Tuesday, October 14, 2008

“He lives in fame that died in virtue's cause.”

from Men's Journal's "It Ain't Easy Being This Mellow"

"The standard musician motivation," says Johnson's agent Tom Chauncey, "is 'I want to be big, I want to be famous,' and that is so not Jack. He stays who he is, how he lives. He doesn't lose his priorities. He will not tour from November to January, when the waves are good."

"I'm a pretty unlikely celebrity," Johnson says. "I'm a pretty normal guy. I never really had dreams of being famous."

It's a suspect claim for a guy who has been organizing his own bands since high school, but it's consistent with the Hawaiian surf-culture ethic of humility: Never show even the slightest ambition, lest you be ridiculed. But the remark also reveals some genuine discomfort he feels toward the loss of privacy and control that has come with his increasing fame. "At some point," he says, steering the conversation toward a subject he's more eager to discuss — his environmentalism — "I realized you can either talk about all these personal things and let people into your life, or you can try to direct all that attention onto things that you're interested in. Not just pushing the attention away from me, although that's positive, too."

from Conde Nast Traveler's "Matt Damon's Good Work Hunting"

[Matt] Damon also feels that celebrity brings with it an opportunity to do good. "You start to feel a level of responsibility to direct attention to things that actually matter more than to silly things like who you're dating." ...

Damon talks about Africa with a passion that comes from spending time there. Never once during our conversation does he plug or even talk about a movie project. The actor says that his trips have made the solutions real to him, brought them to life. In Tanzania, for instance, he visited a clinic and spoke with a 21-year-old mother with a baby in her arms. The child was slack-jawed, his head lolling back and forth. "I thought he was going to die right in front of me," Damon says. When he asked if there was something he could do, the child's doctor said the baby was going to be fine: He had already received life-saving anti-malarial medicine. Damon spoke with the mother, who lived on less than a dollar a day in a village that was a two-hour walk away from the clinic, and learned that her other child had died from malaria. "Then I realized that because of President Bush's malaria initiative, this baby had survived," says Damon, referring to Bush's 2005 pledge to increase malaria funding by $1.5 billion over five years. "American taxpayer money saved this baby's life."


Damon says he hopes the next president will urge a new era of service in America. He is encouraged that both John McCain and Barack Obama have promised to travel to Africa and step up aid to the continent. "We are about to turn a wonderful corner and close this chapter of aggression, where the only American face that people see on foreign soil is the face of a soldier," Damon says. "As well-meaning as that soldier is, that sends a certain message. But when you go to a country and see your fellow Americans feeding people or getting clean water or saving their lives, you are really seeing the best of us. We are exporting the best of who we are—and who we should be."


Dan said...

Screw that noise.

I want to be big and famous.

Adam said...

you always know the right words to say Dan.