July 29, 2004


Clueless Democrats Trot Out Hollywood: The party doesn't get it: Most voters hate what those people stand for. (Thomas Frank, July 29, 2004, LA Times)

The Democrats are today a party that has trouble rallying its historical working-class constituency, losing more and more of its base every four years to some novel culture-war issue invented by the wily Republicans: blasphemous art, Ten Commandments monuments in courthouses, the dire threat of gay marriage. Behind their success stands a stereotype, a vision of liberals as an elite, a collection of snobs alternately permissive and moralistic, an upper class that believes it is more sophisticated and tasteful than average people.

It is a pernicious doctrine, and yet there is a grain of truth to it. A grain of truth that get- togethers like this one — where minor stars swap righteousness with lobbyists, politicians and local venture capitalists — magnify into life-sized lessons in liberal elitism.

Now, it is an article of faith among American intellectuals that Hollywood movies are populist products; that they are uncomplicated translations of the public's desires into attractive images; that stars are stars because we love them; and that countries like France that resist Hollywood movies do so because they are snobs, dedicated to some daft mission civilatrice in which they will bring culture — in the form of arty, disjointed black-and-white films — to the masses. Masses, that is, who yearn in their hearts for nothing but more Hollywood fare.

If this were true, the problems of the Democratic Party would be over. After all, as this party makes clear, when Hollywood stars decide to get out there and do their patriotic duty and stump for the candidate of their choice, the candidates they support are usually Democrats.

But somehow it never seems to help. Somehow this glitzy world of risque dresses, pseudo-transgressive stylings and velvet ropes (i.e., the things that make up "creativity") has precisely the opposite effect on a huge swath of the American public. They hate it, and they hate everything that Hollywood has come to stand for. After all, Hollywood stars are as close as America comes to an aristocracy, and being instructed on how to be kinder and better people by pseudo-rebellious aristocrats can't help but rub people the wrong way.

Setting aside the stupidity of Mr. Frank's assertion that the GOP created the gay marriage issue, can anyone unravel the rest of his essay? The Democrats are the party of Hollywood celebrities, whose "values" are antithetical to most Americans. Okay, so why is Hollywood attracted to the Democrats and vice versa if they don't share the same "values"?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 29, 2004 3:37 PM

Hollywood is completely disconnected from middle America. Only a movie mogul living on another planet would green-light The Alamo (2004), deconstructing Davy Crockett as a wimp and crybaby and think it would be successful at the box office.

Look at the top grossing movies (from IMDB),

1 Titanic, 2 LOTR:ROTK, 3 Harry Potter I, 4 Star Wars I, 5 LOTR:TTT, 6 Jurassic Park, 7 Harry Potter II, 8 LOTR:FOTR, 9 Finding Nemo, 10 Independence Day, 11 Spider Man, 12 Star Wars III, 13 Lion King, 14 Shrek 2, 15 ET

They are all rated G, PG, or PG-13, and all have clear moral and ethical value systems at their heart (they have clear-cut good guys and bad guys, evil should be fought and is wrong, etc.)

And yet Hollywood consistently churns out tons of nihilist or purile R rated crap. Michael Medved's been pointing this out for years. Hollywood seems to be acting against its own financial self-interest. They seem to prefer stories and plots that delight and waddle in all the worst aspects of human behavior.

The reason films like LOTR are in the top 10 is because they are so rare (sort of like a stopped clock being right twice a day).

Posted by: Gideon at July 29, 2004 5:00 PM

I can't get past the part where the dirty Republicans lie to the people about what Democrats are like; a lie they get away with only because the Democrats insist on acting exactly like the stereotype.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 29, 2004 5:57 PM


Did we see the same Alamo? It sure didn't seem to me that Crockett was being portrayed as a wimp and a crybaby.

Posted by: jefferson park at July 29, 2004 5:58 PM

I think it is more basic than that.

Democrats and artists are both right-brained, with all that entails.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at July 29, 2004 9:17 PM

Jefferson, the Alamo that made the big screen didn't have the sniveling Crockett, but that was because the audience reacted so negatively towards it in the prescreening that they changed it up.

Posted by: R. Alex at July 30, 2004 3:46 AM

The attraction is mutual because they're of the same species spawned in the thirties and carefully nutured like the aliens they've become in our midst. Orson Welles wasn't too far off, symbolically, nor was McCarthy, factually. With the best of intentions[?]it has been the most successful con job in history and is still carried on by the MSM and academia. At this point they can't even help themselves. "The devil made them do it." They came close to getting me in the Europeanization of America.

Posted by: genecis at July 30, 2004 10:02 AM

The masses love Hollywood films, and what's represented in them, not the individual artists' views on politics, or really, anything other than celebrity and film-making.

How many actors and actresses who denounce Bush's actions in the real world have appeared and starred in films where the protagonist, stressed beyong reason, picks up a gun and makes things right ?

People love the characters, rarely the artist.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 30, 2004 1:07 PM