Saturday, April 05, 2003
The new war on Hollywood.
When Web sites compile lists of "anti-American" celebrities, post them publicly and call for Americans to boycott these celebrities, their message is clear: "We disagree with these performers. We're going to say so, and then we're going to take away as much of their livelihood as possible."
The ''Hollywood Halfwits" site notes unattributed survey results that almost 48 percent of Americans would "be dissuaded from paying to see a movie that featured a celebrity activist whom they disagree with." The site said this should be "of keen interest to Hollywood filmmakers and the marketers whose job it is to put as many butts in theater seats as possible."
Granted, the people who have signed up to boycott Janeane Garofalo won't put much of a dent in her career, but a collective sense that it's patriotic to economically damage people for exercising their constitutional rights can put a major dent in the exercise of free speech. [...]
This is a time when we might all benefit from a little bit of self-scrutiny. Do we truly embrace the principles of the founding fathers, or are we more inclined to punish those who dare to utter views with which we disagree? Do we believe that we're a stronger society if everyone feels free to speak their minds, or is there an impulse to chill the speech of those with differing views?