Friday, May 28, 2010

Liberalism Kills. . . Hollywood Careers?

We all know that Hollywood is hostile to conservatives. From the liberal-only political contributions, to the scarcity of conservative messages in films, to the abundance of liberal garbage inserted into almost every movie, to the anecdotal stories told by conservatives of being blacklisted, there’s simply too much evidence to support this theory to think that people are just being paranoid. But is being an overt liberal also bad for your career? I think it is.

Let me start by admitting that I have no statistical evidence to back up this article, so this is merely supposition. But over the past 10-15 years, I’ve begun to notice a trend: Hollywood stars seem to kill their careers when they start spouting nasty liberalism.

Hollywood has always bent left. They’ve always made movies like Wall Street to blast “Republican” bankers, China Syndrome to blasted nuclear power, and a slew of movies to hate Nixon. . . boy do they hate Nixon! And there have always been actors who are primarily political, like Robert Redford, who hates Nixon. But these were relatively tame political ventures until the last two decades.

In the 1980s, it became fashionable to support causes: stop pollution, don’t eat dolphin-flavored tuna, boycott South Africa. . . shave the whales. These were the causes that Hollywood types espoused. In fact, it became such a big thing that many stars (who typically are too stupid to tie their own shoes) hired trained public relations firms to find causes for them to “have always felt deeply about.” A few carefully scripted public service announcements later, and bingo -- social relevance.

But everything began to change somewhere around the time the Clintons brought Hollywood into the Lincoln Bedroom. Maybe Hollywood got excited by the idea that they could influence politics? Maybe the politicization of our culture made it easier to be an extremist? Who knows? In any event, Hollywood stars ditched their do-gooder projects and their PSAs and they jumped headlong into politics. Suddenly, political endorsements and campaign commercials were the order of the day.

Then they started getting nasty, and that’s where the problems began. Soon Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were doing hatchet jobs on Republicans. Then, one by one, the likes of Sean Penn and Danny Glover set out to fellate dictators, Matt Damon and George Clooney went overseas to attack our country as evil, racist and corrupt, and Janeane Garfalo and a dozen others started using “hate speech” against anyone on the right every time they opened their mouths.

And during this whole time, a correlation began to appear: the more these actors spoke, the more their careers collapsed. Look at Penn. Post-Madonna Penn was respected and slowly but surely was establishing himself as an A list actor. . . until he opened his mouth. Now he works in political flicks, but it would be inconceivable to put him into a mainstream movie.

Damon and Clooney were both huge. In fact, I would honestly say that Clooney (and later Damon) was on his way to becoming Hollywood’s biggest present-day star until he started shooting off his mouth. Suddenly, all of his films began to flop. There were no boycotts, no protests; he just lost the ability to get people to come see his films. Could it be that he suddenly couldn’t choose a good film? Or was the audience responding to a growing dislike for his politics? Ditto with Damon, who is now also running on a curious losing streak (apart from his Bourne franchise).

Robbins and Sarandon all but vanished from film, except for bit parts in ensemble pieces. Garafalo, never exactly a star, is now non-existent. And what was the last movie Danny Glover starred in? Alex Baldwin was chased from film around the time of his “move to Canada promise,” and was only rescued by sit-coms.

And there are more. Brad Pitt’s star seems to have faded with his increased political activity. Megan Fox may have killed her career with a combination of hate-filled statements about flyover country people and criticism of her directors. Steven Weber never had a career, but what he had seems finished now that he’s joined the Hollywood Haters Club. Kevin Costner collapsed after Dances With Wolves, and Meryl Streep’s career all but fell apart after she became a verb (“the Streeping of science”), until she was saved by Satan, i.e. The Devil Wears Prada. Tom Hanks hasn’t faded yet, but he’s only recently started to say really stupid things. . . and average people are commenting on it. But these are only some examples.

What I can’t say for certain is whether these stars faded because they began saying stupid political things that offended large parts of the population, or if they started saying stupid things because their careers were fading? Or said differently, did the public begin to shun these actors when they crossed that line into anti-Americanisms? Or did they cross that line hoping to draw attention to themselves to revive moribund careers? Pitt, Damon and Clooney certainly still seemed to have their best years ahead of them when they opened their mouths and began their slides. Moreover, since making these political statements seems to hasten the career decline, it doesn't make a lot of sense that stars would be doing this to save a sagging career.

Could it be that once these actors became “established,” they started taking “riskier films”, i.e. less commercial films, which makes all of this just coincidental? That doesn't seem likely. That could arguably be the case for Clooney, but not for Damon or Costner. Damon and Costner kept right on churning out purely commercial films. It’s just that no one wants to see them anymore.

It’s hard to say anything definite on this because it’s hard to tell exactly what came first -- -- decline or diarrhea-mouth? It’s also hard to tell at what point they first crossed that line into anti-Americanism, and when their views first became well-known to the public. Not to mention that many of these actors still work, just at a much lower level than before.

But putting on my educated guess cap, I would say that this trend that I’m noticing indicates that when actors start spouting off things that offend middle America, middle America simply stops seeing their films. Take for example the total failure of all of Hollywood’s Iraq films. Damon’s Green Zone had a budget of $100 million and pulled in about $26 million domestically in theaters ($86 million total gross), despite being made by the same people who made the highly successful Bourne series. Look at some of these other numbers: The Hurt Locker $21.3 million despite all of its awards, Body of Lies $39 million, Stop-Loss $10.6 million, In the Valley of Elah $6.7 million, Grace is Gone less than $1 million, and The Messenger less than $1 million.

Maybe this just means that people don’t want to be reminded of Iraq? A more likely reason for this level of failure is that people are voting with their wallets and they are tuning out films that they see as being insulting to their values. That would certainly back up the idea that overt, nasty liberalism is a career killer.



Anonymous said...

Hmm. Interesting. I do agree about Clooney choosing more esoteric projects with limited commercial appeal. He has the freedom to do so and I say good for him. The Good German on the other hand, was one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

As for Kevin Costner, by all accounts it was Waterworld that started the decline and The Postman (which isn't as bad as its reputation suggests) that finally nailed the coffin shut. I don't recall him saying or doing anything on the level of Damon or Penn.

As for Glover, Robbins, and Sarandon... yeah, I don't think we'll see them headlining anything anytime soon. Glover appeared in the Death at a Funeral remake but he was just one cog in a much larger ensemble wheel.

Alec Baldwin kicks ass on 30 Rock and has admitted in recent years that his movie career was never as big as he'd hoped (if only he had stayed on as Jack Ryan).

When people talk about "boycotting Hollywood," I admit it bothers me. It bothers me because:

a.) It's an industry I want to be a part of one day and I would prefer it still be there when I get there (believe me, I have my own problems with it).

b.) When a musical artist says something stupid, no one ever says "let's boycott the music industry!" I guess it's easier to stop seeing movies in toto than it is to stop listening to music (?)

c.) It's the same damn people who shoot their mouths off! You're telling me you're going to skip Iron Man 2 because George Clooney once starred in another movie that offended you... financed by another studio... made by other filmmakers?!

Go ahead and boycott whoever you want but don't pretend everyone in Hollywood is guilty by association (see: Polanski, Roman, supporters of). Believe me, I don't care how you spend your money. But people have to pick their battles and as I'm fond of saying, if you ignore the good stuff, the bad stuff will rise to the top. I don't always agree with him but Andrew Klavan recently wrote a good article about this. One woman chimed in with, "But the money they make with the good stuff subsidizes the bad stuff!" Too bad. Such is life in a capitalistic society. It also pays for other good stuff, like restorations of old movies.

As for the Iraq War movies... I can't disagree, though I think the jury is still out on The Hurt Locker. I think Kathryn Bigelow's heart was in the right place and it's a good movie, but I wouldn't call it Best Picture.

BevfromNYC said...

Actually, Scott, yes, I won't see Iron Man 2 because of Clooney's politics. As a matter of fact, I DO vote with my wallet. If some Hollywood limo-liberal wants to spout off some stupid thing I don't agree with, I do not support any projects that they are connected to and with. It's just that simple. My list has grown very long and honestly, I am not missing much.

They all have a right to their opinion and they have a right to speak freely. And I will defend to the death their right to speak out. But there is a price that someone else has paid for that freedom and it hasn't been Bono, or Tom Hanks, or Susan Saradon, or Tim Robbins, or Danny Glover, or Sean Penn, or the list goes on and on.

Fitting seeing that it's Memorial Day weekend and all. Of course our President is skipping the Memorial Day wreath laying to take a vacation. Even though there were soldiers killed in Afghanistan last week...

Anonymous said...

Bev - I could've written it a little better but Clooney has nothing to do with IM2. It was just an example. That's also what I was getting at with the whole guilt by association thing.

I know one reader on BH pretty much boycotts every movie because George Clooney once starred in an offensive film called Syriana. If I made a patriotic entertaining movie like IM2, I'd think to myself, "Hey, what did we do? We have nothing to do with Clooney." Again, just an example.

I've noticed it's Fleet Week in NYC. My cousin is in the Navy but no one in the family is sure where he is (very hush hush, I guess). :-) And he doesn't keep us posted very often.

Anonymous said...

One last question... is it that you disagree with what they say or the method in which they choose to say it? Lest anyone forget, Hollywood has had plenty of left-leaning types throughout it's history. But they were also well-mannered and didn't demonize people either.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, First, I'm not calling for a boycott.

Secondly, I'm not saying that these people are brought down by boycotts. What I'm saying is that there appears to be a correlation between overt far-left politics and the collapse of careers. I think the reason for the correlation is that average Americans simply decide that they are no longer interested in seeing these people.

And on that point, let me make two points. (1) I can guarantee you that you would make the same decision under certain circumstances. For example, if actor X came out as a KKK member and kept appearing on the news making anti-Semitic comments, I'm pretty sure that you would stop seeing their films -- especially if they snuck their politics into their films. What I'm talking about is no different, except that you don't think the politics of a Penn or Clooney are harsh enough that people should feel that way (but, that's an individual decision made by millions of Americans, who apparently do think so).

(2) People turn against actors for many reasons. Posing nude can lose you part of an audience. A nasty, public divorce can turn people against you. Kathy Gifford was destroyed because her clothing line was made by child labor. Jimmy the Greek went down because he said that blacks were bred to be better athletes. Lindsey Lohan has gone down because she's a drugged out freak. Ditto on choosing the wrong roles and getting type-cast. Who would hire Michael Ironside as a love interest for example? So I don't think public political statements are any different. Politics is no different.

So, Third, yes, I do think people would skip Iron Man 2 if Sean Penn were cast in a major role. For example, if he replaced Robert Downey, I think you would see their revenues collapse and the reason would be the many people who simply are done with Penn.

Fourth, I think you're reading too much into the "boycott Hollywood" talk. I don't know anyone sane who means boycott all of Hollywood. What they are talking about is boycotting Hollywood products that are offensive with their values. For most people, there is little that falls into that category, but there is some. And I think the actors mentioned in this article have probably crossed that line. "Hollywood" is simply shorthand.

Fifth, we don't live in a black and white world and there are likely many contributing causes to the slide in these people's careers. But that doesn't eliminate the common element of far-left politicizing. I have chosen these examples because they are the most obvious.

Finally, the verdict on Hurt Locker is in -- $21.3 million. It may be a good movie or it may not, but the public has decided not to see it. And I think the reason is that the public has decided that it has no interest in movies that are likely to be far-left Hollywood politics. And given the track record on Iraq, these films are presumed guilty at this point and nothing is going to change that.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, You are not alone. I personally tend to see most movies no matter who is in it, but MANY people I know do skip films that have people in it they don't like. And the main reason they don't like certain actors is politics.

I think this comes from the fact that people want to associate with actors. They want to like the heroes and hate the bad guys, and it's hard to do that when you don't like the actor playing the good guy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Andrew.

I know my boycott remarks kinda came out of left field but it's Friday, it's early, and my brain works in mysterious ways. :-) I also apologize if my original comment came off as too snarky. And I suppose you're correct - if actor X said in an interview that Hitler was right (an extreme example, I know), then I would be less inclined to see that person's stuff.

I also agree with your second point (and I did not know that about Kathy Lee... not that I was a huge fan of hers to begin with!). As for Ms. Lohan, her current situation makes Mean Girls seem like a distant memory.

As for Penn and IM2, I almost used that as an example in a post on BH the other day. Studio execs are a lot of things but none would be stupid enough to cast someone as self-righteous and smug as Penn in the role of an American action hero.

As for your boycott point, it's something I wear on my sleeve (a flaw, I know) and I admit it's easy for me to read all the bad comments without reading the ones in between. Unfortunately, "Hollywood" is a convenient shorthand.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Syriana offended me because it stunk. ;-) I thought the politics was pretty pedestrian and obvious. I have no idea why Clooney et al. thought they were saying something original or interesting.

But I'll give you an example of a Clooney movie that bothered me politically -- The Men Who Stare At Goats. This was advertised as a quirky comedy, almost like a Cohen Brothers film. But it started off stupid and disjointed and then halfway through turned into a "look how bad the Americans are in Iraq" statement. That annoyed me so much that I almost didn't finish it.

As for guilt by association, I agree that it's unfair. But that's life. The producers of these films have chosen to put a person into the role that will offend people. Everyone else involved in that film will pay the price for that decision -- just as innocent employees lose their jobs (and pensions) when a company like Enron blows up because a few guys at the top were rotten.

You could make the same point about every human action. Not every German supported the Nazis, but every German got their cities flattened during WWII. Not every Arizonan supports the new law, but every Arizonan could be affected by these boycotts (if they actually work). I didn't vote for Obama, but now my health care is about to be wiped out because others did. That's life.

BevfromNYC said...

Scott - If you've never seen the ships come in, it is very cool! The sailors all ring to deck in full salute! It makes me cry every time. Especially since my office looks down on Ground Zero.

If you are asking me, it is both the method and what they say. So to have some idiot shake hands with Saddam and Hugo and then denigrate the US? Since I can't call a press conference to air my grievances, I speak out in the only way we meer mortals can, with my wallet. You see, money talks loudly. So if they want my money, they should shut the hell up.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, No problem, no offense taken. Trust me, as a lawyer, you develop a very thick skin -- so little bothers me.

As I say in the article, I don't know for a fact that this is what happening, but I see the correlation and I suspect that it is. I think that the fact (which you point out) that Hollywood is careful not to cast someone like Penn in a role like IM2 reinforces that because obviously Hollywood sees the same correlation and decides not to take any chances when casting major films.

As for "Hollywood" being shorthand, it is. It's the same thing as "Washington" or "Wall Street". These are simply shorthand that people use for ease of conversation and it's always important to dig deeper and find out exactly what they mean when they use these terms.

BevfromNYC said...

Lindsey Lohan's career has gone down the toilet because she is uninsurable. Producers won't cast her because they can't afford to. (Money talks...).

Robert Downey had the same problem until he finally got his act together and even at that it took some brave producers to take a chance. And thank God they did because he is an extraordinary actor.

Anonymous said...

Andrew - that would make a good Film Friday column: "What ever happened to...?" :-)

Not so much for people like Lohan (who's still clinging to some semblance of life) but other people who were thought to be the next big thing but for whatever reason, it didn't happen.

I agree with Bev - Downey is a great actor who thankfully managed to clean up his life and image.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, As I said above, there are many reasons that careers go down. And some involve the producer end and some involve the public end, and some involve both.

Right now, Lohan's career is dead on the producer end. But I suspect that her career might be dead on the public end as well. She's become such a disaster that I suspect many people no longer want to see her in anything because all they will think of is the nasty girl with the meth-addict look running people over and sneaking in and out of rehab.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That might make an interesting column. You looking for something to write over the summer?

Anonymous said...

Uh... sure...? :-)

I'd have to do a little research, plus it's really subjective. Just like the "guilty pleasure movies" column I hope to see one day.

Now I wish I hadn't thrown out all my old issues of Cinescape Magazine. When it was around, they used to feature articles on up and coming actors and looking back on them now, I'm sure I'd be thinking, "Who?" People like Julia Ormond or Casper van Dien (who wasn't a good actor to begin with but could easily headline cheese like Prince of Persia or Clash of the Titans).

But we're veering off-topic. If indeed film execs are choosing NOT to hire people like Glover and Penn, then that's a good thing, right? They should get some credit for that and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before someone says, "Matt Damon's not too popular anymore. Pass."

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's the point to my article. As I note, I'm not calling for a boycott, I'm just observing that as these people make overt far-left or anti-American political statements, the public begins to shy away from them. As their movies make less money, they become toxic. Soon producers don't want to touch them and their careers collapse.

Thus, my point is that being an overt liberal can be just as fatal in Hollywood as being a conservative, it's just a different mechanism. Whereas conservatives are kept out on the front end (by producers), liberals will eventually be tossed out on the back end (by the public).

That's my theory and that seems to fit what I'm seeing.

Unknown said...

Andrew: The last time I saw Tim Robbins in a movie, he was free-falling toward the surface of Mars and about to be burnt to a cinder in the Martian atmosphere. I stood up and cheered! If Gary Sinise hadn't been the actual star of the movie, I wouldn't even have watched it.

Bev: I'll miss Fleet Week here in San Francisco for the first time in twenty years. We've always had a table at the Breitling booth, so we could watch the fleet and get a perfect view of the Blue Angels. That is one thing I will truly miss, although the cat won't miss the jets flying just above roof level here at the apartment.

That said folks, Good Bye, So Long, Aug Wiedersehen, Adieu. I AM OUTTA HERE ! See you all some time next week.

Anonymous said...

Lawhawk -

Mission to Mars... not a good movie. And terrible overacting on Robbins' part.

Re: your move, to quote Airplane!: "Good luck. We're all counting on you." :-)

BevfromNYC said...

BTW, Scott, I would never ask anyone to boycott any movie or event. It is my personal choice. There are hundreds of hard working people (and some of them personal friends) who work on these movies. But that's also the problem. The "stars" who speak out don't understand that it's not just their overpaid selves on the line.

People like Lohan are in the papers because they WANT to be. Publicists are paid good money to would keep them in (and out) of the public eye.

BevfromNYC said...

Bye LawHawk! See you when you're fully formed into FarmerHawk. Have a good move.

Oh, and you know that box that's got all the drawer junk in it (Don't lie, we've all have a least one of those boxes). Just throw it will never get unpacked...;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Later Lawhawk, Good luck with the move!

I know several people who stopped watching Robbins after Bob Roberts -- which I actually enjoyed, though I think Robbins didn't realize how bad he made the left look in that film (like the hate-filled fake SNL crew).

I personally haven't stopped watching any actor for political reasons, though I do have a hard time divorcing their political views in some instances. And I do know many people who have stopped watching certain actors.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I like that -- FarmerHawk! LOL!

Scott, I sent you an e-mail.

Anonymous said...

Bev -

I understand. :-) In my posts on BH and elsewhere, I always try to mention the behind the scenes folks: the grips, the gaffers, the PAs... the ones who you don't read about because they are simply hard working people and the jobs aren't "sexy" enough.

Andrew -

I've never seen Bob Roberts but I probably will one day. I remember seeing a rerun of an episode of SNL that Robbins hosted sometime in the 90s (to promote the film) and I swear the monologue was cut. Per the message, it was because of some bad things he said about GE. That company can't get a break! Read more here.

(And oddly enough, that was also the episode where Sinead O'Connor tore up the picture of the Pope.)

P.S. E-mail received and replied to!

Unknown said...

Bev and Andrew: Careful, kids. I can still pick up messages and view the blog on my smart phone (at least until tomorrow night). FarmerHawk, indeed. Actually, I kinda like it. My grandfather who had the farm in Illinois would be proud of me! But then, he was arrested twice on suspicion of being a German saboteur during WW I. Maybe I shouldn't be making that connection. LOL

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

I agree Andrew--fair or not, Hollywood as a whole has acquired a reputation of being anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Republican. And fair or not, I pretty much shun modern movies and TV series. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie in a movie theater. All movies, and even TV series, I watch via my Netflix subscription.

It's not just specific actors and actresses either, but the content of so many movies and programs that repeatedly offend Americans like myself. For example, I am a fan of the Showtime series "Dexter". For some reason, in season 4, they started to randomly inject a lot of political slams on conservatives and Republicans. Here are just two examples:

One of the characters casually says to her boyfriend, "Did you remember to TiVo Jon Stewart?" Hmmm. Why don't I ever hear a character say, "Did you remember to download Rush 24/7?" You wouldn't--in a million years--ever hear this.

In another episode, the "killer" is walking his dog down the street and chats up a woman. The woman asks the dog's name. The killer says it's "Checkers" (Nixon's dog). He explains that his parents were both staunch Republicans. The woman replies, "Well, nobody's perfect." Again, when is the last time you heard a liberal or Democrat made fun of in any mainstream series or movie? It just doesn't happen, period.

I was just watching some "Soap" reruns the other night, and there was a conversation between Burt and Mary where the laughingly concluded that "Republicans don't have sex." So this ridicule of conservatives has been going on for a very long time.

Fair or not, conservatives like me have had it with Hollywood as a whole and we aren't giving them any of our money anymore.

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, That's absolutely your right and I think your reaction is very rational. Why give money to people who insult you?

And I think that your reaction is being played out in millions of homes across the country every day, which is what makes me think that it is the politics that is ruining these careers. All of which makes me wonder if Hollywood will take note (or if they already have) and if they will start to shun the people who have angered middle America?

I also fully understand what you mean by being fed up with Hollywood. My whole life Hollywood has produced movies that have taken little shots at the things I believe. I found it annoying, but tolerable. For example, the Soap comment is annoying, but it's not enough to really bother me -- it's about what I would expect from "good natured ribbing" (except that they never do the same to the left).

But in the past 15-20 years, the politics has gotten very, very nasty. It's gotten to the point that I really no longer like people like Sean Penn (and I was a fan), just because of the nasty things he keeps saying about my country and my beliefs.

So I think in the end, the problem is that many of these people have simply gone too far. And, apparently, they are starting to pay a price for that.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Andrew, you're right--one little jab here or there would be fine, and especially if both sides of the political aisle got equal treatment. I can take a little ribbing. But it's the constant onslaught that has me fed up. I even recall in one episode of Heroes where a character praised Che Guevara. No kidding.

I now carefully choose the programs I watch as a result. I wouldn't have even watched Heroes or Lost except that they came highly recommended by one or more friends or family members. I may also be losing out on some good quality entertainment, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.

As for Sean Penn, I liked him a lot too. I liked him in the silly Fast Times... and in some of his later more serious stuff. But he's ruined his own reputation with me. I wouldn't touch any of his work going forward.

StanH said...

I’m all for a boycott, in fact as a conservative businessman I know our real strength lies in our ability to spend, or not. If I were the king of conservatives, I would publicly and directly organize our spending habits to cripple any anti-American entity, and you can be assured, that boardrooms across America will let out a resounding…”oh shit!”

As far as Hollywood closing down because of boycotts, that ain’t gonna happen, they’ll simply modify their behavior, and keep their politics to themselves, where they should be!

As far as music is concerned “The Dixie Chicks,” ruined themselves making anti-American comments overseas during war time, so it does get musicians as well.

As a reformed counter culturist (Carter cured me) from the ‘60s and ‘70s I still like a good antiwar movie, Dr. Strangelove, MASH, Catch-22, Slaughterhouse-5, even Apocalypse Now, and then downhill, Coming Home, Deer Hunter, …flash forward to crap like, Jarhead, Green Zone, etc. and what you have is anti-American tripe and I wont abide it, especially with my dollars.

So your premise Andrew, being to liberal can hurt your movie career, is a yes!

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, I think that a lot more business than people realize is conducted on the basis of friend and family recommendation. If something is offensive, I know that my friends and family tell each other very quickly and that's usually enough to keep most of them from watching.

The last Penn movie that I recall really liking him in (though the movie was a little odd) was U-Turn. Since then, his career hasn't interested me much. And the more political he's gotten, the less interested I became. At this point, I have no interest in seeing him in anything.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I think you're right about Hollywood. They didn't get to where they are by ignoring consumers. And if people do stop seeing films with messages they don't like, it won't take too long before Hollywood shifts gears and removes those messages. That's how every other industry works, so there's no reason why Hollywood would be any different.

I also agree that there was a big difference between anti-war movies and the current crop of anti-American movies. Dr. Strangelove, for example, never picked a side and said -- "those evil Americans are just war mongers," which is exactly what a lot of the Iraq movies are doing.

You're right about the Dixie Chicks, and they whined too that it wasn't fair when it happened. But they had the choice to speak or shut up. They exercised their right to speak. And the public exercised their right to ignore them. That's how democracy works.

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