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Barbara Walking in the Valley
A weekly column for those who live and walk in Silicon Valley

by Barbara Dahlgren

And All That Jazz
Column for the week of March 30 - April 5, 2003

And the winner is......Chicago! “C’mon babe, why don’t we paint the town? And all that jazz!” And what a jazzy night it was watching the 75th Academy Awards show last weekend. With the war in Iraq blazing it was a perfect time to watch liberals give awards to themselves. As master of ceremonies, Steve Martin, quipped, stars can be, “Democrats..... or skinny.” The show was trucking along with restrained dignity until Michael Moore, winner for his documentary feature, Bowling for Columbine, decided to take a political stance.

When he started his acceptance speech I thought it was touching that he had all of the nominees in his category join him on stage. I wonder if they knew he was going to lash out in a tirade, “We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man who's sending us to war for fictitious reasons, whether it's the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts. We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you!''

I think he was shocked at the mixed reviews he got from the audience, a little applause, a lot of boos, and the band played him off the stage. To quote from Entertainment Weekly’s April 4, 2003 article, The Big Night by Daniel Fierman, Michael Moore became “the first man in history to receive a standing ovation on his way to the Oscar stage only to be soundly booed off it.” The Dixie Chicks felt a similar sting from comments they made at a London concert, “we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.” I think they forgot which side their bread was buttered on because country music fans didn’t take kindly to the remarks. Over 40 radio stations nationwide yanked them from their play lists. One station had a “Chick Bash” where people brought Dixie Chick CDs and they ran over them with a tractor.

At least others at the Academy Awards seemed to convey their message with an element of decorum. They found discreet ways to indicate they were for world peace but in the words of Joan Rivers, “Every idiot in the world wants peace!” Barbra Striesand was thankful for living “in a country that guarantees every citizen, including artists, the right to sing and say what we believe.” Very funny considering she gave Eminem the Oscar for Best Original Song. Let freedom ring!

Many stars may not be supportive of the war, yet were supportive of our troops. Brody, best actor winner, spoke of a dear friend in the military at the war front. And Steve Martin announced that the ceremony was broadcast to our troops. However, American Forces Radio and Television Service rep, Larry Sichter said, “Not all the deployed troops are watching TV. They’re busy doing other things.”

But here’s my question: Just because people in the entertainment industry can sing, dance, act, direct, write, edit, animate, and make us laugh why would we look to them as authorities on everything? These people are not authorities on how to live. They aren’t moral role models we want to emulate. They are not privy to Pentagon meetings. They aren’t educated in Mid East socioeconomic political climates. So who cares what they think? If you are looking to them to decide whether or not you are in favor of the war, then I say, “Shame on you, Mr. Citizen!”

Do we really feel Sean Penn can give us a better perspective on Iraq from his three-day trek there anymore than Jane Fonda gave us a better perspective on Viet Nam after her visit there years ago? Wake up people! These are entertainers. Therefore their speeches may be better because of theatrical training but their knowledge may not be all that accurate. You have a right to a “yeah” or “nay” opinion about the war but to base it on someone’s acting ability is like deciding not to have heart surgery because the check out guy at Safeway doesn’t think it’s a good idea. You probably know him better than you know these movie stars.

The Bible says to seek wise counsel in making decisions. (Proverbs 15:21-22) And in this case, I don’t think movie stars qualify. But they can certainly show you a mighty good time and help you paint the town..….. and all that jazz!

©March 2003

Be sure to visit this page every week to read the next edition of Walking in the Valley. You can write to the author at bdahlgren@wcgsouthbay.org.



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