelly. I have been trying to place her for a long time, esp after I saw the pic on your site. I remember her from when I worked at the bank. Funny.

Posted by: Nicole at February 12, 2006 04:56 PM

I guess you've forgotten George bought that house from John Kerry, just before Kerry announced he would run for President....'cause candidates for President can't own foreign property. After Kerry lost, I figured the house would be bought back. Maybe George thought he would feel real guilty making a profit off such a loser that he chose to keep it. Oh the sacrifices the Liberal rich make for each other...sigh

Posted by: Chevy Rose at February 14, 2006 05:28 AM