Seth Rogen just lived out everyone’s fantasy of apologetically giving a piece of their mind right to the face of someone with whom they adamantly disagree. While mid-handshake with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rogen made it clear that he did not support the version of the United States that Ryan is helping to realize. What we would have given to have been there for that exchange!
It all started when Rogen received an invitation from Mitt Romney to speak at a summit he holds every year for politicians, donors, and business leaders, this year focusing on the subject of brain health. As the co-founder of an Alzheimer’s awareness organization, Hilarity for Charity, Rogen obliged.
The actor recounted his run in with the soon-to-be-retired House speaker before his speech with cringe-worthy detail during an interview with Stephen Colbert. “My whole body puckered,” said Rogen. Not really a feeling we wanted described, but it sure drives the point home. Before he knew it, Ryan was shaking his hand and asking for a photo as his kids looked on. This is the moment where most of us would freeze up, take the photo, and later think of what we wish we would have said.
Celebrities often feel pressure to be everything to everyone, as if their public persona is somehow separate from their identity and they aren’t allowed to express opinions. It’s not fair to them, but for some reason we as the general public expect that. Not Rogen. He realized that this was his chance to speak his mind. “I said, ‘No way man,’” It could have ended there. Rogen could have refused the selfie and walked away, but instead he continued. “I couldn’t stop. I said, ‘Furthermore, I hate what you’re doing to the country at this moment, and I count the days until you no longer have one iota of the power that you currently have,’” he said amidst a cheering studio audience who applauded as if to say, “You said what we were all thinking.”
It’s rare that we get the opportunity to speak directly to the person we disagree with, especially when they are a political leader. Often, it feels as though there is an insurmountable distance between everyday people and the people who claim to act in their best interest. Even if we do, it is unlikely that we’ll be able to articulate exactly what we’re thinking because the moment is so fleeting. This is part of why Twitter and Facebook become such hotbeds for political rants. We have very few ways to express our opinions to the decision makers in our country, and even when we do, they don’t always listen. We type it out into the impersonal void because it is unlikely that we will get the chance to say that we disagree with them to their faces. We live for moments like this because it is someone getting to do what we can’t.
Instead, we can live vicariously through Rogen. Props to Rogen for being able to clearly express his opinion in the midst of an all-consuming body pucker and doing what we all wish we had the chance to do.