erik lundegaard

What Liberal Hollywood? posts

Saturday December 03, 2016

Creating Hate Against Hollywood

This is how you create right-wing propaganda.

Start with a comment that should be read with a grain of salt—in this case, actor Mark Wahlberg talking to taskandpurpose.com, a website dedicated to American veterans, during the publicity tour for his new movie “Patriots Day.” 

This is the headline: “Mark Wahlberg Thinks Celebrities Need to Shut Up About Politics.” Except he doesn't quite say that. Opining about politics, he says, “A lot of celebrities did, do, and shouldn't.” Opine, that is. Then he adds:

A lot of Hollywood is living in a bubble. They're pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family. Me, I'm very aware of the real world. I come from the real world and I exist in the real world. And although I can navigate Hollywood and I love the business and the opportunities it's afforded me, I also understand what it's like not to have all that.“

Wahlberg has been a star for 25 years now—a quarter century—and he thinks he's aware of the real world. Why? Does he carry a wallet? Does he have to work to get a date? Is he worried about paying rent/mortgage? No? Then what is he talking about? What is ”the real world“ to him and why does he occupy it and his colleagues don't?

More, the whole thing plays into a classic conservative POV with Hollywood and other left-wing institutions: They should shut up. Charlton Heston thought this ... until he began railing against feminists and Al Gore, and became president of the NRA. At that point, apparently, it was OK to talk politics.

Besides, Wahlberg does in fact talk politics. At the end of the piece, we get this:

Asked what he thinks of the president-elect's proposed ban on Muslims entering the country, given that the [Boston marathon bombing] Tsarnaev brothers were both naturalized citizens, Wahlberg decided to talk a little politics after all. ”I have a lot of Muslim friends who are really amazing people,“ he said. ”So anything like that is just completely absurd and unacceptable to me. I'm a devout Catholic. I have a lot of Jewish friends. I've got a lot of friends from all over the world. And I think a lot of good people have been mistreated for a long time and we need to fix that.“

Popping a few Cellfood dietary capsules (”It's enzymes, amino acids...“), he added that we need to do a better job of educating people about the real threats out there. ”There's a big difference between a Muslim and a terrorist. Big, big difference.“

I love Wahlberg for this last bit but he does keep contradicting himself. Other celebrities are out of touch but he isn't; other celebrites shouldn't talk politics but he can. It's the contradictions that make the piece (and the man) interesting, but it's what gets lost in translation to right-wing websites. I won't link to them but these are their heds:

  • Mark Wahlberg: ”Hollywood is Living in a Bubble... Out of Touch with Reality“
  • Mark Wahlberg Tells 'Out of Touch' Celebs to Shut Up About Politics

And it spreads. I just did a Google search on ”Mark Wahlberg“ and this was at the top:

Mark Wahlberg: Celebrities should shut up about politics 

I was on Twitter yesterday and someone with four followers (either friendless or a right-wing troll) quoted Wahlberg in telling actor Jeffrey Wright to shut up about the Confederate flag; he told him he was out of touch; he said he wasn't in ”the real world."

Wahlberg let himself be played here. He should know that telling a group of people not to talk politics is itself a political act. One of the worst ones.

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Posted at 09:15 AM on Dec 03, 2016 in category What Liberal Hollywood?
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Saturday April 09, 2016

What Liberal Hollywood? Trump's 'Air Force One' Entrance

Being all “What Liberal Hollywood?” like I am, this quote from Hope Hicks, 27, Donald Trump’s campaign spokesperson, in Gabriel Sherman’s profile of Trump campaign headquarters in New York Magazine, caught my eye:

“Look at the rally we did in Mesa, Arizona, December 16th,” added Hicks. “That was the first one when we pulled the plane in and ‘Air Force One’ [the theme song of the 1997 movie starring Harrison Ford] was playing. It’s efficient. It’s for branding ... ”

Again. Again the right-wing uses the tropes of Hollywood even as it condemns Hollywood.

Off the top of my head:

  • Donald Trump goes for the music of “Air Force One.” (“Get off my plane!”/”Get out of my country!”)
  • The NRA makes its pitch for more guns: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
  • John McCain during the 2008 election: “I’m like Jack Bauer.”
  • W., post 9/11, on bin Laden: “There’s an old poster out west that I recall that said: ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’”
  • Reagan: “I have only one thing to say to the tax increasers: ‘Go ahead, Make my day.’”

The GOP is so insubstantial and absolutist now, it's more like a competing studio than a political party. It's just having a little trouble with its leading man. Casting calls are going out. 

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Posted at 07:15 AM on Apr 09, 2016 in category What Liberal Hollywood?
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Tuesday March 22, 2016

What Liberal Hollywood? Part 90

For years, I've argued that the product of Hollywood (i.e., the movies) isn't liberal and never has been. If liberal values are, as George Packer recently asserted in The New Yorker, tolerance, skepticism and reason, then what's so liberal about Hollywood movies that promote certainty, wish fulfillment, and revenge fantasies? Where good guys are good, bad are bad, and relativism is for Oscar season?

But now Ann Coulter, stumping for Trump in L.A., where she lives and cackles, is raising the possibility that the Hollywood artistic community ain't all that liberal either:

“There are definitely more conservatives in Hollywood than anyone would expect,” Coulter told The Daily Beast. “I always say that if they all came out at once, they'd realize they're a majority.”

Hollywood conservatives are both marginalized victims and the majority? Got it.

So far the usual suspects: Clint Eastwood, Jon Voight, James Woods, Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton, Gary Sinese. There's also a secret right-wing org, Friends of Abe or FOA, that the Hollywood Reporter has reported on, and which includes Lionel Chetwynd, the man who gave us a quick-thinking George W. Bush barking orders at a submissive Dick Cheney in the TV movie, “DC 9/11: Time of Crisis.” 

I doubt anything Coulter says, but one thing's certain: If Hollywood were full of cons it would make sense of the absolutist crap they produce.

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Posted at 07:21 AM on Mar 22, 2016 in category What Liberal Hollywood?
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Monday February 08, 2016

What Liberal Hollywood? Part 89

John Leguizamo says what I've been saying for years—although, in this USA Today Op-Ed about #OscarSoWhite, etc., he's saying it about the place, while I've been saying it about the product:

For all the talk about “liberal Hollywood,” the film industry is as conservative as any other wealthy institution. If Hollywood were a U.S. state, it would be Alabama. It's more conservative than TV. It's more conservative than Broadway, which was the dinosaur of the media world not too long ago.

Then he talks up the musical, “Hamilton,” in which people of color play the founding fathers, and which has been my absolute obsession these past few weeks. Here's an early version of the opening number. Here's a CBS Morning Report on Lin-Manuel Miranda. In the #OscarSWhite controversy, Spike Lee also referenced “Hamilton,” specifically the song “The Room Where It Happens,” insisting—like Leguizamo and Viola Davis—that it's a matter of opportunity; of getting into the room where it happens.

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Posted at 06:35 AM on Feb 08, 2016 in category What Liberal Hollywood?
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Wednesday February 03, 2016

Worst Movie Critics Ever: The FBI Notes on Anti-American Movies of the 1940s and '50s

FBI attacks "It's a Wonderful Life" as anti-American

Red propaganda. Obviously. 

At the end of “J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies: The FBI and the Origins of Hollywood's Cold War” (recommended), author John Sbardellati includes a glossary of movies that the FBI tagged as suspect. It's a lot of fun. Some highlights: 

  • “Buck Privates Come Home” (1947), starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello: “One scene portrays a party given for a General, while other scenes reflect an enlisted man on KP duty, making the audience unnecessarily class conscious.”
  • “Crossfire” (1947), directed by Edward Dmytryk: “This picture is a good example of placing over-emphasis on the racial problem.”
  • Gentlemen's Agreement“ (1947), directed by Elia Kazan; starring Gregory Peck and John Garfield: ”A Police Lieutenant is a party to anti-Semitism and as such is subjected to much criticism.... This was a deliberate effort to discredit law enforcement.“
  • ”The Marrying Kind“ (1952), directed by George Cukor; screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin; starring Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray: ”The [Counterattack] article reflected that pickets led by Catholic war veterans would protest [Judy Holliday's] appearance in this picture because of her impressive front record which included affiliations with such organizations as the Civil Rights Congress, the Council of African Affairs, the National Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions and many others.“
  • ”Mr. Smith Goes to Washington“ (1939), directed by Frank Capra; starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, and Claude Rains: ”First Hollywood movie to show tie-up between Congressman and Big Business.“
  • ”State of the Union“ (1948), directed by Frank Capra; starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn: ”Seems to be a deep seated dislike for most of the things America is and stands for.“
  • ”The Treasure of the Sierra Madre“ (1948), directed by John Huston; starring Humphrey Bogart: ”Walter Huston makes a speech in this picture which ... is practically a direct quotation from Marx's 'Das Kapital.'“
  • ”It's a Wonderful Life“ (1947), directed by Frank Capra; starring James Stewart: ”The picture represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers." 
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Posted at 06:38 AM on Feb 03, 2016 in category What Liberal Hollywood?
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