Knows Nothing of Persecution
© 2003 by Doug Patton
I must confess
I was fascinated watching actor Tim Robbins on C-Span, speaking
to the National Press Club. He was passionate. I like that
in a person. I actually found myself starting to respect
you sit down in a huff and begin writing that nasty letter
telling me that I’ve gone over to the dark side, let me
explain. I don’t agree with a single thing this man believes
about the great issues of our time. He is completely deluded,
in my opinion. But Robbins has passion, and a man without
passion is a man without a soul. A man without passion is
someone who will pretend to believe in anything in order
to gain power, wealth, prestige. A man without passion will
change his opinion based on the popular winds of doctrine.
Bill Clinton is such a man.
But Tim Robbins
isn’t faking it. I think he believes most of what he was
spouting in that speech last week. He honestly thinks that
he and his gilded cronies out there in La-La Land are being
persecuted, censured – and even censored – for their views
against the war in Iraq.
have some truly amazing beliefs in their treasure trove
of fantasies, but that one causes the mind to reel. He and
his “life partner,” Susan Sarandan, (marriage would be too
conventional for these two) starred together in the eighties
baseball movie “Bull Durham.” Apparently, because of their
strident attitude against the war, the pair was uninvited
to an event connected to that film, to be held at the Baseball
Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Now that might
be construed as a mild slap in the face, but no worse than
the insults these two have been hurling at George W. Bush
and his advisors – and by extension, at the brave troops
who have so skillfully and so carefully liberated the Iraqi
people over the last month. And it’s certainly not as though
someone is telling this Hollywood power couple they can’t
work at their craft, making ridiculous amounts of money
playing make-believe on the big screen.
But to hear
Tim Robbins talk, you would think that the House Un-American
Activities Committee has been revived, and that he and Susan
have been subpoenaed to appear and show cause why they should
not be blacklisted from making further films. Or worse,
that the Gestapo is at their door to take them away in the
middle of the night for “unspecified crimes against the
has no concept of real persecution. He should try living
in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Fidel Castro’s Cuba or Kim Jung-il’s
North Korea for a while. Does he imagine that he would be
allowed to amass great wealth making movies – or doing anything
else, for that matter – in one of these countries? Does
he think that the regimes he seems so intent on preserving
would tolerate one of his tirades for five minutes?
Sarandan belong to that clique in Hollywood that imagines
itself untouchable. They put their careers at risk by exercising
their First Amendment right to shoot their mouths off against
their own country, then try to peddle the lie that unfair
persecution and government censorship are at work when average
Americans don’t like what they stand for and decide not
to buy tickets to their movies.
the question: If they truly believed that there was the
slightest chance that they might be arrested or denied work,
do you think they would be espousing such vitriol against
the dreaded regime? I don’t know. They’re passionate people.
They just might.
Patton is a freelance columnist who has served
as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor at
the federal, state and local levels. His weekly columns
can be read in newspapers across the country. He also writes
for Talon News Service. Readers can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.