How French of her
Before this year, the only actors to win an Academy Award for a performance in a foreign-language film¹ — Sophia Loren and Roberto Benigni — were Italians. Last week’s awards saw the first French performance to win an acting Oscar — Marion Cotillard for LA VIE EN ROSE. If these past few days indicate the character of French thespians, I hope there won’t ever be a second.
Marion Cotillard is a 9/11 (Un)Truther. (And that may not be her nuttiest bit of paranoia — she sure doesn’t believe “everything they tell” her about man landing on the moon, either).
Here is the interview in French. Here is the translation by the Times of London:
Marion Cotillard: I tend rather often to take the side of the conspiracy theory…. I’m not paranoid. It’s not paranoid because I think that they lie to us about an awful lot of things: Coluche, 9/11. You can see on the internet all the films of September 11 on the conspiracy theory. It’s fascinating, even addictive.
They show other towers of the same type that aeroplanes have run into and which burnt. There is a tower, in Spain I think, which burnt for 24 hours… It never collapsed. None of these towers collapse. But there (in New York), the thing collapses. Then afterwards you can talk about it for a long time. The towers of September 11 were stuffed with gold. And they were swallowing up cash because they were built, I gather, in 1973. And to re-cable all that, to modernise the technology and all of that, it was much more expensive to carry out the work than to destroy them. …. Did man ever walk on the moon ? I have seen a lot of documentaries on that and really, I wonder. In any case, I do not believe everything they tell me. That’s for sure.
To paraphrase Orwell, there are things that one doesn’t *answer.* No serious person expects actors to know their ass from a hole in the ground. And no serious person expects anything from the French, particularly une artiste, except America-hating terrorist-loving tripe, the nuttier the better. Kathy Shaidle has a line to dismiss the psychopaths at Du and Kos — “if Bush is Hitler, why aren’t you a lampshade?” In that same spirit, Marion, if the US government were as you think it is, killing 3,000 people on its own soil to save the cost of rewiring a couple of buildings, why hasn’t it rubbed you out for exposing this? If it were as evil as you seem to have no difficulty entertaining, it could even cover up its involvement in your murder. If you really, truly believed this, mon cherie, rather than stating it for the sake of posturing, you wouldn’t be filming in Chicago.
But it IS worth asking, why does Cotillard think this? Where does she get these ideas? The very fact that she’s just an ordinary person without special knowledge is exactly the point. Most people on most subjects, after all, are ignorant and just uncritically soak up what they’re told by those surrounding them. So perversely, the ignorant are a better indication of the zeitgeist than the knowledgeable. Cotillard’s droppings reveal a meta-narrative about how the world works — that (1) there’s a “They” who secretly control everything and manipulate appearances to fool everyone else into thinking They don’t and that what you see really isn’t (“towers stuffed with gold”? were they using Christian children’s blood too, Marion? Has the Sears Tower not been rewired since 1973 too?); and (2) that meta-suspicion is the most-rational approach toward that They, given they hoodwink the rest of the world.
Cotillard’s idiocy, which she shares with a whole “movement” called “9/11 Truth,” represents a particular form of idiocy to which contemporary minds are particularly vulnerable for a variety of reasons:
- the eternal appeal of Gnosticism and being One of Those Who Know
- a suspicion-inducing understanding of history and psychology, that people’s motivations are not what they say
- authority-phobia, based on post-1789 hatred of throne and altar and a conception of this age as “reality-based”
- peculiarly, a form of hyper-rationalism, based on that same presentism, that everything in the world is and must be explicable;
- a certain childishly popularized form of Marxism that sees ideology everywhere and reason in oneself
- an even more childishly popularized form of postmodernism that winds up questioning knowledge itself
- certain hyper-individualistic habits of mind taught in the schools and lionized in the culture (“being a critical thinker” or “thinking for yourself” or “thinking outside the box” are all Good Things)
- the surfeit of information in a mass-media society, with its absolute freedom to spread uncensored like a plague
- a consumerist mentality that says even reality itself is subject to being shaped according to what I want
I recommend as an antidote the movie ZODIAC.
After her interview, admittedly a year old (what did it say that her spoutings were taken as unremarkable for a year?) became widely disseminated, her agent came back with a statement that, in my opinion, exactly confirms what I say.
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 is exactly what I mean when I talk about hyperindividualism, consumerism, authority-phobia and a surfeit of information.
What exactly, does Marion Cotillard have the right to an opinion about? There’s obviously a sense in which she has the power to think as she will (that’s the same sense in which one has the right to be an idiot, the right to murder, the right to stick a fork in a baby’s head, the right to refuse to see her movies). But nobody has any “right” to “form her own opinion” on a matter of simple fact — e.g., that Muslim terrorists crashed two jets into the World Trade Center and brought the towers down, killing about 2,800 people; that the Apollo 11 space craft landed on the moon; that the Earth revolves around the sun; that the Nazis killed almost 6 million Jews; that the Earth is several billion years old. Indeed it is part of the disease of liberal society that it fosters endless debate about subjects that are not debatable because it has no means of ending them, and indeed prides itself on that impotence.
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?
Talk about conspiracy theories. I narrow it down to vengeance-seeking from Julie Christie or The Jews.
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….
From the sounds of things including your defense of her, Monsieur, the reportage seems quite accurate. “The US government committed mass murder on its own soil to save the cost of rewiring two buildings” … has no other interpretation or presentation possible except the most childish knee-jerk anti-Americanism.
She hopes that the Americans will have enough distance to understand, but her career is not just American. She can make films everywhere.
[VJM puts on Dana Carvey’s Church Lady voice] Well, isn’t that special — “I don’t care what Americans think of me because I can make movies anywhere.” I hope the French lady has enough distance to understand that she will have to make movies elsewhere.
¹ Robert DeNiro and Benicio Del Toro both won for Supporting Actor while mostly speaking a foreign language throughout — Italian in GODFATHER 2 and Spanish in TRAFFIC, respectively. But both films overall were American-made and mostly in English (entirely IIRC, outside the context of those two characters’ plot threads). They would not have come close to meeting the Academy’s criteria for a foreign-language film.
P.S. … I doubt I have any readers who believe the UnTruthers (I certainly hope I don’t). But if there are, let it be noted in advance that you can stroke your theories elsewhere. Not here.