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No politics at the Oscars

"We, you know, bring up subjects."
 
 
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Watching the 78th Acadmey Awards, you'd never know there was a war going on. You wouldn't know that our President has admitted to an impeachable offence, illegaly spying on citizens, or that Patriot Act 2 was just confirmed, making McCarthyism seem more like the not-so-distant future ithan the past. In a fairly common combination of self-congratulation and cowardice, last night's Oscar movie award extravaganza failed to say anything at all. A good example is the speech given by Rachel Weisz, who thanked those people who, unlike her, had the courage to risk their lives for their convictions. Of course, at this Oscars, there weren't even people willing to say they're convictions, must less risk their lives for them.

And what else should we expect, really? This is, after all, the big awards of Hollywood not the ACLU. But perhaps we expect more because Hollywood likes say it does more. As George Clooney said in his acceptance speech last night, "We're the ones who talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects.”

Is Hollywood feeling the free speech chill that comes from living in a time when this administration calls any dissent traitorous, even when it comes from traditional war-supporters like John Murtha? Or do these folks really just not have that much to say?

Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.