A symptom of the moral shallowness of modern society is the almost papal authority that certain types of people enjoy in it: people for whom was reserved, in all other cultures without exception, the lowest place on the scale of public respectability. I refer, in particular, to the folks in show business: actors, actresses, rockers, anchormen, pop musicians, and models.
For a political party, the support of these beings is guarantee of popular approval, credit given in the name of intelligence and culture to the clichés of party rhetoric. Since the dawning of democracy, each party has made full use of this readily available resource, moved by the obsession of near-future victory and without the least notion of the devastating consequences that might occur in culture, in morality and in the democratic regime itself.
No other party, however, has dedicated itself to this like the Communist Party, as well as the offspring it has spawned all over the world under varying different names.
Since Stalin's time, a huge investment of monetary and human resources has made communism the almost absolute master of the means to manipulate public opinion through the entertainment industry (V. Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley, Hollywood Party, Prima Publishing, 1998).
The stars ran as fast as they could to collaborate in the sham, which gave a coating of moral nobility to their vainest passions and most futile whims. The ease with which they fooled themselves to be able to fool others is evidence of their profoundly human inconsistency.
Let's take the actors, for instance.
Even though an actor may be something more than an actor, he might actually be an artist in the fullest sense of the word, and even a thinker as were Stanislavski, Jouvet or our Eugênio Kusnet, in general the intellectual stuffing of the actor falls well bellow this level, and the only skills required for the successful exercise of the profession lie in mimetic talent and physical expression, puerile gifts that border on animality.
The opinion of an individual of this kind hardly ever carries any significant value. Why listen to him, then, on the higher and most difficult issues, on the destiny of humanity, on war and peace, on religion and morality?
It is totally senseless, but it has become such a general and widespread practice that no one questions the distinct authority of pop stars.
The effect this has on their own minds is remarkable: they end up thinking of themselves as wise men, enlightened guides of the crowds and, driven by this crazy vanity, lose the last bit of conscience that should serve as guidance for personal conduct.
We have just been given an example of that in the person of Danny Glover who, in the Fórum Social Mundial (World Social Forum), reacted with the brutality of a true communist zealot to the request for aid to a humanitarian cause that seemed to him not to fit into his political creed.
For some time now, the Cuban physicist Juan Lopez Linares, a Brazilian resident, has been trying to see his four-year-old son Juan Paolo, detained on the island by the most Christian government of Fidel Castro. Desperate, he went to the World Social Forum, in the city of Porto Alegre, where so many friends of the Cuban dictator could be found, with the intent of sensitizing them to his plight.
When three members of the Conservative Institute of Porto Alegrewhich was supporting Lopez Linares's tripsaw the star of Lethal Weapon, they imagined he would not evade collaborating in an effort whose success could only help his good image, as well as that of the Castro regime itself. Glover, a huge guy well over six feet tall, threw himself at the postulants, aiming to physically harm them, and was stopped by security men; he went on to give away, as he yelled, all the evil in his feelings.
The father who desired to see his son again was, according to him, "a selfish man" for wanting "to talk about a personal case instead of highlighting the positive qualities of the regime". Of course: in a dictatorship where children are taught to reject their parents to love the ruler instead, why shouldn't a parent also abandon a child for devotion to the regime?
This is the scope of Danny Glover's morality. There are many in Hollywood who think like him. That is why it is not strange that while he makes pro-Fidel speeches in Porto Alegre, his co-star Mel Gibson suffers all kinds of discrimination and hardships, as was denounced by Fox News, because of his project of filming the Scriptures while being faithful to the Christian message. Glover, of course, couldn't care less. After all, Gibson's problem, as Lopez Linares's, is just a "personal case".
This article appeared originally in the São Paulo daily, Jornal da Tarde - www.jt.com.br
Olavo de Carvalho is a philosopher and the author of several books, including O Imbecil Coletivo: Atualidades Inculturais Brasileiras (1996) and O Futuro do Pensamento Brasileiro - Estudos sobre o Nosso Lugar no Mundo (1997). He writes for three very influential dailies in Brazil: Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo (from Rio) and Zero Hora (from Porto Alegre, state of Rio Grande do Sul). His articles can be found at www.olavodecarvalho.org and www.midiasemmascara.org The author welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org