Can we carve the epitaph for Hollywood yet?
Has there ever been an industry which has continuously heaped so much undisguised contempt upon its own audience? Not only do celebrities openly broadcast their disdain for American commoners, but some have openly wished death upon us or even assaulted members of the public for their opinions. Movies and TV shows mock regular Americans, Southerners in particular, and ridicule everything we cherish. For years, most people have tried to ignore the ugly underside of Hollywood and to just enjoy the movies and music it produces. In recent years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the animosity between Hollywood and Middle America, and more and more people and are choosing to tune it out completely.
Sunday’s Grammy Awards show received some of the lowest ratings in its history, down 20% from last year. Movie attendance is at a 24-year low. The latest Golden Globes ceremony had 1 million fewer viewers than the previous year.
After the 2016 Oscar nominees were announced, the trend #OscarsSoWhite dominated social media for several days because the usual crowd of whiners were appalled by the over-representation of whites among the nominees. Never mind that historically, Black Americans have received Academy Awards in roughly the same percentage as their portion of the population. The perception was that a morally reprehensible whitewash had occured. To make sure this disgrace would not happen again, the Academy drastically changed the process by which nominees were selected. This year, the nominees include plenty of women, minorities, and even a few transgenders, so the leftist media has found relatively little to complain about, though there is always something that is not good enough.
The industry’s devotion to producing propaganda in service of “social justice” has taken precedence over quality storytelling and even over profit making.
I remember the “After-School Special” movies that came on from time to time when I was younger. These cringe-worthy made-for-TV movies were awkward attempts to teach “lessons” to young viewers, like that drugs or cheating or bullying are bad. In recent years, it frequently occurs to me that movies and TV shows, improved technical effects notwithstanding, have become modern versions of the same thing – contrived storytelling aimed at spoon-feeding a “lesson” to the viewer. Common “lessons” are that Christians are morally warped and hypocritical, racial minorities are the heroic victims of relentless mistreatment, transgenders are misunderstood, gays are incredibly cool, Southerners are small-minded and hateful, women are as good or better at everything than men. How often do you see a movie or TV show that does NOT shoe-horn in one of the familiar social-justice themes? Most of it is predictable, moralistic and simplistic – the opposite of good story telling. Few people find this pablum enjoyable, and absolutely nobody likes paying money to be insulted.
I believe that most in Hollywood are so out of touch with middle America that they genuinely believe that the problem is the ignorance of the rubes, which is why they continue to wail in anger and frustration that we are not allowing them to enlighten us. Remember Meryl Streep’s arrogant Golden Globes speech from a few years ago? (As offensive as it was, it did gift us with the famous death-stare photo of Vince Vaughn who was listening from the crowd, which still makes me laugh every time I see it.)
Even if the elite of the Golden Swamp were magically given the ability to see the world through the eyes of red-state America, and to understand why their popularity and income are in a free-fall, would it change anything? I can’t imagine that it would. Most of us would flock to, and pay willingly for, real entertainment, art, and music that spoke to us, encouraged us, gave us real heroes, and expressed our values and inspired our hopes. It doesn’t matter. Hollywood elites despise traditional Americans, and don’t want us to have those things, even if they would profit handsomely from producing them.
There is a dearth of art and music in our public square that represents and speaks to real Americans, and Southerners in particular. Now is the time for independent artists to use crowdfunding and social media to offer their best efforts to those who are hungry for meaningful work. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the decay of Hollywood has left a tremendous one. I can’t wait to see the real art and music that arrives to fill it.