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Jewish World Review Nov. 19, 2001 /4 Kislev 5762

Don Feder

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Hollywood an unlikely ally in war on terrorism -- HOLLYWOOD is enlisting in the war on terrorism. Doesn't that make you feel better?

In a meeting with senior Bush advisor Karl Rove last week, studio executives pledged their support -- as long as nothing meaningful is involved. Given Hollywood's inveterate anti-Americanism, the announcement won't (you should pardon the expression) strike terror into the heart of Osama bin Laden.

The industry has graciously offered to produce public service announcements ("Don't open envelopes postmarked Baghdad") and provide first-run films to the troops. But "content was off the table," said Motion Picture Association of America mouthpiece Jack Valenti. Artistic considerations, so-called, will continue to govern what flows from the left coast to pollute screens nationwide.

It's difficult to imagine a more unlikely ally in the war for freedom's future. Moslem fanatics may rave about Hollywood decadence, but when it comes to tearing down America, movies make al-Qaida look like the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Back when Hollywood went to war on our side (1941-1945), its contribution was significant. Winston Churchill said 1942's "Mrs. Miniver" was "more powerful to the war effort than the combined work of six military divisions."

But Hollywood of the era was run by immigrants and first-generation Americans who loved their country -- men like Sam Goldwyn and Jack Warner. Their patriotism shone forth in such films as "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "Sergeant York."

Since the late 1960s, Hollywood has been in the grip of cynics, nihilists and revisionists, who are busy undermining the civilization that allows them to lead lifestyles of the rich and brainless.

Hollywood teaches the following lessons about the nation in which it is geographically (but not spiritually) situated:

  • America was built by greedy whites, who slaughtered, oppressed and exploited everyone else. The colonists were environmental rapists ("Pocahontas"). The West was won by brutes ("Dances With Wolves"). During the Cold War, we sided with death squads ("Salvador," "Missing," "Havana"). White racism is pervasive ("Mississippi Burning," "A Time to Kill," "American History X"). The U.S. military is run by Napoleon wannabes who get nostalgic over the My Lai massacre. With a few honorable exceptions, since the "Green Berets," every film about Vietnam has portrayed our soldiers as conscienceless, doped-up killers.

    Bruce Willis' chilling performance as a general who imposes martial law on New York City and locks up its entire male Moslem population (in "The Siege") is how Hollywood sees the military.

  • Intelligence agencies are even worse. (The army occasionally engages in disaster relief.) The CIA and FBI regularly perform human sacrifices and trample civil liberties to counter perceived threats to our national security, Hollywood tells us.

    The FBI is fully capable of keeping an innocent man in prison for three decades to protect national secrets ("The Rock"). More often than not, the antagonist is a fictional spy agency ("Conspiracy Theory") whose methods make Hamas seem humane.

    Hollywood never loses its fascination with rogue agencies. In "Swordfish," this year's John Travolta travesty, the bad guys were part of a covert operations squad that robbed banks and slaughtered hostages to finance their war on terrorism.

  • America is controlled by corrupt corporations and businessmen who rob stockholders ("Wall Street"), poison the environment ("Erin Brockovich," "A Civil Action") and spread cancer for profit ("The Insider").

  • Middle-class society is vacuous and soul-deadening ("American Beauty," "Fight Club"). The corporate culture is dehumanizing ("Office Space"). Small-town America is populated by conformists and hypocrites ("Pleasantville").

If Hollywood's view of America is correct, who in their right mind would want to defend it?

Naturally, the entertainment industry has a First Amendment right to spew lies, distort history, slander our defenders and promote paranoia. But let's not kid ourselves that they're on our side. If Hollywood really wants to contribute to the war effort, it will make nothing but teen sex comedies for the duration.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2001, Creators Syndicate