It's a hard time to have an old hero. From Cosby to Spacey to Weinstein, from C.K. to Toback to Hoffman, more famous men have been outed as jerking, rutting pigs than many thought plausible. Even Elie fucking Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor whose writing would bring any non-Nazi to tears, has been accused of copping a feel on a young woman's ass. Who, among men, can we admire? William James Murray, that's who.
What's not to love about Bill Murray? The actor, who is coming to McCaw Hall on November 29, has long been critically acclaimed for his work. He does deadpan better than most actual pans.
But it's his antics that have kept the man hip. He's wandered into house parties, photobombed an engagement shoot, spontaneously tended bar, crashed a kickball game, and toasted a random bachelor. He recently made friends with a renowned cellist—they met in line at an airport and then found themselves seated next to each other on the plane—and they are now on tour together, performing a tribute to American classical music and writing. That's what this McCaw Hall appearance is all about.
So what's not to love? There is something, and, if true, it's big. (Don't worry, it's not about his dick!) According to David Shields, best-selling author and professor of creative writing at the University of Washington, Murray voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. Yes, Mittens goddamn Romney, whose only selling point to the American public was that he wasn't the black man. The source of this rumor? An agonizing parenthetical in Shields's book Other People: Takes & Mistakes. It reads: "(he supported Romney in 2012)."
Contacted for clarification, Shields says he remembers watching TV the day of the 2012 election. "He thought Romney was the better candidate," Shields says. "He was using slightly coded language, but it was clear."
Murray infamously does not have an agent, manager, or publicist that I could contact to follow up on this, but he does have, according to Rolling Stone, a "secret 1-800 number" that I found. I left a voice mail asking about Mittens, but I have not heard back.
If it's true that Murray voted for Romney, can we ever forgive him? It's not like he voted for Trump (as far as we know), but Shields, for his part, has let his admiration lag. "I don't really care about Murray anymore, to be honest," says Shields, who has written about Murray in more than one book. "I think he's essentially the frat-boy version of a rebel. He's the square's nonconformist, he's the golf pro on a bender—that's his appeal. And that no longer really interests me or appeals to me."
Still, heroes are in short supply, and Bill Murray knows how to host a night. Performing with his airplane seatmate, the cellist Jan Vogler, and accompanied by Mira Wang on violin and Vanessa Perez on piano, the night, they say, will feature selections from Bernstein to Gershwin and Twain to Hemingway. No word if Murray will talk politics, but perhaps you'll get lucky and run into him clowning about town—or, even better, on your next flight.