La La Land a.k.a. Hollywood, a.k.a. the land of gentrified hypocrisy.
In the category of “Most deliciously ironic moment of the entire Oscars,” the winner is – oh, wait, it’s a tie: the moment when the so-called Hollywood elites realized nobody cared until the botching of the Best Picture award, and the moment when the film representing the entire movie industry, La La Land, like the industry itself, was the big loser on Sunday night.
I probably had not watched an Oscars program in at least 10 years, but my wife Vicky wanted me to watch with her, and instead of complaining about it, and there were no decent college basketball games on that night, I remembered an oft-quoted line from one my favorite movies: “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” (OK, I compromised and watched the big award categories.)
Nothing spectacular occurred for the first 12 hours of the program – the usual trite and hackneyed anti-Trump comments here, liberal barbs there, hypocritical speeches everywhere, until the tail end of show when, and apparently Price Waterhouse is falling on this sword, the Best Picture fiasco allowed all previous statements to become as forgettable and innocuous as the average American would know them to be.
However, lost in the mix of the Best Picture’s stupidly mind-boggling flub for the ages, was a speech of epic hypocritical proportions that must see the light of day. Amidst the traditional cantankerous comments spewing forth from the mouths of the vapid and the vengeful, came the winner for Best Foreign Language Film. The Salesman, brainchild of screenplay writer and director Asghar Farhadi, was the second film for which Farhadi took home this award. His film A Separation won in 2012.
Farhadi, 44, and a native of Khomeyni Shahr, Iran, declined to attend the awards ceremony due to, according to his message, the disrespect the United States is showing his country and the other six countries under the travel ban by the Trump administration. Another example of selective outrage, as did anyone hear Farhadi’s objections about the same seven countries under the same ban during the Obama administration? Nope – just crickets.
Farhadi’s prepared message was read by Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian-American and the first Iranian in space.
“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which themselves have been victims of aggression.”
Dripping with hypocrisy, where to begin with Farhadi’s message? He calls American law barring immigrants’ entry into the US “inhumane.” Is it inhumane of a country, any country, to put itself first and protect its own citizens before opening the doors to legal immigrants? Is it inhumane to ensure that those people migrating to a new country have the best interest of their new country at heart?
As for real inhumanity, Mr. Farhadi, see your own country, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran, the country whose repeated mantra is “Death to America and death to Israel.” Iran, the country, who, according to Human Rights Watch, punishes its own citizens with death for same-sex relations, adultery, and blasphemy against Mohammad – none of which are criminal offenses in the inhumane United States. This is the same Iran that requires athletes and even chess players to forfeit rather than vie against an Israeli.
The United States is not dividing the world; the Islamic Republic of Iran is certainly trying to do so. It is the worst state sponsor of terror worldwide. If anything, Iran is bringing countries together to fight the Mullahs. Iran, in violating the anti-nuclear deal with the United States, is creating strange bedfellows of countries in the Middle East – countries not typically allied with Israel, for example, see the benefit of siding with the globe’s lone Jewish state in opposing a nuclear Iran.
In fact, in 2011, Farhadi himself was punished by his Iranian government for speaking critically of that very government. After casting aspersions, Farhadi apologized.
Following Ansari’s reading of Farhadi’s message, the lemmings in the audience, those obsequious, fawning, sycophants mindlessly applauded the Iranian director for criticizing the United States. These Hollywood denizens would never survive in Iran – consider the aforementioned crimes for which violators would be executed. The Ayatollah would behead Hollywood one by one. Were this country remotely like the Islamic Republic of Iran those critical of President Trump could find themselves on the sharp end of the executioner’s sword.
But this is the United States of America, thank G-d. We can agree to disagree. We can exercise our First Amendment right of free speech. People are free to speak ill of President Trump, but they should not be surprised when such castigation is returned. The world of Hollywood is in the minority. It is the silent majority, the so-called fly-over states, which spoke vociferously in November at the ballot boxes, and now is the time for them to be heard.
To the singers and actors on stage, your gal lost, so suck it up, buttercups. You are certainly welcome to continue bloviating, but know that those of us who shell out our hard-earned money are tuning you out, turning you off, and dropping you from our list of movies and concerts to see and hear. Hollywood has become tone deaf and we the people are making them pay. In the grand scheme of what is meaningful, Hollywood is full of the self-important, self-indulgent, self-congratulatory, and self-aggrandizing. What they should be is self-effacing while hiding in their gated neighborhoods, demanding guns be taken from honest Americans while they have armed security at the ready. They epitomize hypocrisy at its very worst.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.