Barack Obama keeps desperately pounding the entertainment industry's ATMs in Hollywood and Manhattan, while our manufacturers of make-believe have absolutely refused to expel their vicious hatred of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. You wonder if, on any level, Obama is upset or chagrined or even embarrassed. Two examples have shown their ugly heads -- one of them severed.
HBO -- with Bill Maher as the face of their political analysis is a global leader in burning Bush-Cheney hatred -- expressed surprise and embarrassment when it was discovered their violence-drenched series "Game of Thrones" included a scene with a model of Bush's disembodied head on a spike.
"We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste," HBO said in a statement. "We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production."
This would seem to be a rather dramatic departure for HBO, which regularly refuses to apologize for excesses, such as when Bill Maher had transcended his normal venom by expressing disappointment Dick Cheney didn't die in an assassination attempt in Afghanistan, since if Cheney "did die, other people, more people would live. That's a fact."
The producers of "Game of Thrones" denied they were making a polemical point. "It's not a choice, it's not a political statement," protested David Benioff. "It's just, we had to use what heads we had around." In another statement, they explained further, "After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush. In the DVD commentary, we mentioned this, though we should not have. We meant no disrespect to the former president and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise."
Now stop and consider a couple of points. HBO is spending untold millions on the production of this extravagant series, yet somehow they were suddenly so poor that "he had to use what heads we had around"?
And with the dozens, perhaps hundreds of people involved in the production, no one -- including those whose only job it is to see that mistakes aren't made -- no one noticed this was a bust of President George W. Bush? This truly is the land of make-believe, especially when they apologize. We meant no disrespect to the president by putting an image of his head on a pole. Now can anyone imagine this Hollywood scenario and Barack Obama?
Then there's the Cheney hatred. The little-watched Independent Film Channel is preparing a new series for August that they're hyping as "the most violent sitcom ever made." This apparent laugh riot's title, appropriately, is "Bullet in the Face."
The producers have spiced up their formula of "unrestrained shootings, peppered with wildly offensive language," not to mention a dash of crucifix-as-backscratcher humor (been there, mocked that religion) with leftist politics. IFC executives were reported to be concerned about dialogue grouping Dick Cheney in with the likes of Hitler and Stalin. To be precise, it "will be misconstrued as something more than an attempt at some very dark, inappropriate humor."
"Misconstrued" -- like the thought that Bush's head on a pole might imply hostility.
Broken record time: Can anyone imagine a Hollywood production where Barack Obama is compared to Hitler or Stalin? You can't. In fact, the Viacom-owned network TV Land would not even allow the name "Obama" next to the word "mop."
In a taping of an American Film Institute tribute to Shirley MacLaine, Don Rickles, who has spent a half-century poking irreverent, absolutely innocent fun at everyone, joked, "President Obama is a personal friend of mine -- he was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke." TV Land announced the joke would be edited out of the broadcast, and a Rickles representative said they knew jokes "would be a cut a bit for time."
This is the same Viacom corporation that green-lighted the cartoon "Lil Bush" in 2007, a show so horrid that reviewer Whitney Pastorek at the liberal magazine Entertainment Weekly emphatically denounced how this "borderline irresponsible" program shamed the channel epitomized by the "urbane" satire of Jon Stewart.
"Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Condi Rice are kids! And they're all stupid and evil! Cheney drinks the blood of chickens! And Jeb Bush is retarded! It's a juvenile pile of manure aching to hit the conservative pundit fan," Pastorek lamented. "Thus, I beg those on the right -- and while I'm at it, everyone else -- not to watch it."
The show was a flop, airing only 17 episodes in 2007 and 2008. But the double standard of TV programming remains. The names of Bush and Cheney may be forever blasted. The name of Obama shall be forever exalted.