MAY 15, 2003 - Bull Durham. Prince of Tides. Fast Times at Ridgemont
High. A movie about a retarded guy. A CD full of nothing but love
songs. A film about a repressed housewife who decides to party a lot.
Together, they make up quite an impressive catalog of politically daring art.
These are the collective works of politically interested and
active artists Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, and Barbara Streisand.
Sarandon's brilliant political satire films, like, um... maybe... the Witches of
Eastwick? No, that's not satire. Umm.... Or how about Streisand’s heartfelt
and inspiring political songs, like.... well...
Ok, maybe we should examine the work of
heavily involved political activist Rob Reiner. With his movement creating
films such as... Sleepless in Seattle? No... that's not really a political
movie - at all. Well, maybe... uh, When Harry Met Sally? Ah, no,
wait, The American President. Yes, Reiner's brilliant... love story...
This list could go on and on. I
mean, Janeane Garofalo was planning on doing a
sit-com about... well, nothing really. Just some wallet-filling sitcom
American film, TV, and musical artists
who have so much to say politically have vowed, for yet another year, to keep
making such deep and moving political expressions through their chosen crafts.
“Will you,” I asked Ms. Streisand, in a
rare interview granted this past week, “be making a movie mocking Bush this year?”
“No, of course not,” she answered.
“Not even a song. I’ll just save my heartfelt opinions for occasional
blurt-outs at fund-raising events.”
Sarandon expressed a similar
sentiment. “Listen, in 2000 I campaigned for Nader, saying even Al Gore was too
corporate for me – and then, I went immediately and did a mindless,
corporate-sponsored episode of the show Friends. If I was so hypocritical and
clearly without regard for art - except as a means to a paycheck - just a few years
ago, why would I suddenly start being a useful artist now?”
When we pressed Mr. Reiner about when
he might make a, well, perhaps a bit more politically commentary film, or perhaps a satire, or anything
that isn’t wide-selling fluff, he responded, “Do what? Can you
do that with films – have something strong to say and actually say it?”
“I think I speak for all of us,”
Sarandon said, “when I tell you we promise, under no circumstances, will we
express anything political – or anything bold at all - through our bodies of
work, but will save all such commentaries for ham-handed, off-camera
“So tell me,” I asked Sean Penn,
“what is, in your opinion, the real political or philosophical trend in American art
this year? What will you American artists express through