Gregg Easterbrook got canned from his ESPN.com Tuesday Morning Quarterback gig after ripping into the Disney boss for releasing the gorefest Kill Bill. After rightfully ripping Tarantino for being the graceless champ of envelope-pushing (Hollywood's favorite sport), he then let loose at the Disney execs; here's the offending paragraph from last week
Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice. But history is hardly the only concern. Films made in Hollywood are now shown all over the world, to audiences that may not understand the dialogue or even look at the subtitles, but can't possibly miss the message--now Disney's message--that hearing the screams of the innocent is a really fun way to express yourself.Firstly, people like Eisner and Weinstein are about as Jewish as Ted Kennedy is Catholic. If they do have an active Jewish faith, it doesn't seem to inform their judgement as movie execs (or in other areas in Eisner's case). Ahnold may have to establish his anti-Nazi credentials, but I don't think Eisner should be required to.
Secondly, I don't think that being a devout Jew makes one a natural pacifist. Recent West Asian history should put the lie to that one.
Thirdly, and most importantly, he goofed big-time by including the line "worship money above all else" which trots out the Shylock stereotype of the Jew as the greedy, amoral merchant. Most CEOs could be a fair target of that slam, but to trot it out here was a cheap shot. A fair shot, as it turns out, but a cheap one nonetheless. You don't make primate references to blacks (unless they're Anglican primates, of course) and you don't call Jews greedy, or you'll have the PC police on your case; ask Howard Cosell, who was about as unbigoted as you can get, and almost got fired for calling a slippery WR a "little monkey".
Easterbrook's one of the good guys. Other than his taste for cheerleading cheesecake, he's a good and honorable neoliberal and one of my regular reads. I don't think he should have been canned at ESPN, but when you call your erstwhile boss a greedy Jew, you can't guarantee too many more paychecks.