Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The angry left: Moore passes the baton to Turner 

So Michael Moore missed out on Oscar nominations. We should prepare for the howls of outrage from the far left about how the Hollywood sold out to the Bushies and about the "chilling effect" and the "climate of fear" enveloping LA (or it might just be the smog).

"The Passion of Christ" also missed out on the best picture nomination (but picked up three technical ones). Curiously, both "Fahrenheit" and "Passion" were the winners of the recent People's Choice awards. People's yes, the elite's no.

Is Hollywood playing it safe, then? Instead of focusing on the Left's dead-in-the-water God That Failed (To Change The Election Result) and the Son of God who was dead but was resurrected, the Academy instead nominated for the best picture the story of a dead Hollywood legend ("The Aviator"), a dead music star ("Ray"), a dead children's writer ("Finding Neverland"), a (half-)dead boxing trainer ("Million Dollar Baby"), and a dead (at the box office) road movie ("Sideways").

Both the "Fahrenheit" and "Passion" controversies might have been good and profitable for Moore and Gibson respectively, but the entertainment industry has suffered a lot of collateral damage in the process. Hollywood's desire to MoveOn (this time for real) and depoliticize is understandable, if only because who wants to continue to be reminded of the two most spectacular failures in recent movie industry history: the failure of a crusading movie to deliver at the ballot box, and the failure of the movie establishment to get onboard and profit from what had turned out to be one of the highest grossing movies of all time. That di Caprio boy looks really good, doesn't he?

With Moore staying mum, it now fell to the old favorite Ted Turner to carry the Angry Left flag. Drudge reports that Turner charmed the standing room-only opening session of the National Association for Television Programming Executives convention:
"Ted Turner called FOX an arm of the Bush administration and compared FOXNEWS's popularity to Hitler's popular election to run Germany before WWII...

"While FOX may be the largest news network [and has overtaken Turner's CNN], it's not the best, Turner said.

"He followed up by pointing out that Adolf Hitler got the most votes when he was elected to run Germany prior to WWII. He said the network is the propaganda tool for the Bush Administration."
Thank God those Nazis are so versatile. You want to accuse somebody of dictatorial tendencies? Call them Nazis. Somebody you don't like has won an election? Call them Nazis, too. After all, as well all know, the Nazis had (effectively) won the 1933 democratic election in Germany. Hitler, of course, used his election result to then abolish the parliament and democracy and institute a one-party, totalitarian rule, but let's forget about that; we wouldn't want too much accuracy and too many facts to interfere with a versatile and inexhaustible analogy that otherwise works so well.

Update: Blogger Roger L Simon emails: "Arthur, you are generally terrific, but as an actual member of the Academy, I think you are missing the point here. The Passion and Fahrneheit are not good movies and movie makers know that, even better than outsiders. The Passion was popular with true believers. For anyone else, it was just a lot of of S & M. Fahrenheit is the work of a blowhard. Bad art all around. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, as they say."


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