I don't ridicule the sentiment: the Palestinian elections are extremely important, but the audacity! 'I'm Richard Gere and I'm speaking for the entire world"! In fairness, maybe Gere didn't write the line. His Weekly Jackass status is secure nonetheless. Let's take a look at the many faces of our honoree:
A pro-peace group is hoping that a potent mix of Hollywood glamour and religion will motivate Palestinians to vote in next week�s presidential elections � and their star attraction is actor Richard Gere. ...Gere, together with an Islamic cleric and a Greek Orthodox Church official, recorded a public service announcement calling on the Palestinians to vote in the Jan. 9 election to replace Yasser Arafat.
�Hi, I�m Richard Gere and I�m speaking for the entire world. We�re with you during this election time. It�s really important: Get out and vote,� Gere said, according to a transcript of the announcement obtained by The Associated Press.
- Gere the Moral Relativist - Q: Although you are cautious in speaking about the dharma, you are a passionate spokesman on the issue of freedom for Tibet. A: I've gone through a lot of different phases with that. The anger that I might have felt twenty years ago is quite different now. We're all in the same boat here, all of us-Hitler, the Chinese, you, me, what we did in Central America. (from an interview with Gere regarding his Buddhism)
- Gere the apologist for Saddam Hussein and the spokesman for all Americans (he sure speaks for a lot of people, this guy) - "I keep asking myself where all this personal enmity between George Bush and Saddam Hussein comes from. It's like the story of Captain Ahab and the great white whale from Moby Dick...America has never paid any attention to other people, so it's absurd for Bush to say that it's all in the best interests of the Iraqi people. If the United States marches into Iraq without the backing of the United Nations, that will be done entirely without the backing of the American people." (at the 53rd Berlin Film Festival)
- Gere the elitist Hollywood big shot - [Gere]has absolutely no sense of humour (a fact which someone who worked with him closely a few years back attests to) and doesn't seem to understand the bartering nature of the process - or simply feels it's beneath him. Never mind the fact that he has just made a film which needs an audience. If he dislikes a question, and you can be sure he will, he won't even try to take it somewhere else: the natural response of most intelligent people when asked a question they don't want to answer. Why should he? Hey, he's the star! (Harriet Lane gets a dose of the famous Gere charm while attempting to interview him as he publicizes the film 'Chicago')
- Gere the touchy-feely activist who caused a nation of television viewers to hurriedly search for their remote controls in their couch cushions: "I wonder if something miraculous and really kind of movie-like could happen here, where we could send some kind of love and truth and kind of sanity to Deng Xiaopeng in Beijing, that he would take his troops and take the Chinese away from Tibet and allow these people to live as free, independent people again." (at the 1993 Oscar telecast)
Clearly, Gere is somewhat of a renaissance Jackass with a variety of annoying personas. For his wisdom, yes; for his political acumen, certainly; for oh so many reasons, we salute you, Richard Gere: Weekly Jackass Number Five is yours to cherish forever. May a really kind of movie-like thing happen where you receive some kind of love and truth and kind of sanity...