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December 20, 2002
United States: Empire of Darkness

I try to avoid hearing what actors have to say about politics. Stupid (e.g., Ed Asner) or evil (e.g., Vanessa Redgrave) views ruin my ability to enjoy an actor's work. By chance I turned on Charlie Rose last night. He was interviewing Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Elijah Wood, who plays Frodo in the films, and Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn.

Oh, how I wish I had gone to bed early. Viggo had made himself a little t-shirt for the interview. It said, "No more blood for oil."

This, I am sad to say, was the best part of his appearance, at least the part that I saw before turning off the television in disgust. Viggo is upset that some people are comparing the U.S., in its war on terror, to the forces of good in the movie. According to him, it is actually the reverse: the U.S. is Sarumon, its rapacious (his word) government unleashing forces of destruction on innocent civilians huddled at Helm's Deep.

In short, Viggo is a bloody idiot.

More wisdom from Viggo: the upcoming war against Iraq is a diversion, to distract people from the "fact" that the U.S. has been bombing civilians in Afghanistan for a year, and has killed more innocents than were killed in the Trade Center attacks. It is also a vendetta spawned by Bush's father.

In case you are tuning in late, the point is that Viggo is a bloody idiot.

The entertaining element in this interview, which was supposed to be about the movie, was imagining the reactions of the movie's marketers. Let's put it this way: I'm betting the pucker factor was pretty high. Depending on what kind of press this gets, two days into the opening of the second movie in the trilogy, the pucker factor could go higher.

"You were supposed to talk about the movie, pretty boy, not your paranoid personal politics. Who are you, freaking Ed Begley, Jr. all of a sudden?" I'm sure right now the marketers are meeting with the PR flaks, to figure out how best to position themselves if this hits the fan. And let's hope that it does.

Not, mind you, because Viggo's insipid views matter. What should be most insulting to American fans of the wonderful movies is that Viggo felt he should speak out in order to set us all straight on what the movie does and does not mean. Deep-thinking Viggo, who by his own admission didn't even open the first Tolkien book until he was on his way to filming. He learned some lines and play-acted some fight scenes, so now he's an expert on the symbolism of good and evil, and their interconnections with global politics.

This isn't surprising, to be sure, Hollywood is chock full of stupid people with ridiculous, trendy little views. The worst part of this spectacle, however, was that Viggo trotted out the "I'm just trying to be an independent voice" line. "Nobody questions U.S. policy, or asks why we need to kill all of these innocent civilians," he exclaimed.

So here's what will happen next. If this gets much press, Viggo will say that oppressive conservatives are trying to silence him and others who agree with him. This is a tactic of the self-pitying, irrational Left. Sling out ridiculous accusations, exclaim that you are really just trying to inject truth into the debate, and then run hiding at the first sign of critique.

Viggo couldn't even withstand the gentlest of questioning from Rose ("What would you have done differently after 9/11," Rose asked. "Well, I wouldn't have killed all those innocent people in Afghanistan," was the evasive answer). There's no way he can maintain his assertions in the face of a detailed rebuttal. Not that people like him ever have any intention of doing so. Instead, they equate rebuttal with efforts to crush their rare flower of an opinion.

The second movie, by the way, is well worth seeing, especially the battle scenes. You might find yourself rooting a little for the Orcs, however. Imagine what an insufferable little kingdom this Aragorn would build for himself. Tolkien's work is art, and it is beautiful in its portrayal of the eternal battles in and around man. It is a pity Viggo Mortensen isn't more worthy of the tale.

Oh, it just keeps getting better. this thread is just one of many on the Charlie Rose website. A sample from one of Viggo Mortensen's fans:

"Viggo Mortensen demonstrated admirable courage in wearing his homade (sic) "no more blood for oil tee shirt on Charlie�s show. I thought he handled himself very well under the inquisition that Charlie presented regarding the meaning it represented."

And another fan:

"I also applaud to Viggo for his T-shirt and Charlie for letting him discuss it. This kind of intelligent discussion is so lacking in main stream TV these days. It might have been a digression from the discussion of the movie, but I loved the spontaneity and that Charlies allowed the digression.

Now if Charlie would bring Noam Chomsky for an hour discussion."

Noam Chomsky. Oh. Dear. God.

I'm thinking of a scene from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, when Aragorn and Gimli leap into a crowd of orcs and send bodies flying left and right. This close-minded little cabal on the Rose website suggests a similar opportunity...

Comments are closed. Now all of you just . . . go away. Scoot. Be gone. Enjoy yourselves on someone else's website.

Posted by Woodlief on December 20, 2002 at 09:56 AM



I have to comfort myself that his part of the movie was in the can before he developed these idiotic opinions. It's the only way I can bring myself to go to the movie.

Posted by: Brian Jones at December 20, 2002 10:04 AM

We're going to have to do something about the tunnel vision viewpoint that has developed in Hollywood. It's just not good to have all our visual entertainment coming from one corrupt source. We have conservative talk radio, conservative news (mostly) from Fox, and conservative bloggers (like the fine man Tony here), but little visual programming with conservative, anti-idiotarian content, other than Veggietales.
Not that I like everything conservative, necessarily, but its far better than the junk coming from the NY Times or on West Wing.

Posted by: nathan at December 20, 2002 11:01 AM

Courage = wearing a t-shirt on a liberal talk show. Right.

Actors are, as a class, usually stoopid. This has always been the case, as far as my (casual) research has shown. That occasional actor or actress that showed some spark of intelligence beyond that necessary to read scripts has been rare indeed.

But it is only in this and the previous century that actors have been elevated into a rarified position of authority in society. Always before the acting profession had been considered barely one step above that of streetwalker. Parents would disown daughters who ran away to join the theater, etc. Or at best, actors were considered members of a raffish class whom one should not hang out with too much if one cared about one's reputation. I'm not saying we should go back to those days... oh, maybe we should. It is clear that giving these people too much power has gone straight to their empty heads like all the booze and drugs they are always getting hooked on. Personally, I have gone back to the position of my childhood: there are no such things as "actors" -- the characters on the screen are what is real. Actors for the most part should be seen and not heard.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 20, 2002 1:16 PM

Hmmm...I didn't realize this hadn't already aired. Someone commenting on Misha's site found the transcript days ago, and I mentioned it in passing on my blog.

I got the impression that Mortensen is most uncomfortable with the fact that we are (by far) the stronger. The heroic thing about Aragorn's army in LotR is---not that they were for Good against Evil---but that they were by far the weaker. Weak=good. Strong=bad. This seemed to be the basis for his discomfort with identifying the Good Guys with the US.

I'll point out the overlooked silver lining here: He's heard people identifying the good guys in LotR with the US. I thought only bloggers did that.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at December 20, 2002 4:10 PM

Well, Jeebus, what kind of excuse is that? What are we supposed to do, let terrorists destroy our property at will? Stop being productive? Turn our entire country into a giant Helm's Deep and hope no one tries to break down the walls? Die?

I understand the "I'm a weak little person you shouldn't be mean to me" argument, and it has its merits, but I also keep in mind that it can easily slip over into "the tyranny of the weak," where the perceived "stronger" person is undercut by the envy of the weaker person. (I'm not yelling at you, Angie, I realize you are only explaining.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 20, 2002 4:36 PM

My current favorite TV show, "JAG", is one of the few shows that is not actively biased against the right. Because of this, it is often labelled as "propaganda" for the military and/or conservatives. There certainly aren't many shows out there that would have had Oliver North on twice as a guest star (playing himself), or have the main character telling Clinton jokes.

I certainly wouldn't label it "conservative," but it's probably the closest thing to it on network TV.

Posted by: Sandra at December 20, 2002 7:55 PM

Please try to make a greater effort not to hear what actors have to say about politics. Remember, most of them live in Disneyland.

Posted by: Llana at December 21, 2002 11:19 AM

Tony's post explains the reason i dont go to see to many movies or watch too many TV dramatic shows.

Posted by: sid at December 21, 2002 10:38 PM

Went to see 2Towers today and did enjoy the movie. Except for the slightly boorish and noisy person behind me to the right. He kept having to explain things to his "date", often at times when I really wanted to just be immersed in the movie without distraction. Tony...got any thoughts on people who just can't be quiet when they should ?
About 2/3 into the movie his "date" distracted me one last time by dumping her $23 Jumbo Softdrink in her lap...smirked just like a hobbit I did ! I'm no Buddist mind you, but sometimes the word Karma just feels right. As for Viggo, he should be just about be at the point now where he can brush his teeth by unzipping his pants...

Posted by: Rob at December 21, 2002 11:16 PM

Several months ago "Best of the Web" started making fun of the "Not In Our Name" site. I checked it out, and was stunned to see Viggo Mortensen's name on the ad that ran in the NY Times. Granted, the US is not perfect, but how anyone could spend two years immersed in Tolkien's "sub-creation" and in essense come out in favor of the terrorists is beyond me.

I wish I was better at separating actor's from their characters, but I'm not. I can't watch a Julia Roberts movie without thinking about the time she compared Republicans to reptiles. Haven't seen Minority Report yet, even though it sounds pretty interesting, because of Tom Cruise basically stating he didn't want his kids to be American, not to mention Spielberg fawning over Castro. George Clooney is ruined, too. (Sean Penn doesn't bother me, because I never liked his movies.) So now, every time I watch LOTR, somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice is going to be constantly reminding me that Aragorn is a fake. Thanks, Viggo.

Posted by: Christi Turner at December 22, 2002 4:55 PM


I feel your pain. I, as you, have great trouble separating the actor from the character. I only found out about Viggo *after* seeing the second Lord of the Rings. Now he's tainted the movie for me. I would like to go watch the movie again, but...now I'll see him and think of a pathetic fool who thinks America is evil and Saddam Hussein is the good guy.

It's one of the few drawbacks, for lack of better world, of the blog world. You just find out information like this without actively seeking it (because how many of us actually seek out an actor's or actress' opinion on geopolitics?).

Posted by: addison at December 22, 2002 6:57 PM

Perhaps you should learn something about our foreign policy before you just auto-pilot trash anyone who disagrees with your paltry world-view.

The fact is that the U.S. has a lot of blood on its hands, and has had for decades. And the current administration is attempting to make it illegal to even question its decisions.

In the meanwhile, the rest of the world dislikes us more and more. Have you ever stopped to think why?

I think Mortensen makes a lot of sense, and perhaps you should read the complete transcripts again, and consider what he's saying.

Posted by: Elissa at December 23, 2002 3:08 AM

<rolls eyes>

Elissa, you really need to keep up with your doses of thorazine; the voices will stop, and the people chasing you will go away.

Your post is a typical leftist rant against the Bush administration, long on apocalyptic assertions, but strangely short on actual facts.

Please cite one instance where the Bush administration has attempted to make illegal any effort to criticize its policies (shouldn't you be concerned about your views, and how they will mark you for persecution?).

More and more of the world doesn't like us because we are looking out for our own self-interest, instead of doing the bidding of other nations. Since a significant portion of the world is overrun with fanatics who wish declare jihad against us because we do not share their religion, and another chunk is full of one-world socialists who hate capitalism.

Posted by: timekeeper at December 23, 2002 8:09 AM

Have a great Christmas and keep on Blogging.

Posted by: BagoWicks at December 23, 2002 10:46 AM

Hollywood is absolutely critical to our national health. It provides lucrative and enduring careers to people who would otherwise be completely unemployable.

Posted by: hbchrist at December 23, 2002 11:48 AM

I agree that the United States is the citadel of evil. Consequently, I can not accept any income derived from the American people.


a sincere artist

Posted by: mark at December 23, 2002 7:18 PM

Elissa is right. By your empty, cliche-ridden "critiques," all of the people trashing Mortensen here prove they don't know sh*t about freedom, U.S. history, deductive reasoning, or even 'The Lord of the Rings.' Read more books and spend less time watching TV, playing v-games, and/or "intimately enjoying" internet porn. Mortensen, as are all others who are just asking that pinheads like you look into the facts instead of letting your fears and prejudices run wild, is a true patriot. You people, on the other hand, are just lazy, TV addicted nerds who think that slavish president-worship is what our forefathers had intended.

Posted by: Son of (Uncle) Sam at December 26, 2002 3:59 AM

Ooo! ooo! Let's fisk this!

>Elissa is right.

Prove it. She provided no facts, so get some, cite them, then prove them.

>By your empty, cliche-ridden "critiques," all of the people trashing Mortensen here prove they don't know sh*t about freedom,

Doesn't speaking freely actually prove that they are well aware of what freedom is, and that they are actively using it?

>U.S. history, deductive reasoning,

How? How does criticizing Aragorn prove you know nothing of deductive reasoning? By *your* reasoning, your insult filled criticism proves you know nothing of patriotism, HTML, or, well, anything.

>or even 'The Lord of the Rings.'

???? I think I dropped my eight sided dice on this one...

>Read more books

How many? Name a minimum. What if they are all pulp romances?

>and spend less time watching TV,

Including PBS? Or should we watch more of that?

>playing v-games, and/or "intimately enjoying" internet porn.

OK, this is just an asshole thing to say. I can smell your elitist Marxism from an entire culture away.

>Mortensen, as are all others who are just asking that pinheads like you

So his words are only for the pinheads? Because if that is so, then it's no wonder they resonate so well with you.

>look into the facts

We did, we do, we will. I'm still looking for one in your post.

>instead of letting your fears and prejudices run wild,

I would love to do this.

>is a true patriot.

So am I. Just the other day I wore my No New Taxes pin at the teachers lounge. I stood up for the little man with fashion. That takes real guts, you know.

>You people,

This kind of statement cost Ross Perot a ton of votes. Careful.

>on the other hand, are just lazy, TV addicted nerds who think that slavish president-worship is what our forefathers had intended.

Damnit, more mind readers. Does Miss Cleo know you are cruising the net instead of answering phones? Wait, trick question. Of course she does!

Posted by: hbchrist at December 26, 2002 11:47 PM

"Elissa" and "Son of (Uncle) Sam" sound as if they got their ideas out of a horror film entitled "Clichés of the Living Dead."

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 27, 2002 4:01 AM

I feel like the evil Sauron, and HB and Andrea are my Ringwraiths. Feel my wrath, you dirty little left-wing Hobbits!

Something I've noticed about people who post attacks here. First, they rarely have the courage, unlike Palmer Haas, a regular critic in these pages, to use their real names. Second, (and also unlike Palmer) they have somehow developed the strange belief that accusing someone of not being sufficiently informed or well-read substitutes for actually showing, via logic and fact, how these supposed deficits are manifested in specific errors.

To put this in language that Elissa and Sam are most likely to understand: "Nyah, nyah, your mother wears combat boots and votes Republican."

Posted by: Tony Woodlief at December 30, 2002 8:25 AM

hey elissa and son of same or whatever the f*** your name is. How about being a brave person and going over to your buddy Saddam's palace and acting as a human shield to save Saddam's ass from the imperialist Republicans and Prez George W. you so hate? Saddam sure could use some of you human shields when the depleted uranium shells start flying. Since Saddam, is a dictator y'all seem to like, you ought to put your asses on the line to defend him and his wonderful regime, that has done sooo much to make the lives of the common Iraqi so much better in the past 10 years. Why look, he has built opulent palaces that are a thousand time more ornate than where your hated President lives in on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, while Iraqi kids and the sick die of hunger and disease. Now, isnt this wonderful dictator, worth saving?

Posted by: sid at December 30, 2002 11:18 PM

Tony, you're fantastic. Elissa and Son of Sam, you're both quite typical Lefty dolts. You really ought to try throwing off the shackles of your elitist liberal brainwashing and try searching out a few facts - actual, real facts, not "facts because Chomsky says so" - to bolster your inane "arguments" before popping off next time. Hey, here's something you might recognize: you have nothing to lose but your chains, kiddies.

Jeez, but people who actually "think" like this (and who think that they are the true lights of non-conformist reason, while slavishly conforming to every last dollop of Lefty group-think they've ever been exposed to) truly make me tremble for the future of this country. Damn, now I've used up my weekly quota of sneer quotes again.

Posted by: Mike at December 31, 2002 12:59 PM

You know, I don't think I could take seriously anyone who actually uses the name Viggo anyway, so it's fine that he spouts idiotic tripe.

Posted by: nathan at December 31, 2002 1:58 PM

I wouldn't get too upset about people like Sean Penn and Viggo and the Baldwins and Julia Roberts (or Schwarzennegger, too). The day of the Computer Generated Actor is fast approaching, and all these people paid a whole lot of money for pretending and emoting on cue will be out of their cushy jobs. It's back to dinner theater in Dubuque, where they belong.

You think the studio heads are going to keep around these over-paid, sactimonious, self-rightous morons when they can keep a those profits for themselves? Talk about karma...

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 31, 2002 3:01 PM

Just remember that these lefties are not known for doing anything of character without a script in front of them. Original thought is not their forte. Never has been, likely never will be. But hey, don't try to confuse the obtuse with facts. It's just more proof, that's all.

Posted by: Mike DesJardins at December 31, 2002 10:31 PM

What makes actors believe their opinion is more valid than anyone else's anyway? Or more worthy of being heard? Viggo was on that show representing a film, a movie studio, the Tolkein estate and his fellow actors and director. If I'd gone somewhere representing my company and mouthed off like that I'd be fired. It would serve him right if the studio banned him from any more promotional appearances for the film. Of course that may be why he did it. He may be tired of the PR stuff and wants to move on. Nah, he's just an idiot. He has no idea the damage he's done not only to his role in that film but his reputation as an actor. He could likely lose out on some rolls because of the fall out. But that's okay. The important thing was he got to say his piece and wear his T-shirt on T.V. What ticks me off is he thinks we are all so enamored with him as Aragorn we would just slobber over anything he had to say especially in reference to Tolkein's work. I think we're a hell of a lot smarter than he thinks he is.

Posted by: Greg Slone at January 1, 2003 12:43 AM

Tony, yours is one of my favorite blogs and I'm no longer just a lurker. This is a subject near and dear to me, as someone who is a Recovered Lefty, who lived and worked in La-La Land for 32 years, and who thought and spouted every piece of anti-American garbage and socialist drivel you hear from the Hollywood Braindead. One CAN recover and I'm proof, along with many others. For all you Recovered Lefties out there, are you as disgusted and horrified as I am every time these sanctimonious and (falsely) morally superior liberals spew their dogma? Or is it just me?

As for movies and TV (and some music), they have been RUINED for me. My hub and I cannot sit through most movies and shows, which I guess proves we also cannot separate the actors from the characters. (Having lived and worked in L.A. with some of these people, I can attest that they are almost ALL literally dumber than dirt.) One of the most hilarious statements Mike Farrell recently said was that, as actors, they have "more imagination" than the rest of us dolts. Uh, hey, Mike...who writes the words you recite on screen, huh?? Without scripts, these people are loose cannons and cretins with their feet permanently in their mouths. Also, why are they taking Americans' money if they despise us so much? I'm not giving them mine. Why are they living here and not in Canada/France/Germany? Wasn't Alec Baldwin supposed to relieve us of his miserable self if W was elected? Get out already!

A few weeks ago on "Angel," one of the lead characters, Cordelia, suffered amnesia and was asked if she remembered who the President was. I am paraphrasing, but I believe her answer was close to, "Yes...unfortunately." We have watched "Angel" since the very first episode. We will never watch it again. Call us oversensitive, but that was the last straw.

There are musicians whose music I love, and I am struggling mightily these days to hear and love the music without comprehending the lyrics that are detestable to me, or without replaying in my mind the despicable things they have said about my president, me, people like me, and my country.

Do actors and musicians know what they are doing? They are destroying their fan support in many instances. I know we have free speech in this country (well, sort of...Congress is doing its best to destroy that and Lefties absolutely don't believe in it), but if actors and musicians were mute except for reading lines and singing, well...I'd be very happy. (James Woods and a few others excepted.)

Lefties need not respond to me. I been there done that/you can't say nothin' I haven't said 1000 times. It don't work no more.

Posted by: Peg Conroy at January 1, 2003 8:45 AM

Congratulations, Peg!!! You ought to be real happy to have gotten out of the idiotarian leftist cult.

Posted by: Anonymous at January 1, 2003 4:38 PM

I saw the show with the so-called "idiot" Viggo and was rather impressed with his ability to stand up for the Afghanistani people. It takes a lot for people of "status" to put their image on the line for those who have no voice.

It makes people who actually care about their country realize that Bush isn't actually doing a damn thing for the people since he's too focussed on his "War Against Terrorism" to give a shit about the homeless, healthcare and your education systems. He's ready to send all his people out to war (be killed) to show to other countries just how "powerful" he is. Americans How does that make you feel, right wingers?

Before you go and criticize people who do not share the same political ideology as yourselves, take a look and see what your government is doing for you. This is not a personal attack, this is an attack on the entire global system.

So, if Viggo is an idiot for stating his political view, you all are too.

Posted by: Courtney Howie at January 12, 2003 1:19 PM

Dear Courtney,
Viggo isn't an idiot for sharing his political view. He is an idiot for reasons that go unexplained. The fact that he is an idiot is brought to light by the views he holds. These are important distinctions. We do not live in a world in which an opinion holds true simply by virtue of being held. Some opinions are wrong, their holders wrong. We decide this by reference to data and logic. Viggo did neither.

Posted by: Tony at January 13, 2003 9:41 AM

Go Viggo!

Viggo is right, lots and lots of people think the same way.
Just look at this link:

In the movie the two towers belong to the evil just like WTC belong to US.

Posted by: Oskar at January 17, 2003 9:01 AM

I'd like to know how it is that people who pretend for a living are suddenly propelled into expert status concerning foreign policy and world affairs. One has only to listen to the Sean Penns and Alec Baldwins of the world stutter and blather through an unscripted interview to know these people are missing a few of their brain cells.

Posted by: Lynn at January 21, 2003 1:50 PM

I hate to break it to you buddy, but Viggo ain't some run of the mill dumb high school drop-out H-wood moron. He's got a double degree in Government and Spanish from St. Lawrence University.

I happen to agree with much of what he said on Charlie Rose, and I'm glad someone so high-proifile is bucking what the publicists say, and speaking his own mind.

It's his right as an American to criticize and question the choices our government made.

I have an idea for you though...

How about instead of using nasty little insults to respond to what Viggo said, you respond with some stock and an actual useful retort to what he said on the show?

Posted by: Shine at January 22, 2003 6:17 PM

The pro-war comments here calling Viggo an idiot are the most eloquent evidence of why america and the world are facing such chaotic and dangerous times and remain ignorant of the causes of it.

USA's Governments have been sponsoring and financing dictatorships all over the world, Iraq's Hussein being just one of them, USAma being just another CIA's agent and the very own Taliban, too, whose staff was not at all unwelcome when they were hosted with red carped in Texas in 2001 and Bush's administration oiled their hands with billions of dollars (according to Judicial Watch).

Your misinformed attack on Mr Mortensen's accurate assessment of your administration's terror policies in foreign lands explains to me why America is her worst enemy.

Posted by: Marcia at February 2, 2003 6:45 PM

Viggo and 83% of the rest of the world is right. You silly 17% are wrong!

Posted by: Helle at February 2, 2003 8:15 PM

You people must not understand. Viggo is a wonderful human being, and if you think he's an idiot, try looking at him from the other side of the fence. You all believe what you're told, and regurgitate it back up so other people might believe that you've actually formed something of an opinion. And as to Viggo wearing T-shirts that state his opinion, isn't that better than trying to go assassinate Bush?

Posted by: Lauren at February 2, 2003 9:54 PM

There are so many ill-informed people here I don't know where to start. Resorting to personal insult by calling Viggo Mortensen an idiot, rather than addressing his arguments says it all, really. Contrary to what you lot believe, over 80% of Americans (according to a CNN poll last Wednesday) are against going to war with Iraq at this time. Yes, that means it's YOU who are in the minority.

Bombing Iraq would be helping the terrorists - how better to increase anti-American feeling and recruit the next generation than killing thousands of Iraqui civilians? Sorry, but in the final analysis, the only way to tackle terrorism is trying to understand where they're coming from and address their disaffection with the West through education and peace talks. Scoff all you like, but what finished off the IRA? Thirty years of British military occupation and throwing hundreds of them in prison? No. Sitting around a table and negotiating with Sinn Fein, that's what.

Posted by: Lou at February 2, 2003 10:53 PM

Oh dear, it seems I've angered the Viggo Mortensen fan club. Your stinging retorts can be boiled down to two threads:

1) I agree with Viggo.

2) Instead of insulting him, why don't you refute his critique?

Let's address number two, which will illuminate the causes of number one. The point of my original post was that Viggo's assertions were ridiculous on their face. Imagine that I were to tell you that a secret cabal of Jews controlled 90% of the world's finances. Would you feel compelled to prove me wrong before concluding that I am an idiot?

I should hope not. Likewise for Viggo's claims that impending war against Iraq is really just a diversion so the U.S. can slaughter innocent Afghani civilians. Do you really think the world works like "Wag the Dog?" Do you really believe that the U.S. military delights in killing civilians, or does little to avoid it when engaging in military operations? Do you honestly believe that our entire foreign policy in the Middle East hinges on a grudge President Bush carries on behalf of his father?

If so, then you are hopelessly lost in an Oliver Stone movie.

Even worse was Viggo's equivocation of the United States with Saurumon's dark forces. Let's be clear -- we have more firepower than Europeans have cheese. We have more wealth than college students have complaints. If we wanted to take over the world, by golly, the Iranian mullahs would be sipping whiskey and watching Madonna videos right now (if they aren't already). So spare me this "Viggo's just speaking truth to power" crap. Viggo is expressing an uninformed but trendy opinion from the safe confines of a country protected by people whose shoelaces he doesn't deserve to tie.

Now, print this on your Sociology Department's copier, and be sure to explain it to those of your friends in the I Love Viggo Club who aren't so good with long words. And don't come back here until you've developed an argument.

Posted by: Tony at February 3, 2003 8:43 AM


First of all, let's address the personal insults you're incapable of containing: I'm a middle-class housewife, not a sociology student. I rate Viggo Mortensen as an actor and applaud his decision to speak out, but I'm not a member of any fanclub. People like him do make a difference. Mock Jane Fonda by all means - but remember, one of the reasons Nixon pulled out of Vietnam was the rising tide of anti-war public sentiment, which she played her part in. (By the way, Tony, if you told me 90% of the world's finances were controlled by Jews, I would not feel the need to insult you before addressing the arguments. When I was 18 years old, I would have; it's possible to evolve)

Also, I'm entering the debate here because I'm not sure we should go to war with Iraq at this point, not because I'm a VM-fanatic. But your arguments prompted me to search for a transcript of the Charlie Rose show in question, and referring to it, I'd like to say the following.

1. As for the war being a "distraction" from Afghanistan, VM's quote was: "What the United States has been doing for the past year is bombing innocent civilians without having come anywhere close to catching Osama bin Laden or any presumed enemy, and, as a distraction, we're now - apparently, it's a given - we're hell bent on increasing the bombing that's been going on for the past eleven years in Iraq." It's pretty clear to me that he's saying it's a distraction from the fact we failed to find bin Laden, not a distraction from civilian casualties, as you say.

2.You asked: "Do you really believe that the U.S. military delights in killing civilians, or does little to avoid it when engaging in military operations?" No, I don't believe either of those things. I understand the need for a well-equipped military, and I have every respect for the brave men and women in our armed forces. My argument is with the government, not the army, navy and airforce. But the fact remains, the preferred method of starting a war in this day and age is aerial bombardment, which always results in heavy civilian casualties, smart-bombs or no.

3. Personally, no, I don't believe Bush is such an idiot as to launch a war because of family loyalty, to finish something his dad started. VM said "some kind of vendetta maybe that our President's father has... Who knows what the reasons are?" The operative word there being 'MAYBE'. I see that as him merely voicing what some people are hypothesising. I don't think it counts as a definitive statement of what VM thinks this war is about, period.

4. You wrote: "Even worse was Viggo's equivocation of the United States with Saurumon's dark forces". I take it you meant to say 'equation' here. That said, again, you're taking VM's words out of context. The conversation ran like this:

CR: "The idea... you object to the comparison of this film with respect to American involvement with Iraq or. . .

VM: United States government

CR: . . .with the Afghanistan war or the war against terrorism - in comparison with the film - because of your opposition to American policy.

VM: And the idea is - in that comparison - is that the United States is like the good guys in our movie against the bad guys in our movie and I think the opposite is true, unfortunately."

Look, VM didn't come out against the war the minute the film was released. In response to Charlie Rose's first question, "You're obviously making a political statement with your T-shirt." VM said: "I wouldn't normally, but it's sort of a reaction." He's only been forced to draw that comparison because others have repeatedly been characterising The Two Towers as a pro-war movie. If people want to do that, fine; but you can't lambast VM for interpreting the film differently. (Unless you prefer to live in a totalitarian state.)

5. Who's suggesting the US is trying to take over the world, for gawd's sake? Yes, you could bomb the shit out of the entire planet if you wanted to. And if you did, you'd be welcome to it. Who wants to live in a radiated desert. That's a puerile argument.

To my mind, America's proudest achievement is the democratic system. A system that is founded on the need for coherent debate. Tony, your attempts to steamroller dissenting voices with verbal insults is wholly un-American. Viggo Mortensen is being a true American, as he said on Charlie Rose: "I'm supportive of the United States. I'm an American. And I have nothing against patriotism."

Well, I hope my argument was developed enough for you, Tony. I look forward to your response.

One final thing to dwell upon:

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

(Joseph Goebbels' diary, 1/29/42 - Minister of Propaganda for the Nazy Party)

Posted by: Lou at February 3, 2003 12:01 PM

Yes, that should say 'Nazi'

Posted by: Lou at February 3, 2003 1:20 PM

Mr. Mortensen has as much right as anyone to express his opinions on the war with Iraq as we all do as "Americans". I also question the motives for going to war and I'm glad he spoke out and perhaps gave a voice to alot of others who also oppose. You also have the right to oppose his views but to have to resort to calling him a "bloody idiot" was uncalled for. You lost a lot of respect and credibility by going down into the gutter.

Posted by: Lynn at February 4, 2003 4:25 PM

Not to get engaged in your debate...I simply thought the man has a right to his opinion, a right to voice it, and if you disagree, you're entitled to disagree. Why the furor over one man's spoken opinion?. So, many people heard it...like you, they don't have to agree with it. It's not his responsibity to make people become informed on their own so they won't automatically buy into his opinion. It's his responsibility as a human being to be as informed as he can be and to develop an opinion.

Posted by: Anonymous at February 6, 2003 10:19 AM

I can not believe what a coward you are! Hiding behind this website calling a brilliant man a 'bloody idiot' when he has more IQ points than you will ever hope to have! He, in my opinion, is completely right and you had no right to trash him like that! And as for calling him a 'pretty boy' ,well, you obviously are ferociously jealous that he is smart, charming, tallented, and handsome. While you, on the other hand, are an egotistical jerk! He is one hundred times the man you'll ever be. I've met 12 year olds that are more mature than you! Try opening a book. Maybe you'll learn something!(unlikely)

Posted by: Kate Murray at February 15, 2003 9:14 PM

Looking back on what I just said, I would like to say that I regret stooping to Woodlief's level of name calling. Next time I will try to control my anger. It was fun calling him a coward though. I really shouldn't waste my time over what he said. It's not like he'll suddenly realize how wrong he is. Some people are just never learn.

Posted by: Kate Murray at February 15, 2003 9:27 PM

Sorry that you don't understand tact.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 3, 2003 9:37 PM

Hello, as a first timer to this site I was really interested in all the oppinions. As a recent French person said what uou say about someone really says more about you than the person you are talking about. Please can we keep it polite? if you disagree with someone at least express it in a decent manner. As a matter of fact the only people likely to suffer in this war is the troops and the Palistininans and the Israelis and the Marsh Arabs and other poor locals. Please dont go to war it never did any good except with the world wars which incidentally this could easily cause - a nuclear holocaust third world war. I am a liberal and proud of that fact at least you never saw a liberal goosestepping and massacering innocent children in history. Saddam is not Hitler but is an evil man, however this will not get rid of him as the previous war did not get rid of the m........... 8****** why do the americans think this war will do any good?

Posted by: dunadan at March 14, 2003 4:18 AM

Look, what ever Viggo says now will not stop us. But he is a smart guy but i don't understand why he says the war is is 100% about oil, with his shirt. Has the WOMD mean anything. Look we need to stop arguing and start supporting our USA troops! Thats whats sould matter, now. Not who isn't agianst it. But who there. I know over 12 people who will fight in Iraq, Please all of you start being Pro american, and not Anti. I think we all have rights to speak, but ask yourself What matters now.

Posted by: Lanna at March 18, 2003 11:14 PM

Viggo Mortensen didn't just say the war was only about oil Lanna. And what is this war about? Does anyone really know? I support the U.S. troops 100% but I don't support George Bush. I consider him to be a self-absorbed man who doesn't care who he hurts just so he could get to the top and stay there. When I found out for sure that we were going to war I put my face in my hands and cried. It was no longer about Bush and his warped theories, it was about all the men and women on both sides who were going to die! Have any of you thought of that!?

Posted by: Anonymous at March 20, 2003 6:24 PM

Heheh, Viggo Mortensen. Yes, he played King of Gondor in the century's greatest film trilogy, but he also played an alcoholic ex-baseball player in a Sandra Bullock movie *sarcastic applause*. You're right, his opinion DOESN'T matter.
I don't really care about his political views, I just wish he'd lose the weird blonde hair-do and go back to looking like Aragorn. He was very attractive in those movies.

Posted by: Libby at March 24, 2003 12:54 AM

My name is Linda and I live in Australia. Our Prime Minister John Howard signed our country to go to war even though roughly 91% of us Aussies were against it.

I admire anyone who stands up and is counted for their beliefs. Power is not by status but by the knowledge one possesses and how you can try to inform others about life.

Good on Viggo Mortensen

I am proud to be Australian . Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts, Joel Egerton and many more actors of my country are against this war as well .

War to me has no reasonuing. Why is it that
Mad men make the innocent pay for their Meglamania and Egocentricities regardless of the trauma, loss of lives or even contemplate the pain and anguish inflicked upon the innocent victims of bad circumstance.?

We'll never know the answer to this!

To all the protesters and antiwar activists of the world celebrity or not
"Small voices together make formidable noise"

Kind Regards,
Linda Ceramist, Poet, Mother, Artist and Antiviolence protestor.

Posted by: Linda Australian at March 28, 2003 7:12 AM

We have this odd little thing in America called the First Amendment, which means that everyone here can have an opinion and express it. That's exactly what Viggo did. And he did so quite eloquently and quite well!!

You'll note, I hope, that right now (3-29-03) the Bush admin isn't looking too good--they haven't been able to just march into Baghdad and overthrow Saddam as they evidently thought.

Viggo's looking pretty prophetic, huh?

The thing is, he's not just a pretty face (though he IS rather pretty)--the guy majored in government, has lived around the world, and is a writer, photographer, and painter. He's not a publicity hound or just some actor looking for the limelight.

He owns his own press, Perceval Press--go to that site: Percevalpress.com, for some really great suggestions on reading on what's really happening in Iraq and some efforts to oppose the war.

Posted by: Anne at March 29, 2003 5:51 PM

Ok, so everybody has a right to have an opinion. What I disagree on is people abusing on their social position/"star" standing to promote their interests and beliefs. Who cares if he is handsome? Who cares if he is very talented or has a degree in government? That doesn't make him a figure of authority. Did you notice how Elijah Wood and Peter Jackson didn't take part on "sharing" their opinions? That was not the purpose of the show...Viggo could very well have expressed his opinion on more appropriate forums for this. He was definetely getting a kick out of the whole situation on the show. If Viggo expressing his opinion has sparked on you the interest of knowing more about the war and politics in general and form an opinion of your own, then that is very good. BUT if you will basically quote him and base your opinion on his...then, your opinion doesn't have much validity to me or anybody that makes use of their critical mind. Know the facts. Know both sides and be objective. Then we can talk. Enough said.

Posted by: Carmen at April 1, 2003 2:57 PM

Ok ok. It seems everyone here is very anti-war. and that's cool, 1st ammendment rights, yaddah yaddah yaddah...I'm not coming out as pro- or anti-war (I originally just wanted to make fun of Viggo and his ridiculous blonde hair), but now that I have watched it unfold in recent weeks and learned more about the "Iraqi Regime," I've realized that most of you protestors probably don't even have the SLIGHTEST IDEA what you are protesting against. Have you ever read 1984? Iraq is like that, only the torture is physical and VERY REAL. Saddam Hussien is a complete tyrant. His means of TORTURE include severe beatings and "acid baths." He has "professional rapists" working for him to rape women in order to extract information from them or the men who love them (and are forced to watch the rape.) He has had his goons gouge out the eyeballs of small children in front of their parents or grandparents to get them to speak. He is a butcher. The Iraqi people are literally paralyzed with fear. The system is perfect. There is no way a people can overthrow a system that they have lived with and grown around for the last 15 years.
The question we should be asking is not "What business do we have in Iraq" but rather "Why wasn't anything done to stop this when we KNEW it was happening???" Why are we acting only now? We've known about this for years. All of you "humanitarians" who are complaining about this war don't even have a CLUE what it means to be humanitarian. Looking at this war from a true humanitarian standpoint, there is no other way to do this. Talking and diplomacy hasn't done a damn thing. You cannot reason with a crazy man who clings to power like it was his soul. Yes, innocent lives are going to be lost, but innocent lives have been lost already, in ways you or I can't even fathom. The American soldiers for the most part KNEW this was a risk that they would be taking. Saddam is FORCING the civilians of his country into battle, execution being the alternative.
Again, I'm not pro- or anti-war. I question our governments motives as much as the rest of you. But I don't just jump on the protesting bandwagon in order to be a trendy psuedo intellectual activist.
Let's educate ourselves before we raise our voices.

Posted by: Libby at April 6, 2003 11:25 PM

Oh yeah, one more thing:
Viggo should really really get rid of that blonde hair-do. He was SO GORGEOUS as Aragorn, with the long dark hair...*sigh* Aragorn, someday you will be mine.

Posted by: Libby at April 6, 2003 11:27 PM

Oh my gosh, there's a lot of grammatical errors in my last rant...I guess that's how I write when I feel passionate about something.

Posted by: Libby at April 10, 2003 11:25 AM

Check out his page on www.hollywoodhalfwits.com

Posted by: Tom at April 18, 2003 9:48 AM

You know, I take it all back. Not the Viggo being silly-looking without the hair and goatee, the war stuff. I just remembered why America was there in the first place. I think I got all caught up in the "Operation Iraqi Freedom" B.S. that I forgot why we were in Iraq to begin with...to supposedly disarm Saddam and stop him from...something. It's sad that we allow such atrocities as his regime to exist in this supposedly civilized world. But Viggo's still a dumbass celebrity.
Check out this link...so wierd.

Posted by: Libby' at April 23, 2003 12:11 AM

Viggo Mortensen didn't say that Saddam is a good guy but that we do not have pure motives. The way that the U.S. government has acted makes me ashamed to have been born here. What idiots elected Bush? And he still has a 70% approval rating! That says to me that 70% of America is:
a. Mentally ill
b. deaf, dumb, and blind
c. just plain stupid!

Well, at least 30% of America can still think.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 16, 2003 3:25 PM

well it looks like that 30% of america is still thinking, and all the mp's in britain who have signed a thing to make tony blair come up with evidence of Iraqs w.m.ds. This should be good. Oh well, bring on the lame excuses!
Willow rose, cheerz for that! nice to know someone agrees with me!
Oh yeah and girlz- BACK OFF! plz don't go on about how you WILL have viggo -cos CLEARLY you don't stand a chance against me. Mwahahahaha!!

Posted by: jess acreman at June 3, 2003 4:37 PM

Poor Tony Blair...
It's not that Viggo is a dumbass celebrity so much as he just strikes me as one of those ditzy poetic artsy fartsy actors who has no interest in the tangible world. Whatever, though, I mean he's probably somewhat intelligent, the way he doesn't support Bush. Aragorn's still hot though...he's the alpha male of all fiction. Don't worry, Willow, Viggo's all yours.
Here's my question: Was this page's original intention to bash Viggo or to discuss war? Because bashing Viggo is so much more fun...you know, when you just need a break from that stupid 70%.
You know, I'm from MN (yes, the state that elected a PRO WRESTLER for governor) where we are facing this 4.6 BILLION dollar deficit, but our governor made a promise that he wouldn't raise taxes. So now my tuition is going up, our police officers and public safety is being cut, and ever our STREET LAMPS are being turned off to save money. All because the stupid percent of the MN population heard the phrase "no tax hikes" and went out and voted without having adequate knowledge about legislature, economics, and government. People should need to take a test to qualify for voting rights. This is not a democracy. This country is shit because we allow stupid people who don't know a damn thing about politics to vote.
Oh well, it doesn't matter. Business runs the country anyway. We'll all be bowing down to RJ Reynolds someday.

Posted by: Libby at June 10, 2003 1:30 AM

"100% American is 99% an idiot"

take that to cover all your statistics, considering the sources: 100% american media is 100% liberal hogwash
no wonder you have viggo worshippers, sean penn admirers, and madonna arse kissers, you people dont know what the fuck to do with your lives cause you have had it all too easy, and why the hell is baldwin still in USA?

for the 1% of you, like TONY WOODLIEF, I bow in kinship and praise for being able to see past the thick malarkey and overbearing logghorea of the mentally challenged and morally clouded.There are many people abroad who appreciate what GWB has done for Iraq and for safety of the world in general, thank GOD USA still has enough courage and will and power to stand up to the tyrants that most would rather ignore, forget or appease. As always the "league of the so called nations" aka UN did nothing to stop atrocities in my country and many many others. THANK YOU USA, THANK YOU GWB
out off 100 people outside of USA and Europe, 99 would love to immigrate to USA, and the 1 would also, but wont admit to it,
those 99 are your true patriots,we will never take US for granted,
send the fucking viggos and penns to the hell where I came from, lets see how long they will last when their smallest problem would be day to day survival, persecution, and real fear of speaking out....

"The world is populated in the main by people who should not exist."

Posted by: GBS at June 24, 2003 1:40 AM

Ok, I know we're supposed to be all intelligent on here and make really great arguments, but all I can find to say to that, GBS, is:


Posted by: jess acreman at July 10, 2003 6:20 PM