Friday, March 14, 2014

A Fly On The Wall, March 14, 2014

Playing Dumb
Jim Murchison 

This week I watched an interview Truman Capote did with Johnny Carson. Capote spent some time talking about actors not being particularly bright. His point was that the greatest actors were relatively stupid. Now it looked like he really meant it when he was speaking about Marlon Brando who he believed basically talked for effect about Kafka and philosophy in general but didn't have a clue about what he was really talking about. He even said that his good friends Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson were not particularly bright. 

Now Capote was an excellent interview and one could never be sure where his actual beliefs and his born desire to entertain intersected. There was this playful smirk that came over his face, that he was having you on, but there is a certain point to what he was saying. 

An actor, to be any good can't be afraid of looking stupid. Some of the best moments you see in a play are the ones where the performer looks the most awkward or vulnerable or idiotic. What compels someone to want to make their living pretending to be other people. Johnny Depp is considering retirement for that very reason, if you can believe the newspapers.

All artists in all mediums are at the very least dreamers in some way or another.They need to research reality but they often don't live there. 

I know there is a huge difference between being insane and being stupid, but society will often judge how bright you are by your bottom line. What have you socked away? What financial plan have you for your retirement? We often look at someone on the street and think, “What a loser!” There is always more to the story at both ends and the sum of a life is not a balance sheet of what you earned but what deeds you’ve done and how you have touched people. 

Often the artists that are considered great posthumously were those street people that were scorned while they lived. Long live the dreamers, the scavengers and the fringe of society. It may not be the brightest thing to do, but I have to keep on dreaming. 

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