Mark Cuban, center, flanked by Adam Lyons and Michele Skelding, on the screen at a SXSW Interactive talk Sunday. Cary Darling cdarling@star-telegram.com
Mark Cuban, center, flanked by Adam Lyons and Michele Skelding, on the screen at a SXSW Interactive talk Sunday. Cary Darling cdarling@star-telegram.com

Business

Cuban calls Trump a ‘Zoolander president’ at SXSW

March 12, 2017 9:43 PM

AUSTIN

Mark Cuban is not a big fan of President Donald Trump — and the Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” co-host made that clear again at South by Southwest Interactive on Sunday in a 2,000-capacity ballroom at the Austin Convention Center, as part of the larger South by Southwest music/film/technology festival.

“The policies of his that are pretty much traditional conservative on the economics side, I like. On the social side, I hate,” he said. “But in terms of him personally, he’s a Zoolander president.”

Along with Adam Lyons, founder of the insurance-comparison site The Zebra, Cuban was speaking on a panel whose topic was “Is Government Disrupting Disruption?,” referring to how such startup upstarts as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb have run into trouble with governmental regulations.

But much of the discussion, and his liveliest banter, was reserved for the president. “The guy hasn’t read a book in 30 years,” he continued. “I’m fine with reducing regulation. I’m fine with kill two, add one … but I like a president that reads.”

He also said the president doesn’t know how to use Google. Last month, Trump charged in a tweet that Cuban “backed me big-time but I wasn’t interested in taking all of his calls. He’s not smart enough to run for president!”

It’s not my lifetime dream to run for president. It’s not my lifetime dream to be a politician at all. … I hate the fact that people compare us.

Mark Cuban

All of which leads to the question of whether Cuban, who called himself a “libertarian at heart” on Sunday, would throw his hat in the 2020 presidential ring. Moderator Michele Skelding, senior vice president at Global Technology and Innovation in Austin, mentioned a poll last month by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling that showed Cuban trailing Trump 41 to 40 percent with 19 percent undecided.

Cuban, like New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker on Friday at SXSW, gave an open-ended answer. “I’ve got a long time to decide and we’ll see what happens. It’s not my lifetime dream to run for president. It’s not my lifetime dream to be a politician at all. Right now, it’s en vogue because he won. I hate the fact that people compare us.”

Cuban said the next president should be someone who comprehends technology. “Whether it’s me or somebody else,” he said, “there’s somebody who’s going to have to run who looks forward instead of acts like it’s 1975.”

Cuban also knocked WikiLeaks, an organization to which he says he nearly donated thousands of dollars but then decided against it.

“I’m not going to give money to an organization that’s supposed to be about transparency and they’re trying to circumvent everything,” he said. “The problem with WikiLeaks is they’re not transparent. They’re obviously being influenced and they’re not telling the whole story about why they’re doing what they’re doing.”

The British like ‘Song to Song’

Not all of the appraisals for Texas director Terrence Malick’s much-derided “Song to Song” have been negative. The much-anticipated film starring Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara had its world premiere at SXSW on Friday night and was met with savage reviews from Variety and Hollywood Reporter for stinking “more than the ooze running down Austin’s 6th street on a SXSW Saturday morning,” as Mashable put it.

On the other side of the Atlantic, though, they seem to be seeing things differently. Christopher Hooton at England’s Independent hailed it as a masterpiece, saying that “ ‘Song to Song’ affected me more than any film I’ve seen in the past few years.”

Meanwhile, Jordan Hoffman, writing for another British publication, The Guardian, also liked it, saying it’s the best of Malick’s recent work.

It only goes to prove that one man’s pretension is another man’s poetry.

Ryan Gosling and the cast of Terrence Malick's Song to Song open SXSW

The cast of Song to Song discusses the film at the opening night screening in Austin.

Video by Cary Darling Star-Telegram.com

SXSW 2017: The Terrence Malick Effect with Song to Song Producer Tanner Beard

Song to Song producer Tanner Beard dishes on working with Terrence Malick before the film's opening night premiere at SXSW.

Video by Jared L. Christopher Star-Telegram.com

Cary Darling: 817-390-7571, @carydar

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