Since Monday was a holiday, the usual Factor segment was moved to today. Topic: Why are Hollywood figures like Tim Robbins, Brian DePalma and Mark Cuban such idiots on the war? Robbins goes on TV and spouts completely bogus, made-up numbers on Iraqi casualties and is seldom challenged. DePalma and Cuban have produced Redacted, a faux documentary about a real war crime committed by US troops that was prosecuted and doesn’t represent the norm of US military behavior at all. They went to great expense and effort to create “home movie” style footage of the crimes, which include rapes, and while they say that Redacted doesn’t try to represent the crimes as common behavior for US troops, we should all understand: DePalma and Cuban have enormous wealth and influence. They’re so rich that neither really needs to work for a living ever again in their lives. Sitting atop their piles of money and twiddling their thumbs about what to do with themselves next, they chose to smear American troops who are fighting and dying to defend DePalma’s and Cuban’s freedoms. It’s a disgusting act as far as I’m concerned, and it’s indefensible.
So that’s the basis of tonight’s segment. Both Bill and Michelle made some good points here and there; the third participant gave us not much more than a pro forma “Why is it worth a Factor segment to talk about Tim Robbins?”
That’s an easy one. Because, like it or not, we live in a celebrity culture, and when a celebrity smears the troops on shows like Politically Incorrect etc and isn’t challenged right there and then, hundreds of thousands or even millions of Americans see it and internalize what they hear. They may not believe all of it right away, but if they hear it often enough, unchallenged, pretty soon it becomes what they perceive as common knowledge even though it’s a fabrication. Celebrities like Robbins know that; it’s why they speak up on political issues that are far outside the dress-up world they live and work in. So it’s pretty simple: Call out people like Robbins, who are either not intelligent enough to do real research for themselves, or they’re too lazy to bother discerning the truth for themselves, or they’re just liars who know they’re spreading falsehoods but they’re doing so for some purpose of their own, for who and what they are. If Robbins et al are going to go out of their way to destroy the reputation of the US military based on craptastic stats and bogus numbers and lousy logic, their reputations should be put to the test as well. Smears should not be left unchallenged, or they take on the aura of truth. Those who smear others shouldn’t feel like freedom of speech is their defender and they shouldn’t feel like they have anywhere to hide. That defender, armed with truth, should be the smear artist’s worst enemy. So it shall be with the likes of Tim Robbins, for spreading what amounts to propaganda that’s very useful to our enemies and does great harm to us. He’s either a fool or he has chosen to speak for the other side, as Jane Fonda did during Vietnam. If it’s the latter, then he’s a traitor now as she was then. And still is.
Now, I’m going to do something unusual and disagree with everyone on this segment when they say that we should all see Redacted. I don’t need to see it, and I don’t want to see it if my doing so puts one thin dime in DePalma’s or Cuban’s pocket.
Those two and Hollywood moguls like them have too much money and power already. In part because they are so wealthy, far beyond the average human’s imagination of how rich it’s even possible to become, they’re completely out of touch with the reality of the war, with the way the world works beyond their gated communities, and with the lives and actions of everyday Americans and especially of our troops and their hopes and struggles. They are so wealthy that they no longer have to care if there’s a market for the product they’re turning out. They’re making anti-American agitprop as a hobby, a self-indulgence, and they think pursuing their traitorous pastime makes them brave. If they were really brave, they would have gone to Iraq themselves and pitched their movie idea to the troops over there, but neither had the guts to do that or anything close to it. Both will dislocate their shoulders patting themselves on the back, and it’ll all make for some nice anecdotes at future cocktail parties. They’re misusing their fame and their money to undermine a war that we have to win if we expect our civilization to survive for very long. Maybe they don’t care about that, but I do, and I’m not going to help them make a movie that is indistinguishable in content and purpose from a film that bin Laden himself would make if he had access to the toys, money and people that DePalma and Cuban have at their disposal.
What we need is a new generation of Hollywood figures who get it: who understand the war, the stakes being contested in that war and the likely outcomes if we let DePalma’s and Cuban’s anti-war porn have the last word. DePalma and Cuban represent Hollywood’s decadent, corrupt old guard. Hollywood needs a revolution, Cuban and DePalma and George Clooney and everyone else in Hollywood who uses American freedoms to make anti-American garbage like Redacted needs to be overthrown, and I don’t see how my going to see Redacted or anything else that they make helps serve that purpose.
The only way I’ll see that film is if it costs DePalma and Cuban money. And it had better cost them a lot, or it’s not worth wasting two hours of my life to see it.