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Jewish World Review March 17, 1999 /29 Adar 5759

Don Feder

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Hollywood's party line in 1999

(JWR) ---- (
THE HOLLYWOOD LEFT (that is to say, Hollywood) is bent out of shape over legendary director Elia Kazan receiving a special Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony Sunday evening.

Kazan, you see, "named names" before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. He named the names of those who were communists during an era when the party supported purge trials, the Hitler-Stalin pact and the subjugation of Eastern Europe. Had he exposed members of the German-American Bund, Kazan would be hailed as a hero.

The party exercised only a modest influence on the movies of the '30s and '40s. Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood 10, explained that the reds were more successful in blocking anti-communist films than in making movies with their own message.

Communism's impact on movies half a century ago is insignificant compared to the hegemony of Hollywood's current political commissars.

The party line of producers, directors and screenwriters is an outgrowth of the '60s. It is anti-American, anti-business, feminist, hostile to organized religion, down on the military, censorious of conservatives and addicted to liberal cliches. Here is Hollywood's party line, circa 1999.

1) Business is bad, bad, bad. Corporations ruthlessly downsize, cheat customers, poison the environment ("A Civil Action") and corrupt the political process.

The romantic comedy "You've Got Mail" has a bookstore chain putting a charming, customer-friendly little book shop out of business. But isn't that just what corporate capitalism does, Hollywood rhetorically asks. Whenever a Bill Gates-type appears on screen, it's a cue for audiences to start hissing and booing.

2) They're after you. There are so many security agencies running around the country bumping people off to cover up their sinister plots that it must be hard for hit men to get a clear shot. Last year's "Enemy of the State" followed the paranoid tradition of "Conspiracy Theory," "JFK" and "The Pelican Brief" in a chain stretching back to "Three Days of the Condor."

3) Religion is the whatever of the masses. Faith doesn't have a prayer when filtered through Hollywood's skeptical lens. Western religion is depicted as anachronistic, inane and repressive -- the province of the weak-minded, the fanatical and the hypocritical. Last year, as a break from its relentless anti-Catholicism ("John Carpenter's Vampires," "The Saint"), Hollywood took a dull blade to Hasidic Jews in "A Price Above Rubies."

4) The American military is a conscienceless killing machine. In "The Siege," Bruce Willis plays a general who responds to domestic terrorism by imposing brutal martial law on New York City. Willis' character would cause Saddam Hussein to sleep with a night light . Even the kids' movie "Small Soldiers" was a nasty swipe at GIs and a perpetuation of the Vietnam myth (Americans went to Southeast Asia to slaughter a gentle Third World people).

5) Conservatives are evil -- ignorant, bigoted and greedy. Liberalism saves. It's SOP that any movie with a political theme will have a conservative villain (the White House chief of staff in "Dave," the antagonist in "The American President).

Like the latter, 1998's "Bulworth" was an extended liberal homily. In the title role, Warren Beatty exalts "the only 'ism' that's worth a thing, and that's socialism." Beatty must believe Cuba and North Korea are economic miracles. 6) Gay is good. Homosexual characters are invariably sympathetic, from the teacher Jennifer Anniston falls for in "The Object of My Affection" to the artist-neighbor in 1997's "As Good As It Gets." They are charming, witty (if a bit acerbic), wise and kind. In fact, what priests were to '40s films, gays are in movies today.

7) A woman without a laptop and a cell phone isn't a real woman. Anything he can do she can do better. Hollywood goes to absurd lengths to atone for June Allyson and June Cleaver, locating feminist role models (strong, self-reliant, sexually adventurous) in 16th century France ("Ever After"), Renaissance Italy ("Dangerous Beauty") and the Old West ("Bad Girls"), not to mention turning Demi Moore into Jackie Chan on steroids ("G.I. Jane").

8) Sex is swell. What religion was for Medieval man and science was for 19th century intellectuals, sex is for Hollywood in the '90s. Everything short of rape is heartily endorsed, including adultery ("Pleasantville," "Shakespeare in Love"), prostitution ("Dangerous Beauty") and incest ("Lolita," "The House of Yes"). Hollywood makes Planned Parenthood look like the Southern Baptist Convention.

Alec Baldwin and Barbra Streisand aren't party members -- even communists have standards. But what comes out of Hollywood today is as rigidly doctrinaire as the Stalinist agitprop in "Mission to Moscow." Popular culture has been infiltrated and subverted not by a foreign ideology, but by a home-grown dogma masquerading as entertainment.


3/15/99: All bow, the court is in session
3/11/99: In praise of negative campaigning
3/09/99: Day-care study defies common sense
3/04/99: Starship Clinton orbits Kosovo
3/01/99: Public will blot out Broaddrick's accusation
2/25/99: Slick Hillie for Senate would be fun
2/23/99: Fascism in the name of fighting fascism
2/16/99: Was anything learned from the impeachment trial?
2/12/99: Educating the democratic voters of tomorrow
2/10/99: First Amendment doesn't apply to pro-life cause
2/08/99: Dems' triumph over Constitution complete
2/03/99: Blood of victims will drown out breakfast prayers
2/01/99: Without a home the heart knows no rest
1/29/99: Poster boy for term-limits
1/27/99: The 'so-what' defense in the City of Saints
1/25/99: Whose choice?
1/21/99: Censure worse than nothing
1/18/99: Words can`t dignify a dishonored presidency
1/13/99: Conservatism "with a heart" is conservatism without a head
1/11/99: If he isn't removed, watch out for Bill!
1/07/99: We can learn a lot from Teddy
1/05/99: Monica and a call to modesty
12/30/98: Will Bubba get away with it again?
12/28/98: Zionist dream alive and well on West Bank
12/18/98: Impeach or abandon the Rule of Law
12/16/98: Clinton moves Middle East closer to war
12/14/98: Why we lost interest in the homeless
12/10/98: No place at table for conservatives
12/07/98: The day America lost its innocence
12/02/98: Pilgrims Pilloried in streets of Plymouth
11/30/98: Caribbean dogpatch not a good candidate for statehood
11/25/98: Will Vermont force gay marriage on the nation?
11/23/98: The ACLU wants your kids to get a love life
11/18/98: Why liberals hate tobacco and guns more than drugs and crime
11/16/98: "Pleasantville" a countercultural morality play
11/13/98: Ads are a tough sell for abortion
11/09/98: Why gutless Republicans lost
11/06/98: Historians against the Constitution
11/02/98: Loving response to a hateful conference
10/28/98: Professor Death will fit right in at Princeton
10/26/98: Plymouth caves to Pilgrim foes
10/21/98: On '98 election, keep a critical eye on polls
10/19/98: Clinton could yet be 'prosperity president'
10/16/98: Working families -- Dems love 'em (stuffed)
10/09/98: Majoring in 'weirdness'
10/07/98: Friends of Billy Clinton
9/29/98: Letter from ex-soldier highlights defense peril
9/28/98: Answering arguments against impeachment
9/18/98: The nation that doesn't exist
9/14/98: Bubba isn't the only one who should be ashamed
9/11/98: Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character
9/09/98: We're still just wild about Harry
9/07/98: Mexican banditry didn't end with Pancho Villa
9/02/98: Clinton forgives us!
8/31/98: Ashcroft's plain talking touches responsive chord
8/26/98: Public opinion be damned
8/24/98: Why liberals condone Clinton's lies
8/20/98: Time to move on -- to impeachment
8/12/98: With Bubba in the sexual privacy zone
8/10/98: The truth won't set Clinton free
8/06/98: Truth about Hiroshima is incontrovertible
8/04/98: Clinton not the first hollow president
7/30/98: "Small Soldiers" -- a fractured Vietnam allegory
7/27/98: Crime wave hits hometown
7/22/98: Love in an Internet fishbowl
7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/15/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
7/6/98: Fonda still resists reality
7/1/98: New York blesses domestic partnerships
6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
6/22/98: Big tobacco? What about big casinos?
6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
6/10/98: Planning Clinton's China itinery
6/8/98: Republicans' Custer offers advice
6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
6/2/98: Goldwater did conservatives more harm than good
5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
5/6/98: Conservative chasm: pragmatism vs. worship of marketplace
5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
4/29/98: Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
4/14/98: National sales tax --- looks better all the time
4/13/98: The U.N. sinister? Hey, where did that idea come from?
4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
3/30/98: Africa's leaders should apologize
3/25/98: GOP shouldn't look to media for advice
3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
1/19/98: Commission tackles America's fastest-growing addiction, gambling
1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy

©1999, Creators Syndicate