Celebrity Silence on Syria
In the era of "warmonger" Republicans in the White House, the Toronto International Film Festival would have been fertile ground for bold, outspoken "dissent" from actors against war in the Middle East. Now with Obama on the brink of missile attacks in Syria, you would expect the same agitation, but this time coupled with a dash of betrayal.
Instead, the Hollywood Reporter found nothing there but an icy pile of "no comments" from more than a dozen celebs, including Susan Sarandon, Josh Brolin, Penn Jillette and Tim Robbins.
For divorced Sarandon and Robbins, left-wing rabble-rousing against the Pentagon was too reminiscent of "The Way We Were." It's the Obama era; the government now can do no wrong.
Meryl Streep skipped the Toronto swirl, so what might she have said? Push the replay button on her remarks about Bush and Iraq at a 2004 Kerry-Edwards fundraiser: "I wondered to myself during 'Shock and Awe,' I wondered which of the megaton bombs Jesus, our president's personal savior, would have personally dropped on the sleeping families of Baghdad?"
Not in your wildest dreams would this lady say that about this president. Since Obama's version of Christianity came from a preacher who thought we deserved 9/11 and yelled "God damn America," he's spared this kind of movie-star character assassination.
Ed Asner didn't mince words when he told the Hollywood Reporter that celebrities won't be mobilizing against any Obama wars: "A lot of people don't want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama." People in Tinseltown watch a little too much MSNBC.
Asner sounded very cynical. "It will be a done deal before Hollywood is mobilized. This country will either bomb the hell out of Syria or not before Hollywood gets off its ass." He doesn't even think clogging the town square in protest accomplishes anything any more: "We had a million people in the streets, for Christ's sake, protesting Iraq, which was about as illegal as you could find. Did it matter? Is George Bush being tried in the high courts of justice?"
The Left used to want the president and his national-security minions frog-marched to court and tried as war criminals. But with the Hope and Change President running the wars, even the "idealistic" folks in Hollywood are running for the tall grass.
Where is Sean Penn? Crickets. Where is the Sean Penn movie where he stars as the idealistic lefty like Joe Wilson who exposes the corruption of a war-mongering president? Silence.
The Valerie Plame Wilson scandal even caused "socially conscious" comedian Al Franken to joke to David Letterman in 2005 that as a result, "(Scooter) Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed" and then joke that the country was close to executing a sitting president. Now the Minneapolis press reports, "Al Franken is way more hawkish on Syria than Michele Bachmann."
Some are still pretending Obama is the state senator opposing the "dumb wars". Barbra Streisand tried to support both Obama and "peace" by reprinting leftist Katrina Vanden Heuvel on her website: "President Obama has sensibly pushed to bring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to an end." Earth to Barbra and friend: Obama expanded the war in Afghanistan, and 73 percent of the American deaths there have occurred during his presidency.
But the desperation continued: Obama "has resisted those who wanted earlier intervention in the Syrian civil war. And now he may just need the American people and Congress to keep him from getting more deeply involved in a war that he knows will only further weaken the nation and hurt our interests and our values."
In other words, Obama was against it before he was for it. He just needs a nudge from the people to get back in touch with the American people's liberal values.
Hollywood still has a few serious radicals, the ones who think all wars are cynical profiteering opportunities and Obama and Bush are both willing tools of the military-industrial complex. There's John Cusack, and Danny Glover, who's circulating a no-war petition. Michael Moore is attacking John Kerry on Twitter. But they are the outliers. The "mainstream" in the entertainment world sound like Robert DeNiro on CNN, "I know he'll make a decision and whatever decision he makes, I go with it." It sounds like that wonderful Second City comedy skit gone viral, with a group raising money for World War III called, "The Americans for Whatever Barack Obama Wants."
What Obama wants right now from his leftist base is support or at least silence on Syria — and his friends in Hollywood have sycophantically obliged.