When Bradley Cooper, the actor who portrayed late US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in the film based on his war memoir, American Sniper, turned up at the Democratic National Convention last night, conservative social media users were not too happy about it.
After network cameras focused repeatedly on Cooper, who was seated in the audience listening to the speakers along with his girlfriend, a surge of right wing revulsion — and then amusement from liberals — caused his name to briefly trend on Twitter.
Marlow Stern of The Daily Beast archived some of the fireworks.
Kyle, aka “The Devil of Ramadi,” is a conservative icon, and since the film was directed by none other than Clint Eastwood—you know, the fella who stole the show at the last RNC by talking to an empty chair—it stood to reason that Cooper was a Republican, too.
First off, kids: Movies are not real. TV shows aren’t, either. Bradley Cooper also played an anti-Semite who ends up in a body brace after trying to suck his own dick on Nip/Tuck, but I’d venture to guess this does not resemble the man IRL. Also, while not the most outspoken actor in the world when it comes to politics, Cooper is a longtime Democrat, having donated some shekels to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008, and orchestrated POTUS’s Obamacare-promoting appearance on his pal Zach Galifianakis’s program Between Two Ferns.
There were predictable disavowals from the sort of people who pretend to speak for all veterans, promote militarized policies, and gurgle conspiratorial nonsense about ‘socialism.’
I have a list of celebrities that support Socialism I refuse to spend another $ on. Add this one. Boycott them all. pic.twitter.com/uOFMkxSvRY
— Nat Shupe (@NatShupe) July 28, 2016
There were some boycott threats, though nothing has coalesced. Some people vowed never to watch The Hangover, or The Hangover Part II, or The Hangover Part III again out of disappointment that Cooper isn’t really a hard-drinking party boy suffering from amnesia.
Other people laughed at those people.
Bradley Cooper at DNC?! Guess I've seen my last Bradley Cooper movie. Ewww Ick
— The Real ExTex (@theRealExTex) July 28, 2016
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) July 28, 2016
Conservatives are mad at Bradley Cooper for not staying in character as a man who was inacurrately portrayed in a film
— Jordan Ashby (@JM_Ashby) July 28, 2016
And therein lies the rub, because what the complainants really love about Chris Kyle is his unrepentant racism and dehumanization of Iraqis and Muslims in general. Cooper actually defended his film from critics on the left and remains unwilling to acknowledge its disastrous effects on conservative public opinion.
Eastwood was justifiably criticized for offering a very distorted and revisionist view of the conflict, with all complexity erased, and this, too, is what they adore about his movie. Conservatives are not bothered by the proven libels and specious claims in Kyle’s book, either — in fact, those are exactly why they consider it such an important cultural watershed.
Quite frankly, the irony of Bradley Cooper being a Democrat is that he helped make Donald Trump’s views acceptable in mainstream culture.
Featured image: Twitter