Monday, January 11, 2010

Attention Britain: Dr Who Wants to Tell You How to Vote

David Cameron 'scary', according to David Tennant

Looking ahead to the coming British election, David Tennant, the outgoing Dr Who, is apparently very, very frightened at will very likely be the result.

With David Cameron and the British Conservative Party gearing up for an election in which they'll most likely win a majority government, Tennant is beginning to experience night terrors at the very prospect of it.

"David Cameron is a terrifying prospect," Tennant insisted. "He's a regional newsreader who will jump on whatever bandwagon flies past. I get quite panicked that people are buying his rhetoric, because it seems very manipulative to me."

It's become a traditional campaign method of the far left -- fear mongering about any candidate or party that seems even remotely conservative.

Tennant mixes this method with a traditional talking point of the soon-to-be-defeated leftist: that their party is in some trouble, but that they should be allowed to sort the matter out from the government benches.

"Clearly, the Labour Party is not without some issues right now," Tennant admitted. "I do get frustrated - you know, they need to sort some stuff out. But they're still a better bet than the Tories."

"I would still rather have Gordon Brown than David Cameron," he added. "I would rather have a Prime Minister who is the cleverest person in the room than a Prime Minister who looks good in a suit.

Of course if Gordon Brown truly is the cleverest person in any room, one could be forgiven for not seeing it.

With his recent attempts at stirring up a narrative of class warfare -- criticizing Cameron for where he and his fellow Tories went to school -- evidently backfiring on him, Brown doesn't seem terribly "clever" at all.

But Tennant seems to think that the average Briton could be forgiven for not understanding such things the way he does. After all, he is an actor.

"It's very weird that you can work in the arts, which tends to be about understanding the human condition and hopefully feeling some kind of sympathy for your fellow man, and still vote for the Tories," Tennant muttered. "I do find that inconceivable. I don't get it."

If one found Tennant's comments to be reminiscent of some of the actors portrayed in Team America: World Police, one should quickly be forgiven.

The idea that simply being an actor privileges one to some special brand of wisdom that would prod them to vote Labour is a bit of laughable concept. Not to mention the idea that reading Shakespeare privileges one to some special brand of wisdom on the topic of immigration.

"I meet actors who buy the Daily Telegraph and talk about this terrible wave of immigrants," Tennant complianed. "You just think, 'Where did that come from? Have you read King Lear? Have you read Hamlet?'"

Although, whatever great wisdom Hamlet or King Lear imparts on the topic of immigration may remain a mystery to many of those who have read them.

Othello seems like a more sensible fit.

But even if David Cameron and the Tories do manage to deliver the victory that seems so firmly within theier fingers, Tennant need worry not.

He can always just step back into his Time Machine and travel back to the glory days of 2003.


  1. Though, to be said, he really was the best Doctor...
    In a perfect world, Actors opinions on politics should be on par with, well, everyone else. However, Tennant's famous, and you (and i) are not.
    Fame always has that little extra something else. Probably why many politicians get as many famous people on their side during elections as possible. And it's great when it works in our direction and sucks when it doesn't.
    This is one of those times when it sucks for your guy.
    That said, probably not too many people are going to change their vote based on Tennant's say so.

  2. I sincerely doubt Tennant will be a factor.

    But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that his political commentary be based on something other than "well, I'm an actor, and therefore...".

    Frankly, I'd say this goes right up there with Ed Bagely Jr.

  3. Or Charlton Heston...

  4. Hold up, Charlton Heston's not really a good example.

    His last years were clearly his silliest years. But he did have Alzheimer's.

    Which is actually one of the defining factors that turned me firmly against Michael Moore -- his ambush of Heston at the end of Bowling for Columbine. When I first saw the film, I wasn't bothered by that very deeply. I agreed with broad portions of the film, and I still do.

    But ambushing a guy with Alzheimer's was going too far. Only a guy like Michael Moore would lionize himself for something like that.

  5. On that we can absolutely agree--MM was completely in the wrong when he ambushed Heston.
    However, Heston 'dabbled' in the political theatre by stating for the record who he was for and who he was against--well before his illness.
    As for Tennant 'dabbling' in political theatre, I think you misinterpreted his point--Tennant was referring to the 'human condition' and, at least according to Tennant, anyone in the arts that understood what King Lear and Hamlet was fundamentally about, should understand this 'human condition'. As such (and I'm not going to say I agree with the conclusion), these 'artsy' people should never vote Tory.
    Is his opinion. Is based on his beliefs. I've heard worst rationales for political opinions.

  6. That's actually not a bad thought on the matter. He did seem to relate that point directly to immigration in the story.

    But, then again, in a news story like this we only ever get to see the edited version of it, so I think I can see the Hamlet/King Lear point getting lost in the haze, effectively.

    The dumbest things Charlton Heston ever did -- like going to Columbine days after the shooting -- were done after the Alzheimer's had taken hold.

    But it isn't as if Heston didn't have staff or family members that should have intervened when it became evident that he couldn't really control his own behaviour any more. In fact, it seems to me that some people were egging him on, and those people should be held responsible for it.

  7. I've never been a fan of 'media circuses' and that was ranking right up there.
    Most of us have had at least some experience with family members afflicted with some sort of dementia--yeah, playing with that in whatever media was done in very poor taste.
    More on the topic at hand, however--many politicians actively seek 'entertainment' endoresements. The idea, I guess, is that you can appeal to 'the masses' if you have their favourite celeb on your side.
    This has been gradually building in our lifetimes to the point where politicians blatantly solicit celebs. It's the old 'name drop' syndrome--"Well, you know Johnny, I was just speaking with my good friend, Tom Hanks, and he agrees with..."
    And many celebs are under the impression that any media coverage for them is good coverage. And that's usually true for them--there's no downside--even if 'their guy' loses the election, hey--the celeb got more air time...
    Meh, the minute I vote for someone based on someone elses say-so... Oh wait, Mike Myers is endorsing someone? Sign me up!

  8. There does seem to be a certain cheapening of political discourse that comes with the courting of celebrities -- I agree with you here.

    But, then again, we do have to ask ourselves what the alternative is: conversely, do we ask actors to not express their political opinions because we think their celebrity will only appeal to people with fickle tastes?

    I think we'd agree that, no: we don't necessarily want that. Celebrities have the right to express their opinions too, and it's hard to fault them for taking advantage of the fantastic platform they enjoy.

    Someitmes I think you can fault the politicians. For example, I enjoy Jay-Z's music as much as the next guy -- maybe more.

    But that doesn't mean that I approve of Barack Obama -- a politician I think there's a lot to like about (but a lot to dislike as well) -- tapping a known crack dealer for his campaign.


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