Hollywood conservatism unleashed?

E Hollywood signOne of the Big Ideas of this blog is that it is almost impossible to talk about the news business in terms of a pure "left" vs. "right" content, at least if you are going to use the old-fashioned definitions of words such as "conservative" and "liberal." Most of our political conflicts today -- other than issues of war and peace -- are rooted in social, moral, cultural and even religious issues, not issues of economics. Was Bill Clinton a "liberal," except on moral and cultural issues? No way. Ask the labor unions that question.

What are the issues that cause warfare inside the GOP's big tent? Economics? Environment? Sort of, but not really. The flash points are all linked to lifestyle issues and culture. Click here for one example -- as the tension over Judge Janice Rogers Brown increases. Is this a classic left-right fight? No way.

Well, now we are seeing signs that Hollywood is growing more complex -- as studios, in an era of declining box-office statistics -- realize that it may not be wise to ignore or to constantly offend about half the U.S. population. So some journalists are beginning to talk about a surge of "Hollywood conservatism." I wrote about this a few days ago, in connection with the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose. But this is only the latest in a series of recent films to cause a spike in MSM paranoia.

Remember The Incredibles? A.O. Scott of The New York Times does. Some of themes are woven into his feature titled "Now, from Hollywood, visions of conservatism." He thinks it's crazy to say Hollywood was ever "monolithically liberal."

The notion that the American film industry is a hotbed of leftist propaganda is a venerable one, and some determined demagogues will cling to it no matter what the studios do. But the studios themselves, especially after the stunning success of Mel Gibson's independently financed "The Passion of the Christ," have tried to strengthen their connection with religious and social conservatives, who represent not only a political constituency but a large and powerful segment of the market. . . .

Last autumn, "The Incredibles" celebrated Ayn Randian libertarian individualism and the suburban nuclear family, while the naughty puppets of "Team America" satirized leftist celebrity activism and defended American global power even as they mocked its excesses. More recently we have learned that flightless Antarctic birds, according to some fans of "March of the Penguins," can be seen as big-screen embodiments of the kind of traditional domestic values that back-sliding humans have all but abandoned, as well as proof that divine intention, rather than blind chance, is the engine of creation.

Yes, he thinks Intelligent Design shows up in The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the Terri Schiavo case looms in the background throughout Just Like Heaven. Did Team America really strike a chord with the Religious Right?

Once again, however, journalists should ask this question: What does "conservatism" mean in this context? What does "liberal" mean? If Hollywood is basically pro-profits and sold out to radical individualism and sexual freedom, isn't this closer to Libertarianism (on moral issues, at least) rather than "liberalism"? Can anyone imagine Hollywood swinging right on, oh, sex and salvation?

Still, read Scott's essay -- just to see what the elites are thinking.

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