Hollywood idealism, in brief

portada1 01Ah, Hollywood.

It is good when the rich, the powerful and the attractive decide to do some good in the world.

But there is a part of me that wants to ask a question. It is very, very good that the horrors of Darfur in the western Sudan are attracting so much attention. Any good that can be done there must be done.

However, I have to admit that, as I read this page one piece (“Hollywood Stars Find an Audience For Social Causes”) in The Washington Post, I could not help but ask a question or two or three. Where were all these people a decade ago, while thousands were being massacred in South Sudan? Was that even larger and more hellish confict not as worthy? Or was there something wrong with that political and social cause, some reason that it was harder to embrace?

What think ye, readers?

The late Abe Rosenthal of The New York Times certainly had an opinion or two on that matter.

However, I must say I was happy that reporter Nora Boustany did include one gentle stab when dealing with this issue. I daresay that we, as a culture, deserved it:

While commending celebrity activism, Payam Akhavan, a scholar on genocide at McGill University, said, “The fact that it takes movie stars to make people care about pressing human rights struggles reflects a self-absorbed culture where compassion and empathy is awakened through glamour rather than human conscience and duty.”

And all the people said, “Amen.”

Although, I must say, religious activists — left and right — have had a more consistent record as of late when it comes to pouring time, money, prayers and tears into these causes. But you knew I would say that, didn’t you?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • David Palmer

    Dear Matt,

    Thank you for all your excellent entries, also the inestimable Mollie Z, the young master I think you call him and the Bishop as well though he is sadly more casual in terms of output for a man in such high office.

    I know it is about how the media don’t get religion, but for me it is the stories you present.

    This story matters a lot to me. I belong to the Presbyterian Church in Australia and a number of our churches including the one I last pastored have received many Sudanese refugees. The thing about them is, who knows of a more culturally deprived people? – divided families, death upon death, refugee camps, no education whatsoever, straight out of grass huts/refugee camps into a modern western city. Truly, atrociously sinned against and yet a mighty of God has gone on in their midst with so many first generation, second generation at most Christian. As Luther said, it is when we are most broken, most sinful, most fragile, we find God most gracious. Thank you LOrd Jesus, bless our dear Sudanese brothers and sisters.

  • Joshua Udell

    So I say, May I come in and invade, may I come in like I have before and light something over Hollywood that has never been seen before? Do not say that the days of Mel Gibson are over and do not say that I have loosened My voice over the Provence of Ontario, for even their the Lord’s Spirit will cool off some internal battles that are happen with Quebec. I have looked and I have been looking at the city of Houston and have said, is there a problem here with the shuttle, Florida, is there a problem in space that is going to cause a waiting game in the space of time for the time that they land will surely be death or the hand of God bringing them home. For I have spoken to Obama about his candidacy and I have heard the church’s voice saying where is the powerful Christian that we want in the house called White, but I will tell you that there will be a change of color and a whiter than snow believer for Christ with soul! For the poor will be brought back to their families and the orphans and widow’s to their solace. I have shared with you that war is of the nature of ridding the world of something evil, and if evil continues in Iraq, the war will continue in the next term, for I have plans for Iran that will unfold underneath the Bush legacy, and into the next presidencym says the Lord of hosts.

  • L. Alem

    Dear All,
    All concerns and sympathies are encouraging to me as a Sudanese who has witnessed both social and physical genocides of the Africans in the Sudan. This, by the way is a phenomena that the majority of the western people don’t fully understand except for those who are executing foreign policies. It was a lot easier to identify the genocides in Bosnia and Kosovo and quickly dealt with because those were isolated cases. But the Sudan situation will always remains a mystery to general audience in the west and genocides will go on until perpetuators achieved their goals (arabaization of Africa, which is an institutional mission statement of an organization). The one million dollars question is, who are committing genocides and who are the victims? Now, the next question would be why can’t we, world community punishes the regime for genocide and crimes against humanity? We done it in the Balkan and lives were saved and the ethnic boarder lines were drawn and secured.
    Unlike, in the Sudan case, where a pull on the string would create ripples right in the heart of Arab League organization something that no one among the western powers wants to for the sake their good relationship with the Middle East. To answer that question, if anyone of them dares to ask Mr. Mubarak or Amr Mousa would say something like this; “Oh, you know any attack on Sudan will be counter productive just like Iraq is, and, beside unstable Sudan will compromise Egyptian national interest.” In other words, we need the Sudan that is controlled by AL.
    Here by providing save haven for Sudanese (Africans) refugees away from their own land, like resettling them to Australia, USA, Canada etc., you are just doing exactly what the Arabs want. Part of the job is done for them, all the do now is settlement of Arabs in the abandoned lands. Within another decade Sudan will be fully occupied by Arabs. With John Garang out of the way, there is no other African leader who understands strategy well enough to put up strong resistance. That is the strategy my friends in the west thank you all for your time.