Few entertainers have been more outspoken about their left-of-center politics than Alec Baldwin. Baldwin is currently (and literally) the face of anti-Trump sentiment in popular culture. The undeniably talented, decidedly progressive actor portrays Donald Trump in Saturday Night Live’s weekly efforts to lampoon and malign the President of the United States.
Baldwin is a liberal’s liberal, and unapologetically so.
But in our increasingly polarized society—where even Republicans and Democrats are on the prowl to take down “disloyal” members of their own parties—no one is safe. Not even Alec Baldwin.
As Vulture.com recently reported in a description of Baldwin’s latest film role:
In Blind, Alec Baldwin trades his SNL Trump garb for more serious fare: The actor plays a novelist who loses his wife and his sight in a car wreck. He starts an affair with the married socialite (Demi Moore) forced to read to him because of her plea bargain.
So far, so good, right? Keep reading!
But not everyone is thrilled about Baldwin’s latest non-Trump role. The Ruderman Family Foundation, an advocacy organization for disability rights, has criticized the movie for casting an able-bodied actor to portray a blind character: “Alec Baldwin in Blind is just the latest example of treating disability as a costume,” Jay Ruderman, the foundation’s president, said in a statement to the L.A. Times. “We no longer find it acceptable for white actors to portray black characters. Disability as a costume needs to also become universally unacceptable.”
Let’s address the complaint from Jay Ruderman. He’s upset because someone who has made a career of being paid a lot of money to pretend to be someone he is not was paid to pretend to be someone he is not. Without wishing to sound too condescending, the Ruderman Foundation is angry that actors are acting.
The movie in question—Blind—is about a blind man. If you hired an unknown blind actor to play the role, you might not attract as robust an audience as you would if you cast a celebrity such as Baldwin. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with casting someone with a disability to play the part of a disabled character. Famously, RJ Mitte portrayed Walter White’s son with cerebral palsy in Breaking Bad. Mr. Mitte was fantastic in the role. He also happens to suffer from cerebral palsy.
But these are creative (and financial) decisions best left up to the people who are making (and financing) the film. Mr. Ruderman’s approach is to join the other supposedly aggrieved groups in our culture. To cut through the noise of round-the-clock news, sports, and daily Kardashian drama, people who feel like they aren’t getting what they deserve resort to ceaseless complaining. If you can claim discrimination, so much the better.
But in this case, no one is being discriminated against. Not receiving a highly-coveted role in a major motion picture doesn’t mean the people involved are bigoted. I know it’s not as much fun for Jay Ruderman to think, “Perhaps my organization ought to focus on training and equipping a new, younger generation of blind performers who can compete with the A-list stars of today in the future,” but lashing out at an actor who is probably already on your side isn’t a good strategy for changing hearts and minds.
As well, you reap what you sow. The Left never stops telling us—the conservative-leaning folks in “flyover country”—that we’re close-minded and backwards. But the truth is, we supposed simpletons don’t call the shots in Hollywood. So although we may come to your defense in a situation like this out of loyalty to logic and free expression (and a desire to see a talented actor like Alec Baldwin take on a challenging dramatic role), this isn’t really our fight. Perhaps it’s time for the people who police political correctness on the Left to take off their own blinders.
Image: Blind (2017)