The Hollywood Mythspiracy
by Matt Stoller, Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 07:49:33 AM EST
Firstly, let's get the important stuff out of the way. I'm Matt's brother, and I wrote "Fun with Dick and Jane." It's very funny and you should all see it. I guarantee you'll enjoy it. I've written bad movies -- this isn't one of them. Go to moviefone now! Buy tickets! Tell your friends! OK. Now that I've plugged my movie, onto political discourse.
While the conservatives may have cornered the market on cable news and AM stations, the Limbaugh conspiracy theory really is true -- liberal Jews run Hollywood. Conservatives have to search far and wide to find sympathetic talent (ie. why is Ron Silver on the road to becoming an ambassador? That's not even B-list talent.)
It's depressing, but unsurprising, that in terms of things political, us Liberal Hollywood Jews (LHJs) have such a limited sway over how the country thinks on important issues. That's where the Limbaugh conspiracy breaks down. Hollywood may be liberal, but in the end, does anyone care what Warren Beaty thinks? Of course not. Nor should they. He's an old, rich, horny fool. I might think he's a good actor, but I roll my eyes when he protests the Governator.
"Fun with Dick and Jane" (which, again, you should all see) has a relatively overt liberal message. However, that message has received none, or very little, mention in the press. Creatively, I discovered something interesting. At the beginning of the process, I was incredibly excited to fill the film with political message (like in Hal Ashby's Shampoo). However, every Gore-Lieberman poster (the movie takes places in 2000) and Bush reference takes one out of the movie, distracts from the laughs. Movies are supposed to be entertaining. Anything that distracts from entertainment feels preachy and extraneous.
In the end, there is no intersection between Hollywood and the Democratic Party (or none that I have noticed besides that of fundraising). This is a missed opportunity of gargantuan proportions. There are hundreds of writers and actors and directors who are angry and who want to do something besides give money. We are expert message machines offering our (generally overpriced) services for free and the Democratic Party does not use us. We create villains and good guys, we write America's jokes, we create the narrative of America, the lines that are repeated by boys and girls, men and women, over lunch and the water cooler and we have been left completely un-consulted.
Why didn't Michael Bay direct an awesome action adventure ad where John Kerry singlehandedly blows up the terrorist insurgency with a solemn nod of his granite-chiseled chin? Why weren't the writers of SNL and the Daily Show brought in to create hilarious, ruthless anti-Bush spots that would have been forwarded all around the internet? Why wasn't James Brooks hired to create a touching, pull-the-heartstrings Kerry-Edwards-cares-about-the-voter commercial? This schlock works -- remember that 9/11 Bush ad where he's holding the crying girl? With the Hollywood talent the Democratic party has at its disposal, we could have blown that spot out of the water, made it look like a mediocre episode of Touched by an Angel next to our sinking of the Titanic. I don't care if you think "I am king of the world" is a cheesy line -- it made people cry. Nothing Kerry said made people cry. Except perhaps accidentally, out of boredom or pain.
During the 2004 election, Kerry's people had a brief meeting with the top writing talent in Hollywood and asked for jokes and message ideas. Unsurprisingly, his campaign used none of it. When the Democratic Party was thinking of their new slogan (A Better Choice, is that even it? I can't remember, that's how good it is), why didn't they call us? The Democratic Party has a lock on the hearts and minds of Hollywood and Hollywood has a deep understanding of how to create message -- so why not start using us?