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Matt Damon in Playboy: “No Matter How Hard You Work To Change Things, It Just Doesn’t Matter”

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in costume as Liberace and chauffeur, bodyguard, secretary, and palimony plaintiff Scott Thorson, photographed on the set of “Behind the Candelabra” in Los Angeles [Vanity Fair, October 2012]

NO SUCK ups, please. Your party and political position exist for your own amusement or delusion. You can’t impact a thing.

Unless you’re a member of the Tea Party, that much maligned and mocked political entity that continues to send shudders through our government and populace. They’ve succeeded in hamstringing the Speaker of the House John Boehner, tying Wall Street into knots, and still work to send women back to the dark ages, as well as telling their establishment that extremism is a virtue because moderation won’t protect their power. The Tea Party continues to live on to thwart Republican moderates and make progressive Democrats look fecklessly weak.

My tribe, women, have chosen to align with the Democratic Party in droves, because our civil rights are under siege, so the thought of Social Security cuts seems far less threatening than the inability to control our own body. It’s the first order of business, making girls the strongest allies the Democratic Party has today.

Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, progressive, conservative or independent, the most alarming constant is that we no longer have co-equal branches of government, where Congress holds the Executive Branch accountable and political affiliation is considered secondary.

The Supreme Court and our national judicial landscape are political minefields.

We exist in a world of political sports teams where scoring for your side matters more than anything else, which is now called “principles,” but only applies to self-interest, with independents as much a part of the problem as anyone, because they actually think being outside the system makes a difference.


There is only The System.

From the January/February double issue of Playboy, when combining two issues reveals just how far magazines have fallen in the new media era, Matt Damon says a mouthful:

Playboy: In December 2011 you said you would have preferred President Obama to be a “one term president with some balls who actually got stuff done.” Did you vote for him this time?

Matt Damon: Definitely. I assume there will be some Supreme Court appointments in this next term; that alone was reason to vote for him. I don’t think I said anything a lot of people weren’t thinking. It’s easier now more than ever in my life to feel the fix is in, the game is rigged and no matter how hard you work to change things, it just doesn’t matter.

This explains in a nutshell why it’s easier on your nerves and your happiness to care less about politics and the politicians in charge and think more about your own life’s work and happiness. Keeping your voting simple: the Supreme Court. Your own personal civil rights. Your money. Mr. Damon has found his perfect pill, because to choke on activism that changes nothing is the root to madness.

The bright spot for me politically this year is that I didn’t waste my vote on a third party candidate who had no allies in Congress and no chance of moving anything, but neither did I fall for the Democratic alternative, whose only success has been to show America what a moderate Republican actually looks like.

As a liberal, that doesn’t matter to me at all.

F.D.R. is dead.

Harry Truman was blunt and no nonsense, like Chris Christie, both the opposite of Barack Obama, but Truman was also the Democratic version of George W. Bush, and just as gullible to military seductions and solutions.

My Democratic Party affiliation remains a nod to sentimental nostalgia, giving me the same feeling I get when looking at True Blues by Andy Thomas, which hangs on my wall in my office.

At least John F. Kennedy thought the top military brass were fools, so he wouldn’t have been shocked or lost any sleep over David Petraeus shooting himself in the crotch.

All politicians are flawed.

I can’t name a female politician, whatever her politics or party, who could do any worse.

The System has failsafes.

photo: Vanity Fair

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24 Responses to Matt Damon in Playboy: “No Matter How Hard You Work To Change Things, It Just Doesn’t Matter”

  1. Cujo359 December 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    start quote:

    Unless you’re a member of the Tea Party, that much maligned and mocked political entity that continues to send shudders through our government and populace. They’ve succeeded in hamstringing the Speaker of the House John Boehner, tying Wall Street into knots, and still work to send women back to the dark ages, as well as telling their establishment that extremism is a virtue because moderation won’t protect their power.

    end quote

    Not coincidentally, they’re the only faction left in DC who will actually stand for something. If all you do to “Work To Change Things” is work for people who won’t do what you want, Damon is absolutely correct. No amount of that kind of work will change things.

    So, do something else. Work for third parties. Work to inform Americans about what their government is doing. Don’t just sit there and talk to me about how bad the Other Guys ™ are. If that’s all you’re doing, you’re useless. Democrats are the party in power, and so what they do matters. When they won’t do what we sent them there to do, they need to understand that failure means they will lose their jobs.

    If you don’t work toward what you want, but instead try to work against what you fear, you’ll end up getting what you fear.

    I know you know this, Taylor, as do some of your readers. Unfortunately, this knowledge seems to be a rare thing among progressives. This simple idea seems to strike them as some sort of Zen koan – something so deeply baffling that it can’t possibly make any sense. That’s the reason I am losing hope that anything will ever change. All the other obstacles can be overcome with time. Our consuming desire to avoid seeing the basic truth of things can’t.

  2. fangio December 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    There are more one party states than ever before, more safe seats than ever before, the democrats had over one million more votes in the house but the republicans kept their majority thanks to rampant gerrymandering. The gerrymandering was achieved through a concerted effort by republicans over the past decade to capture state houses across the country. The effort was made possible by dark money funded through so called non profit social welfare organizations who in turn were funded by corporate donors like the Koch brothers. How much of this does the average American know: I would guess very little. They don’t know because the democrats have no interest in telling them . The fourth estate, which should keep the public informed is now, in many cases, part of the one percent and thinks just like them; wither democracy.

  3. think08 December 29, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    I for one am very proud that I didn’t waste my vote on the moderate republican, but voted FOR someone I believed in – Jill Stein. Way past time to put your vote where your mouth is.

  4. PeggySue December 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Obama said it himself during a Univision interview:

    “The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.”


    From Obama’s lips to the cauliflower ears of Progressives–the man said it himself. The dude is not a liberal, not a progressive in any way, shape or form. He’s a 1980′s moderate Republican. Or Republican-lite as I have labeled him all along. And it’s the reason I refused to vote for him. I went for Stein. Could have easily cast a vote for Anderson. Was either candidate going anywhere? No. But at least I voted. For policy direction I believe in. A spit in the wind for sure. But better that than to go along to get along.

    Good to hear Matt Damon has caught the wave: DC and their financiers are ‘not’ listening. Austerity is the word of the day. Not because it makes sense or because we have Europe as a grim example or because we’ve been off the gold standard [Hello!] since the Nixon years. But because the MOTU say so.

    Pain is good. The Puritan whip even better. Franklin said we had a Republic but only if we could keep it.

    Sadly, we haven’t.

  5. PeggySue December 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Btw, there’s another excellent article by Bill Black at Naked Capitalism. Every time I read these shout outs to progressives, I want to pull my hair out. The fiscal cliff, the whole ‘entitlement’/deficit’ meme is such a huge scam and yet every newscaster and mainstream journalist is parroting the doomsday view.

    Anyway, another good, informative read:

  6. Solo December 29, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Someone needs to inform Mr. Damon that societies aren’t changed for the better overnight.

    • jjamele December 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      Someone needs to tell Solo that just because the Earth is round, walking in the wrong direction isn’t likely to get you to your destination. Just farther from it.

      • Solo December 31, 2012 at 1:03 am #

        Barrack Hussein Obama’s re-election, by a comfortable margin no less, is just eating you up on the inside isn’t? You simply can’t come to grips with the reality that the majority of our fellow Americans don’t share your disdain for the man. For the record all the major polling outfits have the President’s job approval at well above 50%, even Rasmussen has him at 56%! So given the facts it is now official the hardcore left such as yourself are now the fringe left. Sorry but I just couldn’t resist rubbing that in a little. Obama4ever!

        • Uh-oh December 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

          The “majority” of Americans who voted based on R vs D “team politics” are sleep-walking through life and deserve every bad thing that is going to happen to them. Both of the main political parties are corrupt and out of touch with the people they are supposed to be representing, so stop with this :neener-neener-neener” crap and grow up. Whether your team won or not, DC politics is going to bite you and everyone else in the ass. The rest of us don’t have to like it, let alone submit quietly.

          • secularhumanizinevoluter January 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

            “The “majority” of Americans who voted based on R vs D “team politics” are sleep-walking through life and deserve every bad thing that is going to happen to them.”

            Thank you so much for lowering yourself to share the wisdom of your obviously superior intelligence with all us poor uninformed, brainwashed rubes.

            “The rest of us don’t have to like it, let alone submit quietly.”

            That’s right…you can feel free to stand on the sidelines and throw spitballs at the folks actually making the sausage. Nice and safe in the it don’t matter cause you got no clout or power seats.

          • Uh-oh January 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

            Sec, I know that you (like Solo–to whom I was actually responding) are a team player for the Dems, but if you can’t see that they too are screwing you over then there isn’t much to say to you.

            The tea party folks are a convenient excuse for Obama, and he will probably turn out to be worse for the country that even GWB was. Unlike you, I am not at all sure that Obama was the lesser of two evils, and despite your condescension I am under no obligation to like the guy. And yes, I can vote for anyone I want to–it is the American way. Stop putting people down for that.

          • Solo January 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

            You need to check the President’s job approval numbers. It would seem the majority of your fellow Americans don’t share your assessment of President Obama’s performance.

  7. secularhumanizinevoluter December 30, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    I am curious…people here talk about the “tea party” as if it were a third party, why is that? The “tea party” never was, is not and will always be simply the most reactionary element of the REPUBLICAN PARTY.
    They(or rather the rich old white guys who formed them) saw things weren’t going the way they wanted in THEIR party and so they organized, found, funded and ran candidates IN THEIR PARTY’S PRIMARIES and won…basically realigned THEIR PARTY so it now espoused the ideals, warped and hateful though they be, that THEY felt THEIR PARTY should stand for and attempt to implement.
    So could someone splain to me this whole progressives should vote third party and try to change things that way?

    • secularhumanizinevoluter December 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

      Teabaggers ARE the republican party. They are simply the most rightwing loony tune elements…the Koch sucker crowd….but repugnantklaners all the way from beginning until they and the rest get tired of the mental masturbation excersize of claiming otherwise. They simply got tired of being marginalized and worked WITHIN the party to take over.
      However “real progressives” may in fact have less in common with the Democratic party then the baggers did with the Klaners…even though they were really the same thing.
      If that is the case then I sure wish they would pull up stakes and go found their own perpetual fringe and bring an end to the nonstop whining.

      • jinbaltimore December 31, 2012 at 9:58 am #

        yeah…except that you’re the one here who asked the question hah hah hah…nonstop whining, LOL against a President and party that is killing people willy-nilly around the world and planning on punishing the poor for the excesses of the rich…hah hah…yeah, whining, you really do lack a moral compass, don’t you…you know what whining is? people who can’t stand criticism of their Dear Leader.

        • secularhumanizinevoluter December 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

          “you really do lack a moral compass, don’t you…”

          Dang, that almost seems…rude…but I suppose it isn’t since I have yet to see you admonished for resorting to childish name calling.

          “you know what whining is? people who can’t stand criticism of their Dear Leader.”

          Were I not so dedicated to turning over a new leaf as instructed by Ms. Marsh I would respond by pointing out the near delusional, disconnected from reality nature and quality of this blurb but I am dedicated so I will simply allow the gentle readers to make that sore thumb observation all on their own. Good luck with that third party thingy. happy New Year.

    • newdealdem1 December 31, 2012 at 1:46 am #

      Solo and Obama sittin in a tree………………………..whateverthefuck

      • Solo December 31, 2012 at 2:21 am #

        Surely you can do better than that?

    • jinbaltimore January 1, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      Was there another? Geez. No wonder you don’t understand much. Your grasp of history is so very weak.

  8. newdealdem1 December 31, 2012 at 2:06 am #

    Btw and not so Btw, it’s not Obama that I’m angry with because he showed his fairly conservative cards during the 2008 Primary and anyone who wasn’t paying attention to what his history was in Chicago beginning with Alice Palmer and all those present votes as a State Senator as well as his objection to the Iraq war which was easy as he wasn’t in the Senate at the time and his record shows just how not brave he is as a politician, my guess is that he would have voted FOR the Iraq war just as all the other Dem primary candidates did. He was going to vote for John Roberts as Chief Supreme Court Justice when someone advised him to vote against Roberts just in case he (Obama) was going to run for POTUS in 2008 (if I recall correctly, he did).

    The people with whom I am angry with are those who voted for Obama in the 2008 primaries and who acted like low lifes and accused Hillary Clinton of every vile act under the sun just as the GOP had done since 1992. Hitlery was one of the words used against the then Senator and her supporters four years ago.. And, those who still have a jones for Obama over Clinton and will never say a critical word against him for whatever crime or misdemeanor he commits as POTUS just as GeorgieBush has done. But, if Clinton has done the same had she been POTUS instead of Obama, these same people would have called for her impeachment or worse as David Corn (one of the worst Obama sycophants) had done (he called for Clinton to be fired but never called for Obama’s impeachment for Drones, etc.) Wikileaks first published their “findings”.

    Obama is not a Dem, he’s a moderate Republican. Here is an interview with a Bruce Bartlett (a conservative who held senior policy roles in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations) and Yves Smith (economist and blogger) And, he’s done and doing more harm to the modern Dem Party of FDR than any GOP nutter can ever do.

    • jinbaltimore December 31, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      well put and in one convenient place

  9. newdealdem1 December 31, 2012 at 2:18 am #


    That Bill Moyers interview with Bartlett and Smith takes the wind out of the so-called “fiscal cliff” that the CEO’s, GOP, some Dems and most of the millionaire news reporters keep trying to scare the hell out of the rest of us. I keep changing the channel whenever I hear the first three letters of fiscal “fis…. and I change the dial to Turner Movie Classics. I would rather watch Ronald Reagan in the atrocious “Bedtime for Bonzo” instead.

  10. Taylor Marsh January 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    What a tiresome conversation between solo and jinbaltimore, turning this thread into a meaningless pissing contest over 2008, which is OVER and unwelcome here in 2013. ALL the comments towards that end have been deleted.

    • jinbaltimore January 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

      Fair enough though you are letting Damon off the hook for his hypocrisy and his part in the current state of affairs. He had a megaphone and he chose to use it poorly.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong