Jewish World Review August 19, 2002 / 11 Elul, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Do you ever wonder what kind of remarkable coincidence is responsible for Hollywood's near-unanimous liberalism? How can it be that almost all directors, producers and actors hail from the political left - even those who don't have a clue about politics?
Could it be something in the water out there? Could it be that they all happen to be "enlightened"? Could it be their wealth-induced guilt (I can barely conceive of the enormity of their hypocrisy in constantly bashing capitalism while raking in their millions)? Could it be that their artsy-fartsy idealism blinds them to reality? Could it be that they want to be taken seriously in real life by Eastern liberal intellectuals because their jobs require them to playact in fantasyland? Could it be that they all just happen to be overflowing with compassion? Could it be peer pressure and their craving of one another's approval? Could it be that their immoral lifestyle will not accommodate a conservative world view?
Regardless, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of the Tinseltown elite march in lockstep on political matters and that those who don't are ostracized and shunned, if not outright blacklisted. Certain others are obviously afraid to come out of the closet for fear of reprisal.
All of this leads inescapably to the conclusion that the Hollywood left, by and large, cannot possess those attributes most proudly claimed by liberals: independence of thought, open-mindedness and tolerance. If they were truly the independent thinkers liberals fashion themselves to be, it is highly unlikely they would all share the same political, cultural and social beliefs. And if they were as open-minded and tolerant as leftists purport to be, they would not, by employing the intimidation tactics they often decry as McCarthyism, scare into silence that small cadre of conservatives lurking in the shadows.
Do you think I'm overstating the case? If so, how do you explain what happened to actress Sharon Lawrence after her photo appeared in People magazine on a page showcasing high-profile Republicans, including George W. Bush?
According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, Lawrence "was dogged by hate mail and unfriendly questions from producers about her political views." This prompted Lawrence, a committed Democrat, to observe: "If one is even perceived to be a Republican in Hollywood, there can be an excluding reaction, and people genuinely resent you." So we have it from the mouth of a self-professed Donkey.
That same Hollywood Reporter piece argued that since the Sept. 11 attacks, Hollywood has taken "a right turn," conservatives "are finally coming out of the closet" and "Hollywood is finally becoming a two-party town."
Well, there may be pockets of conservative progress there - the always-insightful film critic and radio host Michael Medved even concedes the point - but there's no question that liberals are still dominant beyond measure.
The politically astute Cher, for example, recently affirmed her earlier statement that if Bush were elected, American minorities and women wouldn't "have one f---ing right left." A month rarely goes by without Alec Baldwin railing against us Neanderthals on the right. And just this week in Scotland, actress Susan Sarandon, offered this profound social commentary regarding America's reaction to Sept. 11: "We're not supposed to talk about how there might have been something leading up to this, that it could have been prevented or that our actions have ramifications. We're living in a lock-down in terms of information and a certain point of view, and if you challenge that point of view, you're anti-American."
No, Susan, it's not your dissent that leads people to wonder if you're anti-American. It's your inane and outrageously offensive implication that America's actions in some way brought on the attacks and that we might have prevented them had we acted differently. (Isn't Sarandon's complaint about being silenced dripping with irony considering Hollywood's general treatment of conservatives? These people are simply too self-absorbed to recognize their double standards.)
For those who place hope in Hollywood's transformation to political sanity because of the reported conservatism of some of its newcomers, don't get too sanguine. Youngsters of the stripe of Leonardo DiCaprio remain very much in the forefront. He routinely lambastes the United States for being the world's biggest polluter and harangues President Bush to forfeit our sovereignty to the Kyoto Treaty. No, my friends, mindlessness is not waning on Sunset Boulevard.
Until Hollywood hotshots demonstrate some modicum of the diversity of thought they sanctimoniously demand of others, they will not and do not deserve to be taken seriously.
Like this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.