Monday, August 20, 2007

Why I Like Viggo

Sometimes he's so quiet on screen that you have to strain to hear what he's saying. On the other hand, he can deliver the rousing purpose speech (you know, the one Morgan Freeman had to deliver for Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) and you're ready to follow him into battle. He looks great in costume. He's a really good horseman. But what I really like about Viggo Mortensen is that his life isn't all about acting. In addition to acting, he's an accomplished photographer, writer, publisher, and activist. He was one of the first people in Hollywood to come out against the Bush administration, wearing a self-produced "No Blood for Oil" t-shirt on an interview show while promoting "The Lord of the Rings."

Viggo's publishing operation, Perceval Press, is located in Santa Monica. The front page of the Perceval Press website contains all kinds of squibs and links, much of it political. A good portion of it is not even in English (oh to be a polyglot.) Every once in a while, Viggo even adds some commentary of his own. I really liked the speech he gave in support of a Democratic candidate for Congress running in the Republican district of upstate New York where Viggo graduated from high school. Lately, Viggo's been recommending reading the Constitution and a list of other works to see how scary things are under this administration in Washington. (A letter to my local paper this morning recommended watching Judgment at Nuremburg for the same purpose.) I found the following quotes on a recent visit:

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis. -Dante

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. -Joseph Goebbels

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1908

I'd recommend a visit to the Perceval Press website for the provocative reading material you can find on-line and to do a little shopping as well. I do like the "IMPEACH, REMOVE, JAIL" t-shirts, but they've been sold out every time I've check to buy one.

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