In retrospect I think that I failed to understand a couple weeks back when my wife said that George Clooney was her type. My wife is good on personalities, and we were talking about actors so I started testing her on types. Spencer Tracy. “Short, angry, pugnacious.” Humphrey Bogart. “Wounded. Secretive.” Steve Martin. “Ironic, overly sensitive. He would be closest to you.” De Niro. “Unfortunately he’s become a bloviator.”
George Clooney. “He’s my type.”
Then this week we watched two George Clooney movies. First Syriana, about which I blogged below. I think its ideas are appalling in their simplicity and uselessness. Of course my wife loved it.
Two nights ago we watched Good Night and Good Luck. I could just see my wife loving it. After it was over, she said, “It wasn’t slick. It was naive in a good way. It got people to care about something they would never care about usually. George Clooney has got all this power in Hollywood now and he’s using it for good things.”
I really disliked the movie. It was naive and heroic about corporate life. Its manner was pedestrian and earnest. I said to her, “Why is Murrow such a hero? He isn’t. The guy was mainstream, and yes a force for good generally. But when he went after Joe McCarthy it was 1954, and McCarthy was already a laughingstock. The only good thing about the movie is they didn’t cast McCarthy, they used real footage. He looks like Satan and he’s crazy. Other people had already taken the big risks before Murrow.”
My wife got upset. She said, “You’re like that gospel according to Judas but the other way: You are taking something that’s good and heroic and spinning it to be bad and obvious.”
I went to two encyclopedias to prove my point. They were inconclusive.
While I am sure I’m right, I don’t know that I can win this fight. This morning I heard my wife talking about me on the phone: “He doesn’t understand, every woman is in love with George Clooney.”
Later, I had to drive with her somewhere. I said, “O.K. In two words, What is George Clooney’s type?”
I had to wheedle a while before she came out with: “Low key, cool, straightforward and handsome. And a little bit simple.”
I’m counting that last adjective as a victory.