Wednesday, March 05, 2008

French Spin

In some quarters, criticizing French actresses for spouting idiotic and mean-hearted anti-American conspiracy theories is considered out-of-bounds on grounds of banality: Like criticizing bunnies for eating grass.

So I won't do it. But do pay attention to the attempt at damage control by the publicist for Marion Cotillard. Clip it and file it away in case you ever get called on to teach a seminar in how to not pour gasoline on a burning building:

Marion's reaction is that this video was filmed in special circumstances after a broadcast on Coluche (popular comedian killed in 86 motorcycle accident) and she was being asked to react to this broadcast. Marion then simply expressed the view that she wanted to form her own opinion (on 911) from watching various reports, but she never wished to call into question the events of 11 September.

This reportage has been taken out of context and one can only condemn such practises. Marion deplores that. She is currently filming in Chicago and has a lot of work. She is in an ocean of happiness and voila, this row blows up. It's rather strange. It's an old report, not at all current. Why bring it out now?

I talked three times to Marion overnight. This is worrying her. She is still in shock and does not really know how to react. She doesn't have to apologise for a badly presented and badly interpreted reportage.... She hopes that the Americans will have enough distance to understand, but her career is not just American. She can make films everywhere.

Say the offending quotes were made at a point in time, in reaction to a specific situation. But then never deny you meant what you said, or that you've come to have different views since then. Pass up the chance to say what you do think now.

Say you "never wished to call into question the events," but that you wanted to form your own erratic opinion about what those events were, based, I suppose, on an actress' knowledge of real estate financing and structural engineering. Perhaps this all sounds better in French.

Blame the people who noticed what you said. Condemn them. Deplore them. Because they made you unhappy by noticing what you said. Say you're too busy making more money from those killer Americans to answer their concerns about you.

Refuse to apologize for anything. Hope the people you offended have enough "distance" -- from what, exactly, I'd like to know -- to "understand" -- understand what, exactly, I'd like to know. Understand that she thinks we're callous killers who slaughtered our own by the thousands and blamed it on innocent foreigners, but she still wants to come and work here? Or distance from the deaths of our fellow citizens not to care if they become part of the cavalier fantasy world of some famous airhead.

Then hint you can just take your movie career and go elsewhere with it if people don't stop talking about what you said.

Of course you can. Bollywood is that-a-way, Marion. Mind the door.