And then a friend lobs me a link from the American Spectator, which should have told me something to begin with, and I read it, and I thought, "Ben Stein, you're such a freaking tool." Because he's up in arms over the lack of overt patriotism at the Oscars.
I did not see every second of it, but my wife did, and she joins me in noting that there was not one word of tribute, not one breath, to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan or to their families or their widows or orphans. There were pitifully dishonest calls for peace -- as if the people we are fighting were interested in any peace for us but the peace of the grave. But not one word for the hundreds of thousands who have served and are serving, not one prayer or moment of silence for the dead and maimed.
No. Not a single word. Yes, there were plenty of dishonest calls for peace from people who, like, made some crappy movie about gangs in South Africa, and from some chick in some dumb movie about gardening that I didn't even see, because who cares about gardening; I mean, what do they know? And, more importantly, how dare they speak their own minds without giving equal time to alternative viewpoints in the middle of their acceptance speeches? Hardly fair and balanced, y'all. Stupid liberal Hollywood elite.
Basically, the sad truth is that Hollywood does not think of itself as part of America, and so, to Hollywood, the war to save freedom from Islamic terrorists is happening to someone else. It does not concern them except insofar as it offers occasion to mock or criticize George Bush. They live in dreamland and cannot be gracious enough to thank the men and women who pay with their lives for the stars' ability to live in dreamland. This is shameful.
I can't even tell you how much these people cheese me off. After everything that our troops have done for them, and they didn't even take a single sudden and completely arbitrary moment of their completely military-unrelated self-congratulatory ceremony for a moment of random patriotism? What gives?
You know who else ticks me off? Sesame Street. When was the last time Big Bird stopped mid-sentence and said, "And while I have you all here, let me take a moment to thank our brave men and women in uniform, who make it possible for me to teach children about the letter R." Big Bird? Big chicken, more like.
The brave guy in Hollywood will be the one who says that this is a fabulously great country where we treat gays, blacks, and everyone else as equal. The courageous writer in Hollywood will be the one who says the oil companies do their best in a very hostile world to bring us energy cheaply and efficiently and with a minimum of corruption. The producer who really has guts will be the one who says that Wall Street, despite its flaws, has done the best job of democratizing wealth ever in the history of mankind.
You tell 'em, Ben Stein! You tell those elite Hollywood 'mos out there that we have achieved complete and total equality in this country. And as for the little flukes like the gay guy who died because a cop prevented anyone from doing CPR on him, and this chick here who thinks that blacks should be grateful that slavery gave them the opportunity to come to America, and these kids,. and pretty much all of these guys, and the whole thing with record oil profits as gas prices continue to climb, what do you think this is, a freaking Utopia? America, love it or leave it, fags.
Hollywood is above all about self: self-congratulation, self-promotion, and above all, self-protection. This is human and basic, but let's not kid ourselves. There is no greatness there in the Kodak theater. The greatness is on patrol in Kirkuk. The greatness lies unable to sleep worrying about her man in Mosul. The greatness sleeps at Arlington National Cemetery and lies waiting for death in VA Hospitals. God help us that we have sunk so low as to confuse foolish and petty boasting with the real courage that keeps this nation and the many fools in it alive and flourishing on national TV.
You're so right, Ben Stein. I knew I nearly fell over in my outrage when, at the Vanity Fair after party, George Clooney announced, "Y'know, I know that it's hot in Iraq and everything, but I'm pretty sure that Syriana did just as much for the cause of democracy as anything our troops do. Who's the hero tonight? Who is? That's right." How self-gratifying! When everyone knows that no conservative would ever claim that his own opinionated blathering is equal in value to military service.
I think it's time for all of us to take up Ben Stein's call to have a random tribute to our troops at every single gathering of ten or more people. Does your grocery store not keep "I'm Proud to Be an American" on constant loop? Boycott. Did you wait through the entire Senators vs. Maple Leafs game for the playing of the American national anthem, only to go home without your patriotism itch unscratched? Bomb Canada. Did your daughter's ballet recital not include a pas de deux dedicated to President Bush and Condi Rice? Hippy communist scum.
The important thing to remember is that the empty displays of patriotism and support far outweigh any actual respect for our country and support for our troops you might personally hold. A yellow ribbon magnet may only be worth its weight in real support, but veterans' benefits, adequate care for injured troops and measured disengagement from a poorly conceived and poorly executed war don't weigh anything at all.