Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hollywood's Liberal Agenda

Continuing from yesterday. More bits and pieces.

Despite the way movies sell us a Republican Suburban Idyll as the land where dreams come true and happiness is ever-aftering, it's a socially liberal form of Republicanism and the paradise portrayed is not inhospitable to Democrats and Liberals. In fact, in real life, a great many Democrats and Liberals live there quite contentedly, cheefully, and even eagerly.

And while the parade of brutal, amoral, authoritarian strong men marching through the movies is attractive to certain Right Wingers who long for a man on a horse to come in and save them from the 21st Century, they are also very appealing to the adolescent boys and adolescently-minded young men who happen to be the prime target audience Hollywood aims at because they have disposable cash they don't mind wasting on giant-sized bins of popcorn and barrels of soda pop that they consume while watching the same action-adventure for the sixth and seventh time.

What's being pushed isn't so much an authoritarian politics as a fantasy of adult male potency...and another trip to the snack bar.

That the ranks of Right Wing public intellectual types and the speechwriting staffs of a lot of Republican politicians are filled with paunchy, pasty, jowly Gen X-ers who like to talk as if they are flat-bellied, rock-jawed, two-fisted bully boys with great shooting-eyes and no fear may be due to too many Rambo movies. But it may also be that these guys' seminal movie-going experience was Footloose and their bloody-minded politics is all their own.

Movies are a combination of popular entertainment and advertising and both pursuits succeed through flattering their audiences' vanities. So it may be that movies have become more materialistic and hyper-masculine because America has.

But even though these two forms of "Conservative" idealism are relentlessly repeated in movie after movie, TV show after TV show, I think on the whole movies and TV shows contain far more Liberal tropes than either Republican or Right Wing ones.

For the most part, even in movies featuring Right Wing strong men or Idyllic McMansion-filled suburbs, corporate business types are invariably bad guys, spotted owls and snail darters should always be saved even if it means not building the shopping mall, and Republican politicians and conservative religious types---ministers and believers---are hypocrites, bullies, ignornant rubes, or misguided and closeted Liberals who are just looking to let go and join the fun if only some smart, idealistic young people come along to show them how---the exception being Catholic priests and nuns.

There are no such things in Hollywood as conservative rabbis.

There are plenty of liberal ministers, however, and I might actually watch The Book of Daniel. The Jesus as an apparently blissed-out surfer dude joke is drawing me in.

That Jesus is played by the actor who played Jack McCall on Deadwood is an added attractive weirdness.

There will never be a big-budget Hollywood movie that presents sympathetically the other side of Erin Brokovich or A Civil Action.

There are corrupt Union officials in the movies, but one of the ways they are corrupt is by being on the side of the bosses and their comeuppance isn't the busting of the Union but losing control of it to honest working men and women who will then stand up to the bosses. There will never be a conservative Matewan or a movie in which firing Norma Ray and having that pushy New York Jew Union rabble rouser beaten to a bloody pulp and run out of town saves the day.

There will never be a big-budget Hollywood movie that presents as a good thing a gay character being "cured" of his or her homosexuality through faith. There have been movies and TV shows in which "gay" characters are turned straight by orgasms brought about by wild sex with the "right" partner of the opposite sex, but that brings us to another liberal trope.

Sex is almost always a good thing, beautiful, redemptive, as good for you as it was for me, and totally without consequences except for increasing the love between the two partners---unless it's the case that the hero or heroine made the mistake of going to bed with a psycho-killer. In romantic movies, sex is bad, at first, because the hero or heroine got involved with the wrong person and just needs to find the right free spirit to sleep with, then sex will be beautiful, redemptive, and better for her than it was for him, although it was great for him too, it's just that real guys are always in control and make women bounce off the ceiling or melt into puddles of joyously weeping goo.

There will never be a movie that tells the "true" story of the Nixon presidency, and George W. Bush better pray to God that Hollywood never gets around to making his life story.

Wait. I forgot. It already has.


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