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The celebrity rag

Guest column

Movie stars, TV stars, performers and celebrities like to get involved in the political process and I commend them for their interest and their enthusiasm.

But what I object to vehemently is performers going to foreign countries and blasting the U.S.’s policy and its politicians.

Whenever a performer raps the United States and political figures overseas they get cheers and applause and, I imagine for some, it’s the chic thing to do. But what they say overseas rarely gets in the press in the United States with the exception of trades and rarely affects the vote of American citizens. But what they say overseas does get into foreign newspapers, magazines and TV.

What do they accomplish other than giving citizens of a foreign country a reason to dislike or even hate the United States?

Many of the celebrities wonder why we’re so disliked in so many countries around the world and we should do something about it. True, government policy itself may be responsible, but the performers’ negative attitude around the world certainly doesn’t help the situation.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Frenchman, an Italian, a Greek or German citizen criticize his country when he comes to the United States, and there’s plenty to criticize over there, too. There’s something to learn from that.

For many years there has been an unwritten rule between Democrat and the Republican office holders and politicians to refrain from criticizing the country’s policies outside the United States because it makes it more difficult for U.S. negotiations with those countries.

Michael Moore won the Cannes Film Festival for his film “Fahrenheit 911.” Was it for the artistic value or was it for the political beating-up of the United States and its president that the foreign citizens loved.

If there was an equally artistic film, positive for George Bush and negative against John Kerry, would it have won? Be truthful, probably not. A glowing picture about the United States and its politicians would have little chance of winning the Cannes Film Festival.

What celebrities say, both Democratic and Republican, about our government and its policies or politicians right here in the United States is commendable. It’s definitely their right to express it and hopefully win votes for whatever cause or person they are championing. But speaking those words in a foreign country is not affecting a single vote here and I think that’s wrong.

The Academy Awards will be coming soon and it will be telecast around the world. The election will be over, and whoever is president, talking negatively about American politics or individuals will not be helpful. Get your applause and cheers for your creative talent, not for a political speech.

I’ve been in the business for over 50 years and, I may be old-fashioned, but I just had to get these thoughts off my chest. I hope it’s something to think about.

David Wolper is a veteran TV producer.

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