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Jewish World Review Sept. 29, 2000/ 29 Elul, 5760

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports

For Gore and Hollywood, the mirror has two faces --
WHEN AL GORE was asked to name his favorite book, he might have considered George Bernard Shaw's "Arms and the Man," in which Sergius speaks prophetically of what should constitute Gore's nightmares these days:

"Everything I think is mocked by everything I do."

As self-mockery goes, Gore's assault on Hollywood by day and his love-fests with same by night constitute a rare hypocrisy. One day, he threatens legislation to restrict advertising R-rated movies to minors; the next he's hobnobbing with the very targets of his freshly co-opted moral outrage, while fast-forwarding their million-dollar deposits to his campaign coffers.

One recent fund-raising concert at Radio City Music Hall, organized by entertainment execs, pulled down $6.5 million for the Gore campaign. Another splash, hosted last week in Los Angeles by Warner Brothers, produced $4.2 million for the Democrats.

Such under-the-table foot-play reminds me of workplace lovers who feign animosity during office hours, then rip off each other's clothes when the last secretary unplugs the coffee pot. To the average restless citizen, such drift has a certain romantically illicit allure. But for politicians posturing for the highest office of public trust, it's not quite kosher, as at least half the Democratic ticket ought to know.

In the immediate wake of all these conflicting signals, Hollywood executives appearing Sept. 27 before a Commerce Committee hearing to discuss findings of a recent Federal Trade Commission report that documents movie and video marketing strategies aimed at young children. Routinely, for example, ads for R-rated movies are aimed at those too young to see them.

Gore and his running mate Joe Lieberman have threatened to draft legislation to restrict advertising if the violence-peddlers don't impose voluntary restrictions within six months.

Where were these guys when I was fighting with my child over which movies he could and couldn't see?

Personally? I'd love to get rid of all advertising directed at children, starting with food. In a nation where 11 percent of children are obese and one in four are overweight, shouldn't we be equally outraged at the promotion of fat- and sugar-laden foods to innocent whelps?

A few years ago, I was ready to wash the feet of grocery store managers who created candy-free check-out lanes for parents of small children. I'd do the same if fast-food franchises would ditch the little action figures that correspond to adult-themed movies. Ronald McDonald, clown that he is, was handing out Batman figures to my kid when he was too young to see the PG-13 movies.

Trying to raise sweet, well-adjusted, caring children in a culture of flying body parts is, in a word, hell. So, Gore and Lieberman's moral outrage, even if borrowed, isn't misplaced. But it is , disingenuous. They apparently misunderstand the mandate to "put your money where your mouth is."

Meanwhile, everybody - including wiseacre kids who have sufficient reason to distrust adults -- see that the emperor is naked. Ironically, Hollywood - fists nevertheless clutching K-notes marked for Democrats -- has been loudest in noting the nakedly obvious. Commenting on the Gore-Lieberman pectoral display, director/screenwriter Rod Lurie said, "It's pure political pandering that's going to disappear right after the election."

Which is to say, in the absence of community standards of decency, the responsibility of raising children falls to parents. We could do worse, and we may yet.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


09/26/00: Oprahfication of presidential political: It's all about feelings
09/19/00: It's not subliminal: Hypocrisy of moral outrage is obvious
09/15/00: So wear, oh wear, are we headed?
09/11/00: Do Steinem's wedding bells sound feminist death knells?
09/08/00: Grounded in her fears about flying
08/31/00: Dudettes that don't
08/29/00: AlGore wants to be his own man -- does he know who that is?
08/21/00: Dems manufacture emotions at convention
08/17/00: Hollywood divine? AlGore is miscast
08/08/00:Outreach: Good strategy and long-run policy
08/04/00: A sharp look back at the Vietnam War
08/01/00: Bush's choice of grown-up Cheney is a stroke of genius
07/24/00: Fired up and grossed out over stupid Canadians
07/20/00: Lack of judgment --- our critical flaw
07/18/00: 'Progress' for women often a step back
07/11/00: School essay watchdogs cannibalize our children
07/06/00: Youths fear marriage --- blame boomers
06/28/00: Eminem might just have a point
06/21/00: Bridging the day-care divide
06/15/00: N.Y. baby case ends up with multiracial scrambled eggs
05/31/00: The war only time wins
05/25/00: The opposite of sex
05/18/00: World War II gave us our true heroes
05/11/00: Boy Crazy! stacks deck against guys
05/09/00: Finding out where the boys are
05/05/00: A born Ms. Leader -- Barbie for prez
04/25/00: From here to paternity
04/14/00: Boys should be boys, not viewed as criminals in training
04/11/00: Oh, for a standard of what is socially, morally acceptable
04/06/00: Womyn's Contempt for Commitment --- and the bastards it creates
04/04/00: Sue-happy American society is out of control
03/30/00: Duct-taped baby serves as warning
03/28/00: Stay-home parents know that their kids need them
03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
03/14/00: Colonoscopy: Important, but bad TV
03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
01/13/00: Fools in love: Premarital counseling could help school kids
01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

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