Following a third night of the 2016 Democratic National #Convention that included memorable appearances from President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an unexpected controversy has emerged over another well-known individual who was there Wednesday night.
Actor Bradley Cooper was spotted in the crowd at the third session of the convention, held in his hometown of Philadelphia, and even though he didn’t speak at the DNC or make any public statements of support for or against any candidate, Cooper’s decision to attend the convention “irks conservatives,” according to an AP story published Thursday morning.
The implication of this- possibly the most stupid controversy of a campaign season that’s had more than its fair share of stupid controversies- is that Cooper, who played conservative hero Chris Kyle in the 2013 film American Sniper, has somehow betrayed the audience of that film by showing up at a Democratic event. These tweeters, the story says, are threatening to boycott Cooper’s future movies.
Many levels of stupid
Let’s go through the many reasons why this is ridiculous: This controversy, like most of its kind, is based on a handful of tweets by a handful of people and no evidence that there’s any major groundswell. There’s been no similar “controversy” about the numerous actors and entertainers, including Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, and Katy Perry, who actually appeared on stage at the convention.
Secondly, it’s called acting. Actors don’t become the people they play in movies, nor do they adopt their political worldview. Cooper is also not actually a bipolar football fan, an obnoxious bachelor party attendee or a cartoon raccoon.
Thirdly, we don’t know why Cooper came to the convention. For all we know, he just felt like attending a major event in his hometown, or was there to spend time with other celebrity friends of his who were there. In a 2013 Politico article he described himself as a “fan of politics,” who had met some politicians while doing advocacy for the mentally ill following his appearance in the 2012 movie Silver Linings Playbook. He even once met with Biden at the White House to discuss the subject, which may explain why he was at the DNC on the same night that the vice president spoke.
And finally, even if Cooper were in fact an outspoken liberal Democrat, he starred in (and executive-produced!) a movie about a conservative hero anyway. Shouldn’t conservatives appreciate that?
A misunderstood movie
Then there’s the matter of American Sniper, which is a considerably more nuanced and complex film than most of its lovers or haters give it credit for. It’s a look at war that isn’t the slightest bit shy about showing the profound damage that combat does to young men. It’s not a full-throated defense of the Iraq War or of Bush Administration policy, nor is it a purely antiwar film. One of the best things about the film is that it confounded the expectations of a lot of people who saw it.
Most adults have come to terms with the fact that their favorite athletes and entertainers may not necessarily share their political views. The so-called Cooper controversy indicates that perhaps opponents should care more about the movies an actor has made than at which at political convention he chooses to sit. #Election 2016 #Democratic Party