Yesterday, James Lipton, host of "Inside the Actors Studio," an interview program where Lipton brings an actor up on stage in front of a crowd of acting students for a series of questions about career and craft, chose to go on MSNBC and rip his "friend" Clint Eastwood to pieces.
Worse than that, Lipton chose to go on MSNBC and validate every Narrative the openly left-wing fever swamp of a network was pushing to destroy an American legend.
Who does this kind of thing to a "friend?"
Well, I'll tell you who: A low-life, backstabbing narcissist desperate to feel validated by a television appearance.
In short: a scumbag.
Let's give Lipton the biggest benefit of the doubt we can: Let's take him at his word that he truly was horrified and disappointed by Eastwood's performance Thursday night at the Republican National Convention. Let's assume that like so many, he's not just pretending he's horrified because he's not man enough to defend Eastwood against a coordinated media onslaught desperate to distract, distract, distract. Let's also assume that like the mainstream media he bent over for yesterday, Lipton's not just hoping (stupidly) that trashing Eastwood will somehow help Obama.
So there it is; I'm being as generous as I can. But if that's the circumstance and we also choose to trust Lipton at his word that he's Eastwood's friend -- why did he go on national cable television to trash a friend?
No one's asking Lipton to defend something he thinks is wrong. No one's asking Lipton to carry water he doesn’t believe in carrying. But it is possible to hold on to your honor by, you know, not saying anything.
In order to remain loyal to a friend and his critical opinion of Eastwood's performance, all Lipton had to do when MSNBC called was to politely decline to appear. But he didn't, did he? And in the choice he made he proved how little character and integrity he has.
Unless it was some kind of horrible crime, I can’t imagine any circumstance where I would go on television and betray a friend. In fact, I can't imagine a circumstance where I would bad-mouth a friend in any forum. Andrew Klavan is one of my closest friends and if he got wildly drunk one morning, ran buck naked over to the CBS Studios and on live television dry-humped the "Price Is Right" wonder wheel -- well that's not a good example, because that would be awesome (and not completely out of character).
What I'm trying to say, though, is that loyalty used to mean something in this world. And if a man is your friend and you honestly believe he made a mistake, you don't aggrandize yourself on television by stabbing him in the back and piling on.
Over the past 48 hours, we've learned a lot more about James Lipton than Eastwood -- and regardless of your political opinion or opinion of Eastwood's (fantastic) performance the other night -- nothing we've learned about Lipton is good.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC