- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 21, 2001

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences usually gives out its annual Emmy awards in a glitzy ceremony held in Los Angeles's Shrine Auditorium. This year's show, originally scheduled for Sept. 16, has been postponed twice: first out of respect for the national mourning period after Sept. 11, next out of fear that the ceremony would be an attractive target for terrorists. Now, the Academy has floated the rumor that it will ask permission to hold the Emmy ceremony on a California military base.

While the idea of turning the show into a USO-like entertainment for the troops seems appealing, the naked cowardice of the Academy makes this a very bad but funny idea. The source of amusement is the fact that much of the television industry, like their movie counterparts, make a living by promoting values and lifestyles that are not only alien to the military, but contradict everything the military stands for. Just look at the values preached by the two shows vying for top honors.

"The West Wing" a Clinton apologia of what the White House might have looked like without Monica shows the military properly subservient to the really cute gals or really liberal guys on the White House staff. Time after time, generals and admirals are shown standing, hat in hand, listening in awe of the brilliance of the White House staffers. The other top show, "The Sopranos," dramatizes a family business that, well, just doesn't fit into the culture of duty, honor and country. The irony of the Academy's desire to hide behind a few companies of Marines is so delicious it ought to be a TV mini-series.

Most of America is going about its business just as the president asked. The Academy should do the same. That's not to say that a USO-like show is a bad idea. If 98-year-old Bob Hope is up to it, he should gather a bunch of beauties from TV/Hollywood, and go off to do a couple of shows on the carriers now engaged in the Afghan campaign. If he's not, maybe Alec Baldwin could fill in. It may be recalled he said he was going to leave the country if Mr. Bush were elected. Now the Defense Department can buy him a plane ticket. It won't be a problem if it's only a one-way ride.


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