The XX Factor

Woody Harrelson: Shut Down by Esquire.

In a recent interview on , Woody Harrelson gets the yada yada yada treatment when he tries to talk about global warming and a few other ecological issues apparently on his mind. The impulse to ignore celebs preaching from their very luxurious soapboxes is nothing new, but it feels somewhat rude in this instance, especially since interviewer Ryan D’Agostino specifically asks Harrelson how he’s feeling about the world, only to then reduce his answers to a joke of sorts, in which Harrelson’s presumably lengthy answers get described in key words. One example (and, oh, are there more!):

ESQ: Speaking of Earth ceasing to exist, how are you feeling about the world right now?

WH: I think the world’s still gonna be here in another 10, 20 years. But I’m not feeling great about things ecologically. [A few minutes on current events. Key words: Obama, oil wars, government bailouts, mountain-top blasting, health care, evil, mankind, Ted Danson. ]

ESQ: Were you this interested in social and economic issues when you were in high school?

WH: No, but when I was 12 and I did a report on waning wildlife, I was supposed to just write a five-page thing and I wrote 50. [A few minutes about trees. Key words: clear-cutting, national forests, Montana, John Ratzenberger .]

Doesn’t Harrelson in this instance seems like a bizarre target for this kind of mockery? There are much more obvious examples of celebrity hypocrisy, say John Travolta offering tips to combat global warming as he takes one of his five private jets out for a joy ride . And then there are the hilariously vacuous examples of celebrity charity-last month’s real headline “55 World Celebrities Sing To Stop Global Warming” could easily have been written as an Onion newsbrief. (Imagined line: “The emotional potency of the joint song by Duran Duran, The Scorpions, and others, convinced the sun to power down its rays and cease its attack on the planet.”) We have no way of knowing whether Woody’s spiel on our impending environmental doom was humdrum or worthwhile, and I wouldn’t argue the man’s a rocket scientist whose words on ecological issues should be carved out in gold on the mantle of every American household, but if his earnest answers are just going to used to poke fun at him, why even ask in the first place?

Photograph of Woody Harrelson by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.