Tag Archives: George Clooney

Memo to Peter Bart: Don’t Be A Dick

I was perusing the trades (that’s slang for entertainment industry trade papers) recently in an effort to live vicariously through the people who actually do what I just imagine doing for a living, and I came across an article by Peter Bart (former Editor-in-Chief at Variety) regarding The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and his foray into the world of film directing (the dickishly titled “Memo to Jon Stewart: Stick with Your Day Job Behind the Desk”).

Artist's rendering of Peter Bart, who believes that creative people should be neither seen nor heard.

Artist’s rendering of Peter Bart, who believes that creative people should be neither seen nor heard.

You can read the article if you like, but the general idea is that Peter Bart spends 600 words essentially just shitting on Stewart’s desire to sit in the director’s chair. How does Peter Bart justify his Debbie Dickhead attitude toward Jon Stewart’s project? Well, Bart points out, Bob Dyaln was a celebrity who directed a movie…and it was bad! Not convinced? Well, Bart says, Madonna was a celebrity who directed a movie…and it was also bad!

So just to recap: because Bob Dylan made a bad movie in 1978, no one should try to direct a movie ever again. Got it. And obviously this has everything to do with the fact that Dylan and Madonna were already established stars that tried to transition into directing, and nothing to do with the fact that they were just bad directors (the Dylan film’s final cut clocked in at OVER four hours long, but yeah, I’m sure it was only a flop because he was a celebrity trying to direct). Double got it.

Bart goes on to reference successful directors (Clooney, Sean Penn, Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Elia Kazan, and Francis Coppola) who didn’t release their best work until later on in their directorial careers, and whose first projects either weren’t well-received or just weren’t that good. Basically Bart’s message is if you haven’t already done something, you shouldn’t do it.

Um. What.
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The First Time I Sold Myself (aka Handbook for the Sellout)

Somewhere betwixt the early 20th century and the late 20th century, it became very vogue for “discerning artistic consumers” (read: pretentious A-holes) to ridicule successful artists for “selling out”.  The idea being that any artist able to turn a profit in their medium (music, acting, writing, painting, etc.), had clearly abandoned their ideals and convictions in order to do so.  After they sold out, they became puppets of The Man, and as such, were incapable of producing anything genuine and spectacular anymore, which made them less cool in the eyes of the “in the know” consumers — and by association served as a way for these same D-bags to judge the people who still supported said artist.  These hip, trendy consumers have clearly never had to pay rent before — because how else could they possibly justify hating on people who have spent years struggling to eke out a living in the arts unless they’d never had any bills or financial responsibilities of their own; and as a result, were totally oblivious to the fact that artists have to support themselves and their families on something other than dreams and smiles.

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