I recently complained in a film critique that Hollywood has a penchant for portraying American soldiers as “sadists, nincompoops, or psychopaths.” Countless numbers of people sharing the same concern have been shouting into the wind for years.
However, there’s good news. On June 13, 2011, Michael Cieply from The New York Times reported that First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Los Angeles to meet with representatives of various Hollywood guilds (Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America, etc.) and military service members. Mrs. Obama is asking the entertainment industry for “more positive attention for military service members and their families….”
Cieply then went on to list four films released recently by major Hollywood studios that are less than complimentary of the military: “Super 8,” “X-Men: First Class,” “Thor,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” (Read NYT article here: “Michelle Obama Pushes for Better Treatment of Military in Hollywood.”)
John Nolte, editor in chief of the iconoclastic and popular Big Hollywood blog, recently weighed in regarding Mrs. Obama’s outreach to Hollywood insiders. “I’m fully aware that anyone can look at this news cynically, and even do so with good reason. But it’s always something of a good thing when you have a leftist First Lady, leftist guilds, and a leftist news outlet admitting there’s a problem and documenting it. The panel [that met with Mrs. Obama] was moderated by J.J. Abrams, the director of the anti-military ‘Super 8’, so make of that what you will.” (Read Big Hollywood article here, posted July 13, 2011.)
C.E. Chambers here: I’m going to use this topic as a segue to Joseph Lindsey’s thought-provoking article: “Will Hollywood’s ‘Artists United to Win Without War’ Unite Over Obama’s War of Choice in Libya?” (Big Hollywood, March 23, 2011). He called attention to the people in the entertainment industry who had formed an organization in 2002 to protest the U.S. military’s involvement in Iraq under the leadership of a Republican president [and compared it] with the deafening silence in their ranks over our recent presence in Libya under a Democrat president. I have shortened Lindsey’s article a little by editing out movie stars’ and other names that can be read by clicking on the link in the third paragraph:
“Hollywood loves war, it is their glory. War lines the pockets of Hollywood liberals while giving them a forum to moralize their position at the cost of box office totals. And war is what most Hollywood lefties turn to when they dream of marching the streets with blood made of sugar-water and red-dye number three on their phony hands.
“In 2002 a group of Hollywood stars met to discuss ways to protest the war in Iraq. The meeting took place in a private swanky home, only an hour or so after President Bush took to the airwaves to announce the commencement of the military conflict.
“The group called themselves Artists United to Win Without War [see a list of names in Lindsey’s article here]….(This group has grown to over 140 members.) It was announced at the event that the Barbra Streisand Foundation was donating $5,000 to keep the group going….
“It is in the very heart of Hollywood, as misguided and self-serving as it is, to march in the streets, to make movies about their positions, and to yell like banshees: “War is not the answer!” The problem with Hollywood celebrities shouting anti-war babble is their inability to ask the question, “Without war, where would Hollywood be?”
“Make no mistake, Libya is a war. It is the same war as the one fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. When you break something, bomb something, or kill someone it is war — and you own it. Libya is the next phase of the same war. This triptych wars first brush stroke came in 2002 at the hands of President Bush because he knew something the left could not grasp: people everywhere want to be free of oppression first and foremost. That spirit of wanting to be free has now spread like a holy fire throughout the Middle East and into the lap of Hollywood liberals who now sit in silence.
“Hollywood’s ruling class of totalitarian liberals cannot choose which war they protest simply because the soft-bigotry-of-low-expectations has put their man in office and the world has now placed him behind the gun. If Hollywood groups like Artists United to Win Without War want to be taken seriously and respected for their anti-war positions they must be consistent. They cannot say this war in Libya is humanitarian. After all, Kurds were being slaughtered in Iraq and women had been treated like animals for hundreds of years in Afghanistan. Hollywood cannot choose what war kills people and what war saves people. Because all war does that, that is its purpose.
“Without war Hollywood has no stories to tell, no actors to play pretend hero, and no special effects to blow up balsa-wood worlds. Without war Hollywood liberals have nothing left to fight, and when liberals have nothing left to fight, they have a hard time finding something to live for. Peace is the mirror that walks in front of them that they dread so much. They need war to say, ‘We are better than that which we do not understand.’
“Today, the only group of anti-war Hollywood liberals meeting to discuss the war in Libya are those looking for an angle on how to produce pro-war movies in the name of Commander and Chief Barack Obama. When war breaks out and Democrats are in the White House, Hollywood liberals become warmongers by remaining silent to a cause they acted so passionate about when Bush was in office.” (Read the full article by Joseph Lindsey here.)
(Written by C.E. Chambers, excluding excerpts from New York Times and Big Hollywood articles, and published online July 26, 2011. It was edited slightly on July 31.)