In his critique of the Oscars, actor/economist Ben Stein points out...
Whoa. Got my attention.
Indeed, those people serving in the military and other capacities are the real heroes, as well as their families. No comparison. But Stein also declares:
He's off here. Compared to other years, the themes of this year's Oscar movies took risks. True, the risks were nothing compared to those taken by the heroes mentioned above, but relative to Hollywood, those movies were about as risky as Hollywood gets. And the heroes fighting in the Middle East and elsewhere are fighting in part so that we, Hollywood, can take those modest risks and make movies about those controversial issues.
Imagine a movie about gay men being made in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia?
I think Stein's point here is partisan and, using his own word, "nonsense."
However, his point about remembering the heroes is well taken. We must never forget and always revere and respect those real heroes and their sacrifices. Would some of those in Hollywood disagree with that? Maybe. But even if some do, they are free in this country to feel that way...as the real heroes continue the fight to keep it that way.
Do read Missed Tributes by Ben Stein. It's thought-provoking...if not just provoking.
(If link is broken, read the cached version below.)
|How to Ruin Your Life|
|Yes, You Can Still Retire Comfortably!|
By Ben Stein
Published 3/6/2006 2:08:21 AM
Now for a few humble thoughts about the Oscars.
I did not see every second of it, but my wife did, and she joins me in noting that there was not one word of tribute, not one breath, to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan or to their families or their widows or orphans. There were pitifully dishonest calls for peace -- as if the people we are fighting were interested in any peace for us but the peace of the grave. But not one word for the hundreds of thousands who have served and are serving, not one prayer or moment of silence for the dead and maimed.
Basically, the sad truth is that Hollywood does not think of itself as part of America, and so, to Hollywood, the war to save freedom from Islamic terrorists is happening to someone else. It does not concern them except insofar as it offers occasion to mock or criticize George Bush. They live in dreamland and cannot be gracious enough to thank the men and women who pay with their lives for the stars' ability to live in dreamland. This is shameful.
The idea that it is brave to stand up for gays in Hollywood, to stand up against Joe McCarthy in Hollywood (fifty years after his death), to say that rich white people are bad, that oil companies are evil -- this is nonsense. All of these are mainstream ideas in Hollywood, always have been, always will be. For the people who made movies denouncing Big Oil, worshiping gays, mocking the rich to think of themselves as brave -- this is pathetic, childish narcissism.
The brave guy in Hollywood will be the one who says that this is a fabulously great country where we treat gays, blacks, and everyone else as equal. The courageous writer in Hollywood will be the one who says the oil companies do their best in a very hostile world to bring us energy cheaply and efficiently and with a minimum of corruption. The producer who really has guts will be the one who says that Wall Street, despite its flaws, has done the best job of democratizing wealth ever in the history of mankind.
No doubt the men and women who came to the Oscars in gowns that cost more than an Army Sergeant makes in a year, in limousines with champagne in the back seat, think they are working class heroes to attack America -- which has made it all possible for them. They are not. They would be heroes if they said that Moslem extremists are the worst threat to human decency since Hitler and Stalin. But someone might yell at them or even attack them with a knife if they said that, so they never will.
Hollywood is above all about self: self-congratulation, self-promotion, and above all, self-protection. This is human and basic, but let's not kid ourselves. There is no greatness there in the Kodak theater. The greatness is on patrol in Kirkuk. The greatness lies unable to sleep worrying about her man in Mosul. The greatness sleeps at Arlington National Cemetery and lies waiting for death in VA Hospitals. God help us that we have sunk so low as to confuse foolish and petty boasting with the real courage that keeps this nation and the many fools in it alive and flourishing on national TV.
Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He also writes "Ben Stein's Diary" in every issue of The American Spectator.