Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A little anti-Semitism to go with your nonsense?

There is a right-wing web site called Big Hollywood, which is primarily conservatives lamenting the state of the culture and entertainment. Gee, as if that's news. They've been lamenting the state of the culture since slavery was abolished. So there is nothing new there. The nature of the conservative is to whine and bitch because life evolves and they don't believe in evolution. They believe the best is always behind us and cling tenaciously to the past.

Now what does it take to be a columnist on Hollywood for Big Hollywood? David Swindle, one of their writers, lists his credentials as having written for various right-wing websites, doing film reviews for an Indiana TV station and living near Hollywood "awith (sic) his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy." Okay, in other words, he doesn't have any credibility, just the politically correct (in right-wing circles) views. His own comments seem to limit his knowledge of Hollywood to "doing political, ideological readings of films."

Swindle, with his huge credentials in the entertainment business—sarcasm alert for conservatives who wouldn't know better—sings the praises of the smarmy, oily whiner named Ben Shapiro. Shapiro is a right-wing media whore who makes a pretty penny telling conservatives what they most want to hear. He got his leg up, so too speak, by bragging to conservatives that he was a virgin. Apparently his lack of experience in the field gave him all the credentials to talk about sex that conservatives thought he needed.

Now Shapiro is out to attack evil Hollywood. What I found rather interesting is that Swindle was quick to pay the "Jew card" in this promotion piece for Shapiro's smear book. Here is how he describes it: "Shapiro wore his Harvard Law baseball cap and interviewed some of Hollywood's most influential television creators. Assuming from his alma mater and last name that he was one of them, the Hollywood insiders were too honest for their own good."

Get that? They assumed based on Shapiro's "last name" that "he was one of them." One of who? A Hollywood television producer? Nope. A Jew! Sorry folks, but when conservatives start pulling out the Jew card and pointing to "Jews" as being behind the destruction of American values, I get nervous. Normally they hide anti-Semitism a bit more than that. The anti-gay shit they spew, well that's just fund-raising heaven for them, from their bigoted base. But referring to someone as "one of them," because he has a Jewish name, is scrapping the bottom of the barrel. Though I do have to say that the picture of Swindle does look like someone who would hang out at white power rallies, right down to the "working man" baseball cap and, what appears to be, a vein attempt to grow a mustache—but it could just be dirt.

Swindle says that little Ben "documents the subversion of the cop and legal dramas from the early day of righteous cops and prosecutors to the nihilism of Hill Street Blues and Picket Fences." Wow! This clearly shows how out of touch with reality that Swindle and Shapiro happen to be. Yes, the early fiction on television portrayed cops and prosecutors as righteous. It was pure, unadulterated bullshit. Reality was never that way. And any unbiased reading of history shows that police and prosecutors frequently were corrupt and dishonest. They still are!

It doesn't take much to document the violent tendencies of cops and how they will frequently lie in court and invent evidence to convict people wrongly, and exonerate themselves from any wrong doing. Any accurate portrayal of these two groups will show this happening—just as the news reports show on a daily basis. Right now Corey Maye is seeing freedom again. Cops wrongly raided his home, breaking down his doors in the middle of the night in a no-knock raid. Maye defended himself from violent attackers and killed one of them. He was sentenced to death based on dicey evidence. He was defending his home, as he had the right to do, and there was no valid search warrant for his house. The cop who died was white, Maye was black and it was the deep South. The cop went along on the raid for the fun of it. He was on a joy ride basically. Maye sat in prison for years based on a police screw up. Should we portray those officers as "righteous?"

Sorry, but Swindle lives in a fairytale if he thinks cops and prosecutors are always "righteous." They aren't. This love for authority betrays the "freedom" slogans that conservatives chant. In the end, they abandon freedom every time and cling to the lash of the police state because it makes them safe. That's important to Swindle who once wrote that living on "Chetamon court," as a child, made him feel safe, and gave him "a sense of security." That is what Swindle wants, security, to feel safe—and freedom is just so damn risky. Bad things might happen. So, in the end freedom loses out.

Now let's also be clear that Shapiro can easily bias his book by selecting, in advance, precisely who he will or won't interview. It's that simple. And you can then crow that everyone you talked to was a Leftist. Just don't talk to the libertarians like Clint Eastwood, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, John Larroquette, Drew Carey, Kurt Russell, Raquel Welch, Orson Bean, Penn and Teller, Jason Reitman, Tom Selleck, Wil Wheaton, Marc Cherry, Tracy Torme, Dennis Leary and others.

Conservatism has various branches, from the Ron Paul paleoconservatives to the neoCons, to the Religious Right, to Buckleyite Catholics, for instance. I could do an expose of the "Conservative Movement" and then only interview the real loons like Pat Robertson, Bryan Fischer, Michelle Bachmann, Gary North and other theocratic authoritarians. Such a book would be dishonest. And I suspect some on the Left would lap it up as indicative of the conservative movement. It wouldn't be accurate but it might be popular.

Shapiro can easily do the same thing simply by ignoring all people in the entertainment world who are not openly left-wing. Here is what I suspect happened. Shapiro decides to make money pimping to the Right again. He can't sell the virgin story again, he's too old and too married to make that fly. And, since the Right loves books bashing someone, he decides to bash Hollywood, a favorite target of the Right for decades. (Contrary to their love fest with the 1950s, the conservatives of the 50s didn't like Hollywood then either, which just illustrates the conservative tendency to consistently like whatever is old, even if they didn't like it when it was new.)

Shapiro then sits down and makes a list of the people he already knows are Left-wing and goes out of his way to interview them. The end result proves what he set out to prove. Which, of course, is precisely what you would expect.

Hollywood is far better than conservatives admit. It is often promoting freedom precisely in those areas where conservatives are enamored with Big Government. While conservatives were still supporting Jim Crow laws, white Southern racism, and "keeping those people in their place," Hollywood was depicting the drama of what happens when you allow racism to dominate politics. Hollywood, not conservatives, was on the side of freedom in that battle. While conservatives were engaging in their "polite" anti-Semitism, while ignoring the more vile kinds that would break out in Right-wing circles, it was Hollywood exposing this sordid bigotry in films like Gentleman's Agreement (1947). Again conservatives were supporting the violation of individual rights while Hollywood took the right side of the battle. Today, slimy toadies of the Right, like Shapiro, are beating the anti-gay drum for what it is worth. Hollywood first portrayed gay people as normal human beings, something that horrified the Right. Hollywood was correct, the Right was wrong, again!

I don't think weasels like Ben Shapiro have a leg to stand on. They are big government advocates themselves, just as long as it's big moralistic, Bible-wielding, intolerant government. For them to chastise Hollywood is ludicrous since their own track record promoting individual rights is so damn pathetic.

And, in closing, Hollywood is market driven. The TV shows that conservatives love to hate tend to be popular and that drives the Right nuts. Glee makes money but conservatives see it as imposition on them, a violation of their rights to control what other people watch. Ditto for the various shows they hate. Yes, now and then, they hate a show that bombs and then they crow this proves they were right. But Hollywood continues to make billions year after year because, more often than not, they sell what the public wants to see. Hate the culture if you want, but don't ignore that it is markets at work, the very markets conservative pretend to support.

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