Steven Spielberg bails on the Beijing Olympics: And for good reason … His response is better than the British move to muzzle its own athletes. It certainly doesn’t make Spielberg perfect on human rights, but it’s almost refreshing to hear someone in Hollywood bashing someone other than Bush. And the fact is, China is much more influential in Sudan than we are and is in a position to end the genocide in Darfur. So far, though, China has chosen to value its oil contracts over innocent life. – Hot Air

Why only protest over Darfur?: … Spielberg’s statement announcing his decision bothered me–for reasons having nothing to do with Darfur. While condemning China for its actions in Sudan, Spielberg made no mention of China’s actions anywhere else–as if Darfur were the only reason one might think twice about serving as a propagandist for the Beijing Olympics; as if, were it not for Darfur, he would be happy to continue working with a country that “has much to offer the world” and whose “international contributions will grow in the years ahead.” – The Plank

Spielberg declines to help the Munich, er, Beijing Olympics: I am glad to hear that Steven Spielberg will not be playing the role of Leni Riefenstahl for this summer’s Olympics. How odd though that he withdrew on Tuesday as an artistic adviser to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing over China’s policy on the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region. Why worry about China’s foreign policy, given its great record on domestic repression? – Collateral Damage

Why?: When it comes to politics, entertainers consistently demonstrate that they aren’t very bright. Then again I guess we shouldn’t expect much from Spielberg who didn’t graduate film school until 2002, and most certainly did not study international relations. Normally, it takes a little more than the cries of celebrities to register any leverage on world superpowers. – New School Politics

Two very different images: How will Beijing 2008 be remembered? As the perfect Olympics, masterminded by a rising world power? Or as the ‘genocide’ Games? The two images are miles apart. But in the past week, from my vantage point in Beijing, they have seemed virtually inseparable. – Simon Rabinovitch, Reuters

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Heaven: This morning brings us another noble but empty gesture in the long history of political activism in Hollywood. I regard Steven Spielberg as as one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of the craft, a fine humanitarian, and, really, one of the good guys. I understand what motivated him to turn down the invitation of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games to join Zhang Yimou’s team charged with creating the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics. I applaud him for following his conscience in the matter. At the same time, I cannot help but wonder if his gesture, however noble the intent, will do any real good. – Silicon Hutong

Peter Fray

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