Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ben Stein gets it right

Ben Stein comments on boorishness on display at the Oscars last weekend:
The American Spectator: "
The idea that it is brave to stand up for gays in Hollywood, to stand up against Joe McCarthy in Hollywood (fifty years after his death), to say that rich white people are bad, that oil companies are evil -- this is nonsense. All of these are mainstream ideas in Hollywood, always have been, always will be. For the people who made movies denouncing Big Oil, worshiping gays, mocking the rich to think of themselves as brave -- this is pathetic, childish narcissism.

The brave guy in Hollywood will be the one who says that this is a fabulously great country where we treat gays, blacks, and everyone else as equal. The courageous writer in Hollywood will be the one who says the oil companies do their best in a very hostile world to bring us energy cheaply and efficiently and with a minimum of corruption. The producer who really has guts will be the one who says that Wall Street, despite its flaws, has done the best job of democratizing wealth ever in the history of mankind.

No doubt the men and women who came to the Oscars in gowns that cost more than an Army Sergeant makes in a year, in limousines with champagne in the back seat, think they are working class heroes to attack America -- which has made it all possible for them. They are not. They would be heroes if they said that Moslem extremists are the worst threat to human decency since Hitler and Stalin. But someone might yell at them or even attack them with a knife if they said that, so they never will.

Hollywood is above all about self: self-congratulation, self-promotion, and above all, self-protection. This is human and basic, but let's not kid ourselves. There is no greatness there in the Kodak theater. The greatness is on patrol in Kirkuk. The greatness lies unable to sleep worrying about her man in Mosul. The greatness sleeps at Arlington National Cemetery and lies waiting for death in VA Hospitals. God help us that we have sunk so low as to confuse foolish and petty boastin"
I couldn't agree more. Self congratulation is running rampant in Hollywood these days. The bigshots love heaping praise on big shots like Ang Lee, Heath Ledger, or George Clooney. And they have to because the American people sure aren't praising their ultra-liberal movies with ticket sales. And calling Clooney, or Lee brave for making movies that attack traditional American values(family, capitalism etc) is a bit like hitting someone with a 2x4 and then having people praise you for how well you defend yourself.

You want bravery coming from Hollywood? Try these guys: Liberty Film Festival. Talk about bucking the status quo. Check them out.