Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Applauding Only the Right Entertainers

by WALTER BRASCH

They call themselves Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood, or PABAAH for short. If it was anything but an acronym, PABAAH would be on the Homeland Security “no-fly” list.

They believe Sean Penn and Janeane Garofalo are traitors. They want John Ashcroft, defender of some of the Bill of Rights, to charge Michael Moore with treason.

They want Americans to boycott movies that feature actors who oppose the Bush administration. They are currently telling people to boycott “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” because Gwyneth Paltrow said she worries about “a weird, over-patriotic atmosphere” in the United States. Apparently, it’s patriotic for people to put two weather-beaten flags on their 15-year-old junkers, push a cell phone to their ear, and weave in and out of traffic to prove how American they are. It’s also patriotic to put portable acrylic signs with removable letters in front of their stores so those motorists can be reinforced with the All­American doctrines of “God Bless America, United We Stand, and french fries $1.49.” And it’s definitely patriotic to attack people who disagree with the Bush administration.

Unfortunately, PABAAH isn’t isolated. Drug addict Rush Limbaugh calls anyone in the creative community who disagrees with the president “Left Coast Hollywood Kooks.” Right wing mouth Joe Scarborough, who believes there really is a geographical place in the world called “Scarborough Country,” declared Danny Glover was “un-American” for speaking against Bushian policies. To make America whole again, Scarborough posted the phone number for MCI and told his MSNBC viewers to call the telephone giant to dump Glover as a spokesperson. Thousands did just as they were told.

In campaign rallies, George W. Bush castigates those misguided liberals who he claims believe the “heart and soul of America can be found in Hollywood.” To large raucous pre-selected Bush-friendly audiences which roundly boo the “Hollyweirds,” the campaigning President then jerks and cleanly changes their direction to turn them into a cheering throng of super-patriots when he declares, “the heart and soul of America is right here in -.” Just fill in the blank with whatever community the campaign has descended upon.

Before every campaign stop, the President rehearses his lines, sits for several minutes of makeup, hair dressing, and primping, and from a stage backed by professionally-crafted scenery reads his speech from a teleprompter. The irony is lost upon the sycophants who pledge loyalty to be admitted into his presence. Also lost is the irony that for nine years Bush was on the board of directors of Silver Screen Management, a film production company that once had a lucrative distribution deal with Walt Disney, which recently dumped “Fahrenheit 911,” the Michael Moore film critical of-who else?-George W. Bush.

The President and the nation’s Chief Henchman, also known as the Vice President, don’t even have to name the Hollywood celebrities. All Americans know they’re the Dixie Chicks, who told the world they were ashamed of Junior Bush and were soon southern fried in the media. They know the “traitorous” Ed Asner, Kevin Bacon, Alex Baldwin, Cher, Matt Damon, Mike Farrell, Paul Newman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen, Aaron Sorkin, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, and thousands of others. The President’s supporters whine about how the celebrities are donating millions to his opposition, as if the millions of dollars shoved upon the President by the NRA, oil and drug industries, the rest of corporate America-and the “right” leaning part of the entertainment industry-is somehow pure.

While the Republicans loathe the Hollywood crowd, they are quick to use them. No Republican screamed in agony when moderate Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told a prime-time TV audience during the Republican National Convention that he was there to help terminate the “girlie-man” Democratic opposition. They have no hesitation in trotting out multi-Grammy winner Travis Tritt who majestically declared, “to be a good American . . . you have to get behind President Bush.” The Bush­Cheney campaign machine doesn’t reject the endorsements of Jessica Simpson, Bo Derek, and Britney Spears, which it probably believes are great political intellects. And, it certainly doesn’t reject the support of Drew Carey, Dixie Carter, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin, Kelsey Grammer, Ricky Schroeder, James Woods, the entire NASCAR starting lineup, and Shirley Jones who, like Tritt, said she found it “astonishing to see how many of these Hollywood big-wigs are trying to undermine President Bush.”

Those “liberal” Hollywood types have even scammed the voters to be elected to Congress. In addition to former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.), the nation has been represented by tap-dancing Sen. George Murphy (R-Calif.), film almost-star Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), Harvard-educated but forever “gopher” Rep. Fred Grandy (R-Iowa), and Rep. Sonny Bono (R-Calif.), who appeared several times on “Love Boat,” and whose fourth wife, Mary, followed him into the Congress where she is even more conservative than he ever was.

The neocon Republicans believe they are the party of righteousness and morality. Perhaps they should be following the actions of one of their own. Long before he became a two-term Republican governor and then a two-term president, Ronald Reagan was a staunch Democrat and president of the Screen Actors Guild. At a time when super-patriots were washing the epithets of “Commie” and “pinko” on everyone who had an opinion different from their own, Ronald Reagan initially stood with his membership of actors, declared he wasn’t about to name names during the witch hunts of the early 1950s. Unfortunately, like many, he soon switched his beliefs, and surrendered to the immorality of fascists disguised as Congress and American business.

Our nation and the wishes of our Founding Fathers would be better served if more Americans would stand up to the flag-waving Constitutionally-dense congressional leaders, and to the President and his minions who believe dissent is disloyal, and patriotism is unyielding, unquestioning, uncompromising acceptance.

WALTER BRASCH’s latest book is Sex and the Single Beer Can (Feb. 2004), a witty and probing look at the nation’s media and entertainment industries. You may contact him through www.walterbrasch.com or at brasch@bloomu.edu.

 

 

Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an analysis of the history, economics, and politics of fracking, as well as its environmental and health effects.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]