erik lundegaard

Never Compromise: Hollywood and the Right-Wing

Jeff Wells talks up the latest poster for “The Iron Lady,” Meryl Streep's biopic of Margaret Thatcher, and its tagline, “Never compromise,” and riffs on all the anti-Obamaites in Congress who would agree with that slogan, who would rather “pull down the temple than be responsible legislators,” and concludes, even as he admits he's going to like the hell out of Streep, “no heart-swelling emotional currents for Meryl's Maggie Thatcher...not from this corner, at least.”

poster for "The Iron Lady" (2011)

What all of that reminds me of, again—again, again, again—is how the right-wing in this country borrows the tropes of Hollywood heroes (“never compromise”) even as it disparages Hollywood.

Sure, this time it's slightly different, since the uncompromising hero, or heroine, is in fact a politician, and a right-wing politician, rather than John Wayne, or Bruce Willis, or Arnold. But she's still being viewed through that Hollywood and PR prism. And it raises the question:

Why does the tagline, “Never compromise,” appeal to us?

Immediate answer: Because most of us, poor wretches in the audience or in the voting booth, compromise all the time. We spend our lives compromising: with parents, with partners, with bosses; with expectations, with kids, with corporations; with life. Life for us is one compromise after another. Only life doesn't compromise back. (And Death is even worse.) We feel like we're the saps in all this. 

That's why we go to the movies in the first place: to see that uncompromising hero or heroine. It's a wish-fulfillment fantasy, as surely as watching a man fly is a wish-fulfillment fantasy, and that's fine as long as we don't take the fantasy with us as we leave the theater.

But more and more of us are doing just that. We're taking that fantasy, now generated by the GOP—the less entertaining, right-wing version of Hollywood—into the voting booth and voting for the man who claims he never compromises. Which is as silly as going into the voting booth and voting for the candidate who claims he can fly.

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Posted at 08:41 AM on Fri. Sep 23, 2011 in category What Liberal Hollywood?  

COMMENTS

Mister B wrote:

Certainly explains the popularity of all those “Big Dogs” and “No Fear” t-shirts.

“Go Big Or Go Home”

“Only Big Dogs Are Allowed On The Porch”

“Two Outs/Bases Loaded/Down By 3 — No Fear”

NBC showed a clip show of highlights from the first five seasons of SNL. I'd forgotten — and I don't she had seen before — the sketch of the debate between Aykroyd's Jimmy Carter and Chase's Gerald Ford with Jane Curtin playing the moderator (Sawyer?) asking “Carter” about his “flip-flopping” on the issues of the day.

And we all should remember how often that term was used by Dubya toward Kerry in 2004.

And we all should've seen the White House Correspondents' Dinner where Stephen Colbert said about Bush at one point, “When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday — no matter what happened Tuesday.”

Forget compromising. When did changing one's mind become a political liability?

Obama's been getting killed by the left because he's been compromising instead of being more progressive (no compromising?). Of course, it's not entirely his fault. Voters with the attention spans of pencil erasers gave the US House to the Republicans less than two years after Obama's inauguration.

I thought people had to be 18 to vote in this country. Maybe instead of proof of age, people should have to show proof of long-term memory in order to vote.

Of course, that might stop almost everyone from voting because those people would realize few things change politically in this country — or at least stay changed.

Comment posted on Sat. Sep 24, 2011 at 10:50 PM

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