"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Director Makes "Argument" Before Supreme Court Justice

In the latest issue of The Onion, in the "AV Club" back pages, there is an interview with movie writer/director David O. Russell that is worthy of the front of the paper, which is an irony-laden satire-fest.

Russell, the director of the best-forgotten Spanking The Monkey, a "comedy" about incest (eiuw), and the quite-good Flirting With Disaster and Three Kings, proves himself to be an idiotarian of the first degree.

He says, "I spent my 20s basically doing stuff like...[s]tanding in parking lots, organizing for different causes. We had a lot of fun, too. You canvass and raise money in neighborhoods. We'd get in the town council's face about slums and confront these old guys and make them change."

OK, so we've established that he was an earnest lefty in his college and post-college days.

He then relates a story about "confront[ing] Antonin Scalia in Amherst":

I was given some honorary degree a couple of years ago, and I heard that he was there talking. He was having some meeting with the conservatives on campus. I said, "I gotta go to that." I was supposed to give a talk at 3 o'clock, but at 2:30, I knew I couldn't stay for the whole thing. So I went into this room. People would nod knowingly when I went in. They'd give you the secret nod...So there are only 20 people, and Antonin Scalia is, like, right there. He's talking about the Constitution and all the things that he thinks should be done to it, why they're the bosses of the Constitution. I felt terrible that I had to interrupt him, because I'd rather do it formally, but I knew that I had to go do my talk.

Then I had the idea that the medium was the message, that it had a poetic meaning, so I could do it with a clear conscience. The interruption would be the message. So I stood up and said, "I have to interrupt you." He said, "At least have the decency to let me finish." I said, "No, see, but you didn't let the election finish. That's how I feel about that. I want to know how you could not let the election finish. It doesn't feel good that I'm not letting you finish your talk right now, does it?" They all stood there and looked at each other awkwardly. I said, "Well, I have to go. I'm giving a talk because I'm getting an honorary degree tomorrow." That was truly the coup de grace. I think they all thought I was just some homeless riff-raff from town..."

Isn't this just priceless? I assumed this guy was in his early 30s, and I was shocked to discover that he is 46 years old. Forty-six. And he speaks like some ignorant, petulant, vain, self-centered, self-righteous, self-aggrandizing college kid. "I was given some honorary degree...Antonin Scalia is, like, right there...He's talking about...why they're the bosses of the Constitution."

And when Mr. Russell teaches the Supreme Court justice his brilliantly devised lesson, which equates the boorish behavior of a spoiled Hollywood brat to the reasoned, principled action of the judicial branch of the government, he delivers the "coup de grace": He sniffs, "I have to go...I'm getting an honorary degree tomorrow."

That showed 'im!