This is not going to become a political blog (with or without street-corner ranting if you read the comments on my last post), nor is it going to turn into an Anderson Cooper blog, however when I read David Carr’s article in the New York Times it made me mad. And that often makes for good blogging.
David Carr it seems, is jumping on the ‘we’re real journalists and therefore we hated Anderson Cooper’s interview with Angelina Jolie’ bandwagon. The basic gist of the piece is that both Cooper and Jolie are wealthy and dress nicely and therefore cannot possibly have anything of substance to say. She’s an UNHCR Goodwill ambassador and he’s a CNN anchor with extensive experience reporting tragedies on the African continent. What could they possibly have to talk about?
Carr writes, “Anderson Cooper. . .gave more than two hours of his program to Angelina Jolie for a two-hour infomercial fomenting an agenda — saving Africa” Well to be precise, do the math, AC360 is a two hour show, so how Cooper gave MORE than two hours to Jolie is an act of metaphysics yet to be explained. But more to the point, Jolie wants to save Africa? What a terrible idea. How outrageously selfish of her to suggest it. Now I’ll admit that a New York Times columnist like Carr is likely better researched than I am on most subjects, but last I checked Africa was still facing some major issues and could use some help. I’ve heard worse ideas.
If Angelina Jolie had come on the show talked about refugees for 5 minutes and then started fielding questions about Brad I could see Carr’s point. But they talked about refugees. For two hours. There were reports from Uganda, vintage footage from Niger, live feeds from Darfur. It looked a lot like news to me. I was reminded of something I saw a few weeks back. Bono was offered a one day guest editorship of The Independent. His headline read:
NO NEWS TODAY*
and then in tiny print way down at the bottom of the page *Just 6, 500 Africans died today as a result of a preventable, treatable disease (HIV/AIDS)
Looks like news to me.
Like several other writers this week Carr chose to make snide reference to the clothing both were wearing for the interview. Jolie reportedly gave a third of her income away last year. Should she be required to give the rest of it away and dress in rags to better tell her story? He then went on to comment on her body art suggesting it seems that someone who changes her mind about a tattoo cannot be relied on to stay with anything else:
“Ms. Jolie proudly talked about having “Know Your Rights” as an alluring tattoo — an homage to the United Nations refugee effort — but that same medium has also served as a signpost for her ex-husband, old What’s-His-Name.”
Maybe Carr was watching a different interview. In the one that I saw Cooper commented that he’d heard Jolie had “Know your rights” tattooed on her and she admitted that she did. She went on to say that she had once visited a prison in a tank top that showed the tattoo and it caused quite a stir. Hmm, incarcerated men and a tattoo about rights. . . yeah can’t imagine why. I wasn’t there, obviously, when she got the tattoo, but I’d be willing to guess that Jolie didn’t pick “Know your rights” for its sex appeal.
My Director at work is fond of saying “any idiot can throw a rock”. It takes no skill at all to poke holes in someone else’s ideas. Get some decent boots and head over to Uganda Mr. Carr. I’m sure what you find there will make for a much more interesting column.