Howard Kurtz does a run down (“A Blogger’s Apology“) of the controversy surrounding Gregg Easterbrook’s blog about Kill Bill. Easterbrook hates the violence in the movie and thinks Tarantino is a hack. Fine. Then he says this:
Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney’s CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence.
Sounds pretty bad, right? It’s almost as though he’s setting up Jews as being particularly greedy, even more so than their Gentile counterparts.
Was there outrage? Lots of it. And he got fired from his ESPN job (ESPN is owned by Disney).
But finish the paragraph before firing off your angry email:
Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice. But history is hardly the only concern. Films made in Hollywood are now shown all over the world, to audiences that may not understand the dialogue or even look at the subtitles, but can’t possibly miss the message–now Disney’s message–that hearing the screams of the innocent is a really fun way to express yourself.
So what he’s saying is that just because the others do it, doesn’t make it right for a group, particularly when that group should be particularly sensitive to a particular issue. By the same logic, blacks shouldn’t make movies that glorify violence just because white people do, too.
Okay. Let’s get back to the issue at hand.
So let’s first admit that this anti-“violence in the media” rant is really tired (I mean, that’s why we chose not to give Tipper Gore or Joe Lieberman a bigger soapbox for their anti-Hollywood crusade, right?)–not to mention unsupported by research–and Easterbrook’s prescription for what cultural/religious/ethnic groups should or should not do is really pretty stupid… but the basic question is, was his statement a sign of antipathy toward Jews?
But if any of my Jewish friends care to comment, you know where to send the email.