WASHINGTON -- Darn, I missed the Oscars again. I adore gory spectacles. If cockfights were legal I would be there. Even bear-baiting would not be too gruesome for me. Yet somehow I always miss Oscar night.
The evening sounds fascinating. Primitive forms of life are gathered under one roof to strut and to preen. They whoop. They giggle. They sob. Occasionally one of the more cerebral intones a metaphysical ponderosity -- generally lifted from a bumper sticker. America's Hollywood animals may be vulgar, but they are humanitarians too. During Oscar night they espouse more humanitarian blah than can be heard at the U.N. General Assembly in a month. Then the assembled Hollywoodians shove off into the night for "party time" and the next day's glad and glorious morn: the rehab session, consultations with a local swami, a court-ordered anger management session, a liver transplant or perhaps just a tummy tuck. The Hollywood community has about as high an incidence of social pathologies as any slum, albeit higher self-esteem.
If I missed Oscar night, my colleague Ben Stein did not. Stein, an occasional frequenter of the Hollywood scene, reviewed the evening's glamorous proceedings for The American Spectator online: "[T]here was not one word of tribute, not one breath, to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan or to their families or their widows or orphans."
And Stein went on: "No doubt the men and women who came to the Oscars in gowns that cost more than an Army Sergeant makes in a year, in limousines with champagne in the back seat, think they are working-class heroes … They would be heroes if they said that Moslem extremists are the worst threat to human decency since Hitler and Stalin." Now wait a minute, Stein, mixing Stalin in with Hitler is not going to play with the Hollywoodians. By their lights Stalin was a progressive. Hitler was a brute racist. Hollywood has always been conflicted about Stalin. About Hitler there is no ambivalence. He was a very bad fellow, notwithstanding his abhorrence of tobacco and his vegetarianism.
Perhaps we could get Hollywood on our side in this war against Islamofascism if the Hollywoodians could be apprised of the Islamofascists' enthusiasm for Hitler. A week or so ago I sat in on a screening of a new documentary that is pretty convincing on the matter, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West." Information on it can be found at www.obsessionthemovie.com.
The documentary is very graphic. It shows the treachery of the Islamic brutes, bombed buildings in such places as New York, London and Madrid. There is film footage of innocent people being slaughtered in Western cities. More illuminating, there are the interviews with angry imams elaborating on specious complaints against the West. In less formal settings we see the turbaned scholars delivering angry rants before vast throngs of hysterical followers. And toward the end of the documentary there are shots of another angry leader in a smartly-tailored uniform bellowing his complaints before throngs of equally hysterical followers. The venue is Nuremberg, Germany, and the speaker is Hitler. He is addressing the Nazi faithful before they brought all Europe and Germany to ruin.
"Obsession," is one of the most riveting films I have seen about the roots of the struggle the civilized world now faces. The film establishes that those roots are in fundamentalist readings of the Koran, but it adds another seedbed, Nazism. In the 1930s, though Osama bin Laden's forbearers were not Aryans they were welcomed to Germany by the Fuhrer. His agents visited them in the Middle East. Both proclaimed the same goal, the elimination of the democratic West and the Jews.
Naturally "Obsession" includes footage of Winston Churchill warning of the Nazi threat. It is stirring, but it is also melancholy. At one point the great Churchillean scholar, Sir Martin Gilbert, is asked by one of the film's interviewers about what made Churchill a great leader. To the amazement of viewers Gilbert responds that Britain's wartime leader viewed himself not as a great leader but as "a failure." Throughout the 1930s he had not been able to rouse his countrymen to the threat of Nazism. The consequence was catastrophe. In an age when Islamofascists could send nuclear-armed suicide squads out into the West we could face still more catastrophe, if the West is not roused.