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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 24, 2003

“Great talent, no wisdom”

Hollywood celebs who raised their voice against the liberation of Iraq have received extra publicity in recent days. The reason for the publicity stems from the fact that two web sites ( and, provided a name list of the "useful idiots", and, as reported by SCSN, the people who ran the sites were subject to death threats (what else would one expect from anti-war pacifists?).

Remarking on the astuteness of the artists in question, Daniel Prager put the celebs' propaganda in a broader perspective; the article is entitled "Much talent, little wisdom" and was posted on April 22 on World Net Daily. Observes Prager:
As a rule, over the last few centuries, artists have been more likely to be morally confused than members of almost any other profession (except academia).
We should no more expect a great actor or composer or painter to be a great human being than we should expect a great lawyer, truck driver, businessman or athlete to be a great human being. Art rarely makes a person wiser or kinder, whether the person is a connoisseur of art or the creator of it.
Richard Wagner, for example, was one of the world's greatest composers and a racist anti-Semite. Neither Beethoven nor Mozart was known to be a particularly decent human being. Herbert von Karajan, one of the most celebrated conductors of the 20th century, served as Kapellmeister under Adolf Hitler and never apologized for his support of the Nazis. The great African-American singer Paul Robeson passionately supported Joseph Stalin until the day that mass murderer died.
So the next time you see "artists for" or "artists against" some cause, without reading any further, you can pretty much bet your mortgage that whatever it is they are for or against, they are morally wrong. While God may have granted artists little wisdom, He apparently did not skimp on hubris
In the context of the Hollywood de facto supporters of Saddam, it would be appropriate to mention the mother of all "artists against...", namely, Leni Riefenstahl. Her biography can be found in numerous web sites such as those of and the BBC (the Biased Broadcasting Corporation).

Born in 1902, Riefenstahl became a dancer, then an actress and finally a film director, just as Adolph Hitler was making his way to power. She proceeded to produce some of the most effective propaganda pieces for Hitler, two of the best known pieces being Triumph of the Will and Olympia (the latter concerning the 1936 Olympics). The BBC site notes:

Riefenstahl went on to prove herself a documentary-maker of genius. Her film of the 1934 Nazi Party Nuremberg Rally, Triumph of the Will, was more than simply a record of the event.

From the opening shots of Hitler's plane arriving through the clouds, its shadow flitting across the roofs of the ancient city, it sets out - in Hitler's own words - to glorify the power and beauty of the Third Reich.
In 1938 she went to America to promote Olympia. The tour coincided with the infamous Kristallnacht of violence against the Jews, when an estimated 20,000 were carted off to concentration camps and scores were murdered.

Too blinkered in her admiration of Hitler to realise the truth, Riefenstahl denounced the reports of violence as lies, and returned to Germany.
To paraphrase Prager, “great talent, zero moral fiber”.

Epilogue. Those who still believe that we live in a just world would be interested to know that this Nazi sympathizer and supporter succeeded in reviving her film career after WW II, and though she was injured in two serious accidents (a car crash and a helicopter crash), she is still around at the age of 101.