I'm on the road in Kansas City. Can you imagine a national journalism conference with no WiFi? Frustrating. Anyway, I did manage to notice (hat tip to Amy Welborn, yet again) that young master Jeremy Lott has issued a public call for help as he researches the mass-media angles of his upcoming book on the virtues of hypocrisy. His appeal does not have a strong news hook, unless some link this to Karl Rove, but I think GetReligion readers will find it fun anyway.
Dive in! Help out this young journalist! He writes:
... (This) is one of my rare requests for advice. The fourth chapter of my book will wrestle with hypocrisy in Hollywood. I'm looking for two kinds of information:
1) Quotes by celebs condemning hypocrites or hypocrisy. If you send these in, please identify the source of the quotation.
2) Famous hypocrites in film. Obvious candidates include Captain Renault in Casablanca, Robert Duvall in The Apostle, and Steve Martin in Leap of Faith.
Have at it folks. My e-mail address is JEREMYAL123 -- AT -- YAHOO -- DOT -- COM.
OK, I'll take the challenge. Let's assume that by "Hollywood" Jeremy means either television or film. If that is the case, I would argue that the most famous and, in some ways, influential hypocrite in the pop-culture era of the Baby Boomers would have to be Maj. Frank Burns of M*A*S*H.
All the key elements are there -- a stupid white male conservative who thinks of himself as a puritan while shagging a nearby blonde hypocrite who is later liberated to become a brilliant feminist by the brilliant sensitive liberals (whether faithfully married or gleefully unmarried).
I think Frank Burns, in many ways, was just as powerful a figure as Archie Bunker.
The challenge in this thread is going to be nominating people who are not carbon copies of the old Elmer Gantry template. Jump in, readers. At the very least, let's come up with a dozen or so five-star pop-culture hypocrites. Let's go for superstars and not sink into Jim and Tammy Bakker territory.