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Keith Naughton


Hollywood Still Doesn't Understand Politics

by Keith Naughton
 

Courtney B. Vance is a fine actor and deserving of his Emmy, and apparently he likes Hillary Clinton. But I don't really think a wealthy actor with a drama degree has much to add to the political debate. At least Mr. Vance was succinct in his endorsement of Clinton — perhaps he recognized his own limited political knowledge and appeal.

The same cannot be said for the execrable Jill Soloway. Ms. Soloway was not content to gratuitously equate Donald Trump with Hitler, she felt the need to exposure her profound intellectual limitations by explaining herself. Soloway stated that Trump "otherizes" minority groups for his own political gain just like Hitler otherized the Jews to gain power.

But Hitler did not "otherize" the Jews of Europe, he vaporized them.

It is one of the disgraces of modern political discourse that political opponents are routinely compared to Adolf Hitler. Hitler was directly responsible for the most destructive conflict in world history and ordered the mass murder of millions, not only Jews (although they were the majority of victims), but also Roma, Slavs, political dissidents, and the mentally handicapped.

In his rise to power (where he never got a majority of the vote), Hitler mastered and made more virulent the anti-Semitism that had pervaded Europe for centuries. Hitler blamed the Jews for every ill that had befallen Germany in the decade following the First World War. His prescription was explicitly mass extermination.

There is not a single American political figure in either major party who even remotely merits comparison to Hitler. For Soloway, who is Jewish, equating the perpetrator of one of the greatest crimes against humanity with Trump only serves to devalue the death and misery of Hitler's victims and turns the lethal centuries-old anti-Semitism of Europe into a footnote.

Her remarks also reveal her to be infected with the chronic hypocrisy that saturates Hollywood. The insular world of show business is quick to shout their politically correct tropes, while completely oblivious to its own transgressions. Soloway and her Hollywood compatriots claim the mantle of diversity and inclusion while vilifying those who are outside their own culture — they despise "the Other."

The concept of "the Other" refers to the idea that anyone not like us is of lower value. That person may be reviled and rejected or may need our assistance to become more like us. In other words, the very features that make a person (or group) the Other, should be helpfully obliterated. The writer Edward Said called this a subtle form of colonialism. In sum, the Other must be either expelled or eliminated.

If Soloway really understood this and had any integrity, she would come to terms with the fact that her own liberal political allies are in the latter camp. Whether subject to the cold condescension of President Obama, looking down on those who "cling to guns or religion" or Hillary Clinton's dismissing the Other as "deplorables," Soloway's political heroes are engaged in the same "otherizing" she accuses Trump. Clinton's own campaign strategy is explicitly tribal in nature, dependent on a dominant vote from a collection of ethnic groups. After all, is there any talk from the Clinton campaign about winning on issues?

And this begs the question, which is worse? Those who desire to retreat into their own homogeneous community or those who seek to destroy the Other. Either outcome is deplorable, but for Trump, the Other can exist, just somewhere else. For Soloway and her friends, the Other must be eliminated.

Maybe Soloway got her comparison backwards.


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