George Clooney provided just the barest hint of politics in accepting the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at last night’s Emmy telecast, making the case for celebrity activism particularly when it comes to calling attention to world crises.
“When the disaster happens, everybody wants to help, everybody in this room wants to help, everybody at home wants to help,” he said. “The hard part is seven months later, five years later, when we’re on to a new story. Honestly, we fail at that, most of the time. That’s the facts”
David Wild writes on Huffington Post that Clooney’s words “sounded almost like a prayer for redemption from deep within our modern celebrity food chain.”
The Beck Set: President Obama says of Glenn Beck’s rally in Washington On Saturday: “Well, I have to say, I — I did not watch the rally. I think that one of the wonderful things about this country is that at any given moment any group of people can decide, you know, ‘We want to — our voices heard.’ And so, I think that Mr. Beck and the rest of those folks were exercising their rights under our Constitution exactly as they should,” he said in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams.
In the New York Times, Ross Douthat writes that the rally was in the same spirit of the Obama campaign: “In a sense, Beck’s “Restoring Honor” was like an Obama rally through the looking glass. It was a long festival of affirmation for middle-class white Christians — square, earnest, patriotic and religious. If a speaker had suddenly burst out with an Obama-esque “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” the message would have fit right in.
“But whereas Obama wouldn’t have been Obama if he weren’t running for president, Beck’s packed, three-hour jamboree was floated entirely on patriotism and piety, with no “get thee to a voting booth” message. It blessed a particular way of life without burdening that blessing with the compromises of a campaign, or the disillusioning work of governance.”
His colleague, Paul Krugman, doesn’t buy any of it, putting Beck right in the same line of conservative commentators who in the 1990s went after the Clintons in a kind of “witch hunt.” He writes that “[T]here’s an extra level of craziness this time around: Mr. Limbaugh is the same as he always was, but now seems tame compared with Glenn Beck.”
Katrina, Five Years Later: Brad Pitt talked to NBC’s Brian Williams for a “Meet the Press” segment on the progress of rebuilding New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. His Make It Right Foundation is undertaking an ambitious rebuilding program of homes made in environmentally sensible designs.
“I credit naivete with our success. I was also an opportunist. I saw this land, it was available, and I thought we could make a difference. Starting from scratch has its benefits. Too often we give disaster victims cheap building products, slipshod materials, and then put on top of them the burden of energy bills and medical bills. You know it’s the badly built levees that destroyed these people’s lives. We needed, as a country, to do something right for them. A new paradigm was needed.”