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Wednesday, October 01, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 3/25/2003

War crime is greed, not ranting celebrities

That #$%*! Michael Moore. Now there's a guy who gives dissent a bad name.

Winning an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, he took to the stage and, instead of an acceptance speech, issued a rejection screed.

“We live in a time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man who's sending us to war for fictitious reasons, whether it's the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts,'' he said, and then he went for the proverbial big finish: “Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you.”

Sigh. Mikey, Mikey, Mikey.

You are living proof that progressives can be every bit as screechy and strident as hard-line conservatives.

While more than a few people might agree with your sentiments, how many of them wish you'd been more rational while making this point?

Others might further wish that the Michael Moores of this world would just stick to the point - anti-war expression - and omit asides that only dilute the issue. Alas, the election was then, Mr. Moore, but the war is now. Can we please stick with present tense?

Now, bear in mind that the filmmaker's remarks are part of a larger subject we've been debating for some time, namely: Shouldn't celebrities shut up and act or sing or dance, and spare us their political opinions?

Of course, this question usually arises in reference to the Barbra Streisands of America, and not Rush Limbaugh, a guy who's never tried to pretend he's anything but an entertainer.

Nevertheless, the last time I checked our entertainers were entitled to the same privileges as the rest of us, even if they're out of the country - which brings us to the Dixie Chicks.

Surely you know all about this flap by now.

One of the trio, while giving a concert in England, allowed as how she's ashamed that President Bush is from Texas (a remark which, personally, I put right up there with the failure of Michael Moore's rant to advance meaningful war discussion).

Much ruckus ensued, not the least of which was that this group's music was widely banned (see: McCarthyism) from the playlists of many country radio stations, in what appeared to simply be station response to fan ire.

But, as is so often the case, things may not be as simple as they seem.

An industry web site, allyourtv.com, apparently got its hand on an internal memo from a regional manager of a large chain of country-music stations.

This memo advised program directors that “your station can't be too patriotic. Wave the flag, convince advertisers to wave the flag, and never lose sight of your core audience. ... Remind listeners that you're there for the troops, for the President, and mention all the hot points in all [time slots]. ... We obviously are not hoping for war. ... But if someone is making money, it should be us.''

Personally, I'd rather listen to a celebrity's opinion - however misguided it may or may not be - any day of the week than be taken in by some corporation's attempt to siphon profit under the guise of fanning “patriotism.''



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