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Memorial Day, Casting Calls & Controversy

May 28, 2012

What do movies, TV, and commercials have to do with Memorial Day? When asked why soldiers fight, most commonly the answer is they’re fighting for their fellow soldiers, their “buddies.” That being said, they are acutely aware that their fighting protects their loved ones back at home, the security of our nation, as well as American ideals. By putting their lives on the line, they protect our freedom of speech—especially the right to express unpopular and controversial views. Although people can voice their deepest convictions through many avenues, theater, film and TV are particularly fruitful vehicles to communicate such views. With the rich tradition of challenging the status quo, American cinema has impacted culture with movies like All Quiet on the Western Front, A Clockwork Orange, The Deer Hunter, Do the Right Thing, and Brokeback Mountian. TV shows constantly push the envelope, redefining how far is too far with shows like All in the Family, Jerry Springer, and South Park. Even commercials sport their share of controversy. Most recently, Timothy Hutton’s Groupon commercial seemed to make light of the plight of the people of Tibet, and Ashton Kutcher’s Popchip commercial has been argued to be racist. Our soldiers’ willingness to fight keeps us all passionately debating our points of view at water coolers across the country–and keeps actors striving to be cast in the next controversial hit, giving fuel to a powerful and meaningful career. Here’s a toast to all you actors who continue to audition for all the groundbreaking roles that keep us passionately arguing—and a toast especially to all the men and women who’ve given their lives protecting our rights to express ourselves freely.