Eleven Reasons to Give Actors a Break
What's up with these talk radio hosts and TV pundits getting all hot and bothered over the various Hollywood celebs who have spoken out against a U.S. invasion of Iraq?
I wonder how many of these Hollywood bashers voted for the thespian-turned-politician Ronald Reagan. Should we not pay attention to the "Great Communicator?"
A friend recently sent me a top 11 list of why blacklisting Hollywood war opponents is ridiculous.
11) Two weeks of basic training before filming "Saving Private Ryan" is more military experience than Condoleeza Rice, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney (five deferments), Tom Delay and Dennis Hastert combined
10) Donald Rumsfeld went to Iraq while Saddam Hussein used our chemical weapons on Iranian soldiers (and civilians along the border) and secured the additional shipments to the Iraqi dictator. Sean Penn visited Iraq, but has only used chemicals on himself.
9) Martin Sheen has been arrested 70 times in his pursuit of peace and social justice. George W. Bush's three documented arrests: drunk driving, stealing a Christmas wreath and football hooliganism.
8) MSNBC (General Electric and Microsoft) canceled Phil Donahue, its highest-rated show, because it offered alternative views.
7) With all of the TV networks recruiting military consultants, why haven't we seen much of Gulf War #1's triumphant Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf? Blacklisted?
6) The Pope, a man of some celebrity and moral authority (and an actor in his youth), is against the war.
5) Brit Hume, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are celebrities, not elected officials or diplomats (incidentally, all avoided service in Vietnam) who make their livelihood shilling for war. Janeane Garofalo, Matt Damon, et al., risk their livelihoods by opposing it.
4) There is no such thing as apolitical art.
3) "Apocalypse Now" took five years to complete and Martin Sheen saw it all the way through--disease, monsoons and all. George W. Bush skipped the last 17 months of his National Guard service in Texas.
2) Are awards shows asking pro-war celebrities to keep their remarks "neutral"?
1) It's their First Amendment right!
Now if I, or any other "left-wing" commentator, writes or says something critical of U.S. foreign policy, we are branded by many as "un-patriotic terrorist sympathizers" who don't "support our troops."
These kind of ad hominem attacks, while entertaining to some, focus too much on personalities and not enough on ideas and whether or not what is being said is the truth; to say nothing of the utterly illogical claim that to be critical of policy-makers is the same thing as dissin' soldiers.
But I say, fine. If the anti-war crowd is "aiding and abetting terrorists," is the pro-invasion cabal going to attack the Pope for his outspoken views against war in Iraq?
And I wonder what the attack-Iraq patriot police would say to the 1,000 combat veterans who sent a letter to President Bush questioning his rush to war.
You would think the "liberal" media would be all over this. But then again, it's hard to attack these soldiers' lack of patriotism without making yourself look like an amateur actor with less sense than the real actors speaking out against an invasion of Iraq.
Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and a syndicated columnist. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.