BY PHILIP J CUNNINGHAM
The Hollywood relay race to politicize the Olympics has begun in earnest, with Mia Farrow prodding Steven Spielberg to take the baton, while other stars close in tightly, seeking an early lead.
The Beijing authorities need to graciously accept the fact that celebrity activists are going to leverage their fame to politicize the Olympics for all kinds of reasons good, bad, and ridiculous. Fame not only breeds more fame but a certain amount of ludicrous behavior.
Steven Spielberg’s decision to get involved and subsequently uninvolved speaks more to the issue of Hollywood fame management than a masterful grasp of foreign policy issues. In the end, being badgered by a feather-weight actress weighed more heavily than the Mount Tai of Chinese public opinion. The legendary director, the first from Hollywood to make a big film in China, has flip-flopped in a way that is no doubt disappointing, if not outright baffling to his legions of Chinese fans.
Beijing has lost the services of a talented artist, but it will survive the kerfuffle if it scrupulously sticks to script as a tolerant, cosmopolitan host, with or without the Hollywood touch.
Who needs Hollywood? The Olympics remain an ideal opportunity for China to show the world how cosmopolitan it has become, again, echoing a truly cosmopolitan past that predates the first Olympic games held in Greece.
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