Celebrity websites. Not all Hollywood actors have them.
Michael Fassbender hasn’t got one. Alyssa Milano has a Twitter account (several, in fact, I think she collects them). Zach Galifianakis has both Twitter and a site and that’s not necessarily a good thing for America.
I first heard about Alec Baldwin’s new site (www.alecbaldwin.com) because I follow him on Twitter (like I do Milano and Galifianakis) and he Tweeted about its launch recently. Baldwin has nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter.
I’ve always liked Alec Baldwin. The “Good Shepherd” actor with larger-than-life bonhomie reminds you of a Las Vegas performer without the patina of has-beenness. He’s Hollywood’s unofficial ambassador. But he’s also a man whose influence is yet to be squared with his populist following. This new site, which is one of the better ones of its kind I’ve seen in a while, might be a good launchpad for Baldwin’s career in politics. Look at what the Internet did for Obama.
Alec Baldwin’s site is elegant and navigation is a breeze, although there’s hardly anything on it for now.
As you reach the landing page, a screen-wide headshot of Baldwin’s mug awaits, as if to say, “welcome. I’m glad you’re here.”
You’re asked to sign the guestbook immediately upon entering. Collecting future constituents’ information can’t hurt and it’s a good way to connect with fans.
The menu is of the non-invasive variety. “Ideas,” “Events” and “Causes” precede “About.” (fewer pages make for easier navigation). In the lower left-hand corner, Baldwin’s latest tweets fade in and out of view.
One of the menu items that caught my eyes was “Causes.”
Actors can fancy themselves a lot of things, but humanitarian causes, such as the ones Baldwin supports, are the most helpful second jobs celebrities can give themselves since causes help people.
Baldwin’s forays into politics have been mostly via his chronicles in the Huffington Post. He’s no Hendrik Hertzberg but the world could always use more politically-committed actors (as long as they’re not taking up time on Academy Awards telecasts with their pleas–ahem ahem).
Last April Baldwin wrote an article bemoaning clean-nuclear politics’ “dishonest” agenda in HuffPo (he’s a contributor). Most recently, also in the media outlet, Baldwin wrote a commentary of the recent Anthony Weiner debacle, saying, “He exists under a constant pressure cooker of self-analysis and public appraisal. Like other politicians, he needs something to take the edge off.”
Baldwin’s prose is simple. He’s not trying to connect with any one target demographic but he writes candidly. And as a would-be politician that will make him compelling to lots of people (in addition to the advantages of having appeared in “30 Rock.”) But his laissez-faire comment on Weiner’s unforgiveable and weird behavior points to the danger of self-expression across several different media. In light of his political ambitions Baldwin would do well to leave the Weiner chatfest to others.
Under “Causes” you’ll find a post about a music teacher Baldwin had when he was a teen—a sort of life lessons rubric for the sentimental reader. In it, he declares, appreciation of classical can come to anyone at any age. Later in the brief essay he writes, “in the Fall of 2008, the New York Philharmonic asked me to be their radio announcer. It’s my favorite job that I’ve ever had.”
Other causes supported by Baldwin include PETA and People for the American Way.
Since this site was just launched this week it’s a little light on content. And I doubt Baldwin will have time to blog regularly.
When he’s not contributing to HuffPo or doing the acting thing, Baldwin could do what the French called a “revue de presse,” a commenting of headlines and issues “du jour” that caught his eyes on any given day.
But for now, the Tonys await. Baldwin is the host of tonight’s ceremony, broadcast by CBS (8/7c).
(my attempts to reach Mr. Baldwin to comment on this article were not successful)
(photo: Alec Baldwin at the BookExpo in Los Angeles – credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America)