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Viggo Mortensen Addresses Activism

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Actor, artist and poet Viggo Mortensen is taking time out of his hectic schedule — or rather using part of his busy itinerary — to do some good. The occasion was commencement exercises for St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. Mortensen, a 1980 graduate and recipient of an honorary doctor of arts degree, addressed the Class of 2006, offering important advice about the importance of activism:

“I’m certainly not asking anyone to run out and burn down City Hall, or to necessarily engage in any overt protest,” he told the 567 graduates at the school’s 150th commencement. “I simply advocate your continuing to explore being involved citizens. Don’t ever be afraid to ask the question ‘Why.'”

He criticized politicians who promote their own Christianity while ignoring the teaching of Jesus, and he urged the graduates to improve America’s suffering health care system.

Mortensen has a Spanish film, Alatriste, awaiting release and recently signed to star in a British thriller, Eastern Promises. The Focus Features production will re-team the actor with his History of Violence director David Cronenberg.

[ADBLOCKHERE]This is far from the first time that the film star, who also runs avant-garde publishing house Perceval Press, has taken time to address activism. During the media whirlwind surrounding the Lord of the Rings films, Mortensen was hailed and reviled for speaking out against Bush’s Iraq invasion. When antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan was camped outside of George Bush’s Crawford, TX, compound last year, he made an unpublicized visit to offer encouragement and support.

Love him or hate him, you have to respect Viggo Mortensen for giving his audience a terrific message: Whatever your politics, get involved and make a difference. Good show.

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About NR Davis

  • http://gratefuldread.net NR Davis

    I dunno. Porn for everyone? A new campaign to force the poor to emulate the rich – or to encourage the have-nots to pledge their lives and service to those more fortunate?

    Unless they have provable expertise on a subject, celebs shouldn’t be trusted more than any other citizen stating an opinion, but they should not be trusted less either. However, when they say things that are truly sensible that can be positive for a wide range of thoughts, beliefs, ways of life, I think that’s good. I believe Viggo’s nonpartisan call for individual responsibility and action is a good one (and it is admirable that he DIDN’T use the occasion to bash Dubya or the Iraq invasion/occupation – then again, anyone who knows Viggo knows his views on these topics).

    But here is the real question: How does making a statement such as that in #1 make one “soft?”

  • http://gratefuldread.net NR Davis

    btw, thanx to Eric Olsen for the Amazon-dot-crap links. My computer crashed after my initial posting, but before I could insert links. But here is the crazy thing: He chose all but one of the links I had picked. Spooky…

  • http://www.theopinionmill.com Steven Hart

    The guy’s a class act.