Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Globalization Out of Control

There is another type of outsourcing that the United States is suffering, one that nobody talks about but is costing us lots of high-profile, high-paying jobs.

This rant all started when I was flipping around last evening during commercial breaks of WWE RAW (a boy’s gotta have his entertainments, right?) when I encountered another disturbing manifestation of a trend threatening our great creative nation.

A television show called “The Riches.” The program is not evil in and of itself, but consider what I witnessed last night. Minnie Driver, an English actress, and Eddie Izzard, an English comedian, are the stars of this show.

“The Riches,” as far as I can tell, is set in the American South. And in the brief scenes that I witnessed, the characters of Ms. Driver and Mr. Izzard, who are con artists, were Southerners pretending to be English to an unsuspecting sucker.

In other words, you had two actors from England pretending to be people from the South pretending to be people from England. There is something inherently wrong about this. It is like Robert DeNiro playing King Lear in Italian.

It is globalization — out of control. I’m amazed Lou Dobbs hasn’t done a special on it.

In essence, there are an alarming number of Englishmen, Aussies, and Kiwis playing Americans on stage and screen. The list is shockingly long.

Beckinsdale: Ava she’s not

Just in the past few years, you had Jude Law and Kate Winslet as old school bayou families (!) in “All the King’s Men.” Gary Oldman as a tough cop in “Batman Begins.” Daniel-Day Lewis as a gang tough (with the bizarre-est accent ever) in “The Gangs of New York.”

Kate Beckinsdale as Ava Gartner in “The Aviator.” Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fienes, and Bob Hoskins. Even Elizabeth Taylor is English (officially, at least).

When will this madness stop?

But this is nothing compared to the jobs we have outsourced to Down Under.

From Australia — a nation of 20 million, less than in Texas — there are the following actors whose job is to play Americans in movies: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pierce, Hugo Weaving, Eric Bana, Toni Colette, Judy Davis, Rachel Griffiths, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, and Anthony LaPaglia. Hell, you even had Heath Ledger playing a vocabulary-challenged gay cowboy from Montana.

There’s even Rick Springfield, taking valuable soap opera time from deserving Americans.

There must be something about the desert heat that turns Australians into fame-seeking whores who take American jobs that American actors could play as American characters. There ought to be a law.

I liked Australia better when their biggest entertainment exports were AC/DC, Paul “Crocodile Dundee” Hogan, Yahoo Serious, and Jacko. (Yes, Jacko, the former Australian rules football star and battery commercial guy above). They didn’t try to be Yanks: they were as Aussie as a pint of Foster’s and didn’t try to be anything else.

There are some noble actors who hew to a minimal code of conduct. Judi Dench sounds like a limey, and doesn’t have pretensions of being, say, a farm girl from Mississippi. Could you ever picture Alec Guiness, Richard Burton, or Richard Harris even trying to be an American? I know Lawrence Olivier played a sadistic Nazi dentist who decamped to the United States, but that was a Eurotrash part that we wouldn’t want a German playing, anyway.

The most American role Alec Guiness had was Obi-Wan Kenobi, which I must admit has always sounded like the name of an Indian restaurant.

I believe we must stop this scourge by striking back, hard. Being that our military is stretched the breaking point by this wonderful war in Iraq, an invasion is out. So is boycotts, assassinations, or physical violence, as much as most Americans would like to insert a fist down Russell Crowe’s gullet.

How the English should act

There is a very simple solution to this. As a condition of their employment in the United States, all British, Australian, New Zealand, and other actors from the Commonwealth are required to become Scientologists, live in Jackson, Mississippi, or swear off doing American accents forever.

I mean, we’ve got to keep Tara Reid employed, after all.