Skip to comments.IS HOLLYWOOD NEXT?
Posted on 12/28/2004 3:52:03 PM PST by pissant
A tsunami of conservatism has moved through American institutions over the last 30 years. First the small magazines (National Review, Reason, The Public Interest), followed by the think tanks (The Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, to name just a few).
In the late '70s and '80s, the Christian right began to create its own huge counterculture: singers and songwriters, Christian pulp fictions and self-help books, coloring books and cartoons, as well as lobbying organizations (like the Family Research Council). In the '90s, conservatives got their own television news and talk radio shows. What will the future bring?
But tsunami is the wrong metaphor altogether, for these creative ventures in conservative culture-making left their secular, anti-religious and/or liberal cousins intact. Fox News provides an alternative voice, but The New York Times endures. A few extraordinary new colleges and universities have recently been founded (Ave Maria, Patrick Henry). But as The American Enterprise magazine reports, Democratic professors continue to outnumber Republicans by lopsided ratios (www.taemag.com). Among political scientists at two major California universities, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans was 46-to-4; among psychologists, 50-to-1; among sociologists 27-to-zip.
Conservative institutions did not overwhelm existing institutions; they simply filled a niche, or rather a huge, gaping void in the marketplace of ideas.
Is Hollywood next?
There are good reasons to think so. In the first place, the market for sexual titillation is now, shall we say, pretty thoroughly saturated. The old Hollywood formula for success -- make a movie that breaks a taboo -- is hard to follow in an era in which there aren't any taboos left, or at least not ones for which a mass market exists. Gay sex, or sympathetic portrayals of pedophilia may still win critical accolades, but the buzz is no longer big box office, simply because the market for such tastes is still tiny.
Meanwhile, capitalism's relentless search for expanding markets is leading Hollywood into a vast undiscovered territory: the red state of mind. USA Today reports that "in a nation still squeamish over wardrobe malfunctions and violence, studios are willing to bet" on "quiet, wholesome entertainment films." "There's been a desire to grow an underserved market with non-cynical family entertainment," said Walden Media CEO Cary Granat.
True enough. But Hollywood will miss something important about the potential new market if it is defined only in reactionary terms (not cynical, not trashy).
Every human heart hungers to be part of a story, to take the disconnected dots of human existence and weave them into a meaningful drama. Yet millions of Americans never, ever see anything of the great aspirational stories of their lives reflected in America's premier storytelling genre, the movies.
Americans are an overwhelmingly religious people, for example, yet the drama of sin and salvation, of divine grace and purpose, is conspicuously absent. Millions of American men and women strive to connect sex, love, marriage and babies into a coherent story for their own life. And yet the particular intense kind of eros that can be experienced only by those so committed to such a connection is almost never glimpsed on television or film. Perhaps Hollywood does not even know it exists.
For millions of entrepreneurial and ambitious Americans, the romance of business is the story of their lives, yet businessman in Hollywood are uniformly portrayed as villains. It took Donald Trump, for goodness sake, to turn the business romance into a surprise television hit in "The Apprentice." Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels in Beverly Hills, but right now, young American soldiers are willing to risk death to fight for their country in Iraq (news - web sites). Where are the epics that express that vision of life?
Putting bodies into seats is the mission of most Hollywood studios, and in their devotion to this mission, Hollywood may well be the next domino to fall. Happy New Year.
I think given this horrible disaster, one of the worst in human history, that her choice of metaphor is not the best.
Most great movies can't be reduced to 'liberal' or 'conservative' labels. 'The Incredibles' appeared on lots of 'Best of Year' lists of lots of liberal critics.
Christian right began to create its own huge counterculture: singers and songwriters
Uhhhh..there has always been religious music and films/tv (remember Davey and Goliath?)
I think given this horrible disaster, one of the worst in human history, that her choice of metaphor is not the best.
It was more than likely written and taken to press before she could do anything about it.
And don't forget the best cartoon ever made quoted directly from scripture: Charlie Brown Christmas.
That is quite true. There are a lot of movies that can be construed as having both conservative and liberal viewpoints. Such as:
Air Force One
The Matrix Trilogy
to name a few.
unfortunately, the movies you named are all stinkers.
Disney yes, Disney is a co-sponsor at CPAC this year.
Well...I don't think the first Matrix was all that bad.
Actually, it was visually interesting, but I could not figure out what was going on. Were the protaganists the only people that were "alive" while everyone else was in an incubator sack in the hatchery? To what end did it benefit the aliens (or bad guys) to keep all the pod people in a dream that seemed to be normal life?
'Air Force One' was a very well crafted action film. Implausible and contrived but that sort of thing always is.
Hollywood is more politics than art or business.
Unfortunately, when Heretic Ford started sporting an ear ring, then dumped his wife for the bulemic Ally McBeal, I lost all interest in seeing his mug ever again.
This may have been a mistake. The only people who are influenced by the Christian counterculture, are those who are already persuaded Christians. Also, being isolated from the larger competitive environment seems to have allowed a distinct *lack of quality* to persist in the Christian music industry for many years, though this has at last begun to change.
On the other hand, perhaps in the beginning, the Christians could not get their foot in the door no matter how good they were, and had no choice but to create a parallel system until they got big enough (and good enough) to start crossing over. Maybe an industry insider on this board can answer this question?
If earrings and marital troubles are your cut-off points you must not consume much modern culture at all! And what do you mean heretic?
Hollywood is part of the larger picture of the undermining of the Constitutional Republic in their assistance to the National Socialist Democrats, The Homosexual Movement and Mainstream Media to massage us into the feminzation of the American Male and assist us down the path toward Socialism!
The election of 2000 and the Election of George W. Bush smashed their schedule, threw them all into a tizzy!! They were on a roll, remember?!! Then 9/11 happened and exposed their treachery! I've always believed that things happen for a reason. 9/11 happened for a reason also. Those people did not die in vain! They opened our eyes to what was really going on in this country and the unholy path we were being led down by the Socialist and their supporters.
We cannot turn our backs now, we have seen what is going on and we have reelected a President that, for the most part has done an EXCELLENT job. I'm sure that we all have our points of difference with his policies, but we did not elect a TRAITOR!!
It's time now to step up and take back our schools and reverse the Socialist, Homosexual and MSM movement. I sure it's already been suggested to boycott the companies that advertise on the MSM, but I think that it must be done and we must skip over the MSM channels and do them in. They will not report on the War in Iraq fairly and give us the whole picture. They have even committed FRAUD right in front of our eyes. They have no shame!
This is a great article.
I've been saying for years that Conservatives CANNOT let Hollywood go. If we didn't have the alternative media, Dubya would not have won this last election.
Think about how much traction conservatism will be once we have a dozen "Passions" and "Michael Moore Hates America." Our movement will be unstoppable.
Incorrect, the huge taboo remaining to be broken is political correctness.
How about a real adaptation of Starship Troopers? or a Historical military epic about the defense of Europe against the Islamic tide of the middle ages.
Added to that, there are plenty of conservative values in American movies and TV. Look at stuff like 'King of the Hill', The Simpsons, Touched by An Angel. There should be more of course but through the normal means not cultural warefare rhetoric...if you don't like the movies being made go to film school.
No, I think the die hard liberal will never change. It's like a religon to them. Some in Hollywood may change a little when it's the only way they can make money. By the way, strange name "pissant"? I'm an exterminator but I won't hold your name against you.
"And what do you mean heretic?"
Just my pet name for someone I once thought of as a manly man who turned out to be just another metrosexual.
How about a real adaptation of Starship Troopers?
I have never read the book, because of the movie. Was it really that different or better? Just curious.
Metrosexualism is just another way to get girls!
Movies that have a conservative or traditional bent ususally do so in a more secondary, or even unintended manner; whereas many movies have overt, intentional liberal messages. I don't expect that to change very much.
There is of course The Passion of the Christ, but it not a politically conservative movie. Movies like Braveheart, Forrest Gump, The Incredibles, and Lord of the Rings all can be considered to have very strong conservative/traditional themes and messages, but they don't preach and they are not in-your-face. And some of the filmmakers would probably be horrified to learn that conservatives celebrate them.
Movies like The Contender, The American President, etc and television shows like West Wing all have distinct political messages that they ram down the viewer's throat. Then you'll have shows like Law & Order do an episode where the writers obviously decided to take liberal plank, and contruct a story around it, as they recently did with gay marriage.
Then of course you have leftwing versions of movies like Braveheart or Lord of the Rings that have more subtle liberal messages.
Then there is a third manner in which Hollywood puts forth liberal messages: through out-of-the-blue asides uttered by characters that have nothing to do with the story. Law & Order does this quite often too. As does CSI; I remember an exchange on one episode where a gun was found in a family's yard. The homeowner was asked if they owned any guns. Instead of having the character simply say a politically neutral "no", the writers had to have them say the more politically tinged, "no, we don't believe in guns", as if they are a religion or something. The difference is obvious, and no doubt intentional. Now it is true that over the yrs Law & Order has had conservative characters who have gotten their share of soundbites, but generally speaking they are given weaker lines and less of them.
My point is that I expect the situation to follow: Conservatives messages will be secondary and even accidental in all but the rarest exceptions, while liberal messages will continue to be put forth in all manners -- as the main point, secondarily, and injected as pointless and cheap one-liners.
All that is ever lacking are the people willing to put their money where their mind is. There is right-wing talent out there, and good stories to tell, but not the type of financing to get the scripts into production, completion and then distribution.
If I had a buck for every complaint I hear about left-wing media bias, there would be 100 movies a year pushing our viewpoint.
It could be changed only if there is a willingness to take on the opportunties/risks involved in independent film production. There is a ready audience and an alternative distribution network out there to be tapped.
"Metrosexualism is just another way to get girls!"
Liberal "men", and I use that term loosely, getting liberal women. I think all good conservative women prefer the John Wayne/Mel Gibson model over the Alan Alda/Earing wearing Heretic Ford model.
Maggie makes a good point about the missing movies and books about the thousand of heroes in Iraq right now, and their loved ones here in the States, and the true drama they are living. God bless our troupes, they have taken the battle to Iraq instead of fighting on the streets of New York or your town.
Marry Christmas and Happy New Year.
From Hollywood's Golden Age up until the 1970's Hollywood was actually a fairly conservative place. It wasn't until they all decided to become artsy-fartsy types in the mid and late Seventies that Hollywood's heavywieghts became banal and boring. But I do believe that the conservatives' day is coming again as once-rebellious baby boomers enter their retirement years. This will be a huge potential audience with money to spend as they try to reconnect with their childhood values.
Money talks....when it really hits them there pocket books...the liberal hollyweirdo loons will have NO choice!!! Change is a comein' I can smell it in the air. ;o)
The 80s were just about the least artsy-fartsiest time for American movies in history. The 'countercultural' period was roughly from the mid 60s till the late 70s. And it did produce a lot of great movies (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, Taxi Driver)
I agree. Imagine the impact if the film/television industry was challenged artistically by the Right.
I'm tired of half-assed documentaries by the well-meaning. The market demands provacative, engaging films.
Read the book. Its written purposely on a juvineille level but it emphasises duty, honor and sacrifice.
Thanks, I'll have to check it out.
Atheism is a vacuum. It will be filled.
The choice is not Christianity or secularism. The choice is Christianity or Islam.
I've read the book many times. Nothing like the movie. The book is as much political commentary as it is a SF story. Being a conservative type, I think you'd like it.
My thoughts exactly. Very Bad Form.
Maggie Gallagher is *clueless.* Hollywood has been cranking out conservative movies for years ... in the science fiction and horror genres. But to Gallagher, those wouldn't be "conservative" movies, because they're not "nice," not "family-oriented," and "not Christian."
The fact that she has the gall to use "tsunami" in her article, made me not want to read it. Trying to get readers based on "buzz words". Disgusting.
Well, they do ... but I don't think Team America is exactly what Gallagher has in mind.
"It is unfair to judge Harrison Ford on the breakup of his marriage"
You're right. He's just following in the footsteps of many other actors who, once they reach middle age and millions of $$, trade in their families for a trophy wife (in Heretic's case, an emaciated one). Hell, sometimes it backfires and the "old lady" shoots 'em first.
Nevermind that the former wife worked 3 jobs while dumb-nuts went to acting school. Cest la vie.
It reminds me of that idiotic baseball manager (name escapes me) who, shortly after 9/11/01, described the possibility of a player's strike thusly; "Well if they do that they're just going to do another 9/11 to everyone all over the place" Or something like that. He was fined by the league. What a moron!
Although I have no evidence to back this up, I am willing to be she wrote this article before the disaster.