Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

No Hollywood Outcry Over Theo van Gogh?

Today's must-read is by Bridget Johnson on Hollywood's silence over the murder of Theo van Gogh.

One would think that in the name of artistic freedom, the creative community would take a stand against filmmakers being sent into hiding à la Salman Rushdie, or left bleeding in the street. Yet we've heard nary a peep from Hollywood about the van Gogh slaying. Indeed Hollywood has long walked on eggshells regarding the topic of Islamic fundamentalism.

"It's an easy target," [a struggling liberal screenwriter] said of Arab terrorism, repeating this like a parrot, then adding, "It's a cheap shot." How many American moviegoers would think that scripting Arab terrorists as the enemy in a fiction film is a "cheap shot"? In fact, it's realism; it's what touches lives world-wide.

But since when has Hollywood ever resisted the "easy target," the "cheap shot?" They've played their stereotypical bad-guys 'till they're worn out, and beyond: military commanders, greedy white rich guys, the establishment in it's varied forms.

Am I biased here? Here's an exercise I'd like to do when I have more time (not soon): go down the NetFlix Top 100 List and, for each movie you've seen, describe the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s)--the good guys & bad guys. See any trends?

Here's another movie-related exercise I'd eventually like to do: go through every movie that involves the main character dealing with the loss of a loved one (real or perceived--i.e., he thinks (s)he's dead, whether or not she is). How does he deal with it? My prediction: in the vast majority of cases (that I recall from the movies I've seen), getting really, really drunk. Is that representative?


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