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Frank Deplores the Democrats' Link to Hollywood

August 01, 2004

Thomas Frank in "Clueless Democrats Trot Out Hollywood" (Commentary, July 29) hits the nail on the head when he writes that many regard the spokespeople for the Democratic Party as "a collection of snobs alternately permissive and moralistic, an upper class that believes it is more sophisticated and tasteful than average people."

I would guess that most Americans hold traditionally liberal values: equal opportunity for all, the need for government to help take care of those who fall through the cracks of the economy, minimized government interference in the lives of its citizens, war only as a last resort, etc. Yet, a populist message when advanced by condescending elites, at best, fails to persuade many Americans and, at worst, appears as nothing more than the propaganda of those concerned ultimately with achieving social or political power for its own sake.

Kristopher Richardson

Van Nuys

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I was struck that Frank's main complaint about Hollywood celebrities at the Democratic convention seems to be that he wasn't able to get close to them. His barely masked jealousy aside, these are some of the wealthiest people in America telling George Bush they don't need or want his tax breaks. The American people will take notice of that. This election is full of huge issues: a war, a faltering economy and national security, to name a few. You'd think Frank would focus on some of these instead of complaining about having to sit at the kids' table.

Brian Neville

Hollywood

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Frank's negativism, if not misguided jealousy, directed toward the artists at the convention blinds him to what might be the real reason that most artists hold liberal and progressive views. For artists to be proficient in their work, to put forth to the public their art, requires a degree of bravery that few are capable of, whether one is conscious of this fact or not. True artists must open themselves up both to their inner world as well as their outer world. To do so effectively, artists must set aside previously held perceptions, question their reality and, most important, develop a sense of empathy toward their fellow humans. An artist must walk, not just a mile, but many miles in another's shoes in order for their art to have life.

Perhaps if only a few of the fearful who find refuge in the narrowness of the conservative propaganda would dare walk in another's shoes, dared to imagine life from the perspective of the disenfranchised of our society and the world, they would find the same strength and courage that artists live by and for, regardless of the prejudiced remarks by those of small mind and fearful visions.

Rob Goff

South Pasadena

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Having grown up in a small farming town, I voted Democrat at the age of 18. However, that was 14 years ago and the last time that I have voted for a Democrat. As a current Republican, I just wanted to say that Thomas' article hit the nail on the head.

I've often struggled with a mix of admiration and hate toward Hollywood. It is rare that you read an article that clarifies your own feelings. As an aspiring professional writer, I have not seen many things worth praise. However, I have to take time to let you know that I and many, many others connected directly with Thomas' great insight.

Dan Clayton

Bakersfield

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