Dwayne Johnson excels at making action-packed movies, but like many in Hollywood, is lacking when it comes to thinking through controversial issues in the news.
That’s why he would seem to be an appropriate meme for the cover of liberal minded Rolling Stone magazine (April 19 - May 3 issue). The fact that he sides with the editors of the Rolling Stone is no surprise.
In the course of writing an in depth cover article, the reporter, Josh Eells, spends some intimate time with Johnson and his family at a hotel suite in Beverly Hills. The meeting and resulting cover story represents a synergy of Hollywood and liberal publishing, To make it to the front cover, and get the intimate, cozy interview, you can't be a Trump supporter.
Johnson is similar to many actors in Hollywood who couldn’t support Trump even if they wanted to. True to form, he aligns himself with liberal thinking on issues like gun control and violence in public schools, as well as the national anthem protest. One such issue is the The March for our Lives nation-wide protest March 24; the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was Feb. 14.
“Very proud of our youth leading this movement . . . very strong day.”
“Johnson rarely chooses to weigh in publicly on political issues, but the massacre of 14 students and three adults in Parkland, Florida, his close to home, literally. His daughter Simone goes to school just half an hour away.”
“She was absolutely terrified,” he says. “A lot of her friends’ friends died. It heartbreaking. They’re still going through it.”
While the Mark for our Lives event showed a tremendous amount of energy, the coverage of the event was strictly dictated by liberal mainstream media approval. The fact that the high school students, the most outspoken ones, were uncivil made not difference. Most of the students seemed bent on blaming Republicans and the NRA for the shooting, when it should be obvious to any rational human that it had nothing to do with any political party, and least of all the NRA.
The students made clear that “thoughts and prayers” were not enough. That’s probably not accurate. A clearer picture would be that the majority of the most vocal students probably don’t pray at all.
During a town hall meeting, some of these high school students were unapologetically rude to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; one even demanded that Rubio refuse to take any more donations from the NRA.
Further, we now know that Nikolas Cruz was involved in the school district's PROMISE program, which is designed to keep potentially dangerous students in school. What's worse, the school district superintendent, Robert Runcie, lied about Cruz' involvement in the program. The program has been reported to be both ineffective and corrupt.
Yes, keep our kids safe. No, don’t be deluded by people and students who look for false and easy scapegoats. That’s something that Johnson in his movie characters would probably frown on.
The other protest he stands with is the kneeling NFL players; the on field protest during the national anthem was started by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Rolling Stone article:
“As an example, consider the clash between President Trump and the NFL players who knelt during the national anthem. Johnson (who says if he were in the league, he "would either have knelt or raised my fist in solidarity") says that what those protests were about – namely, African-Americans being killed by police – was misunderstood.
"I felt like our president's responses were being dictated by the noise, and not the actual problem," he says. At their core, he adds, the protests were "a cry for help: 'As one human being to another, we're having this issue that's affecting our country and our little kids, and I need your help.' And I think when human beings are in jeopardy, and they ask for help, good-quality human beings, whether locally or at the highest level of office, they help."
The number of blacks being killed by police officers, whether white or black, is far fewer than the number of blacks being killed by other young black men in urban areas like Chicago. Both are problems. But why didn't Colin Kaepernick protest blacks being killed by other blacks?
Football players are in a business just like Johnson is in a business. It's not a good idea to start your own not-for-profit mission on a football field without prior permission from the people who are paying your salary any more than a movie start can decide on his own not to promote a movie. Issues are important; so is the business of entertainment.
While the president’s tweets and talk in this regard may not have been healing, it’s important to look at it from the another perspective - that Black Lives Matter leaders likely contributed to the killing of police officers in the U.S. because of the rhetoric and speech they used or condoned publicly. In fact, black police officers have been placed in as much jeopardy as have white police officers by protests led by Black Lives Matter leaders.
Eells also attempts to get Johnson to dislike Trump in a particularly patronizing way:
“But politics aside, Trump seems like exactly the kind of guy Johnson would have little patience for. As his character in Central Intelligence says, "I don't like bullies."
“Can you imagine the Rock's reaction if a man on his set mocked a person with a disability, or bragged about assaulting a woman?
"You're gone," Johnson says angrily. "You're done. I don't have friends like that, nor is it anywhere in our business."
We don’t know if Johnson says this, since it’s not clear, but he must not know a lot about Hollywood if he thinks that bullying doesn’t happen there. It's a tough business, as women who have had contact with Harvey Weinstein well know.
Johnson appeals to a wide range of people in his movies, but is liberal enough to be liked by a magazine like the Rolling Stone. The mistake his makes is that aligning himself with liberals is not a good image for this kind of star. If Johnson can learn to use a Glock on set, he can learn why school shootings usually happen at public schools, not private or parochial schools. It doesn't have a lot to do with the NRA or Republicans or President Trump. Let’s hope Johnson elevates and dominates with these kinds of issues the next time around.
© 2018 Larry Ingram
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
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