Thursday, December 02, 2004

He Ought to Know

Pat Sajak (yeah, the game show host) is aghast at Hollywood's silence over the slaying of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. I doubt Sajak knows more than the next guy about Islam or European society, but he does know Hollywood better than most of us, so when he puts forth a theory over why filmmakers here don't have a word to say about the slaughter of one of their own over there, it's worth a listen:

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?

Not nutty at all, I'd say. I'm not sure about "for anything he is against," but certainly willing to zip the lip rather than take a single step in the direction of legitimatizing the Shrubbie McChimpler weltanschauung. It would parallel the situation where I work, where I'm the only editor who ever puts the van Gogh story in the paper. If it wasn't for the odd days when I sit at the wire desk, this community would never know from its local media this murder ever happened.

My boss, however, did devote something like 60 inches of newshole earlier this week to the Red Cross criticism of Guantanamo, as reported by the "New York Times."