April 20, 2009

Dragging Beach through the dirt?

In Sherman Alexie on Stereotypes, reader Kalisetsi wrote:I feel bad for Adam Beach and the other actors whose names are repeatedly recycled in these blog postings. I really think that you should try to get him for an interview on here, Rob. It just seems like these expectations are put on him becuase he's Native as far as what kind of work he should be doing, and I think its really unfair to subject him to that type of scrutiny. For one, we don't even know what his personal goals or where he's coming from. Perhaps his primary interest is in making money to support his family (or even just himself) and not necessarily in being "The Great Red Hope" for all Indian people everywhere. He's just an actor. I don't see that he asked to be the poster child for all Natives or all Native actors everywhere, and its certainly not his fault that more Native actors aren't cast in Hollywood. I can absolutely understand someone taking work where they can get it, and I can't fault him for doing so. I think you've drug Beach's name through some dirt a few times, and you probably owe him some positive publicity, in some karmic sense.My response: I've reported on Adam Beach more than any other Native actor because he's undoubtedly the most famous Native actor these days. He's starred in a John Woo movie (Windtalkers), a Clint Eastwood movie (Flags of Our Fathers), a major TV movie (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee), a major TV mini-series (Comanche Moon), and a major TV series (Law and Order: SVU). No other Native actor has come close to his visibility and success.

Do I have to explain again how I generally post the news as I find it? If Beach is in more projects than anyone else, I'll report on him more than anyone else. Your presumption that I'm playing favorites is sadly mistaken.

I don't think I've said anything is Beach's fault. I mentioned Beach in the previous posting only in response to reader Jet, who mentioned him first. I don't know where you got the idea that I'm fixated on him, but again you're sadly mistaken.

I've read about and talked to Beach a few times. He's said he wants to be a role model for Native youth and an activist for Native causes. His latest project is encouraging Native storytelling via his OVNTV Internet site. I'm not pushing him into some position beyond acting; he's doing that himself.

Getting Beach dirty?

FYI, dragging Beach's name through the dirt means besmirching his character, not criticizing his work. The only thing I've done is the latter, and only occasionally.

In fact, someone else wrote that I "kiss up to no talent hacks like Adam Beach." You gotta love it when clueless critics cancel each other out. Why don't you two compare notes and decide whether I'm kissing up to him or dragging his name through the dirt? Then tell us which it is, okay?

Here, I'll help you out. For every time I've posted criticism of him, I've probably posted praise three or four times. That's because his work generally earns praise. So no, I don't think I owe him anything. He'll continue to get fair treatment in Newspaper Rock just like everyone else.

If I could interview him, I'm not sure what you'd want me to ask him. Whether he considers himself an actor only or a role model and activist as well? Yes, I could ask him that, but I've already indicated his probable answer.

Does anyone else have a question for Beach? If someone submits a good question, I'll try to get it to him. Put on your thinking caps, people.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Graham Greene comes to mind when I think of Native actors, a little more than Beach. I think this is because I've seen him in more things. He also has quite an impressive resume.

Interesting that looking in IMDB I see he has played/ will play two different characters with the surname of Clearwater.