avoid saying this: the combined best effortsrnof the left-leaning world of pop-culturerncriticism and the left-leaning politicalrnmedia establishment could notrngenerate commercial success (i.e., publicrnvalidation) for the left-leaning MikernNichols and the left-leaning WarrenrnBeatty.rnTheir povverlessness to control publicrnopinion often makes left-leaners bothrnseethe and engage in compidsive fits ofrnrationalization. Hence Mr. Weinraub’srnsummation as to why neither PrimaryrnColors nor Bulwoiih “stirred enthusiasm”rnamong moviegoers: “[Hollvwood executives]rnblame the public’s dislike of politicsrnand politicians for the [films’] lacklusterrnbox-office performance.”rnDon’t you just love it? Hollywoodrnmakes millions by appealing to the public’srnbasest appetites, then acts insultedrnwhen its pretensions to “art” are ignored.rnIn a way, though, it makes sense. Therncollective sensibility that turns out cynicalrncrud like Godzilla and Natural BomrnKillers would automatically expect an audiencernto be not only grateful for but enlightenedrnby a non-entit)’ like Bulworth, arnmovie that achieves a certain level ofrn”taste” merely by being nothing worsernthan a leaden conceit. After all, it’s notrnpornographic or anything.rnThere are hvo points to be made aboutrnHollj’W’ood’s reaction. First, never blamernthe customer for disliking your product.rnDoing so creates a consumer who isrnnot only dissatisfied but alienated. Thisrnis simpl}’ rudimentary marketing, ofrncourse, and you would think the financialrnwizards of the entertainment businessrnwould understand it, even if theyrndon’t accept it. Does General Mills getrnticked off when consumers reject its latestrncereal?rnThe second point is more complicatedrnand, in this instance, more relevant.rnAccording to Mr. Weinraub, HolKwoodrnproducers have concluded that “the airrnwaves are so glutted vith politicians andrnscandal that making a movie about arnPresident or Senator in trouble seems redundant.rnWorse, it seems unentertaining.”rnI think that these executives arernseeing it backward. Political moviesrnaren’t redundant because we are gluttedrnwith politics; they are redundant becausernpolitics is glutted with entertainment.rnMovie politicians like John Travoltarnaren’t vminteresting because real politiciansrnare boring; they are uninterestingrnbecause real politicians are now biggerrncelebrities than John Travolta. To recognizernand understand this unique turn ofrnevents, the Hollywood establishmentrnneed merely cast its gaze upon its mostrnadoring groupie: President Clinton.rnBill Clinton’s greatest and most insidiousrneffect on American culture has beenrnto transform the presidency—and muchrnof American politics —into a vehicle ofrncelebrity, “celebrity” being defined inrnthe 90’s as being famous for being famous.rnThe first presidential product ofrnmodern popular culture, Bill Clintonbabyrnboomer, Elvis impersonator —rndidn’t just become President in 1992.rnHe also became, in his own mind, a star.rnAnd in the same fashion as, say. Madonna,rnhe behaves like a star: consumed byrnhis own awareness that he is being observed.rnThus he performs, behaves, andrnstrikes poses —does everything, that is,rnbut he. If Clinton’s conduct in office revealsrnanything, it is his assumption thatrnattitude is action. And of course, attitude-rnas-action—posing—is the foundationrnof popular culture, the base onrnwhich contemporary celebrity rests.rnSo the real question for Hollywood isrnthis: Why pay to watch Warren Beatt}’, arnpreening actor, impersonate a politician,rnwhen we are forced every day to watchrnBill Clinton, a politician, preen like arnmovie actor? The habits and values ofrncelebrit}’ culture now permeate the presidency;rnindeed, they now define the presidenc)’.rnWio needs the fantasy of moviernpolitics when real politics has traded thernprecepts of leadership for the precepts ofrnfame? Mike Nichols and Warren Beattv,rnand the industry that financed their selfinfatuatedrnlittle movies, can simplyrncount themselves as victims of their ownrnsuccess.rnBill Clinton has changed, at least forrnthe time he is in office, the standards byrnwhich we judge a President. The biggestrnrisk for most politicians is losing the public’srntrust. We abandon elected officialsrnwhen they misjudge their obligations orrnfail at their responsibilities. For BillrnClinton, it’s different. His risk is losingrnthe public’s attention; he never reallyrnhad its trust. As our first celebrity President,rnhe faces a sitiiation more similar tornMichael Jackson’s than to any politician’s:rnWhen will he become too tedious,rntoo weird, too predictable, too boringrnto care about? Wren that momentrnarrives (if that moment arrives). BillrnClinton will then embody a secondrnmilestone in American life: our firstrncelebrity President will have evolved intornour first has-been President. Has-been.rnIt’s a term that probably originated inrnHollywood.rn—]anet Scott BarlowrnRICHARD HOLBROOKE is PresidentrnClinton’s nominee to replace BillrnRichardson as U.S. Ambassador to thernUnited Nations. This nomination stemsrnfrom Holbrooke’s role in imposing thernDayton Accords on Bosnia and Clinton’srndesire to exploit such interventions tornconvert the United States into thernworld’s policeman. Recently, Holbrookernapplied his hea’y-handed tactics to Kosovo.rnHolbrooke declared he met withrnboth Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo,rnfailed to negotiate a cease-fire, and impliedrnthat an American military responsernwas required to impose a “settlement.”rnArmed intervention was averted, in part,rnas a result of an open letter by SerbianrnOrthodox Bishop Artemije which revealedrnthat Holbrooke never met withrnSerbs. By linking the Dayton Accordsrnwith the International War Crimes Tribunalrnon Bosnia, and then linking Kosovornwith Bosnia, Holbrooke presentedrnhimself as a defender of human rights interestedrnin prosecuting the crimes ofrnmass murder and ethnic cleansing. Hisrntrue character, however, was revealedrntwo decades ago, in the “killing fields” ofrnEast Timor.rnOn December 7, 1975, Indonesia, afterrnreceiving approval from PresidentrnFord and Secretary of State Kissinger, invadedrnthe Portuguese colony of EastrnTimor. Lacking the military equipmentrnnecessary to overcome the island’srnmountainous terrain, Indonesia eonfinedrnits occupation to the coast whilernmost East Timorese escaped to thernmountains. The Carter administration,rndespite its rhetoric of human rights,rnprovided Indonesia with the napalm,rn”Huey” helicopter gun ships, “Skyhawkrn11” and “Bronco” attack planes, Lockheedrntransport aircraft, and Commandornarmored cars which enabled Jakarta tornoccupy the entire territory, establish concentrationrncamps, and engage in ethnicrncleansing and the systematic torture andrnmassacre of East Timorese. More thanrnone-third of the East Timorese populationrn(over 200,000) died. The official inrnthe Carter administration who lobbiedrnon behalf of Indonesia for thosernweapons, who justified their use againstrnthe East Timorese, and who minimizedrnthe atrocities committed by Indonesiarnwas the Assistant Secretary for Asian andrn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn