The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Two Quotes — One Comment

The Associated Press reports that while visiting Hugo Chaves, President of Venezuela, as part of his role as UNICEF ambassador, Harry Belefonte said: “No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush, says, we’re here to tell you [that] millions of American people support … your revolution.” His comments were broadcast throughout the country.

Belefonte, an ex-Calypso singer and erstwhile civil rights activist, remains a celebrity of sorts. His comments, like those of other celebrities (e.g., Shaun Penn, Tim Robbins, Barbara Streisand) in recent months simply reinforce my position that strong ideology coupled with profound ignorance (of history, international politics, political realities, and the threat of terrorism) yield stated positions that are at once pathetic and dangerous. Pathetic because those who make them use their celebrity as a means for widespread distribution of their irrational rants, and dangerous because they are widely distributed by a media that is only too glad to promulgate them to a worldwide audience (some of whom actually believe this nonsense).

In Hollywood, those who appear in front of the camera are sometimes derisively referred to as “Talent.” Some celebrities do, in fact, have talent – for acting, singing, dancing, and the like – and they should be celebrated for that. But it’s important to recognize that talent in one area does not give a person great skills or insight in another area. Nor does it give them protection from criticism and derision when they make idiotic statements on international issues. Belafonte richly deserves both criticism and derision for his outrageous comments in an international forum.

One more of today’s quotes might be appropriate.

The Associated Press ( , reports on a message from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of al Qaeda in Iraq:

“The Iraqi Al-Qaeda leader then laid down two conditions for giving up the jihad.

‘First, chase out the invaders from our territory in Palestine, in Iraq and everywhere in Islamic land. Second, instal sharia (Islamic law) on the entire Earth and spread Islamic justice there (. . .). The attacks will not cease until after the victory of Islam and the setting up of sharia,’ he swore.”

I wonder if Belafonte would prefer an al-Zarqawi imposed sharia law in the US? Since the President is the “world’s greatest terrorist” there’s no question that Islamofacist rule is preferable to Bush’s Presidency. Right?

Sometimes, when I listen celebs pontificate, I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.