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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Is George Clooney Full Of Shit?

So asketh ABC News’ Miquel Marquez in a web entry titled, “Is Clooney Right About Hollywood’s Social Agenda?”
Clooney’s Oscar speech – “We’re the ones who talked about AIDS when it was just being whispered,” the 44-year-old star told the audience. “And we talked about civil rights when it wasn’t really popular. This academy

63 Responses to “Is George Clooney Full Of Shit?”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    If the point is that Hollywood shouldn’t pat itself on the back for minor advances and can always do more, then he’s absolutely correct. I thought Syriana was kind of a weak film, but I’m sure that on balance, it was a good thing that it got people thinking about its issues. Just like, on balance, Clooney is correct because the alternative is to churn out mindless action movies and comedies.

  2. Arrow77 says:

    I think the real issue is what do we expect films to do. Are we expecting them to single-handedly solve an issue? AIDS may have been there long before Philadelphia but seeing a well liked actor playing an HIV positive is going to have a bigger impact than any awareness campaign.

  3. Wrecktum says:

    It wasn’t so much “Philadelphia” that Clooney was talking about. It was Elizabeth Taylor and AMFAR. It’s the entertainment industry’s campaign of education and acceptance throughout the ’80s. Remember, the “red ribbon” phenomenon of 1991 was not the beginning of AIDS awareness…such efforts had been going on for years.

  4. James Leer says:

    There was also “Longtime Companion” as well as several indie films that predated Phildelphia in that regard.

  5. grandcosmo says:

    >>>I personally think that Clooney is completely sincere and that the spirit of his words and not the details are the issue. <
    Well as long as his intentions are good thats really all that matters. F__k the facts.

  6. Lota says:

    well dunno bout that exact sentiment Grandcosmo, plenty of Well-intentioned people have done alot of harm! But George is ok and still looks very nice.
    I don;t know what I ‘expect’ a film to do , but I think movies have a little responsibility towards people who are in the real situations they depict. So politically on a large scale, historical accuracy is important regardless of slant. The slant shouldn’t affect the actual facts. On a personal level I think writers and directors have a responsibility not to tear down a real person in order to make another person look “good” al la Cinderella Man.

  7. TheManWho says:

    If Clooney would have taken 23 minutes of his all-important time to watch AMC’s MOVIES THAT SHOOK THE WORLD about Philadelphia. He would have heard from Demme and other’s responsible for Philadelphia, how much of a struggle they had getting that movie made. Hollywood has shown different aspects of this society to those that either hate it, had no idea it’s going on, or were in some way INFORMED by a film. However, in relation to Clooney’s speech; everything he cited in that speech, does not exactly represent Hollywood as a progressive force in society. Since all of the facts about the Academy and Hollywood, that he shared in that speech. Have a complete opposite reality, that do not make Hollywood look as PROGRESSIVE as his speech probably intended.

  8. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Another hatchet job by ABC — and it has nothing to do with the network being owned by Disney.
    ABC has a history of tailoring content for political purposes. In 1984 ABC spiked three stories damaging to Reagan cronies while subjecting Geraldine Ferraro to a “hit squad”. (That phrase was from an ABC employee). Miquel Marquez is following in that tradition.

  9. Mr. Muckle says:

    Remember the context. Clooney’s remarks were in response to red-state and the Bush admin’s attempt to suppress any liberality in social thought. Of course they do not object to the business side of Hollywood. Profit is god for them, profit and creative repression.
    The significance of Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar was not the “stereotypical” role, but the recognition of a black woman as a human being. The article comments that “Hollywood is about 12 minutes ahead of the country,” and gives the example that not so long after the outraged reaction to “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” it was no big deal. I suppose the writer thinks it takes about 20 minutes to get a film made. But the lead time is actually years and people had to think about it long before that.
    So, Hollywood is not some monolithic think tank, but George represents himself and others like him quite well, I think.

  10. Dr Sparkles says:

    I don’t know of any other national organization that was handing out high profile awards to black folks during the 1930-40’s. Perhaps Hollywood was a trendsetter in acknowledging the contributions of an ENTIRE RACE to the world of cinema.
    Did Hattie play stereotypes? Yes. So does EVERY OTHER ACTOR IN HOLLYWOOD!
    Hollywood was and is still built on stereotypes. Hattie took the work that was offered at a time when most of America only wanted black Americans to be silent and invisible.
    Her version of the stereotyped

  11. Lynn says:

    I’m not sure “We’re the ones who talked about AIDS when it was just being whispered,” applies just to talking about AIDS in entertainment itself — people like Elizabeth Taylor were indeed “talking” about AIDS before anyone else.
    Besides the films mentioned, TV was pretty good about trying to get the message across that AIDS was a risk to people who weren’t hemophiliacs, drug users, or gay men. In 1986, St. Elsewhere did a storyline with a male character (apparently) exposed through heterosexual sex long before Magic Johnson made that a real issue nationally. In 1989, Midnight Caller did an episode about a woman with AIDS at a time when nobody was talking about that. So did 21 Jump Street around the same time. (Hey, laugh if you want, but a *lot* of young people watched that show.)
    It was a bit later but the TV movie of And the Band Played On was very well done, too.

  12. JckNapier2 says:

    Actually, 21 Jump Street, silly and potential facistic initial premise aside, explored countless relevant social issues during its run, while usually not letting the issue of the day take over whatever story was being told.
    For a 7 or 8 year old like myself at the time, it was a pretty good introduction to the issues of the day (rape, the grey-zone of the drug war, AIDS, homosexuality, hazing, police corruption, spousal abuse, etc) while being entertaining to boot.
    Fun fact – a later season episode was the first ‘grown-up’ mystery show I ever solved – at age 8 – before the killer was revealed.
    Scott Mendelson

  13. Lynn says:

    I was a little older than you (high school), Scott, but I also have strong impressions of 21 Jump Street. It was the first show I saw that was aimed at young people but seemed to take us seriously and give us credit for being able to sort out more than one side of an issue. It talked to us instead of at us in that annoying Afterschool Special way.
    I’d buy the DVD’s of the first few seasons for nostalgia sake if they included the original music, which they very sadly do not :(

  14. Nicol D says:

    The professor does indeed have a point.
    People were dying of AIDS on the African continent long before Hollywood talked about it.
    Sadly, AIDS is an issue that Hollywood approached only when it became ‘fashionable’ to do so and its approach to that issue, now with the benefit of hindsight, has yielded mixed results at best.
    Do ‘stars’ like Sharon Stone or Christina Aguilera (and many, many others), who have earned millions of off ‘art’ that glorifies promiscuity really have any place at the table when it comes to discussing AIDS?
    Has their contribution helped the cause…or reinforced the exact same behaviour that helps spread the disease?
    Clooney is sincere, but his views are rooted in a 1960’s world view of geo-politics and morality. He believes that history will always show ‘the left’ is always right on every issue.
    That is very facile thinking for a man who fancies himself as a complex thinker.
    There are times in history when both sides have been correct (Republicans on ending slavery, Democrats on supporting a welfare state) and others when both have been wrong (conservatives for meddling in third world countries during the eighties, liberals for not fully comprehending the philosophical contradictions of the philosophy of Marxism).
    Celebrities like Clooney get very upset when they get shirked off. What upsets people is not that celebrities have views, but that most of the celebrities who pontificate believe that because they are celebrities thier views are more valuable and condescend to the public who more often than not know better. There is a reason why Clooney’s political films flop.
    There is always a place for a well intentioned non-partisan, passionate celebrity. Someone such as Bono proves that. He is articulate, well-read and understands the complexities of the issues he addresses. Bono talks ‘to’ not ‘at’ the average person. He doesn’t name call.
    The bulk of modern Hollywood do not demonstrate that complexity. They believe going on TV and calling George Bush, Hitler (or some other such drivel) is complex. Ben Affleck anyone?
    Until they learn to demonstrate a level of moderation and learnedness in thier behavior they will continue to not be taken seriously by the public; and rightly so.
    Maybe Bono and Bob Geldof can give lessons.
    They have moved passed the hysteria and rhetoric of the sixties…perhaps Hollywood, with Clooney leading the pack could do likewise.
    As an aside…I think it is sad that Depp now disowns 21 Jump Street and talks bad of it. He obviously does not recognize how much it helped his career and how many people loved it.

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    Two points I want to make here. Yes, Nicol, people do get upset that celebrities have views. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an editorial, in either the local daily paper where I live or a national publication, lambasting a celebrity or celebrities not for voicing their opinion but for having one. According to these people, celebrities are not qualified to have opinions concerning political issues. Apparently, when you become famous (and believe me I do not feel sorry for famous people) you give up your right to having any political opinions at all. They want famous people to sing and act and nothing more. My second point is, give us average Joe lefties a little credit. We don’t listen to every stupid thing a celebrity says. I know the difference between a George Clooney and a Charlie Sheen. I can tell the difference between a celebrity who truly cares and seeks to continually educate themself on a variety of issues and those who say “Bush is dumb” or spout insane consipracy theories. Just as I’m sure you would argue that the average Joe is smarter than many celebrities and knows not to take their political advice, those of us on the left don’t sit around waiting to hear what Ben Affleck thinks about foreign policy or treason.

  16. James Leer says:

    It’s ironic that conservatives bash celebrities for airing their political views and yet rush to elect exactly that (Ah-nuld, Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono) to office.

  17. jeffmcm says:

    Can we drop the notion that the modern Republican party has much to do with Lincoln’s Republican party? I don’t hear a lot of discussion about the Gold Standard or Free Soil these days; both parties are unrecognizeable from what they were a hundred years ago.

  18. jeffmcm says:

    By the way, Nicol, please stop arguing that ‘liberals’ are the same as ‘Marxists’. They aren’t. Also, George Clooney has made three movies that could be called political: Three Kings, Syriana, and GNGL. The last preachy of those three was the one that he directed, and also the lower-grosser of the batch.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    ‘Least’ preachy, not ‘last’.

  20. lindenen says:

    Liberals tend to endorse policies that are Marxist in nature, redistribution of wealth, etc. It’s sometimes referred to as Cultural Marxism. I suggest you learn more about Marxism in all its forms. Anyway, some of the groups organizing the anti-war marches these past few years are blatantly Marxist. If you march under the banner of the Stalinists at ANSWER or the socialists of the World Worker’s Party, then don’t be shocked when people think you’re allied with Marxists.
    Also, the welfare state has been a disaster. If it was such a good move, then why have things improved for the poor as the welfare state has been rolled back and deconstructed?
    Both parties still contain strains of political thought that extend back to the nineteenth century. For example, Republicans and their pro-business stance go back a long long time. In fact, earlier this century the Republicans were against racial privileges and they still are. The Democrats were once for them (when they were for white people) and now they’re still for them (when they’re for minorities).

  21. jeffmcm says:

    First of all, ‘Cultural Marxism’ only exists in the minds of paranoid conservatives as an epithet for liberal ideas. Don’t go there unless you want to be called ‘theocrats’. Sure there are plenty of college kids who wear Che Guevara t-shirts, but I think everyone should be aware that Marxism has been dead outside of China, Cuba, etc. for the last fifteen years, and you can’t really call China a classically Communist state anymore.
    Also I am unaware of these alleged improvements for the poor…any links?
    In your third point, the Republican party was founded as an anti-slavery party that quickly morphed into the party of the North: pro-industry. But that was 150 years ago and both parties have changed a lot since then. Or maybe not; Lincoln strengthened the Federal govt. at the expense of ‘states’ rights’ and so have the modern Republicans; the difference is that the rhetoric has changed so that Conservatives pretend to be for different things than they practice, like smaller government, individual freedom, and so on. But to laud the modern Republican party for ending slavery is akin to luading William Jefferson Clinton for writing the Declaration of Independence.

  22. Nicol D says:

    “First of all, ‘Cultural Marxism’ only exists in the minds of paranoid conservatives as an epithet for liberal ideas. Don’t go there unless you want to be called ‘theocrats’. ”
    I believe you are sincere here Jeff…but it doesn’t make you right. Look on a very large timeline.
    Marxism has been the most influencial doctrine on Western left-wing thinking for virtually 4 decades now. Now with the ‘boomer’ generation coming to power as the ‘elders’ of society, it is the reason why it is what is taught on most…yes most…university campi.
    It is why we rarely see any Hollywood films on the horrors of Marxism.
    …why the villains are always evil corporations and people of the cloth. In a Marxist way of thinking, capitalism and religion are the villains. It is a cohesive philosophy and world view.
    …why the majority of modern (post 1970) feminist thoerists always link thier notions of gender and equality to the ideas of Karl Marx. I gave a list in another post…did you read any of those authors?
    Are conservatives theocrats?
    The basis for most modern ‘cultural’ conservative beliefs is a belief in God, or more explicitly Judeo-Christian values. We can debate if that is good or bad.
    Does that make them theocrats…or is it the left that has really gone to extremes of cultural Marxism and now sees even a moderate belief in God as extreme?
    It is not a coincidence that once the cultural left of the sixites began to embrace Marxism in academia it also started to systemically weed out and become more hostile to religion and Judeo-Christian mores explicitly.
    Marxism and atheism are rooted together. One necessarily exists with the other. In a Marxist society of ‘equality’, that definition is made by the state. Notions of God given equality are not permitted. That is why the first thing marxist/communist countries do is outlaw religion…shut down the churches. Morality then comes form the state…not God.
    Now I do not believe that every person who votes Democrat is a cultural Marxist…that would be silly. But the guiding lights of your movement are.
    The academics, the artists etc.
    Again, you can find out as much about what someone believes by what they do not say than what they do.
    Why are so many celebrities ‘friendly’ with Fidel Castro?
    Why, for all of the left’s pissing and moaning about horror and violence in Iraq is there never any criticism about oppression in Cuba, or the torture in China of Christians and members of Falung Gong?
    I know you do not want to see this but the ‘accusation’ of cultural Marxism does not come from reading Ann Coulter…it comes from reading the left wing ‘intellectuals’ who modern day leftists deify.
    A really good observer of this trend of Marxism in academia and culture is David Horowitz. He was a former communist of the sixties who is no longer and his writings are very good on this subject.
    He is not a social conservative…so you do not have to worry about that stuff.

  23. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, if you would write a post with fewer than ten rhetorical questions in it, I think we could actually have a discussion. You have some good points but ultimately I don’t think they mean much because they’re the same old-same old.
    No, I do not believe “Marxism” is taught on most university campuses (‘campi’ is not a word, so I hope you were using it ironically.) You can’t take Marxism 101 anywhere. Marxist theory does indeed have applications in film theory and in other places, but that’s as a tool, in context with other various theories, and there are useful applications. I guess if you believe that anything Marx touched was inherently poisonous you could object to that, but I don’t.
    I don’t remember if I read any of your list of 1970s theorists; I don’t think any of the names were familiar to me, which suggests that they were obscure, extreme writers that I wouldn’t have gotten at my mainstream liberal arts college where I majored in English literature. Sorry. Like I said, I did get some Marxist stuff sprinkled in, but I do not consider myself to have been brainwashed. Sorry.
    Basically, we’re getting into comprehensive worldview stuff here, where we will clearly never agree. As usual your biases are showing and you have failed to demonstrate to me that your points are worth pondering.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    “Why, for all of the left’s pissing and moaning about horror and violence in Iraq is there never any criticism about oppression in Cuba, or the torture in China of Christians and members of Falung Gong?”
    Good point, and you can fault both sides on that. I don’t hear anything from anyone, regardless of political party.
    But seriously Nicol, jeff is right. Your biases are impossible to miss. You completely shrug off the idea of conservatives being theocrats and continue to beat the same old drum about the left. You use insanely broad strokes and essentially label everyone left of center a Marxist.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol probably thinks we’re ignoring the substance of his remarks because we can’t refute them. But rather, (a) these are deep-seated philosophical differences that it would be a waste of time to hash out here, and (b) it gets tiresome to participate in high-school debate club with ConservativeBot 5000 who has been designed without ears.

  26. palmtree says:

    I think the problem with using Marxism is that even if the rhetoric sounds the same, it is no longer the source for the actual ideas…or if it was, it has evolved. I can see the link though since the civil rights movement did have some roots in the worker’s rights movement.

  27. wolfgang says:

    Newsflash:
    Vice President Cheney was booed today as he threw out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals.
    Well!! First movies . . . and now, today Marxists inflitrated a baseball stadium. Another piece of our culture falls to the liberal left!
    Will they ever stop?

  28. jeffmcm says:

    Even apple pies will be made with red apples soon.

  29. Lynn says:

    “Why, for all of the left’s pissing and moaning about horror and violence in Iraq is there never any criticism about oppression in Cuba, or the torture in China of Christians and members of Falung Gong?”
    That’s a good question. Why don’t I hear conservatives, for that matter, screaming about this? Why do they totally ignore an issue like Darfur, where people are being killed *because* of their religious beliefs? Why aren’t conservative Christian leaders on TV every day talking about this? Oh, right — because they’re doing important things like trying to get TV shows fined.
    To hear them speaking and taking action about places like China and Darfur would go a long way toward persuading me about their sincerity on religious freedom. Definitely much farther than all the shrieking that Christians in America are a persecuted minority because greeters at Wal-Mart say happy holidays instead of merry Christmas.

  30. jeffmcm says:

    They don’t have oil in Darfur.

  31. wolfgang says:

    “To hear them speaking and taking action about places like China and Darfur would go a long way toward persuading me about their sincerity on religious freedom. Definitely much farther than all the shrieking that Christians in America are a persecuted minority because greeters at Wal-Mart say happy holidays instead of merry Christmas.”
    And speaking of Wal-Mart, it’s worth remembering that this big box retailer is heavily invested in China and expanding its operations there. I haven’t heard much from conservative Christians over this fact. Of course, maybe that’s because they’re too busy shopping at Wal-Mart.

  32. wolfgang says:

    “They don’t have oil in Darfur.”
    Good point, Jeff

  33. Nicol D says:

    Christian/conservative/Catholic commentators regulary speak on the persecution of people in places like China, Darfur and Cuba. I’ll throw Egypt into the mix also.
    Want names…howabout everyone from President Bush, Hal Lindsay, Pat Robertson, Laura Ingraham, Mark Steyn, Rush Limbaugh to the Popes John Paul II and Benedict etc.
    Love ’em or hate ’em, it’s actually a regular topic they and many others discuss.
    But then again, if 1000 Christians talk about persecution in China and 1 pickets Brokeback Mountain in Wal-Mart…we all know which is going to be discussed by Jon Stewart and the evening news.
    But even if they didn’t, aren’t they supposed to be the ‘bad, evil’ guys anyway in this little drama?
    Aren’t you all supposed to be the ‘good’ guys who are making up for the wrongs of world history?
    Shouldn’t you be talking about these horrors and persecutions regardless…but you don’t…I’ve looked.
    No Oprah shows…no Clooney movies…no University courses…no protests…zero, nada, zip.
    Hillary Clinton has mentioned these things a few times to her credit (as have a few others to appear moderate), but for the most part, the leaders of the ‘intellectual’ left are silent. And certainly on a grass roots level (blogs, internet, fundraisers, academia) these issues are never discussed or acknowledged.
    The only time there are protests for ‘oppression’ is when America (usually spelled with a triple k) is involved. And people notice.
    Everyone else gets a pass…because we all know there is no oppression in the ‘Workers Paradise’.
    Also, just as a note to Jeff MCM…
    You said that the names I mention you’ve never heard of so that makes them invalid…
    I do not like to leave you out of the discussion so I’ll explain some of the names this time…
    Pope John Paul II was the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Vatican (that’s in Rome) from 1978 to 2005. He was respected my many and is widely credited with helping the downfall of communism in much of Europe (that’s the large continent across the ocean if you look on a map).
    President Bush was elected the American President (that’s the highest office in that country) in 2000 and re-elected subsequesntly in 2004. His term will be over in 2008. He is very popular with many and hated by others. A controversial president.
    Rush Limbaugh is a very popular radio (a device used for transmitting sound waves) talk show host and has the largest talk radio audience in radio history. He is largely credited with giving the format a revival in North America (that includes Canada to the North of America).
    I do not have the time to describe the other names to you but this should at least get the ball rolling.
    Glad I could help.
    Maybe next time you’ll be able to bring more to the table than sophomoric insults and rhetoric.

  34. Stella's Boy says:

    So the left never, ever discusses these atrocities, but the right is constantly discussing them and doing something about it? Must be a liberal media conspiracy. Excuse me if I find that hard to believe, even though you claim to have looked real hard.

  35. Lynn says:

    The point, Nicol, is that this should be an issue of special concern for the religious right, and yet… it’s not. They aren’t telling people who to vote for based on their policies toward Darfur. They’re telling them to vote for people who oppose gay marriage. So which issue do they really think is more important?
    As for all these speeches and public statements they’re making, none of them are being reported? They’re trying to get on Larry King to talk about it and being refused? Give me a break.
    And your statement about the traditional left being silent on Darfur is flat wrong. There is a student divestiture movement that led to UC divesting in companies doing business in Sudan. There are similar movements at Brown and Harvard. Darfur is a priority for Human Rights Watch (their web site has a special section on it) and the Genocide Intervention Network. The traditional left has hardly been silent; in fact, they seem to be the only one making any noise.
    (But I’m sure you’ll say it’s just some marxist plot… because you always do.)

  36. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, get over yourself. This is the list of people who I don’t remember/never heard of:
    “…why the majority of modern (post 1970) feminist thoerists always link thier notions of gender and equality to the ideas of Karl Marx. I gave a list in another post…did you read any of those authors?”
    There was a miscommunication in there somewhere. I don’t know what you’re referring to with Bush and Limbaugh. Also, Bush’s approval rating is below 40%, meaning that “popular with many and hated by others” should read the inverse.
    You are right that the Left should be talking more about Darfur, China, etc. but the Right are the ones in power, setting the agendas. If there was any legitimate interest beyond hollow rhetoric, the country would be taking action in those areas, but the simple fact is that we aren’t. Instead we’re propping up regimes like Afghanistan where it’s illegal to convert to Christianity, which proves the lie of the Bush administration’s humanitarian concerns.
    I just don’t get you. It’s hard to take you seriously and debate outside of ‘sophomoric insults’ because I get the sense that all of your arguments are merely researched talking points devoted to making yourself look intelligent and superior. If you for once would demonstrate some basic humanity, maybe we could get somewhere.

  37. Lynn says:

    BTW, when you’re President Bush? Just *talking* about an issue doesn’t cut it. If it’s a priority, you do something. If he really wanted to stop the genocide in Darfur, it would be over. If he really wanted China to guarantee its people religious freedom (or at least the lack of state-sponsored persecution) that would have happened, too. It hasn’t because it’s not a priority, at least not as much as making money (China) and avoiding any engagement at all in Africa (Darfur).
    Pres. Clinton said his biggest regret on foreign policy was not intervening in Rwanda. He’s been judged harshly for it by the SCLM and his supposed apologists in Hollywood — see how the Clinton administration is regarded in both Hotel Rwanda and Sometimes in April, for example.
    Darfur may well prove to be worse.

  38. palmtree says:

    Correlation and causation are like totally different dude. Has it ever occurred to you that something other than Marxism could be fueling a backlash against religion? Are rebelling against your parents or teachers or community leaders or dominant institutions acts of Marxism…or it is a fact of growing up in a pluralistic society? And there is a very good reason why no films are made that show China in a bad light. Remember Red Corner and Seven Years in Tibet? They made China very upset and closed up the studios’ distribution into that country…that was not a Marxist decision, but a very Capitalist one.

  39. palmtree says:

    That reminds me…what about all those liberal Free Tibet activists? I guess since it’s Buddhism and not related to Christianity it wouldn’t interest conservatives.

  40. Nicol D says:

    “Instead we’re propping up regimes like Afghanistan where it’s illegal to convert to Christianity, which proves the lie of the Bush administration’s humanitarian concerns.”
    Both Stephen Harper, the Canadian PM and George Bush put pressure on Afghanistan with regards to the man sentenced to death for converting to Christianity in Afghanistan.
    It worked. Nevertheless, we went to Afghanistan initially because they were directly asscociated with 9/11. You are aware of that? You have heard of The Taliban?
    Rhetoric reduces complex ideas to a few phrases. You are a master at it.
    “If you for once would demonstrate some basic humanity, maybe we could get somewhere.”
    Basic humanity?
    Funny thing is Jeff…everything you have accused me of; from having simple views; to a smug, arrogant detachment; to just reciting talking points…is exactly how you come off.
    You say my views are not worth taking seriously?
    Here’s a thought; do not respond.
    Lynn,
    “If he really wanted China to guarantee its people religious freedom (or at least the lack of state-sponsored persecution) that would have happened, too. ”
    I agree, more should be done. But let’s be honest…going to war with China really isn’t an option, now is it. And somehow (and I could be wrong) I suspect that if he pushed harder, you would just say he was fear mongering.
    And the left rarely (to never) talks about human rights abuses in China and never in Cuba.
    Any thoughts on Cuba…Bush been very harsh on them. Do you support Bush’s stance on the ‘Worker’s Paradise’?
    The problem with the left in America right now is that they hate Bush first and cherry pick their facts to justify it second.
    The left have set themselves up as demagogues. Perfect and flawless human beings, there for the happiness of all. Yet you ignore the most horrific instances of abuse on the planet and only talk about them when it allows you to criticize America.
    When I mention China, I just hear you throw it back on George Bush…isn’t the left supposed to be better than him?
    Why is he the standard all of a sudden?
    The left, has defined themselves as all that is good and holy while the right is demonized and vilified as racist, homophobes, bigots, Nazi’s etc. Now the left are being called on thier ‘higher standard’.
    They say they are for free speech but they give us political correctness and hate crimes laws.
    They say they hate the atrocities in Iraq but said nothing when Saddam Hussein was in power.
    They say they like freedom but they give a pass to Cuba.
    Bush is not perfect…neither are liberals.
    As the saying goes, if George Bush could prove he could walk on water they would accuse him of polluting the environment.
    You said the right fearmongered the vote based on SSM…I did not hear the left saying to people to vote on any issue other than fearmongering that George Bush was Hitler incarnate or some derivation thereof.
    We know who won a second term.
    Palmtree,
    “Are rebelling against your parents or teachers or community leaders or dominant institutions acts of Marxism…or it is a fact of growing up in a pluralistic society?”
    Where do you see teachers in modern America talking about religion?
    …which community leaders? Which parents?
    Saying that religious people are a dominant institution in society is incorrect.
    You are talking about a group of people who do not have the power to have ‘O Holy Night’ sung at an elementary school solstice pageant in December.
    Culture influences politics not the other way around.
    I would say that the dominant institutions in society right now are all viciously secular.
    Courts, public school, media, university, film, tv…those are your dominant institutions…and none of them have a pro-religion bias.
    Fact is…the kids who rebel are the ones who do want values, who do have a notion of right and wrong.
    The ones who merely ‘do what they please to who and whenever they please it’ are not rebels at all.
    They are the drones.

  41. Nicol D says:

    “…what about all those liberal Free Tibet activists?”
    You tell me…do you think they would still like the Dalai Lama if they knew he was pro-life and opposed to homosexuality and same-sex marriage?
    American versions of his books routinely edit out his opinions on these subjects to ‘pacify’ liberals in America.
    He gave several interviews in Britain last week where he commented on it.

  42. James Leer says:

    That’s funny, because a simple Google search turned up this:
    From a “Buddhist point of view,” lesbian and gay sex “is generally considered sexual misconduct,” the Dalai Lama told reporters at a press conference a day earlier.
    However, such proscriptions are for members of the Buddhist faith – and from “society’s viewpoint,” homosexual sexual relations can be “of mutual benefit, enjoyable, and harmless,” according to the Dalai Lama.
    What meeting was that taken from? Why, his meeting in San Francisco with lesbian and gay Buddhists, clergy, and human rights activists.
    Anyway, it is possible for liberals to work on the behalf of someone they don’t agree with 100%. It’s not like they’re demanding loyalty oaths.
    And Nicol, it’s truly two-faced of you to slam us for “sophomoric insults” and then condescend so massively to jeffmcm that you have to explain where Europe is and who President Bush is. You knew that he was asking you explain the feminists you’d cited earlier, but instead you obsfuscated in the most childish manner. What’s ironic is that no one else has stooped to that, but they’d certainly be justified when you continue to take the discourse in that direction.
    I still would like to know why gay people having equal rights bothers you one lick. But I’ve reconciled myself to never getting a flat-out answer.

  43. jeffmcm says:

    “Funny thing is Jeff…everything you have accused me of; from having simple views; to a smug, arrogant detachment; to just reciting talking points…is exactly how you come off.
    You say my views are not worth taking seriously?
    Here’s a thought; do not respond.”
    Right back at you. The difference is, I’m not pretending to be the font of all wisdom, as you are.
    You have just enough of the germs of truth in what you say to avoid being totally ignored, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re 90% wrong. The courts are dominated by conservatives. Public schools are trying to push Creationism right and left. Kids get their values from TV (kids rebelling for values is an amusing fantasy notion)
    Re The Dalai Lama: Nobody’s perfect.
    Nicol, why are you posting here all the time? Every time you do, you get five people refuting your arguments. If you want to make inroads, speak to us like a human being. Tell us what you’re personally afraid of, hoping for. Instead we’re just going to have these never-ending series of grandstanding monologues.

  44. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, thanks for that post James Leer. I knew old Tenzin was more enlightened than Nicol was giving him credit for.

  45. palmtree says:

    “Saying that religious people are a dominant institution in society is incorrect.”
    If electing a President of the United States of America and a majority of both houses in Congress is not evidence of some kind of dominance, I don’t know what is.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    Well see, I’m sure Nicol thinks that Bush and various Republican leaders are fighting an uphill battle against the forces of ‘vicious secularism’ (no idea what that means) and doing their part in the struggle against Hollywood, the intellectual liberal elites, etc, while several of the rest of us see Big Business exploiting Big Religion to scare and shame people into voting them into office.
    This is the divide; I’d love to bridge it but it’s not going to happen if every debate turns into an annotated civics lesson on ‘Why I’m Victimized’.

  47. palmtree says:

    Religion used to bully Hollywood and other media into censorship. I get the feeling that people were tired of that and rebelled against it. And now in a way, as Nicol says, the rebellion is towards more values. Fine, but my main point is that children will tend to view authority institutions as trying to keep them in place, and films feed into that fear (and even PC-hippie culture can be and has been seen as an authority institution). Is that a natural part of growing up or Marxism? I repeat: correlation does not equal causation.

  48. jeffmcm says:

    It sounds like Nicol is himself an example of someone rebelling against PC liberal authority, and thinking that he’s getting ‘values’ as a way to justify the shift in attitudes he’s discovered.
    Sorry to get all personal on you, Nicol, but it’s my perception: that you’re a well-meaning but essentially misguided youngster.

  49. Lynn says:

    Nicol… it’s like talking to a brick wall.
    It comes back to Bush because *he’s the President.* He has actual power. That’s why. He could *do something* if he chose to.
    And Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc. talk about Cuba and China — and many other countries — all the time. You just ignore it because it conveniently fits your fantasy that everyone to the left of you is a Marxist.

  50. jeffmcm says:

    Look Nicol, I’m sorry if I’ve been harsh on you. I just think that if you legitimately want to challenge peoples’ views and change peoples’ minds, you’re going to have more luck if you stand down from your high-toned rhetoric and just address all of us like a normal person.

  51. Nicol D says:

    James,
    “You knew that he was asking you explain the feminists you’d cited earlier, but instead you obsfuscated in the most childish manner.”
    I have twice now been asked to give lists of New Left feminist and Marxist influenced academics and scholars. I have given twice. Recently, Jeff then dismissed them all because he said that he never heard of them.
    He never looked them up. He never even tried to address them.
    No one else commented.
    Y’know, Google is like an encyclopedia on your door step. It’s not too hard to find out how influencial Foucault, Mackinnon or Derridas is to modern left wing thought.
    I do not think it is I who obfuscates.
    If even one or two of the questions I ask get answered I feel lucky…I write you guys novellas here half the time. Sheesh!
    As for the Dalai Lama…
    Here is a paragraph from the article just before the lines you quoted from the Bay area…
    “http://quietmountain.org/links/teachings/gayrites.htm”
    “Buddhist sexual proscriptions ban homosexual sexual activity and heterosexual sex through orifices other than the vagina, including masturbation or other sexual activity with the hand. Buddhist proscriptions also forbid sex at certain times – such as during full and half moon days, the daytime, and during a wife’s menstrual period or pregnancy – or near shrines or temples. Adultery is considered sexual misconduct, but the hiring of a female prostitute for penile-vaginal sex is not, unless one pays a third party to procure the person. ”
    Another article is here…
    “http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/04/01/wdalai01.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/04/01/ixnewstop.html”
    “Although he is known for his tolerant, humane views, he is a surprisingly harsh critic of homosexuality. If you are a Buddhist, he says, it is wrong. “Full stop.
    No way round it.
    “A gay couple came to see me, seeking my support and blessing. I had to explain our teachings. Another lady introduced another woman as her wife – astonishing. It is the same with a husband and wife using certain sexual practices. Using the other two holes is wrong.”
    At this point, he looks across at his interpreter – who seems mainly redundant – to check that he has been using the right English words to discuss this delicate matter. The interpreter gives a barely perceptible nod.
    “A Western friend asked me what harm could there be between consenting adults having oral sex, if they enjoyed it,” the Dalai Lama continues, warming to his theme. “But the purpose of sex is reproduction, according to Buddhism. The other holes don’t create life. I don’t mind – but I can’t condone this way of life.”
    I think you have taken him out of context, James. Read a whole bunch of interviews. Then look at the nuance of the language he uses in the quotes that you provide. You are believing what you want to believe.
    That’s why they edit out his views in North American texts and use softer tones; more elliptical phrasing. His followers in America tend to be more lefty New Age types who really want every thing they do to be affirmed so they project onto Buddhism what they want it to be. Doesn’t make it so, though.
    Being a gay Buddhist is like being a Catholic abortion provider or a Muslim who does not believe in Mohommed. It shows such a fundamental basic lack of understanding in the philosophy of the faith as to render it meaningless.
    You can call yourself anything in the world if you want to…it doesn’t mean that you are.
    The Dalai Lama ‘tolerates’, but he does not ‘affirm’ or ‘condone’.
    Also James, I never ‘slammed’ all of you for being sophomoric and condescending…just Jeff.
    Palmtree,
    Political correctness is the dominant belief system of the New Left. It is taking the economic tenets of Marxist equality and applying them to issues of race, gender and sexual orientation.
    Again, if Marxism isn’t the root of New Left beliefs, why do New Left thinkers call it thier base?
    Again, for your own enjoyment, read some Derridas or Foucault; see things on a long timeline; decades, centuries.
    Modern left-wing philosophy is complex and began to forment in the late fifties. I disagree with much of it as you know, but you seem like a genuinely curious person so I recommend these people to you. They are at much of the nucleus of why modern day liberals believe what they believe.
    Lynn,
    “And Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc. talk about Cuba and China — and many other countries — all the time. You just ignore it because it conveniently fits your fantasy that everyone to the left of you is a Marxist.”
    Amnesty International does. Human Rights Watch will only mention things if they have a left wing slant. (ie. if a woman is denied an abortion they will mention it…if a man is put in jail for opposing Castro with no trial…nothing).
    North American leftists en masse never take on these causes.
    Find me a Hollywood star or left academic who talks about Cuba or China or Egypt?
    Find me a left wing politician in North America who makes it part of their manifesto?
    Find me a newscast (other than Fox) that talks about the human rights abuses in these countries at any length.
    Find me a left wing commentator or columnist.
    They don’t.
    Sure there are exceptions like Joe Lieberman, but he is now vilified by the left as well.
    Only when America or Bush can be blamed will most North American leftists talk about human rights abuses.
    They are extremely selective in which oppression they oppose and as I said before…if I am wrong than the North American left has a massive PR problem on its hands.
    Why were there no ‘peace keepers’ going to Iraq when Saddam had his rape rooms and torure chambers going full tilt?
    There are many issues to be said with the war in Iraq and I am not even a full fledged supporter of it. But I find it tough to swallow that the American left gives two hoots about Iraqi’s and real oppression…they just hate Bush.
    There were protests during the Gulf War and the War in Iraq. When the Kurds were being gassed the American left said nothing. Not a peep.
    “…it’s like talking to a brick wall.”
    Hey…something we can both agree on!
    This will be my last post on this thread.

  52. James Leer says:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%2B%22human+rights+watch%22+%2Bdarfur&sourceid=mozilla-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official
    Human Rights Watch talks about Darfur all the time.
    Nicol, the right is actually in power and is not doing anything about Darfur. It was not made a crusade in the last election, it is not a talking point for President Bush. Bush interceded in the Schiavo affair because that was his priority – not Darfur.
    But, of course, blame the liberals who are not in power instead of the conservatives who are and could actually do something.
    P.S. Nobody cares if it’s your last post in the thread. Stop being so self-important and people might enjoy debating with you.

  53. palmtree says:

    “Find me a Hollywood star or left academic who talks about Cuba or China or Egypt?”
    Richard Gere
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh//pages/frontline//shows/tibet/interviews/gere.html
    The Dalai Lama presents his Buddhist views, but is not pretending that those views are meant to fit everyone. In fact, I remember reading a quote where he specifically said that. And Tibetan Buddhism is only one of many sects of that religion.
    The essence of tolerance is to not force a belief on others as the best and only way. If Christianity was practiced more like that, I would be more sympathetic to it as well.

  54. Lynn says:

    “Human Rights Watch will only mention things if they have a left wing slant. (ie. if a woman is denied an abortion they will mention it…if a man is put in jail for opposing Castro with no trial…nothing).”
    Well, you are wrong. Again.
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/01/18/cuba12207.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/11/29/cuba9740.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/01/31/cuba10089.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/04/22/cuba8480.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/03/17/cuba8126.htm
    http://hrw.org/editorials/2003/cuba043003.htm
    http://hrw.org/press/2003/04/hcirtestimony041603.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/01/18/china12270.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/04/10/china13153.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/30/china13101.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/17/china13010.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/01/china12740.htm
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/12/15/china12281.htm
    Those are only a few. There are plenty more on the country pages on the HRW site — there are 3 pages of hits on Cuba and 16 on China. Oh, and several of them (see e.g. http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/01/china12740.htm) are discussions of China’s stifling religious freedom. Are you going to admit you’re totally wrong now? Of course not.
    “Only when America or Bush can be blamed will most North American leftists talk about human rights abuses.”
    Yeah, that’s nonsense. Human rights for the sake of human rights has only been an issue on the left. Are AI, Human Rights Watch, the Lawyer’s Committee, etc. suddenly right wing organizations? That would be funny.
    The right only cares about what other countries do as it impacts what they perceive as “security” (economic interests, among other things).
    And regardless of what the “New Left” writes scholarly papers about (and I don’t concede your interpretation of it) it doesn’t follow that everyone left of center believes the same things for the same reasons. People have repeatedly made this point to you and you repeatedly ignore it.
    And you completely avoided the question about the responsibility of the people in actual power to do something about egregious human rights abuses like Darfur.

  55. jeffmcm says:

    Thank you, Nicol, for allowing us all to get on with our lives, and I implore you to PLEASE refrain from the annotations and rhetorical questions in the next round because they are not effective tactics.

  56. jeffmcm says:

    By the way:
    “I have twice now been asked to give lists of New Left feminist and Marxist influenced academics and scholars. I have given twice. Recently, Jeff then dismissed them all because he said that he never heard of them.
    He never looked them up. He never even tried to address them.
    No one else commented.
    Y’know, Google is like an encyclopedia on your door step. It’s not too hard to find out how influencial Foucault, Mackinnon or Derridas is to modern left wing thought.”
    This post is the first time I have ever seen Nicol name this list of names he so vilifies. I never heard of Mackinnon before, but on Wikipedia the only mention of Marxism in her article is to state that she believes in a type of feminism deliberately distinct from it. I am familiar with Foucault and Derrida (which is how his name is actually spelled) and they are indeed influential thinkers and have been influenced by Marx as well as every other thinker over the last few thousand years. On some other thread someday I’d like to hear Nicol say what he objects to about deconstruction or the mirror phase of psychology, but I have a feeling he avoided those classes at his mysteriously unnamed university.

  57. jeffmcm says:

    Let me just get this off my chest because I’m annoyed: what bothers me the most about Nicol is that he uses the language and methods of smug intellectualism, while loathing the work and ideas of actual intellectuals who he a priori disagrees with. He’s not interested in learning or spreading knowledge, just in reinforcing his own immature beliefs on any platform he can find. Okay, I’m done.

  58. Stella's Boy says:

    After visiting Darfur, George Clooney is now heading to Washington D.C. with senators Barack Obama (D) and Sam Brownback (R) to urge President Bush to take some action. What do you think Nicol? Is Clooney sincere or just looking for some publicity?

  59. Nicol D says:

    I am sure that his is sincere in his quest for publicity.
    Seriously,
    If interfering in Iraq is imperialism; in that the conflict of the different factions of Shiites, Sunnis and others is none of our business. If Saddam’s gassing of 100,000 Kurds and his rape rooms and torture chambers are none of our business…
    …then why all of a sudden does George Clooney care about Darfur?
    It’s okay to kill and oppress some people but not others? Some rape and torture is alright as long as it’s the right faction/demographic?
    This seems to be a very inconsistant view point.
    As I said before…Conservatives may be very selective in which wars they want to fight.
    Liberals are equally selective in which oppression they choose to oppose.

  60. palmtree says:

    So the problem with Clooney raising awareness for Darfur is that he isn’t consistent? The man can’t win for losing with you.

  61. jeffmcm says:

    No, Nicol’s reasoning is faulty. The liberal position is to criticize a war that the nation was lured into under false pretenses, and to raise awareness about a situation that remains under the radar. The liberal position on Darfur is not a drumbear for war, it’s merely that _something_ should be done more than is already being done. The liberal position on Iraq is more complicated, but basically it has to do with the fact that the neoconservative agenda was about finding any pretext for war. Plus you’ll notice that the factions between Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds have merely gotten worse since we went in, and that the rape rooms and torture chambers have not gone away. In fact, we run several of them now.
    Nicol, you can do better than this.

  62. Nicol D says:

    So then Jeff, lemme see if I understand your position.
    Something should be done in Darfur, but not militarily. You offer no other opinion. What then?
    You believe that the military and government in America is filled with rapists and torturers yet these are the same people you want to do something about Darfur?
    Please explain. You know I am interested.

  63. jeffmcm says:

    Hey, I’m no diplomat. It’s not up to me to decide how to resolve that situation. I wouldn’t rule out military action, but it really ought to be handled be people more competent than those who have handled Iraq, or those who went into Afghanistan and then forgot about that country.
    Meanwhile, Iran is coming up. Again, I don’t think military force is something that should be ruled out. Iran actually is a dangerous country, and it infuriates me that our military is bogged down in Iraq and that our global standing is so damaged to circumvent our freedom of action in this new situation.

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“We don’t have any idea what the universe is. Wise people have always told us that this is proof you shouldn’t think, because thinking leads you nowhere. You just build over this huge construction of misunderstanding, which is culture. The history of culture is the history of the misunderstandings of great thinkers. So we always have to go back to zero and begin differently. And maybe in that way you have a chance not to understand but at least not to have further misunderstandings. Because this is the other side of this question—Am I really so brave to cancel all human culture? To stop admiring the beauty in human production? It’s very difficult to say no.”
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One of the great movies. Charles Bronson, great, Charles Bronson. Great movies. Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct, right? It’s not politically correct. But could you imagine with Trump? Somebody says, oh, all these big monsters aren’t around he’s easy pickings and then shoot.”
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