Tim Robbins Defiant. (Freedom of Speech)

By Steinhardt, David L. | The Progressive, June 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Tim Robbins Defiant. (Freedom of Speech)


Steinhardt, David L., The Progressive


AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB on April 15, the actor Tim Robbins got a chance to speak his mind. He used his speech to address the climate of neo-McCarthyism that has resulted in, among other things, the Baseball Hall of Fame withdrawing an invitation to him and his partner, Susan Sarandon, to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of their movie on the minor leagues, Bull Durham. "In the nineteen months since 9/11, we have seen our democracy compromised by fear and hatred," he said. "Basic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity of the home have been quickly compromised in a climate of fear." He mentioned that a teacher told his niece that he and Sarandon were not welcome to come see the school play.

"A chill wind is blowing in this nation," he said. "A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio and Clear Channel and Cooperstown: If you oppose this Administration, there can and will be ramifications."

Robbins understands that his involvement in an issue brings it some attention that it might not otherwise get, but he tells me he addresses a political issue directly only when he feels it has received insufficient press coverage. "There's always the reporter who asks, 'Why are you here?' And more often than not," he says, "if it's a fundraiser or protest, the answer is, 'Because you wouldn't be here if I wasn't!'"

And Robbins understands how the mainstream media intentionally serves up propaganda. He appeared on CNN's Connie Chung Tonight in March and, he says, "What was really amazing about that inter view was that the [pro-war Iraqi exile] woman on before me was a pre-tape. Connie Chung asked this woman the same question three times, and the woman, in between, was saying, 'I'm so nervous!' Connie kept assuring her, 'It's OK, we're on pre-tape and we can edit it down.' It was almost as if it was a prearranged, scripted propaganda piece that was supposed to look like an interview, because when Connie didn't get the answer that was--what I believe was--scripted, she asked the question again. And then she asked her one more time. Then when you saw it edited together later that night, there was only the last answer that she finally coaxed out of her."

Timothy Francis Robbins, who will turn forty-five in October, has never been afraid to speak out. He believes in truth, justice, and fairness, and--in the great tradition of satirists like Swift and Twain--he's enraged and disgusted by those in power who do not.

He has achieved critical, artistic and commercial success as a movie star in such films as Bull Durham, The Shawshank Redemption, and Jacob's Ladder. He's also an accomplished film director, with Bob Roberts, Cradle Will Rock, and Dead Man Walking to his credit. And he's the artistic director and co-founder of the Actors' Gang, his L.A. theater company.

Asked how he juggles so much, he shrugs: "I don't do that much, compared to some others. The most difficult is [film] directing. It's all-consuming. It takes two years out of your life, in a tremendously rewarding way. There's nothing better, leading troops up the hill, achieving a sense of community--factors and guild people, having to answer so many questions, deal with the pressure."

Looking at this baby-faced man, it's hard to realize his stage career goes back to Nixon's first term, when Tim followed his older sisters Adele and Gabrielle in working for Theatre for the New City, in Manhattan's East Village. During the summers, the company went to some of the city's toughest neighborhoods to do street theater--arriving by van, erecting a stage, parading through the streets to gather an audience, then performing. New City's co-founder, Crystal Feld, remembers Tim as a great talent, even at twelve.

"The beautiful thing about him was, he had a real social sense. You fell in love with him when you saw him act," she recalls. "He built sets, ran props, light board--everything--and was a good egg about it.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tim Robbins Defiant. (Freedom of Speech)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.