‘High School Musical’ Blues

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There is no doubt that some entertainment critics have glorified rap “artists” like Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Ludacris. Twenty years ago, pro-drug, anti-women and pro-violence lyrics would not have been embraced by the mainstream media for fear of public backlash. But today, bring on perversity in the name of diversity. Anything goes.

The same thing can be said for these revolting torture movies. A number of critics believe they’re just great, the more eye-gouging, the better. Director Eli Roth, whose sadistic films are beyond disturbing, is considered a genius in some quarters.

Thus, when wholesome movies like “High School Musical I” and “II” become big hits, there is cheering among many traditional Americans. But not among some critics.

Entertainment Weekly magazine said “High School Musical II” was “too simplistic.” And writing in the Chicago Tribune, critic Maureen Ryan gently mocked the movie writing: “How strange and amazing that the most popular teen musical of our time features so little kissing. Honestly, ‘High School Musical’ and its sequel make ‘Grease’ look like ‘Caligula.’”

So now I must break this to Ms. Ryan and Entertainment Weekly: These movies are not being viewed by high school kids; little children are watching them. “Simplistic” plays among 7-year-olds. Get a clue.

More than 17 million children and their parents watched the second installment of “High School Musical,” giving Disney an enormous money-making machine.

Even Caligula could figure this out: Many American parents are desperate for clean-cut entertainment for their kids. Kissing isn’t an issue for most elementary school urchins, they just like singing and dancing minus the obscenities.

But that concept is unsettling among some liberal entertainment people. Richard Roeper, the film critic for the liberal Chicago Sun-Times, put out a column entitled: “Disney Hit is No Victory for Right Wing.”

In said column, Mr. Roeper says that he doesn’t believe critics would hammer “High School Musical” simply because it is wholesome. Roeper goes on to say that conservatives might distance themselves from the movie because it embraces “liberal” (his word) values like tolerance and interracial dating.

That’s right, Richard, all those mean conservatives would never like anything tolerant, would they?

Here’s what I believe, based upon more than 30 years of working in the media: Many critics are jaded and cynical. Most are extremely liberal. If the property is “edgy,” anti-American or over-the-top offensive, they will like it. If the writers of “High School Musical” had turned the dancing kids into flesh-eating zombies, the critics would have been wowed.

The sad truth is that if an entertainment project espouses traditional values, applauds the USA or embraces religion, a good number of American critics will hoot at it, and demean those who find it worthy, sometimes even citing Caligula.

So here’s my review of “High School Musical.” It makes little kids happy without encouraging stuff parents don’t approve of, therefore it’s a good show.

With apologies to decadent Roman emperors, that’s the veritas.

[Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Culture Warrior.” This column originates on the website www.billoreilly.com.] COPYRIGHT 2007 BillOReilly.com.

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