Are enough Catholics still pro-Life for Obama’s game-playing to matter?

I have some familiarity with Church history and doctrine, owing to my background as a European history major.  I am woefully ignorant, however, about modern Catholicism — or, more specifically, modern American Catholicism.  I therefore have a question for those of you who are Catholic:  Does it matter to a critical mass of American Catholics that Obama is sponsoring a health care plan that requires Americans to pay for abortion and that he is lying about that fact?  Kathryn Jean Lopez thinks it matters a lot:

[T]he loss of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, one of the most prominent Catholic politicians in the United States, a leading proponent of the president’s health-care-reform push, should not obscure a pivotal fact: Barack Obama has put himself at war with the Catholic Church.

[snip]

On August 11, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives about the health-care legislation under consideration. He highlighted legislative language that would open the door to taxpayer-funded abortions. He pointed out that when amendments were introduced this summer that would have protected against this — would have protected life — they were shot down. That’s a bad precedent. If that’s how life fares when the C-SPAN cameras are on, what happens when it comes time for the behind-closed-doors compromises?

[snip]

On August 11, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives about the health-care legislation under consideration. He highlighted legislative language that would open the door to taxpayer-funded abortions. He pointed out that when amendments were introduced this summer that would have protected against this — would have protected life — they were shot down. That’s a bad precedent. If that’s how life fares when the C-SPAN cameras are on, what happens when it comes time for the behind-closed-doors compromises?

I agree with everything Lopez says — and I believe that Catholics who hold to the tenets of her faith will agree with her. I just wonder how many of those Catholics are left in America. I’m not talking about people who just say they’re Catholic, but people who actually believe this issue matters. Can you tell me how many of those people there are?  I know there were a lot in the 60s and 70s, but are they still around?  Or are the majority of Catholics people who pay lip service to these doctrines but don’t really belive that they apply to life in America?

The problem with the Left is that they’ve been inhaling

I’m too much of a self-control freak ever to have been attracted to recreational drugs (or even alcohol, for that matter).  Add to that the fact that my first childhood memories involve the Haight-Ashbury after the Summer of Love fell apart, when the neighborhood had turned into one giant, drug-ridden tenderloin district, and you’ll appreciate that I have little patience for drug use.  I’m especially hostile to marijuana, because its users commit the ultimate sin — they become boring.  Indeed, I remember one of our family friends, who had been a total hippie in the 60s and 70s who turned her back on the whole scene precisely because that fact — marijuana’s profound boringness — was shoved in her face.

It seems that, one day, she and a friend got seriously stoned and started having a very important and meaningful conversation about world peace and other exciting subjects.  So profound were their insights that they determined to preserve them for posterity.  To that end, they dug out her tape recorder, hit the record button, and let themselves talk.  The next day, play-back revealed what really happened:  “Man . . . that is so, like, deep, you know?  ‘Cause, like, if you do that, everybody would have a giant love fest, you know?  Yeah.  .  . .  Awesome.  . . . Totally . . . awesome.”  After realizing that she had recorded over an hour of this mindless crap, she swore off pot forever.

I thought of my friend’s long ago experience when I read Leigh Scott’s brilliant insight about the Left:  They’re all stoned.  As Scott explains:

Stoners always think that they are smarter than they really are. Copious amounts of THC trick the brain into thinking that the most banal thought is somehow a stroke of genius. Just watch a bunch of stoners debate philosophy and metaphysics. The most ridiculous comments take on the gravitas of a Stephen Hawking thesis. Morons think that they are Michio Kaku after a towering bong hit.

Stoners live for the moment. They are all about feelings, not facts. They possess a detached sense of cause and effect.

That rather perfectly sums up both the stoner and the liberal world view.  You should definitely read the whole thing.

Disheartening times — by guestblogger Lulu

I have felt a great heaviness and sadness this week. Five separate news stories have been an unpleasant reminder about how depraved and amoral the human being can be and how elusive is justice.

Like many others, the death of Ted Kennedy has reminded me of his culpability in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. I read about what happened — something I really had never done thoroughly before — and I was disgusted by his actions, by his apparent disinterest in her terrible suffering, and by the media covering up of it all. I was revolted at the passing mention of the event by the MSM as if he was responsible for causing an inconvenience, not a slow death of an innocent person. Mary Jo had no justice and people forgot her because her negligent and indifferent companion was a protected elite.

The next horrible story concerned the verdict in the sadistic and beyond horrific murders of the young, carjacked couple in Knoxville. Tennessee. The known details of their torture and suffering are too awful to recount. What is worse is how the media chose to under-report this story. Usually they lap up extreme tragedies involving young and attractive white youth, but apparently not when their rapists, torturers and murderers are among the oppressed. So, very few know about this true modern-day southern lynching while the completely fabricated Duke Lacrosse story was everywhere. It is not a hate crime and Obama doesn’t “meddle” here about race relations. And life in prison with the possibility of early release is no justice. If this crime doesn’t deserve the death penalty I don’t know what does. The torturer/murderers were spared because they belong to a persecuted minority underclass protected group.

Third is the awful tale of Jaycee Dugard kidnapped at her bus stop and held for 18 years by her mentally ill captors as a sex slave while the police department and justice system utterly failed her. Why was a known high-risk rapist who told police he preferred forced sex ever released from prison early? Those who made this decision are culpable in Jaycee’s ordeal. One can only imagine the psychological horrors that kept her there all these years and the nightmarish life she and her daughters were subjected to. I cannot imagine the long journey to some semblance of normalcy they will face. I wish them all good therapy and loving family. It is hard to fathom what evil and cruel indifference is necessary to steal and rape a child and to hold her captive.Here is another case in which the death penalty is deserved in my opinion, but will never be carried out. Will this monster ever be freed again?

Fourth is the tale of Gilad Shalit. Who knows what kind of condition he has been kept in all these years and under what circumstances, The world doesn’t expect civilized behavior form the Palestinians yet they demand Israel show a super-human restraint. The International Red Cross is indifferent, the Palestinians are pitied, and there is no justice for Gilad.

Finally, what started the whole week; the despicable release of the Lockerbie bomber by Scotland and the UK for “humanitarian” reasons, and if it could be worse, now it seems that a deal was struck with Libya for oil. No justice for the victims and their families.

Too many stories of innocents suffering the unspeakable, the guilty are treated with a compassion the victims didn’t receive, and a misguided sense of compassion makes change so difficult.

And this email doesn’t even mention the Kennedy treason issue

Kennedy’s treasonous conduct in the 1980s is finally getting some play (see here and here, for example), but this email is a sufficient indictment of the “liberal lion” even without the treason. Honest to God, you’d think that Democrats would want to elevate a different standard bearer for their party:

As soon as his cancer was detected, I noticed the immediate attempt at the “canonization” of old Teddy Kennedy by the mainstream media. They are saying what a “great American” he is. I say, let’s get a couple things clear & not twist the facts to change the real history.

1. He was caught cheating at Harvard when he attended it. He was expelled twice, once for cheating on a test, and once for paying a classmate to cheat for him.

2. While expelled, Kennedy enlisted in the Army, but mistakenly signed up for four years instead of two. Oops! The man can’t count to four!  His father, Joseph P. Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador to England (a step up from bootlegging liquor into the US from Canada during prohibition), pulled the necessary strings to have his enlistment shortened to two years, and to ensure that he served in Europe, not Korea , where a war was raging. No preferential treatment for him! (like he charged that President Bush received).

3. Kennedy was assigned to Paris, never advanced beyond the rank of Private, and returned to Harvard upon being discharged. Imagine a person of his “education” NEVER advancing past the rank of Private!

4. While attending law school at the University of Virginia , he was cited for reckless driving four times, including once when he was clocked driving 90 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood with his headlights off after dark. Yet his Virginia driver’s license was never revoked. Coincidentally, he passed the bar exam in 1959. Amazing!

5. In 1964, he was seriously injured in a plane crash, and hospitalized for several months. Test results done by the hospital at the time he was admitted had shown he was legally intoxicated. The results of those tests remained a “state secret” until in the 1980′s when the report was unsealed. Didn’t hear about that from the unbiased media, did we?

6. On July 19, 1969, Kennedy attended a party on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts . At about 11:00 PM, he borrowed his chauffeur’s keys to his Oldsmobile limousine, and offered to give a ride home to Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign worker. Leaving the island via an unlit bridge with no guard rail, Kennedy steered the car off the bridge, flipped, and into Poucha Pond.

7. He swam to shore and walked back to the party, passing several houses and a fire station. Two friends then returned with him to the scene of the accident. According to their later testimony, they told him what he already knew – that he was required by law to immediately report the accident to the authorities. Instead Kennedy made his way to his hotel, called his lawyer, and went to sleep. Kennedy called the police the next morning and by then the wreck had already been discovered. Before dying, Kopechne had scratched at the upholstered floor above her head in the upside-down car. The Kennedy family began “calling in favors”, ensuring that any inquiry would be contained. Her corpse was whisked out-of-state to her family, before an autopsy could be conducted. Further details are uncertain, but after the accident Kennedy says he repeatedly dove under the water trying to rescue Kopechne and he didn’t call police because he was in a state of shock. It is widely assumed Kennedy was drunk, and he held off calling police in hopes that his family could fix the problem overnight.. Since the accident, Kennedy’s “political enemies” have referred to him as the distinguished Senator from Chappaquiddick. He pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and was given a SUSPENDED SENTENCE OF TWO MONTHS. Kopechne’s family received a small payout from the Kennedy’s insurance policy, and never sued. There was later an effort to have her body exhumed and autopsied, but her family successfully fought against this in court, and Kennedy’s family paid their attorney’s bills… a “token of friendship”?

8. Kennedy has held his Senate seat for more than forty years, but considering his longevity, his accomplishments seem scant. He authored or argued for legislation that ensured a variety of civil rights, increased the minimum wage in 1981, made access to health care easier for the indigent, and funded Meals on Wheels for fixed-income seniors and is widely held as the “standard-bearer for liberalism”. In his very first Senate roll, he was the floor manager for the bill that turned U.S. immigration policy upside down and opened the floodgate for immigrants from third world countries.

9. Since that time, he has been the prime instigator and author of every expansion of an increase in immigration, up to and including the latest attempt to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Not to mention the pious grilling he gave the last two Supreme Court nominees, as if he was the standard bearer for the nation in matters of “what’s right”. What a pompous ass!

10. He is known around Washington as a public drunk, loud, boisterous and very disrespectful to ladies. JERK is a better description than “great American”. “A blonde in every pond” is his motto.

Let’s not allow the spin doctors make this jerk a hero — how quickly the American public forgets what his real legacy is. Let’s keep this going for truth, justice and the American way!

Will the Black Panthers, encouraged by Eric Holders’ decision to dismiss charges against them, go to new levels of intimidation?

During the November 2008 election, Black Panthers appeared on video standing in front of polling places with billy clubs:

Eric Holder, however, was unconcerned, and dropped the voter intimidation case against the Black Panthers.  Having learned that they get a free pass for egregious behavior antithetical to democratic government gets a free pass, I wonder if, in 2010, the Panthers will take the whole thing to the next level.  In Afghanistan, for example, the Taliban has voter intimidation down to an art:

Lal Mohammad was determined to stand against Taliban threats and exercise his right to vote in Afghanistan’s presidential election.

But he now regrets his defiance.

These horrifying pictures show a fearful Mohammad recovering after he was ambushed by Taliban fighters as he walked to a polling station last week.

The 40-year-old farmer was beaten and mutilated. The Taliban cut off his ears and part of his nose in the shocking attack.

To date, the Panthers have been pikers.  With the Obama wind at their back, though, who knows how far they’ll go?

A graphic argument regarding health insurance

The original video says that socialized medicine is great:

The rebuttal interlineated video shows all the errors in the argument:

I want to throw two more things into the mix:  First, the fact that, in a head-on comparison, the government is vastly more inefficient, dollar-for-dollar, than private business — and that’s despite the dreaded profits.

Second, in the September 2009 issue of Commentary Magazine (not yet available online, even in bits and pieces), there is a marvelous articulate about the perverse result from too much insurance and government protection:  People take greater risks.  For example, an economic study shows that insurance that is not tied to weight control causes increased obesity in consumers.  Likewise, another study shows that the safer the car, the more reckless the driving.  Universal health, which takes away the natural market tension between the insured and even the most decent insurer, will give people a no harm, no foul approach to their own health management.  As for me, I saw this when I lived in England.  People treated themselves cavalierly, because they knew ever foul thing they did to their body would ultimately be treated, for free, even if they had to wait days, weeks or months for that treatment.

Hollywood patriotism circa the 1940s

Apropos my post about patriotism during Hollywood’s golden age, Bruce Kesler sent me this great video showing both Jimmy Cagney and Mickey Rooney doing their George M. Cohan impressions:

Since I’m an avid fan of old musicals, I may, for a few days, scatter throughout my posts video links to patriotic songs and dances from Hollywood’s old days.

Jimmy Cagney, by the way, was an ardent, some might say extreme, Democrat.  It’s no coincidence that in two of his films — Footlight Parade and Yankee Doodle Dandy — Franklin Roosevelt made cameo appearances.  Still, Cagney’s movies never deviated from showing a true love of country, warts and all.  My earlier post wasn’t meant to pretend that there weren’t Leftists in Hollywood or that Hollywood didn’t crank out a few pro-Communist, pro-Soviet movies.  These were the minority, though, and did not reflect the overarching trend in movies, which was affection for America.

Controlling the budget

If I ran for office, whether state or federal, my promise to my constituents would be to cut one government program per month for my entire term of office.  The New Editor reminds me that another useful promise might be to cut wages as well, to make them commensurate with the market sector.  Of course, unlike the private sector, which cuts wages or the number of employees instantly in response to market forces, the government is completely inflexible and unadaptive.  Because of the bureaucracy behind every hiring and wage decision, what’s done cannot be undone.

Vera Lynn — a hit again

I am extremely fond of Vera Lynn’s music.  I was therefore delighted to read that (a) she is still alive and, at 92, looking wonderful and (b) she is still a chart topping hit in England:

Dame Vera Lynn yesterday became the oldest living artist to make it into the Top Twenty.

At the age of 92, she entered the albums chart with We’ll Meet Again – The Very Best of Vera Lynn.

The album was released to coincide with the 70th anniversary on Thursday of the declaration of war.

Entering the charts at number 20, she overtook U2, the Stone Roses and Eminem.

A spokesman for her record company Decca said: ‘She has proven that music of this vintage and significance can still resonate with the British public.’

The forces sweetheart kept up the spirits of millions of Britons with her songs and personality during the Second World War.

Read the rest here.

Here’s We’ll meet again, which is one of her best:

Hollywood’s perverted patriotism

Hollywood and the media establishment as a whole are inescapable parts of American and, indeed, world culture.  It’s fascinating, therefore, to think about the type of patriotism our American media now espouses and that which it embraced in the past.   Depending on how one defines patriotism, whether as love of country or love of a particular political leader, American media has always done its best to lead the way.

Typically, there are two types of patriotism, one of which I think is healthy and one of which is scary.  The healthy one is love of country.  I’m talking true love of country, the one that sees a citizen believing he is singularly blessed to live in his country.  Your citizen recognizes that his country has had — and still has — failings, but nonetheless thinks it’s the best game in town — and this is true whether he focuses on his personal freedoms, the economy, national security or social mores.  This patriot is completely distinguishable from those who have nothing good to say about their country, but can only recite an endless litany of its moral failings.  When the “patriots” focuses obsessively on his countries wrongs, periodically stopping to make that rote statement that “I love my country,” you see someone akin to the chronic wife beater, who always excuses his abuses by claiming that he’s doing it for his wife’s own good.  That’s not about love.  It’s about power and hatred.

The other type of patriotism is one that attaches itself to a leader.  These are the cults of personality, and I can’t think of one that hasn’t occured in the context of a totalitarian dictatorship.  (If I’m wrong, please enlighten me.)  Stalin in the Soviet Union, Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in German, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Mao in China, Kim Jong Il in Korea, Castro in Cuba, and Qaddafi in Libya are all perfect examples of this scenario.  In each case, a leader ascended to absolute power and the people, who may have been at first seduced by his demagoguery, ended up at sword-point being forced to worship him completely, to their own detriment and that of the state.  That is why it is always frightening when someone ascends to office based upon a personality cult, rather than based upon past accomplishments.

The early movie makers were, without exception, patriots who truly believed America was the best nation on earth.  This was true whether they were immigrants who escaped from oppression in other lands (e.g., Louis B. Mayer or Jack Warner), or came from America’s heartland (Walt Disney).  Even as they recognized America’s flaws — and recognize them they did, especially because flaws tend to make for good drama — their love for this country came through loud and clear in every movie they made.  MGM, especially under Louis B. Mayer, loved to present an idealized country in which an honest and free people would triumph, whether to music, laughter or tears.  Warner Brothers tended to focus on America’s noir nitty-gritty, but the good guys were the cops who saved decent citizens from those lowlifes who rejected the American dream in favor of crime or the soldiers who protected Americans from enemies abroad.  And then there’s Disney, with every movie somehow serving as the backdrop to a subliminal national anthem.

Early Hollywood’s deep love for country was never more clearly seen than during World War II, when every studio in Hollywood willingly bent its efforts to helping America win the war.  Whether churning out movies about the home front, about our Allies or our evil enemies, or about the bravery and sacrifice of our troops, each picture had a single goal:  to help Americans support the war effort so that America would achieve an absolute victory.  The same held true for written media and even popular song.  Women were reminded not to sit under the apple tree with anyone but their overseas love; soldiers were assured that, with a little praise for the Lord and a lot of ammunition, they would prevail; and every citizen was reminded to remember Pearl Harbor.

Early American TV also celebrated American virtues.  Family shows weren’t about dysfunction, with snotty kids putting inept and helpless parents firmly in their place.  Instead, no matter the show’s name (Leave it to Beaver, The Brady Bunch, The Ozzie and Harriet Show), the truth was that, in TV Land, Father (and Mother) always knew best.  And while these shows, in both tone and racial representation, may not have accurately reflected many of the homes in America, they nevertheless helped Americans aspire to be part of stable and loving families, with respectful, moral children.  As with early movies, TV shows through the early 1970s saw the nitty-gritty of America (again, it makes for good drama), but the American people, the ordinary families, the police officers, and the military, were the heroes, not the enemies.

Only in one area did old Hollywood deviate from the purer form of patriotism, and that was when it came to Roosevelt worshipo.  Generally speaking, old Hollywood movies shied away from blatant political statements, recognizing, no doubt, that their audience encompassed both Roosevelt lovers and haters.  Sometimes, though, a little propaganda was just too good to resist.  So it was that, in 1933, when Warner Brothers made Footlight Parade, starring James Cagney, neither Cagney, the studio, nor choreographer Busby Berkeley could resist including an homage to the WPA and Roosevelt in the wonderful grand finale, Shanghai Lil.  (The politics come in at about 2:15.)

Looking at this musical pièce de résistance now, over a distance of 76 years, the effect is not only visually spectacular (it is Busby Berkeley, after all), but tinged with an almost wholesome nostalgia.  I wonder, though, whether the more sophisticated crowd in 1933, who watched with horror as Roosevelt threw an already fragile economy into absolute chaos, was quite so charmed.

The years since John F. Kennedy have presented the spectacle of a media that entirely lacks the old-fashioned love of country that characterized early Hollywood.  Instead, modern media professes a wife-beater’s love for country, with films, magazines, books, television shows and songs that have been relentlessly hostile to American values, whether those values relate to economics, national security or old-fashioned societal morality.

On the economic front, in film after film after film, America is painted as an exploitative imperialist power, in thrall to shadowy corporations headed by evil white men.  A perfect example of this is 2005′s Syriana, a muddled mess with mega-watt star power.  If you have the stamina to try to sift through the inchoate plot, you learn that evil oil interests control the world.  The same year saw an equally muddled film with almost exactly the same plot:  The Constant Gardener. These movies, with their focus on the effect evil American corporations have on exploited Third Worlders abroad, were the natural successors to the two decade run of movies about the effect evil American corporations had poor Americans at home (think Norma Rae, Silkwood, and Erin Brockovich).

On the war front, Hollywood has been relentless in its attacks on American forces.  They are painted as brutish, stupid murders or innocent pawns, rather than people of intelligence, patriotism, bravery or integrity.  Again, examples abound.  The staggeringly dull and mean-spirited In the Valley of Elah (2007) is a case in point.  The IMDB plot summaries pretty much say it all.  One sums up the film as an example of “dirty little secrets with an impressive case of dehumanization caused by the invasion and consequent war in Iraq.”  The other explains that the movie shows “the failings of the military to adequately look out for the well-being of its soldiers.”  Valley of Elah is such a perfect example of Hollywood’s antipathy to the American military that I’ll stop here.  I know, though, that you can easily summon to mind other examples.

And then there are Hollywood’s most insidious attacks, those against mainstream American morality.  In 1999, the Hollywood establishment gave its best picture award to American Beauty, a bleak look at the depravity, ennui and despair that is, in Hollywood’s jaded eyes, Middle America.  That movie at least had the virtue of being up front in its challenge to American values.  As most parents will attest, though, the real problem is the dozens of movies coming out assuring America’s children that it’s totally okay to take drugs, drink, screw around, drop out of school and lie to ones parents.  Do this, and you will be amusing and very cool.

Even apparently innocuous movies such as The Sure Thing, which was ostensibly a remake of the delightful It Happened One Night, celebrate college drinking.  Its stars do it — so why shouldn’t you?  Then there’s one of my least favorite movies of all time, the one that left me with an abiding dislike for the heterosexual Tom Cruise:  Risky Business. It is almost impossible to imagine a more sordid movie than this tale of a high school student (played by a known teeny-bopper magnet) who turns his house into a brothel to raise cash, and then suffers (a term I use lightly) an eventual comeuppance that is minimal compared to his complete moral collapse.

Watch enough Hollywood movies — and people at home and abroad do — and the message you will receive is absolutely clear:  America is a despicable place, filled with despicable people who use its economic freedoms and its vast arsenal to enslave and destroy, both at home and abroad.  This is wife-beater patriotism.

While the entertainment world may show a wife-beater’s love for country, the opposite it true when it comes to Democratic presidents.  They are accorded a type of worship that skates eerily close to the state-mandated worship people in totalitarian regimes are required to show for their various “Dear” or “Great” leaders.  In Hollywood and Manhattan (the two geographic centers of American media) John F. Kennedy, a hawk and a fiscal conservative, has morphed into a Progressive politician who would have put his political life on the line for a socialist economy and a pacifist national security plan. Bill Clinton, a self-indulgent, sexually debauched leftist (although he had the good sense to move to the center when attacked) was portrayed on America’s TV screens as the innocent victim of sleazy attack politics launched either by white, male, corporate monsters or by white, male, Christian fanatics. And while he was never president, wannabe Teddy Kennedy on his death has been treated as a secular saint.  His unfortunate contretemps — cheating scandals, murder, treason, sexual debauchery and alcoholism — are presented as “flaws” and “mistakes” and “failings.”  The message to Americans, especially the young ones, is clear:  Feel free to kill, lie and cheat.  If your politics are pure and Progressive, we’ll always forgive you.

As for Barack Obama, I don’t even know where to begin with him.  Every mainstream TV show, whether news or gossip; every big time magazine, whether news, fashion or family; and every major newspaper, has focused relentlessly on the Obama personality cult.  The obsession with Obama’s wonderfulness has always been, of course, a necessary offset to the fact that his record, when not absent entirely, showed the kind of Leftist political extremism that would have frightened every ordinary American in flyover country (not to mention those in a few states and counties on either coast).  There is no better way to avoid his missing transcripts, his radical friendships and affiliates, his complete lack of executive experience, and his failed political initiatives than turning him into a cutting-edge red, white and blue poster; raving about his physical beauty (although I’ve always thought he looked more like Dopey than Depp); and announcing, based on the evidence of a single (possibly ghost-written) book that he was the second coming of Einstein in terms of intelligence.

Just as with Jesus, the secular faithful in the American media, those who hate the country but love the man, repeatedly told us that we could atone for our grievous sins as Americans by “coming to Obama.”  The Dear Leader would wash away our collective failings.  With this in mind, do not expect Hollywood to come out any time soon with Obama movies comparable to Nixon, The Reagans or W.  A movie about Obama is likely to be closer in emotional tone to The Passion of the Christ.

As always when it comes to Hollywood and television, it’s tempting to slough off its failings by say “it’s just entertainment.”  That’s the lazy way out, though.  With its spectacular reach, a reach that now extends around the world, and with its trained ability to drive messages home in the most entertaining way possible, what Hollywood does matters.  It shapes both foreign and domestic views of America (America is greedy and evil, and its own citizens hate it), and it warps our youth culture by assuring them that the most demeaning and debauched behavior is the surest way to popularity and success.

We can fight back, though.  Despite its chronic demonization of capitalism (the bad capitalism, of course, in the form of oil and manufacturing), the entertainment world is all about money.  We can vote with our feet.  Turn off shows or don’t pay for movies that offend your patriotism and your sense of values.  Also use social networking, such as twitter or facebook, to give your opinion of movies.  Just today, one of my facebook friends gave a succinct and very ugly review to Taking Woodstock, the latest Hollywood fairy-tale about the wonders of dirty hippies, mud, drugs and loud music.  His facebook friends may think twice about shelling out their hard-earned money on that movie.  We’ll never see Hollywood’s golden age again, but we don’t have to sit back silently and let the wife-beating, demagogue worshipping modern media have the last world.