Don’t Slip Into Cultural Irrelevance
Total purity in politics is not a good thing. Neither is isolation.
The Golden Globe awards were on last night and one would have thought from my Twitter feed that it was a meeting of Communist Party leaders gathering in a big room. Granted, so many of the Hollywood elite are left wing liberals and many of them are so ignorant about current events and issues one wonders how they can memorize a script.
That being said, the main reason most of these people gathered together was to celebrate the art of film making and acting. In another word, art. Now you may be thinking, “I’ve seen the Sistine Chapel and ‘Game Change’ is not art.” True. ‘Game Change’ was overrated piece of junk elevated to its status largely because it provided more fodder for liberals to make fun of one of their favorite targets, Sarah Palin. Aside from Ed Harris, the rest of the cast were like cartoon characters and we never had a chance to connect with the characters on a real level.
But what about Argo? Zero Dark Thirty? Lincoln? Homeland? There were movies, shows and people honored who truly deserved it. Contrary to what many people think, acting is simply not “pretending” to be somebody else. There is late night cable and a direct to DVD market for a reason. Argo was a fantastic film and I was glad that Ben Affleck won Best Director. Yes, despite Affleck’s left wing politics, he is a gifted film maker. He has directed three movies — Gone Baby, Gone, The Town and Argo. All three are excellent. Affleck directs his characters well and he does an outstanding job of telling a story.
To some people however, this is heresy. It’s simply unacceptable to “support” somebody like Ben Affleck because he’s a liberal and conservatives shouldn’t give a platform to people like that. Some conservatives brag they actively “boycott” certain actors or musicians largely because of their political views.
Here’s my view on that: If you don’t want to see great films like ‘State of Grace’ because Sean Penn is in the movie, that’s your choice. And I will respect that. But I also think it is a mistake.
As a political movement, when we choose to isolate ourselves from the culture, we are missing out on a bunch of opportunities. It doesn’t mean you must immerse yourself in the culture. It doesn’t mean you even have to like it. I’ve watched ‘Girls’ on HBO and I think the show sucks. But to say, “I’m never going to watch that or anything Lena Dunham does because of that ad she did for Obama” comes from a place that reminds me so much of the church wanting to cut itself off from the outside world. It’s that kind of thinking that birthed silliness like “GodTube” and various Christian Facebook ripoffs.
There is no downside to engaging the culture.
I see conservatives on Twitter and elsewhere incessantly mocking “hipsters.” Why? Because so many of them assume that because a person is an artist of some kind, wears skinny jeans, TOMS shoes and Warby Parker glasses that the person in question must be some Obama sycophant. It’s a silly way of thinking. I can direct you to three people (one of whom is a personal friend), who are musicians/artists and look like they’d be very comfortable at a Think Progress gathering but who are probably more conservative than I am. Sure, they may like ‘Girls’ or Matt Damon movies, but they can’t stand paying high taxes, loathe abortion and will defend your second amendment rights as strongly as the NRA president.
Republicans and conservatives, contrary to what the talking heads say, do not need to give up or compromise their principles in order to effect change and win elections. However, we do need to transcend the cultural gap we have put between ourselves and so many other Americans who feel the same way we do about taxes, regulation, spending and constitutional freedoms like those protected under the second amendment.
That will not happen if we build a wall around ourselves off because we’re turned off by somebody’s choice of music, television shows or film preferences.
I’ll be doing a follow up post explaining a few ways we can do just that.