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Give Matt Damon kudos for accomplishing his goal last weekend: drawing attention to the Save Our Schools March in Washington. He’s been paying the price all week, though, by becoming the celebrity whipping boy of the conservative media.
Two interviews that Damon, a liberal activist, granted to new-media journalists have gone viral over the Internet, and talk-radio hosts and other pundits have been working overtime to ridicule the actor ever since. Wednesday, for example, Los Angeles KABC talk-show host Larry Elder took Damon to task over his assertion that teachers will do a good job regardless of cash incentives, just like actors will.
“He seemed personally offended when someone suggested that as an actor he has an incentive to work hard,” Elder said in an eight-minute monologue. (Audio below).
“I want to act. I am an actor and actors act, irrespective of tenure, irrespective of pay, irrespective of job security,” he said mockingly. Then the host took several calls on the topic. “The guy himself has a couple of small children. What are the chances of him going to public schools?” one caller said of Damon.
At the same time Elder was on the Damon topic locally, Rush Limbaugh was belittling actors in general on his national radio show, and he made the topic his “media tweak of the week” at his web site. “Have you seen the study that says dieting forces the brain to eat itself? This explains Hollywood,” Limbaugh said.
Print media has also had their fun at Damon’s expense. On Thursday, Michael Graham of Boston Herald.com wrote: “Damon’s position that incentives don’t affect behavior puts him in the fiscal Flat Earth Society. He’s the equivalent of an economic creationist.”
Blogger Kyle Smith wrote, “Question for Matt Damon: If Dolph Lundgren, after three movies, was guaranteed the opportunity to star in one of Hollywood’s biggest-budgeted films every summer for the rest of his life, what do you suppose the quality of the end product would be?”
At BigHollywood.com bloggers have weighed in on the matter just about daily since the weekend rally. “Somebody needs to take Matt Damon’s ‘word of the day’ handbook before he hurts himself,” editor John Nolte wrote. “Matt Damon is nothing more than a political animal and propaganda-spewing machine.”
That blog item contains video of one of Damon’s weekend interviews, with a quick scene from Good Will Hunting edited into it. (Video below).
The purveyor of BigHollywood is Andrew Breitbart, who weighed in on Matt Damon Wednesday night during a speech to the Hollywood Congress of Republicans, where the mere mention of Damon elicited laughter from the 300 attendees.
“He was speaking in Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky gobbledygook and showing off for his mom,” Breitbart said afterwards. “A pathetic attempt at sounding erudite by using big words. John Cusack made a name for himself doing the same thing in the 90s.”
At PJTV.com, comedian Alfonzo Rachel cut a video called “Bourne Idiocy” where he begins, “Sinead O’Connor is back from the 80s and sounding brainy as ever.”
And Glenn Beck took Damon to task on his radio show, accusing him of playing fast and loose with the facts when Damon says in one video that the rich have never paid less in taxes during his lifetime than they do now. But during the Reagan administration, top earners paid 28 percent and today the top rate is 35 percent, Beck said.
“To those of us who have studied math,” says one of Beck’s co-hosts, “28 is less than 35.”
When Damon says in one of the videos that he’s never used a tax cut to start a small business, another of Beck’s co-hosts chimes in that the first season of Project Greenlight, a filmmaking contest and TV series co-created by Damon, was in 2001 and the second season was in 2003, years that coincided with the Bush tax cuts.
After trying to make a point by quoting Jimmy Stewart (but confusing It’s a Wonderful Life with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), Beck says: “Here’s what I’d like to introduce to Matt. It’s a concept of personal liberty and responsibility. You can actually send your whole damn pay check to Washington.”
“Why not,” says Beck, “instead of taking big salaries for your next Bourne Identity, why don’t you just say, I won’t work for over $250,000 … spread it all around that movie lot.”
And on Red Eye this week on the Fox News Channel, host Greg Gutfeld began a segment with: “Is Matt Damon as much an authority on tax cuts as he is on haircuts?”
Country music star Larry Gatlin on the show says Damon is “a perfect example again of an artsy-fartsy letting their alligator mouth overwhelm their hummingbird ass. He does not know what he’s talking about.” (Video below).
On the same show, though, Fox entertainment contributor Courtney Friel, who said Damon is her neighbor, defended the actor: “He is very classy,” she said.
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