Roger L. Simon

Oh, Danny Boy

I have always known Danny Glover was on the left side of things and I certainly know how difficult it is to get serious films made, but taking millions from Hugo Chavez to produce movies seemed a bit much. Not surprisingly, the local Venezuelan filmmakers were peeved.

I wonder what Danny is feeling now, reading this week’s news from Caracas. The whole world – even the Carter Center – is lining up against his hero Mr. Chavez.

What is it that makes people able to overlook so much? To preserve their leftist ideals people like Glover are able to ignore the likes of Castro murdering the (often very liberal) opposition, jailing artists and homosexuals and so forth. They can turn the other way as Chavez embraces Holocaust denier Ahmadinejad or closes television stations and arrests hundreds of students protesting for free speech, as he did this week. (At least he didn’t throw them through the dormitory windows, as his friends in Iran did in 1999 when the “reformer” Khatami was in power.)

It’s sad when talented people you admire, like Glover, do crazy things. I wonder at the source of the disconnect. I mean the deeper source – not the obvious Bush hatred or racial grievance that seems unabated in era when race-baiting now cuts both ways. I suspect that people like Glover, although they are not aware of it, are expressing a pain that goes considerably beyond issues of race or supposed social injustice to something buried in their DNA or imbued in early childhood. Why else would an essentially good man give allegiance to such an obviously ruthless horror?