Michael Moore and Mel Gibson aside, the purpose of art is not always to send messages. More often, it's just to tell a story, move people and provoke ideas. Mr. Eastwood's critics don't even understand what art is. Politics - not art - is about finding consensus with the majority of the audience. Art is not about avoiding controversy or ensuring that everyone leaves feeling morally uplifted.
What I love about movies and plays is seeing fictional characters behaving in ends-justify-the-means ways I never would. What I hate about politics is seeing real officials behaving in ends-justify-the-means ways on the W.M.D. "crisis" in Iraq, the Social Security "crisis," and the spread of federal disinformation from paid "journalists." Now that's worth howling about.
--Maureen Dowd, writing about the culture cops in today's NYT.