- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Advice compiled and condensed from actual sources by Kelly Jane Torrance, who composed the questions.

I thought I was simply speaking out loud what many Chinese thought. Instead, I seem to have alienated almost my entire country.

I travel the world a lot as an actor - it’s nice to have that freedom. Seeing how people around the world live has given me a unique perspective on politics and human nature. So I thought people would appreciate it when I said I thought we Chinese need to be controlled. After all, I pointed out, if we have freedom, we’ll use it to do whatever we want. Like make goofy action films, for example. Don’t you think some people just need a strong hand to set them on the right path?

- Jackie Chan

Dear Jackie,

I prefer liberty with danger than peace with slavery.

- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Classical music fans in America love to listen to my piano playing. But I’m not going to give them the pleasure anymore. I have announced I will never play in the United States again.

“Get your hands off of my country,” I told the audience at my last concert before playing some Polish music. What I should have said, perhaps, was, “Get your hands off of my piano.” I’m really upset about how airport security treats my Steinway.

But that’s not the only reason I’m retiring from the U.S. stage. I’m really angry about the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Why doesn’t your president shut it down? Oh, he’s going to? Well, I’m still very angry about my piano.

- Krystian Zimerman

Dear Krystian,

Patriotism is as fierce as a fever, pitiless as the grave, blind as a stone, and irrational as a headless hen.

- Ambrose Bierce

I’m a pretty popular guy. OK, I was a little surprised to see my approval rating is only 68 percent. But still. I was shocked to learn a broadcast network actually turned down my request for prime time.

ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and CNBC will all air my news conference tonight. I’ll talk about all kinds of troubles worldwide and my first 100 days in office. Fox, though, is showing some close-to-canceled show called “Lie to Me” instead.

Fox claims there’s nothing personal about the decision, that it has nothing to do with how its owner feels about me. I can’t help but wonder if that’s true, though. Why else would they reject me like this?

- Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President,

Over emphatic negatives always suggest that what is being denied may be what is really being asserted.

- Jonathan Raban

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