Monday, May 30, 2005

Rove sends bouquet to Barbra Streisand

Did Karl Rove reprogram Barbra Streisand?

If Barbra Streisand could forward plan well enough to play chess with a six year old she might have a future in politics. Political competence requires that the participant think out the ramifications of actions and learn to lie with a straight face and without too many contradictions. One’s motives should be so obvious.
The decision of CBS to redirect the film, The Reagans, which is astonishingly offensive about every member of a very public family, is not a bad day for the 1st Amendment and free expression. It is a good day for civility and good taste. The offense level would have been much lower if Barbra and her funny friends had made a movie about, say, George Bush being lifted up to heaven in a final rapture as Armageddon is fought out on the plain beneath him. It would also have been much more on point and inject some humor into the ongoing horror movie of American foreign policy.
She is also wrong about who is offended. This is not a right-wing plot. It is not even a Neocon plot; though they will certainly try to use it for their own ends. I am sure that Karl Rove will begin buying Barbra’s albums in thanks.
This was a spontaneous eruption of outrage against extreme bad manners and a level of nastiness that offends individuals at all points of the political spectrum. Compare it to the recent recall, or to the sentiments expressed with Prop. 13. The Dixie Chicks are doing well now because the viewpoint they expressed is now very much in America’s main stream.
Americans are not stupid. They mostly ignore government because it is such a monumental waste of time, but they do notice when it gets too big for its britches and when ensuing events clarify the motives of those in power they will change their minds.
Ronald Reagan was a good man with some flaws. None of us is perfect. His last public act was to use his own illness to encourage support for those also inflicted with Alzheimer’s. He didn’t do that to get votes he did it to use his own pain and suffering to ease the burden of others.
I never voted for Ronald Reagan. I disagreed with him politically over and over again. But I am still offended; not only by this movie but by the stupidity and cowardly dissembling I see in Ms. Streisand and those involved in this production.
Ms. Streisand should learn from her mistake, apologize and move on.
This is clearly a very political movie aimed at impacting the public perception of a man who has become an icon not just for Republicans but for the many Democrats who also voted for him. What they wanted to do was impact Republican loyalty at the beginning of the presidential campaign period. But they should have taken on the present administration instead of a family who needs our love and support through a long agony.
Ronald Reagan projected an image of tough goodness and honesty. This made him unusual in politics because in his case it wasn’t just image. Ms. Streisand is handicapped in her attempts because so many people in Hollywood and in California knew him well.
I never voted for him but along with many thousands of others I saw his behavior over a long period of years not through photo-ops orchestrated at disasters for the media but through personal experience. He had sprightly conversations with my daughter on the phone when he called my Dad, who worked with him through his position at the University of California occasionally. His last conflict with my daughter, fought out near his ranch in Santa Barbara, over the propriety of making war on larcenous gum machines was one war Reagan lost. (see Raspberry Gumballs and the President)
The public may be appeased by having the use of the film shifted to a smaller audience. Maybe. The NeoCons, those right-wing crazies who are neither right wing or crazy but actually unprincipled and canny, will doubtless use this in attempts to stifle appropriate protests against a foreign policy that is leading us into a generation of war aimed at lining the pockets of a subset of corporations owned or controlled by their cronies. In that regard one could wonder if Karl Rove actually wrote the screenplay for this public relations disaster. If not I bet he wished he had.

1 comment:

Roberto de Sonora said...

This is a small world indeed! I grew up in Calabasas near Malibu Lake where Ron and Nancy used to have a small place with a couple of horses.

Ron used to hire local kids to clean out the horse stalls now and then. I never got the chance, but Every kid who did thought the world of him.

Fast forward 20 years, my lefty mother-in-law drops the ball that her first teaching job in Pacific Palisades was at an exclusive private boarding school. Hollywood so called celebs and actors would drop off their kids and forget them.

The ONLY exception was on Friday afternoons, Ron Reagan would pick up Michael and they would be together for the weekend.

Lots of kids in the Hollywood scene were not so fortunate...