Fascist movies and Kevin Costner made the news this week
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SCHOOL DIS From Untouchable to easy target: Kevin Costner has been the butt of many a post-Postman joke, but now an L.A. record label is trying to sink the Waterworld star for good. In a new album from electronic artist DJ B-Side, Player 1 Press Start, dance-music upstart Junior High Records includes a letter addressed to Costner that reads, in part: ”All the movies you’ve been in have sucked. You have sucked in them.” It also demands his retirement. Fans agreeing with the down-with-Costner position can return signed screeds to the label, which will forward the letters to the actor. It’s an obvious publicity stunt, but Junior High publicist Mateo Segade, who says Costner was chosen because he symbolizes Hollywood’s bloated star system, insists there’s a real message behind it: ”I hate to use the term, but this is a political statement. You can’t really attack celebrities without it looking like you’re just trying to vie for attention or mooch off of their achievements.” Maybe so, but Costner spokesman Stephen Rivers isn’t too concerned. Chuckles Rivers, ”Sounds junior high to me.”

HAVE A NAZI DAY Communism is dead, totalitarianism is on its last legs, but fascism, as far as Hollywood is concerned, is alive and kicking. Witness the evidence out there: In Apt Pupil, Ian McKellen plays a former SS officer lying low in American suburbia; Edward Norton and Edward Furlong are swastika-tattooed skinheads in American History X; in the Italian comic drama Life Is Beautiful, writer-director Roberto Benigni portrays an Auschwitz prisoner trying to keep hope alive for his son; and coming soon is Franco Zeffirelli’s Tea With Mussolini, a comedy, starring Cher, set in 1930s and ’40s Italy. ”We’re still amazed and fascinated about why people could sink to such depths of evil,” says Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. He says that interest has only now peaked because ”we really needed the distance. Before, the horrors were too close.” Today, fascist villains can even be found in the animated Antz, in which the jut-jawed General Mandible, voiced by Gene Hackman, devises a suspiciously Final Solution-like plan to create a ”pure” colony. Can a Springtime for Hitler revival be far behind?

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