What Liberal Hollywood? postsSunday January 08, 2017
What Liberal Hollywood? Part 94
“Although many members of the entertainment industry espouse, often publicly, a left-leaning political slant, Hollywood is still dominated by white men who prefer to make movies and television shows that revolve around other white men — men beset by feelings of alienation, who often wield guns, who fight (or represent) corrupt government, and generally attempt to survive and/or save a world run amok.
”Across galaxies, through the centuries, in every genre imaginable.“
-- Mary McNamara, ”The notion of a liberal agenda in Hollywood is absurd," in the LA Times, as part of a series on Hollywood values/elites in the Trump era.
Of course, I've been saying this for years, but it's nice that this notion is getting a wider audience.
What Liberal Hollywood? Part 91
“If you're telling certain stories, you'll need to have guns. But I don't see smoking [cigarettes in movies] anymore. Look, everyone talks about 'liberal Hollywood,' but I don't know that that's the case, particularly with guns. This is an industry where, if the tax credits were right, we'd probably be shooting movies in Syria right now.”
-- Tom Arnold, in an excellent piece in The Hollywood Reporter, “Locked and Loaded: The Gun Industry's Lucrative Relationship with Hollywood,” by Gary Baum and Scott Johnson. Excellent with a proviso.
THR's Great Guns Piece Gone Wrong
A few weeks back, The Hollywood Reporter published an excellent piece called “Locked and Loaded: The Gun Industry's Lucrative Relationship with Hollywood,” by Gary Baum and Scott Johnson. It gives us a fascinating look into the industries that provide the movies with firearms, as well as the experts who make sure everything is both safe and realistic during filming.
All that's good. The article runs into problems when it tries to parse the contradictions between a so-called liberal Hollywood that glamorizes guns, and a gun-control industry that condemns Hollywood as liberal even as it benefits from 100 years of cinematic heroes with guns. Generally, the article puts the burden of hypocrisy squarely on Hollywood's shoulders, then bends over backwards to underline its point.
For example, the writers say they contacted “more than 50 actors, producers, writers, directors and showrunners who have been outspoken gun-control proponents while also utilizing firearms in their storytelling.” The implication is that these people are hypocrites for doing both. But notice the verb: not “glamorizing” firearms in storytelling, but “utilizing” them.
Four men of the 50 responded:
- Actor Tom Arnold (“True Lies”)
- Actor Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”)
- Producer Steve Levitan (“Modern Family”)
- Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”)
Again: These are gun-control proponents that also “utilized” firearms in their storytelling. So I get the first two. Kinda sorta. But Levitan? “Modern Family”? Really? He also produced the '90s sitcoms “Frasier,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” and “Just Shoot Me.” Maybe THR was confused about “Just Shoot Me.”
But THR really pissed me off with the way they introduced Black:
Dustin Lance Black, whose screenplays for Milk and J. Edgar incorporated guns ...
Seriously, THR? You're implying that it's a contradiction for Black to be a gun-control advocate while also writing an Oscar-winning screenplay about a beloved politician who was assassinated?
The rest of the article is worth reading anyway.
To The Hollywood Reporter, more hypocrisy from Hollywood's gun-control advocates.
A Vast Right-Wing Hypocrisy
This is the headline:
When Entertainment Reporters Get Political
This is what the headline should read:
Right-Wing Media Demands Impartiality from Rest of Press
The granddaddy of all right-wing rags, National Review, is aghast, simply aghast, that mainstream media reporters are making off-hand political comments as reality TV star Donald J. Trump is about to assume the presidency.
NR thinks it's pointing out a double standard but it's really demanding one: a set of rules for Rush, Drudge, Fox, Breitbart, and yes, The National Review, which get to spread malicious lies about the left (and magnanimous ones about the right); but reporters and columnists (columnists!) for Hollywood Reporter and Variety should just shut their yaps about the political disaster we're in even when they're on Twitter. Nice.
I've got news for National Review: This isn't 1969 and they are not Spiro Agnew. That shit is over.
I could go through NR's list of complaints and knock them off one by one, but who has time? Its overall demand isn't just impartiality but stupidity. It wants the mainstream press to pretend not just that an apple is an orange but a fresh apple is a rotten orange. Next thing you know they'll be demanding impartiality from restaurant critics: “elitists” who look down upon regular food.
It saves its worst thoughts for the kicker:
Maybe entertainment reporters simply assume that they are writing for their liberal friends in Hollywood. But if they are covering an industry that wants to make money off the rest of America, they might try to learn something from the election results.
- I think they're writing for people who read, and have a mind, something National Review might want to consider before it disappears.
- If the goal is popularity, you'd probably want to look at the popular vote, which Hillary won by nearly 3 million votes. National Review might want to consider this before it disappears.
- The real lesson from the 2016 election is this: It's tough for a good woman to overcome 25 years of right-wing propaganda, onesided hacking, and meddling from both foreign enemies and our own country's prime federal law enforcement agency. National Review might want to consider this before we all disappear.
How They Lie: Miss Sloane's Box Office
This is the headline on Town Hall, a right-wing propaganda website, about the box office of the new movie, “Miss Sloane,” starring Jessica Chastian:
Surprise: Hollywood's Latest Gun Control Movie Tanks at The Box Office
We haven't even gotten to the article and they‘ve already lied. Can you spot the lie?
It’s the word Latest. As if Hollywood keeps producing nothing but gun control movies. I mean, can you name another one? I can‘t. So I just did a keyword search on IMDb and came up with a list of 75 movies. It includes “Unforgiven” starring Clint Eastwood, “Death Wish” with Charles Bronson, and “Law and Order” with Ronald Reagan. So not exactly gun control.
Anyway, Town Hall’s piece is culled from a Fox News piece, which laughs that Hollywood liberals have once again failed to breach the “values” wall. The Left Coast created a movie with liberal values, it did poorly at the box office (that part's true: it has), which shows, beyond a doubt, that “Americans don't want to spend their hard earned money on movies insulting their values.”
Right. You know what it shows? That most moviegoers don't go see political process movies—even those with Jessica Chastain in them. They want wish-fulfillment fantasy. They want heroes with guns.
And guess what? Hollywood gives it to them. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
That's really the biggest lie in the piece—this notion that Hollywood, as a whole, is somehow anti-gun, when Hollywood, as an industry, has done more to glamorize guns than anyone else, including the NRA. Every gun owner in America should be kissing Hollywood's ass for making it easier for them to hold onto their guns, because every NRA argument against gun control measures plays off the Hollywood playbook. You know Wayne La Pierre's infamous line: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”? You know what that describes? Half the movies Hollywood ever made.