Friday, January 22, 2010

A Phoenix rising from the Ashes (on two vastly different fronts)

There was news today that my favorite Hollywood head case, Joaquin Phoenix, had resurfaced in a public service video with Miley Cyrus and Liv Tyler. It's for a good cause (suicide prevention) but nonetheless is meandering and strange, two things Joaquin is pretty adept at.

Joaquin's infamous (non) interview with David Letterman early last year was perhaps my single favorite television moment of 2009. Then he stumbled off the stage into self-proclaimed thespian requirement so he could concentrate on his fledgling rap music career, but it's nearly a year later and we've not yet seen the fruits of his hip-hop labor. And now he's back, sort of. Sadly, it looks like he's since gotten a haircut and a shave, looking much less Unibomberesqe, but acting as dingy as ever.

As a fellow head case, I have to tip my psychosis to him, for his madness seems a lot more interesting than mine. I'd expect no less from a member of the Phoenix family. For those who missed his scintillating chat with Dave, here it is (it's worth watching again, even if you caught it the first time 'round).

On a more serious note, watching the Hope for Haiti telethon tonight affected me strongly. I'm usually a pretty cynical guy, but I drained the vitriol out of the gas tank at least for the evening. I'm not suggesting I'm so naive that I believe the celebs answering the phones and singing the songs are all coming together purely out of the goodness of their hearts (though I imagine many of them are on the face of it). Did they all suddenly have some sort of moral epiphany and decide to sell off their expensive rides, ditch their Hollywood Hills mansions and latest movie shoots or concert tours, heading instead to Haiti for the long haul to supplement relief workers? I hope not - they'll raise a lot more money and do a lot more good as untouchable figureheads who deign to look down out of their ivory towers every now and then, pushing the celeb-obsessed into ponying up some hard earned duckets because "Brad and Julia said so."

And it doesn't matter if it's from the heart or peer pressure or simply the desire to polish up a tarnished public image.
The situation is too dire and the need too great to give a shit about motives, and what we do in the next days, and months and years for the people of this little island will reverberate through the region (and world) for a long while. What happens to the Haitian people will likely have little direct influence on the goings on in our country but it could have a lasting effect on our national soul ... for good or ill.