TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: Hollywood can lead the way in bringingenemies closer to US

The Bush administration has called on the entertainment community

to bolster the propaganda war against terrorism. Jilted during the

election, Hollywood is now being courted - the lonely gal the

quarterback didn't ask to the prom, but calls before final exams. Sure,

it would be satisfying to return the spurn, but, well, it is the

quarterback. So studio heads and production bigwigs eagerly showed up

and excitedly talked about doing whatever needs to be done.

Profitably, that is. I mean, no one's losing their heads here.

But apart from bringing back John Wayne from the soundstage in the sky,

I doubt Hollywood can have the same impact it did on WWII.

Oddly, the government hasn't amassed Hollywood publicists to pick our

brains about the campaign. We're the experts, after all. If we can sell

the public on Pauley Shore and Jack Black, hey, this centuries-old

Middle East squabble should be a piece of cake.

True, it's difficult to gather Tinsel-town publicists in one place at

one time unless awards are being handed out. You should see the pitiful

turnout for our union meetings. I've never seen it myself because I

don't attend either, but I intend to. Soon. Very soon.

So, as the Administration hasn't asked for our advice, I've decided to

volunteer it.

I polled several leading entertainment publicists for their suggestions,

but with all due modesty, none were as good as mine. On the theory that

lust and envy of American lifestyles can create antipathy in deprived

terrorist hotbeds, I believe that it's essential to pacify

underprivileged potential extremists by more fully involving them in our

culture. After all, everyone resents the big house on the hill until

they're invited in for a visit. Here's what can be done for


Distribute TV sets along with the food. Many of the people waving guns

and shouting anti-American slogans could be home watching TV. If they

had one. For the price of a few bombs we could provide a set and

satellite programming for every household and cave in Afghanistan.

Make an American action movie in Kabul. Movie productions can bring

together even the worst of enemies. I once did a film in the Baltics

with a multi-ethnic crew that despised each other, especially Russians

against Lithuanians.

Nonetheless, they managed to get along during shooting. (Camera

shooting, I mean.) I believe Pushtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, et al, could be

peacefully controlled by one of Hollywood's hard-assistant


Give 'em an Oscar. Apart from a World Cup Soccer crown, nothing excites

a nation more than having one if its homegrown movies receive an Oscar

for Best Foreign Language Film. We must ensure that an Afghan picture

wins the statue this year. Trouble is, I'm not sure there are any.

Research needs to be done, but by someone other than me.

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