Attacking Hollywood, Dole Laments ‘Mainstreaming of Deviancy’
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole chastised Hollywood Wednesday for promoting violence, rape and casual sex in music and movies and said for the good of America’s children ``the mainstreaming of deviancy must come to an end.″
The GOP presidential hopeful, in the entertainment industry’s back yard, said his outrage at today’s popular culture was more than a ``codgy old attempt of one generation to steal the fun of another. A line has been crossed _ not just of taste but of human dignity and decency.″
Naming names, Dole criticized the R-rated action movies ``Natural Born Killers″ and ``True Romance″ as ``films that revel in mindless violence and loveless sex.″ Dole also cited entertainment industry giant Time Warner and three recording groups, Cannibal Corpse, Geto Boys and 2 Live Crew.
In remarks prepared for delivery at an evening Los Angeles fund-raiser, the early GOP front-runner repeated a challenge to Hollywood executives first voiced during his campaign announcement tour in April, urging them to focus on family oriented programming and products.
The speech reflected a belief among Dole advisers that taking aim at Hollywood is smart politics, attractive not only to social conservatives active in GOP primaries but also to all parents worried about the television, movies, music, videos and other entertainment products available to their children.
One of those singled out for criticism, producer and director Oliver, called Dole’s remarks ``a ’90s form of McCarthyism.″
``I understand Sen. Dole’s need to appeal to the right-wing voters and the Republican Party,″ Stone said through a spokesman, ``but my intention in `Natural Born Killers’ was to satirize, not glorify, violence.″
Criticizing Hollywood values was a favorite theme of former Vice President Dan Quayle and remains a priority of religious conservative leaders. Dole made no note of that but did applaud two Democratic senators who have raised similar complaints, Bill Bradley of New Jersey and Paul Simon of Illinois.
Such bipartisan condemnation, Dole said, should convince Hollywood executives ``mine is not the objection of some tiny group of zealots or an ideological fringe″ but instead a reflection of deep concern among parents who ``feel surrounded by forces assaulting their children and their code of values.″
Back in April, Dole was criticized for attacking the movie ``Priest″ while acknowledging he had never viewed the film, which portrays sexual misconduct by Roman Catholic priests.
That episode did not make Dole reluctant about naming names as he combined a $500,000 fund-raising visit to the state with an fresh, more pointed and detailed critique of Hollywood. This time, Dole advisers said the senator had listened to some of the material and read transcripts and summaries of the rest.
``I’m talking about ... a culture business that makes money from `music’ extolling the pleasures of raping, torturing and mutilating women; from `songs’ about killing policemen and rejecting law,″ Dole said. ``The mainstreaming of deviancy must come to an end, but it will only stop when the leaders of the entertainment industry recognize and shoulder their responsibility.″
And Dole joined a chorus of recent criticism against Time Warner, specifically its Interscope records division, the target of a recent advertising campaign spearheaded by conservative Republican William Bennett and liberal Democrat C. Delores Tucker.
Dole said Time Warner was ``on the leading edge of coarseness and violence″ and framed this question to company executives: ``Is this what you intended to accomplish with your careers? You have sold your souls, but must you debase our nation and threaten our children as well?″
Dole saluted those in the industry who were committed to more family oriented programming, and said the top moneymaking movies last year, including the ``Lion King″ and ``Forrest Gump,″ were ``the ones most friendly to the family.″ Given that, he scornfully rejected the notion that Hollywood was simply producing what the market demanded.
As he did in April, Dole said censorship had no place in the United States. But he warned, ``Those who cultivate moral confusion for profit should understand this: We will name names and shame them as they deserve to be shamed. We will contest them for the heart and soul of every child, in every neighborhood.″