Friday, February 24, 2017

Amazing …

… It's a scary time for the world, says Martin Scorsese -

Exactly why am I supposed to care what he thinks? He makes movies. That's his area of expertise. So I'm supposed to take anything he says seriousl? Sorry. I don't.


  1. Making movies, if you're any good at it, requires a great deal of insight into all sorts of psychological, social, and political processes. I happen to have a filmmaker in the family, and even if I disagree with her, I listen carefully to her analyses.

    Or do you believe that art, and those who make it, have nothing of substance to contribute to our understanding of our world?

  2. I am willing to listen to anything he has to say about films and film-making. And he's as entitled as anyone to his opinion about anything he chooses to opine on. But I don't think his geopolitical views are anymore headline-worthy than mine. The reason we are supposed to pay attention to him in this case is because he is a celebrity. I wish more celebrities would keep their opinions to themselves, which is where most such opinions belong. The celerity as Jiminy Cricket is one of the more foolish developments of this appalling age.

  3. Frank,

    I am a huge fan of Martin Scorsese's crime films - Goodfellas is a crime classic and perhaps the best crime film ever made - but I agree with you.

    His views, and the views of other celebrities, are no more valid than the guy at the end of the bar, in any bar.

    He should and does offer his views on film making and the subjects he makes films about, but he should not be asked and should not respond to subjects he has little expertise in.

    I recently interviewed producer/writer/actor Chazz Palmintieri for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

    I asked him about his film The Bronx Tale and his one-man Bronx Tale show, which he was performing in Atlantic City.

    I did not ask him about politics or global warming.


  4. I should add that as a Vietnam veteran I'm insulted by his claim that the Iraq War produced "thousands of Travis Bickles," the deranged and violent Vietnam veteran character in his film "Taxi Driver."

    The large majority of veterans of the Vietnam War adjusted to civilian life just as well as WWII veterans and most are well-adjusted and law-abiding.The same goes for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Mr. Scorsese did not mention that the most violent acts today are not committed by maladjusted US veterans, but rather by radical Islamic terrorists.

    I noticed he had nothing to say about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism...


  5. Paul, I interpret Scorsese's statement about the thousands and thousands of Travis Bickles differently -- not in terms of veterans, who in any case are never mentioned in the piece, but in relationship to the effects of violence on those exposed to it: people who are desperate and have nothing left to lose. Or, as in my past, the normalisation of violence during the apartheid struggle, especially with regards to the youth of Soweto.

    And how do you know Scorsese has nothing to say about terrorism? Maybe he has lots to say, maybe he doesn't. But you can't possibly form an opinion on the basis of such a short and not very good piece.

  6. Frank, I find it rather ironic that your fellow Americans have elected a reality TV celebrity to lead the country, and to speak for them, yet you would give no weight to the voice of another celebrity. You can't have it both ways: either a celebrity should stick to his limited field of expertise (I use 'limited' advisedly in Trump's case), or not.

    Even in this rather poor piece, Scorsese attacks celebrity culture (which of course he benefits from). Still, it's not his celebrity as such which counts with me, but the quality of his work, which speaks to his understanding of the forces at play in our lives.

    Is he the only voice I'd listen to? Of course not. But he is probably as much an expert as a lot of the pundits you're so fond of criticising. And a lot more of an expert when it comes to what celebrity means and how it effects both its stars and their victims.

  7. Lee,

    Have you seen Taxi Driver? Travis was a Vietnam veteran.

    I'm a veteran, my brother is a veteran, I have many friends who are veterans, and I've interviewed countless veterans over the years - none of whom who have shot up the place in a rage. (But radical Islamic terrorists have done this all over the world).

    And Scorsese said the Iraq War has caused thousands of Travis Bickles. Of course he is talking about veterans.

    I read (and write) about crime, crime novels and crime films, and so I've read nearly every interview with Scorsese via newspapers and the Internet. Like most liberals, like most celebrities, he is mum on radical Islamic terrorism.

    I love his crime films - Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Casino and Goodfellas, but his views on other subjects are no more valid, as I wrote above, than the guy at the end of the bar, and let me add, everyone's crazy uncle at a holiday dinner.


  8. Well,Trump was a celebrity. But he entered the race, which is certainly putting your money where your mouth is, and he won. His views on electoral politics, like it or not, now count. Scorsese's really don't.

  9. Paul:

    'Referring to the rise of global terrorism, Mr Scorsese said that the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq invasion "had created thousands and thousands of Travis Bickles."

    "They say they have nothing to lose," he added.'

    In my view, which of course could be wrong, you are misreading what Scorsese has said, and a typical example of confirmation bias. But of the only way to be sure is to ask the man.

    1. To be clearer: 'Referring to the rise of global terrorism...'

  10. Frank, whether we like it or not, it's naive to think that celebrities don't influence what people think. And the more I consider it, the more I think, why shouldn't they use their influence for matters they consider important. If you want to change something, you can't go it alone.