That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.
Jonathan Demme premiered his doc "New Home Movies from the Lower Ninth Ward" and at Silverdocs Fest last week, but he’s destined to get quite a bit of attention for his next project, "Carter," due later this year. The documentary follows former President Jimmy Carter around on his book tour to promote "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," which inflamed not just ardent supporters of Israel, but drove some of the board members of the Carter Center in Atlanta to resign.
Demme has said little about the doc, formerly called "He Comes in Peace." But he recently told the Observer in London: ‘My sense of that is, Carter put his badge on to come forth into the community to talk about justice as it pertains to Palestine, and, as in High Noon, almost everybody fell all over each other in their desire to distance themselves from his message of peace. He soldiered on, without allies, with mounting foes.’ Carter, Demme says, is ‘a tough son of a bitch. You know, he’s got a gorgeous smile, and he’ll cry at the drop of a hat if something touches him, but he is one tough dude.’
The documentary is due later this year, and I would bet that Carter probably won’t get the same laudatory reaction for his movie that Al Gore got for "An Inconvenient Truth."
Says Demme, ‘It was fascinating to see Carter come forth with all these deep-seated and well-informed feelings about the situation in Palestine, and to see him suddenly be accused of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli feelings. There was a moment in the tour where there had been a blistering barrage of stuff, and I said to him as we got out of the car: "It’s awful to see you being vilified in so many undeserved ways." He looked at me, and said: "If I thought I was wrong about anything I’m saying, I’d be devastated by the way I’m being attacked. But I believe in what I’m saying, so it really doesn’t hurt me at all." You could see it did hurt, but I think he was describing what gets him through.’
Mike’s Night: Those who want to see New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s take on the political process can do so this evening, when he addresses "Ceasefire! Bridging the Political Divide." The event, held at the Getty House, is hosted by the USC Annenberg School’s Center on Communication Leadership. His fellow Time covermate Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers the keynote on Tuesday morning at CAA’s Ray Kurtzman Theater.
Gore on ’08: Ryan Lizza of The New Republic interviewed Al Gore and detected a hint of criticism over the discourse so far in the 2008 presidential race. Here’s an excerpt:
"When I ask what he thinks of the current debate among Democratic presidential aspirants, Gore interrupts me.
"Is there one?" he asks sarcastically.
"Is there not?" I reply.
"What is it?"
"That’s why I’m trying to figure out–"
"If you find out, let me know."
But, again, he pulls back from what is obviously a slap at the Democrats running for president. "I don’t want to be critical of the candidates. That’s not my intention," he says. "I don’t think the modern campaign process facilitates a genuine exchange of ideas. It’s multiple overlapping games of gotcha, and who can read the polls and the focus groups most skillfully and discern some new manipulative option that can be quickly parlayed into a couple of percentage points in the next poll and parlay that into greater fund-raising totals by the end of the next reporting period." It’s almost as if he feels sorry for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and the others, as if they are hamsters locked in the cage of a broken political process, a cage that Gore is all too familiar with and does not seem to miss.’
Edwards in Vogue: John Edwards is the cover subject of the new Men’s Vogue, due on newstands on Tuesday, and he admits that he hasn’t "100%" shed the perception that he has "ken doll" image. Writer Joe Hagan follows him on the campaign trial in Iowa, and offers this anecdote from an appearance in Adel, Iowa, a day after the news broke that Edwards paid $400 for a haircut in Beverly Hills.
"Edwards paces the small platform, explaining how he’ll fight corporate farming, funnel capital to rural schools and businesses, and expand broadband access to out-of-the-way places. The rural South is where he’s from, after all—the town of Robbins, North Carolina, population 1,200. In America, he says, "people like me can come from nowhere, the son of a mill worker…and now be running for president of the United States and pay $400 for a haircut!"
The Iowans erupt in laughter, a great gale of relief. "You like that, do you?" Edwards says, grinning. A white-haired 56-year-old named Marilyn, who had noted beforehand that $400 haircuts are "harder for people from the Midwest to understand," turns and gives a furtive thumbs-up. "