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Self-Righteous Medved

March 21, 1992

I read with interest your article on Michael Medved on March 3 ("Medved Gives Sneak Preview of His Book on Media" by Zan Dubin). Although I wish sometimes that Hollywood could moderate its output of violent and negative-image material, at the same time I can't help feeling that Medved should moderate his own output. He seems to have gravitated to his own extreme of self-righteousness.

To complain about Nick Nolte's character or Robin Williams in their Academy-nominated roles is taking his idea of media temperance too far. If anything, film can show us how individuals can survive a tragic personal crisis, a conflict with society, a struggle with nature. These human struggles sometimes involve violent acts, harsh words and a fierce mental anguish. But if our filmmakers can present these very human endeavors in tasteful, responsible cinematic terms, then they are doing us a service.

Admittedly, humans seem to thrive on violent conflict: "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" was a sizable financial hit. Full-contact sports and "Gladiator" type game shows are extremely popular. But why do a big film about President Bush's war for oil, or about his stout minion, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf? Is that any better? Are these things really any purer?

And, I'd like to know, who is Medved to criticize someone like Frida Kahlo? Is he jealous of a true creative artist? With or without a mustache, Kahlo has proved herself to be an imaginative and challenging artist. Perhaps Mr. Medved needs to get off his high horse and start doing some real creative work as a screenwriter and producer. Then he might understand his audience, the compromises inherent in show business, and the general trends in audience interest that someday he may be able to develop and even change.

DAREN KELLY

Corona del Mar

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