As some of you know, James Franco and I have enjoyed a long and passionate relationship*. It began with Milk, but it really heated up with 127 Hours. Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was heavy. Something bigger than the both of us that brought us together. And it took a hurricane to tear us apart.
Allow me to explain. On James’ Facebook page the other night, he posted the following “Open Letter to Encourage Mutual Citizen Support.” Here is the letter, in its entirety.
To the left, to the left. Everything you own in a box to the left.
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
The Rockaways geographically, as you know, are the area that is breaking the waves between the Atlantic Ocean and JFK Airport and New York City in general. Demographically, it is very diverse and not a privileged area.
In recent years, the Rockaways became an incredible inspiration and haven for the artists and creative community of New York. As the Rockaways are, at their best, a melting pot between the local community and the creative energies of the city, it is a location where New York is anticipating and creating the images and dreams we all live on.
Hurricane Sandy completely devastated the peninsula, and a couple of days after the storm, families with children are still standing next to their destroyed and ruined houses trying to keep warm without food, water, electricity, heat, or internet.
The artistic community is sending you this letter to support the city in your amazing, monumental efforts in all boroughs to save our city and to encourage the creative communities in New York to invent exemplary ways of helping our neighbors and fellow New Yorkers!
Yup, that’s it.
What?! What does this letter even say? Aside from the fact that it’s poorly written (“are the area”?), this fool basically just posted a letter that says, “Hey guys, great job! While you try to get blankets to the freezing masses, we’ll be in our Park Avenue apartments mixing up cocktails and doing super important art stuff. Cheers!”
But there’s more.
This letter is signed by 42 other people from the “artistic community”; artists who like, really want Mayor Bloomberg to know that, you know, they are really sad that they won’t be able to make their art, “creating the images and dreams we all live on” (barf) in the Rockaways if, like, somebody doesn’t do something, okay? These are people I thought I respected. Cindy Sherman! Anna Deavere Smith! Spike Jonze?! I am disgusted with every last one of them.
Sure, it’s possible that the members of this caring “artistic community” have done something more than just sign their names to an open letter. But in the day and a half since the letter was posted, I’ve Googled individual members, trying to see if they’ve done anything, donated anything. That may seem unscientific but if a person would do something as cravenly empty as signing their name to a bullshit letter like this, surely they would publicize anything else they did, right?
As of today, the Rockaways are still in ruin. You can see photos and videos here. Maybe if James and his buds could break away from their important artistic endeavors for a day, they could do something truly worthwhile.
Until then, James, don’t bother coming by my house anymore. There’s nothing for you here.
*in my mind
One more thing: in a genius move, the organization Occupy Sandy has set up a “wedding registry” on Amazon, which makes it absurdly easy to donate needed supplies from their list and have them shipped to various locations throughout the city. Do it. You’ll feel really good.