- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2003

Tim Robbins comes across as someone who would object to the color of a woman's G-string while sitting in the front row of a burlesque show.
Robbins always seems to be standing beneath a series of storm clouds.
His glass is half empty, as opposed to half full. He opens his mouth, and soon the torment is spilling out. He can't help it. There are just so many things wrong in the world, and if only the world would embrace his insights, we could live in a perpetual state of harmony.
You know the type. Before long, you tend to run from the type.
Dale Petroskey, president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, appeared to be acting in this vein in the matter of Robbins and Susan Sarandon and the 15-year anniversary of the movie "Bull Durham."
Petroskey decided he did not want to suffer in their presence, and nowhere in the constitution is it written that baseball must provide a platform to nutty artists.
Maybe Petroskey should have called Robbins and Sarandon with the news that their appearance in Cooperstown, N.Y., would be unnecessary instead of dispatching a letter to them. That is a style question, with baseball not known for its style anyway.
It is hardly a move that undermines the right of Robbins and Sarandon to express their opposition to the Bush administration and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
If anything, Robbins and Sarandon appear to be overdosing on that right. They have plenty of forums, more than most Americans, in fact, to get their message out.
Why, Robbins was in Washington last week to speak at the National Press Club, and, as usual, he gave his impression of a talking hemorrhoid. The poor guy. He is just so painful, if not confused.
He is a peacenik who recently threatened Lloyd Grove of the Washington Post, as confusing as that is.
"If you ever write about my family again, I will [bleeping] find you, and I will [bleeping] hurt you," Robbins said, which means he is a peacenik with an asterisk.
He reserves the right to beat you up, but it is against his principles if you beat him up.
His is a curious philosophy, to say the least, on a number of levels.
Robbins purports to have a keen grasp of the political situation in the Middle East, which is pretty good for someone who hangs out in Hollywood and, as far as anyone knows, has no access to all the intelligence information that aided the decision-making process of the Bush administration.
Look at it this way: It would be incredibly hard to venture an opinion on the NBA if you did not have access to all the information, if you did not watch a zillion games, if you did not have a background in basketball.
Perhaps Robbins is an expert on Iraq and the Middle East and talks to Donald Rumsfeld on a daily basis. Perhaps, in all his spare time, he goes to a library and assimilates all kinds of material related to Iraq and the Middle East. Perhaps he likes dining out at restaurants that feature cuisine from the Middle East.
If so, he should make his expertise clear whenever he speaks out, which is often. If not, he is just another person blowing hot air, and with the greenhouse effect and all, there already is enough hot air in the atmosphere.
Whatever item is the national focus, Robbins and Sarandon seem to have a thorough knowledge of it.
Not too long ago, it was Haiti, and conveniently enough, Robbins and Sarandon were versed enough in the subject to assist the Clinton administration. They really felt Haiti's pain at the time and were bent on making Haiti a better place. You could tell by the ribbon. They wore other ribbons as well.
To be fair, Haiti was a grim place long before Robbins and Sarandon came along, and, unfortunately, it remains a grim place today.
Sadly, their ribbons, as significant as they were, could not improve the quality of life in Haiti, and now Haiti no longer is fashionable.
Robbins did not even bother to mention Haiti while he was in Washington last week.
He did refer to the Washington Post employee in a highly derogatory manner, which is his right.
That is the funny thing about rights.
Robbins and Sarandon have the right to pontificate on whatever moves them, even if it amounts to nothing, while others have the right not to want to be around it.
It seems Petroskey was merely exercising that right.


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