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...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hollywood Hypocrites

Do you hear that?

Listen closely -- it's the sound of the Hollywood establishment's jubilant reaction to the killer of Theo van Gogh, documentary filmmaker, being sentenced to life imprisonment.

The only problem with this, is that there hasn't been any reaction.

Not then, not now.

Not immediately after the killing. Not during the days following it. Not during the trial, or Tuesday after the verdict.

Not even during the small Oscars ceremony tribute remembering all of the international film community who passed away the year before.


Van Gogh, whose great-great uncle's paintings would spark a Cabbage Patch auction house free-for-all between Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg, was killed last 2 November by an extremist punk, sending shock waves of dismay and disgust throughout all of Europe's most liberal country.

Here's a parallel example for you.

Imagine Claude Renoir, grandson of the famed painter, and nephew of one of my favourite directors, Jean Renoir, -- whose psychedelic cinematography in Barbarella allowed Jane Fonda's career to take off --, had been killed by a person later revealed to be a right-wing nutjob.

Motive? Retaliation for Renoir's perceived anti-American views, which he attached on paper to the corpse with a knife, after slitting the throat.

What do you think would be the reaction of the most outspoken Hollywood stars?

How do you think this news would be received by, say, Susan Sarandon, fellow documentarist Michael Moore, Sean "Full Page Ad in the New York Times" Penn, even the self-same Jane Fonda? How about Tim Robbins, who wrote a sneering play about journalists serving alongside the US Military in Iraq, called "Embedded"?

My dears, we would never hear the last of it.

Not with that well-oiled media structure, poised to kick into high-gear whenever Hollywood beckons them with that 'come-hither-or-we'll-blackball-you' look.

There would be wall-to-wall coverage on E! Television, Extra, 60 Minutes, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, the Daily Show, and Dominick Dunne would fly in for the trial and never miss a single day of testimony.

-- Afterwards, he would regale us with insider gossip about who wore what, and sat next to whom, in a dazzlingly bitchy Vanity Fair article, just so he can rub it in our faces that he cheek-kissed Catherine Deneuve three times, à la Parisienne. --

Because that's what happens whenever any cause celebre, dear to the heart of the Hollywood political apparatchiki, reaches their ears.

They rail against America, they excoriate any point of view not in line with their own, they use the media as their favourite bully pulpit -- cynically positioning themselves as "open", "caring" and "involved" in world affairs.

How false and odious that is.

In fact, to my bemused surprise, I found that there was one lone published Hollywood "power player" who protested the Van Gogh murder back in November 2004.

I did a double take when I read his name:

Pat Sajak.

"What! Pat Sajak, you say?! Like of Vanna White fame??".

Erm, yes, him.

(The British equivalent would be Bamber Gascoigne or Anne Robinson getting their hackles up about this matter, and frankly, a sedate Anne Robinson is already quite a scary thought)

His words in an essay about this fanatical murder describes the frustration regarding duplicitousness I, and countless others, feel about Hollywood's continued EN MASSE non-reaction -- whenever it suits them.

There’s another possibility; one that seems crazy on the surface, but does provide an explanation for the silence, and is also in keeping with the political climate in Hollywood. Is it just possible that there are those who are reluctant to criticize an act of terror because that might somehow align them with President Bush, who stubbornly clings to the notion that these are evil people who need to be defeated? Could the level of hatred for this President be so great that some people are against anything he is for, and for anything he is against?

As nutty as it sounds, how else can you explain such a muted reaction to an act that so directly impacts creative people everywhere? Can you conceive of a filmmaker being assassinated because of any other subject matter without seeing a resulting explosion of reaction from his fellow artists in America and around the world?

No. I can't.

Suggested Followup Reading

AWOL Artistes
Van Gogh Killer Sentenced -- Updated
Theo Van Gogh Entry -- Wikipedia


  • I liked it! Keep posting.. =)


    By Blogger PimpPia, at Wed Jul 27, 02:24:00 am GMT-4  

  • Only if you promise to Pimp my Blog!

    Bah, I'll do it anyway. I'm such a softie.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Jul 27, 02:59:00 am GMT-4  

  • like some dutch guy is important enough to catch the attention of the hollywood...that's like asking benny to have an opinion on chris armas vs. kerry zavagnin.

    By Blogger Jim, at Wed Jul 27, 11:15:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Ohhhh, no you don't, Mr. Jim. Despite what I know is your light-hearted reply, I knew someone would bring that point up.

    Shall I bother to tell you of the all international filmmakers mourned by Hollywood when they pass? Even the really minor ones only Jane Fonda would know from Roger Vadim?

    They even gave Pier Paolo Pasolini an honourary lifetime achievement award, after he was killed by a gay guy in a seaside resort near Rome.

    Of course, he was the most Italian Communist filmmaker next to Visconti out there.

    And when that Albanian director passed away recently, they almost went aploplectic on the Sundance Channel.

    No, sir. Hollywood has recognised plenty of "some X guys" when they pass away.

    The only thing is, they have to agree with their politics/world view.

    If not, they get bupkus and like it.

    Nice Benny reference though. My first on the blog. Yay.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Jul 28, 05:51:00 am GMT-4  

  • Psst.

    When I made the point of saying "Hollywood community" I really meant most of the cinematographic world.

    Over at Blogdecine who are blogrolled by me here, I asked them why they didn't utter a peep about this situation on Tuesday.

    They replied, "we have been talking about it before, and we can't comment on every damn thing you know".

    I agreed, but asked them if they would be so silent, were it to have been Michael Moore.

    They didn't touch the question in their reply.

    I went to Daily Kos to post this on those "Open Thread"s, and was thwarted in my posting only by the fact that one had to register to post there.

    I may have registered for Howard Dean's Blog for America once upon an election, but I'll be damned if my name will appear as a possible Kossite.

    Fortunately, Roger Simon and Instapundit blogged about the topic.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Jul 28, 06:00:00 am GMT-4  

  • I look forward to your blogging about every obscure med student/spurs fan/miami beach resident/brit that happens to get killed from now on...especially the ones that disagree with your worldview.

    By Blogger Jim, at Thu Jul 28, 11:39:00 am GMT-4  

  • You got a deal, buster! ;)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Jul 28, 11:21:00 pm GMT-4  

  • cool. blogging about clotted cream is also acceptable.

    By Blogger Jim, at Thu Jul 28, 11:52:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Its our constitutiona right to have freedom on our computers

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 11:33:00 am GMT-5  

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