Politically speaking, Hollywood has begun venturing into dangerous waters. While support for brutal dictators might not be a new phenomenon in a Hollywood, that support no longer seems to be limited to a handful of stars flirting with radical politics and causes. There now appears to be a clear pattern of Hollywood acceptance of Totalitarianism as a legitimate brand of governance.
The case of the popularity of Hugo Chavez is a clear example of Hollywood’s veneration of leaders who wield nearly dictatorial power over the governed. Despite the fact that Chavez makes a habit of trampling on individual rights, A-list Hollywood stars continue to cheerlead him, going so far as to repeat talking points upon their return from Venezuela. Not even Chavez’ contempt for free speech, something you would think might be a sore point with Hollywood, can budge them from their belief that Chavez is a wonderful leader. To suggest otherwise, as Sean Penn famously suggested, should be reason enough to be jailed.
Perhaps Hollywood celebrities should be forgiven for their political transgression in the case of Hugo Chavez. After all, Chavez has at least maintained the façade of a democratic process in Venezuela, and perhaps the gullible glitterati are just being made suckers of. While this might explain away their idolization of Chavez, the same explanation would not apply to their love for his fellow Marxist dictator, Fidel Castro. Up until recently, Castro could not be called anything but the genuine article when it came to the wielding of absolute authority in Cuba. His ruthless persecution of political dissidents is well known, as is his use of secret police, the institutional racism of afro-Cubans, and his repression of religious freedom. But even this fails to penetrate the Hollywood mythology of the noble revolutionary Fidel.
There can be only one explanation of for such hard headed support of such leaders in the face of overwhelming evidence that they engage in the excesses of dictatorship; Hollywood approves.