In an opinion piece that appeared in the nationally
circulated USA Today, film critic Michael Medved blasted Tupac Shakur and what
he called the show business tendency to "glorify violent and self-destructive
"Shakur's long criminal record and the almost
casual endorsement of violence in much of his music hardly make him a candidate
for pop-culture canonization, let alone for a 'peace garden' in his honor,"
Medved wrote. "His puzzling posthumous popularity, in fact, reflects the
degrading and ultimately racist notion that criminal violence represents an
essential and authentic element of African-American identity."
Medved, a Yale graduate who hosts a nationally
syndicated talk show which discusses politics and pop culture, is also a member
of USA Today's board of contributors
Medved goes into great detail about Shakur's
well known arrest record and his history of legal problems. Medved also furthers
his theory that blacks have to be criminalized in Hollywood in order to gain
acclaim by pointing out Denzel Washington's "Training Day" role.
"Consider this year's much-discussed Oscar
breakthrough for Denzel Washington, a universally acclaimed actor who leads
an admirable off-screen life as a devoted family man," Medved continued.
"He has most often played heroic idealists in his major films, but it took
his part in "Training Day"— as a brutal, drug-addicted, crooked
cop — to finally win him his Academy Award."
Medved also wrote that the African Americans
are playing into the "entertainment industry's efforts to emphasize African-American
violence by embracing even the most brutal criminals in their confrontations
with the police."
He gave the example of Robert Thomas Sr. In April,
Thomas was shot by a Sheriff deputy in Seattle. Thomas had a stolen gun in his
hand and various drugs in his body.
"His shooting by a sheriff's deputy made
Thomas the subject of several memorial services, vigils and demonstrations as
well as citywide agitation," Medved continued.
"Sadly, the cult worship of Shakur demonstrates
an ongoing condescension and double standard in attitudes toward African-American
males. Since he was a black artist (never mind the fact that he sprang from
an educated, intellectual and radical background) many patronizing public figures,
white and black, not only accept violent behavior — they expect it."
Medved penned 1992's controversial book "Hollywood
Vs. America." After the book was published, Medved says members of the
entertainment establishment denounced him as "stupid," "a Nazi,:"
and "a fundamentalist Christian fanatic," when in fact he is Jewish.