Entertainment

Hollywood Political Watch: Matt Damon, Charlie ‘Winning’ Sheen, and Gaddafi’s angels

Ruth Graham Contributor

Surely most red-blooded Americans agree that Matt Damon is a generally likable man. But he’s most likable when he’s kicking ass or dressing up as a cowboy, not when he’s musing about education policy. So it pains me to report that Damon appeared last night in a taped interview on CNN to discuss that very topic, among others, with former “America’s Got Talent” host Piers Morgan. Turns out, Damon is disappointed in President Obama’s performance as president so far, because Obama “misinterpreted his mandate.” President Obama, I hope you are listening. Every time a move star becomes disillusioned with a sitting president, an angel loses his wings.

Here is what Matt Damon is upset about these days:

  • Matt Damon on Afghanistan: “I don’t think the mission there has been very well articulated,” the noted foreign policy expert and voice of an animated horse said. “And I think it would help to kind of reframe the way we’re thinking about being there and why we’re there.”
  • Matt Damon on poverty: Matt Damon is miffed that President Obama did not use the word “poverty” in his State of the Union address. (This is true! But he did mention “our most vulnerable” twice, an obvious euphemism.)
  • Matt Damon on education reform: “The idea that we’re testing kids and we’re tying teachers’ salaries to how kids are performing on tests — that kind of mechanized thinking has nothing to do with higher order.”
  • Matt Damon on Wall Street: “They don’t make anything. They don’t build anything,” Damon, whose main product is handsomeness, complained. The financial meltdown is “just going to happen again.” Note to L.A.-based burglars: Matt Damon obviously keeps all his money under his mattress, because we know that he certainly does not invest in any funds even remotely connected to Wall Street. Act now!

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Attention, Wisconsinites. Put on your sunglasses before attending any labor rallies, because the stars could be blinding! Protests this week in the state capitol over public-sector union bargaining rights drew former “West Wing” star Bradley Whitford, former “Beverley Hills, 90210” star Gabrielle Carteris, and former “Guiding Light” star Robert Newman. Not since Stephen Baldwin joined Camryn Manheim and Phyllis George for a Des Moines fundraiser for athlete’s foot research back in ’92 have three such notable entertainment powerhouses assembled in one place for a good cause.

The Hill reported that Whitford gasped, “You all look so beautiful to me!” as he left the stage after a speech that included the wistful hope for “a future where our schools are as shiny as our missiles.” Leave it to a balding man to hope for a world in which everything is shiny.

Meanwhile, Danny Glover showed up to support union workers at a separate protest in Indiana. He’s a Glover AND a fighter. (Oof. Sorry about that.)

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Meanwhile, somewhere on Twitter, John Cusack posted links to columns by Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert. That explains those two small earthquakes you felt the other day: The world was shifting.

While many celebrities have nobly devoted up to 140 characters on Twitter to supporting the recent Libyan uprising, others have received actual cash money to support Gaddafi’s regime. As Rolling Stone reported, Mariah Carey, Usher and 50 Cent are among the performers under pressure to return vast sums of money they accepted for performing at various parties for the Gaddafi clan.

Carey’s fee was $1 million to perform at a 2008 bash in the Caribbean hosted by Gaddafi’s jet-setting son Muatassim. Beyoncé and Usher performed the next year. (Beyoncé says she donated the money to earthquake relief in Haiti.) Other attendees at the 2009 party included Jay-Z, Lindsay Lohan, and our old friend Russell Simmons, who just last week tweeted a comparison between Gaddafi and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. In retrospect, maybe he just meant that Walker is a nice guy whose family he’d be happy to party with!

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Finally, since the truly big celebrity news of the week is the continued public dissolution of the Artist Formerly Known as Charlie Sheen, let’s revisit Sheen’s political past, shall we? In particular, this bizarre, interminable 2009 “transcript” of an imagined interview between President Obama and Sheen, in which the actor explains to the president why 9/11 was an inside job. The interview, written by Sheen, includes “Obama” complimenting Sheen’s work on “Two and a Half Men,” saying he has it Tivo’d on Air Force One. After Sheen delivers a long timeline of 9/11 events that “prove” the federal government knew the attack was coming, “Obama” praises Sheen for showing up “focused and organized.”

All that to say, to observe that Sheen has become demonstrably more unbalanced in the last two years – to suppose that his family probably wishes he would return to his harmless 9/11 truther days — is frightening indeed.

And who knows what this week will bring.