Around came one fateful night when I popped a sci-fi flick in the DVD player and got comfortable on the couch… because the safest place to hang out in cape town after dark is around your TV set, in your living room, behind locked doors. And there he was again, resurrected almost like his lover in that very same movie: the urbane conversationalist, the suave investigator clearing up a mystery nobody else can make head or tail of, the anguished lover [who might as well have torn my heart from out of its cage of bones] orbiting round and round… Solaris.
[Is this all now happening retrospective, this up and down of sentiments towards Mr. Clooney, I’m not sure. But they do say that life is lived forwards and understood backwards and this is, effectively, nothing more than an exercise in understanding. Or to put it differently: the timeline on this one might be fucked.]
If Solaris rekindled it then “Michael Clayton” [the opening monologue of which is the best in movie history, easily] brought it back to full flame again, my ambiguous, double-minded affection for George Clooney. The knowledge of his private-jet only lingered, so to speak, as a bitter before-taste because what this actor was/is really about is showing up corporate corruption in all its ugly disguises… Thought I… or at least was what I was once again prepared to want to think: Michael Clayton is George Clooney and Clooney is Clayton.
Not for long, this second spring. On he came, by George, with a veritable barrage of Nespresso advertisements. I’ve dedicated a slightly amusing five-page post to my utter, undying disdain for Nespresso [titled “the AIDS of coffee”, to give you an idea]. In a way it didn’t seem real, actually almost impossible, that after all his critical roles in movies decrying the effects of big “C” capital he would simply turn around and do Nes-fucking-presso ads. I have/had to ask myself: is his warm smile the expression of his inner life stood on its head? Or is he simply the paradoxes of human existence become flesh in an exaggeratedly vivid example? I still don’t know what to think. Moreover he is in those ads for a reason: not only women find him alluring, men take to him too in a way that is, as I’m trying to point out, confusingly paradoxical. The one-time Batman himself, in reference to the alleged dissimulation of the ads, simply stated: “I’m not going to apologize to you for trying to make a living every once in a while,” he blustered back. “I find that an irritating question” [Rob Sharp, Independent]. And lets not forget, fellah readers, around grains of irritation, pearls do grow, even if they’re only imaginary; even if, in the end, we have to toss those very same pearls to the swine.
As much as this disturbing free-association and Clooney’s gimcrack rationale re-diminished my affections for the nicely graying thespian they made me realize one more thing about the part about being a lady’s man. It’s not a matter of not understanding at a rational level that he is an enormously rich man, good-looking, who will naturally land with the dames but it is that he is one of those specimens who, in relation to my televisual awareness of his existence [an established ontological measure], does so at a more advanced age. He is not exactly the youngest gun in the hollywood star holster.
There is here then, a repressed element of envy, where the older man takes away nubile wenches from t he younger ones by virtue of his standing in the world, a standing so richly rewarding in itself that it is hard for the salad-day male to figure out why, on top of an embarrassment of riches, Clooney feels the need to, symbolically speaking, “steal” the available mademoiselles. Exactly like how Jeff Goldblum [the Jurassic Park scientist OR actor], at the phantasmatic level, can never be forgiven for dating Tania Raymonde, Benjamin Linus’ daughter. And thus we end up foam-mouthed over semi-nude shots of Lisa Snowdon, Sarah Larson, Fatima Bhutto [yes, that Bhutto] and most recently Elisabetta Canalis, wondering how the old hound got us to temporarily shoot to hell our pro-feminist ideals. I want to be him, I don’t want to be him, I want to be free of the Damoclooney sword over my head.
Indeed I would even lean out of the window far enough to where everybody down below in the streets could hear me shout the claim that Mr. Clooney became a worldwide celebrity NOT UNTIL a later/late stage in his career. From this perspective, he is once again an appealing, emulation-worthy figure to people like me, in their early thirties, struggling in the arts, affirming the belief [however vain and delusional] that there can be late success, somewhere in the forties or fifties, and that it can be scintillating, women-bringing & smug smiles inducing.
To go back to my earlier idea: Clooney is a cryptic, subconscious, promising symbol of my will to exist, in a far-off day when I might have put down my trepidations about the corrupting powers of stardom [plus my cloak of mediocrity], as a sparkling celestial body in the cupola of celebrity. Cold, distant, alone but witnessed by everybody under the sky… every spectator on the far side of a cup of Nespresso.
[in the hierarchy of cheapshot french cynicism, this is not particularly far up]
[There is more, certainly, but it’s just too damn depressing spending more than four pages on a person generally considered a “Hollywood celebrity”, no matter how cool or existential-conundrum-inducing they appear to one. Not that I give a damn about “general consideration” but it is.]