The recent war in Iraq has of course thrown up many examples of actors and actresses, many of them from Hollywood, who have taken a stand against war. What is interesting is that there appears, according to David Skinner in the Weekly Standard to be a divide in public life between the acting and sports communities, if one can use such a collectivist catch-all term like “community” (yes, I am aware there are nuances here). For example, while “documentary” producer and all-round blowhard leftist (I refuse to be polite) Michael Moore denounces Bush and the war, golfing god Tiger Woods (one of my heroes) takes a diametrically opposite stance, saluting the bravery of American soldiers on his personal website.
What is going on here? For example, I don’t really know what British sportsmen and women like Manchester United’s David Beckham or English cricket captain Nasser Hussein think about such things, although Hussein’s recent decision not to play against Zimbabwe during the World Cup attests to a moral fibre not usually seen among the thespian community. And I admired the fact that Beckham, apparently, asked for the Stars and Stripes to be laid in the mddle of Old Trafford, Manchester United’s home ground, at the start of a match just after 9/11. Skinner reckons that sportsfolk, unlike actors and actresses, have to deal in reality of a sort that makes them better suited to taking a view on issues like war.
I particularly liked this paragraph:
As competitors who directly face opponents, athletes may have less trouble accepting the probability of enmity between nations. They become famous over the strenuous opposition of other people. Their professional lives are in fact defined by antagonism and opposition. They have to individually dominate other players, and help their teams dominate other teams.
While with actors, he says:
when show-business types triumph, victory comes on a wave of public admiration that can make it seem like they were just elected the public’s favorite human being. If competition is the watchword of sports, adoration and acclaim are the watchwords of show business. This kind of career makes for a weak political education as one grapples to understand why a president would take actions certain to make him unpopular in important parts of Europe and elsewhere.
I think he is definitely on to something. Maybe libertarians should forget about ever trying to network in the artistic community and get on the golf course instead.