Saturday, April 26, 2003

Dissent for fun and profit!

There has been an effort to beat down war opponents by threatening their careers, especially in the entertainment industry. But this effort has apparently failed. Indeed, the economic suffering that the Dixie Chicks, Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, and Martin Sheen have experienced has been negligible to non-existent. So, if that particular spin isn't working, let's try another. How about this: the anti-war celebrities aren't doing it out of principle but because the free publicity will help their careers! The Spoils of Antiwar Janeane Garofalo sounds energized about her whole antiwar thing: "I knew when I started speaking out that it was going to be unpleasant," says the actress-comedian, "and I've taken my punches. But the positives have far outweighed the negatives." Such as? Such as all the unsolicited offers Garofalo has received -- speaking engagements, stand-up gigs, stage roles -- in the weeks since she proffered her antiwar opinions on news programs. Such as the bundles of attagirl letters and the hearty congratulations of strangers in the street. Such as the sitcom pilot she's making for ABC. The other day, after a decade and a half of doing comedy, she made America Online's "Comedians to Watch" list. "Before this I was a moderately well-known character actress," she says. "Now I'm almost famous." Not to be too cynical about it -- Garofalo and other celebrities say they've been speaking from the heart -- but dissent, it seems, can be a pretty good career move. Just so long as your willing to put up with the threats of violence to yourself and your children.


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