Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Robert Downey Jr on Oprah: Is Punishing Crimes against the Self Justifiable?

Robert Downey Jr. see article was a guest on Oprah today. He was talking about what it was like in jail, his struggle with addiction and his future plans.

I used to feel queasy about watching her show because on the superficial, I was suspicious that it was just a venue for her ego-trip, sending one message while thinking another. However, I'm getting into the feel-goodness of it more and more. Personally, I shouldn't be so judgemental of the rich. Status shouldn't affect the personality of a person. It's just that when I see Oprah giving away cars to her audience, I think to myself cynically: "yeah, easy for her".

The other week though, I saw Oprah do a show on the huge problem of health service neglect to young Ethiopian mothers who suffer from fissures and are made to be outcasts as a result. These young girls are damaged by labour, leak urine and are treated like wasted goods. Their husbands reject them and won't live in their stench. A charitable and benevolent doctor came on to explain how she can perform a surgery to patch the hole in their uterine lining and repair them. She gives the girls and new dress and they go back to their lives, changed. In a lot of cases their damage was caused by them getting pregnant at alarmingly young ages. This woman is somewhere in her eighties and thinks of the girls as daughters. She'll need someone to replace her though.

Robert Downey seems like he's doing well. He was smiling, making jokes, and there was reviews of him. An example is when he went on Saturday Night Live (on parole) to make fun of himself "getting his medication from his pharmacist" with a picture of him taking a box from a burly unshaven man. I don't remember what drug he was jailed for but I thought it was cocaine. He was succesful but whether it was drugs or the law that did him in, I don't know.

On the topic of cocaine, on Dave Chappelle's "Killing them Softly" he expressed his surprise at the fact that George Bush admitted to snorting it: "now that may be ok for Mayor but..." So many prominent figures have tried drugs and yet they lead successful lives. Would they be better off in their lives if they were "brought to justice" as Bush is wont to say? Canada has major problem with presciption drugs and people medicating themselves recreationally. If it can't regulate legal drug use, is that much more of a problem than high school kids smoking a joint?

Back to Oprah: the touching moments were when his fiance came on the show and you could actually see the love. Oprah commented that she gave Downey a "real kiss", not one of those half-assed pecks familiar lovers give to each other before they go out the door.

He talked about his healthy addiction to martial arts: "the main purpose of it is to promote spiritual warriordom" and made other jokes later when he was swimming around in the box of letters that watchers sent to Oprah: "This is good, clean fun. I forgot: this is acceptable." He has a new CD coming out today? featuring song #2: "In love with a broken heart" with his surprisingly good voice (though not my style). Oprah and him looked chummy by the end of the show and she sounded sincere when she said "good luck with your life". It's good to see people admitting who they are and who they want to be. Downey, when talking about how he grew up in a generation that wanted to be "cool" said he knows now that he's not cool, nor does he want to be. Well, that's courageous to say. He may not be "cool" but I think he's a good guy.


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