I’ve noted many times in this space that I understand the plight of Hollywood filmmakers who support Republican or conservative causes. I got into this when I wrote a big piece for Los Angeles magazine in early ’95 called “Right Face,” about how it was easier in the liberal Hollywood culture of the mid ’90s to say you’re gay than confess to being a rightie, which could put you on what Lionel Chetwynd called a “white list.”
So I knew right away what Patrick Goldstein was on about yesterday when he quoted mystery novelist and screenwriter Andrew Klavan, a leading conservative activist, to wit: “There’s a culture in Hollywood where if you’re a left-winger, you can talk very openly…. If you go in to sell something, you can make anti-American, anti-military, anti-religious remarks, but I’m the kind of guy who’s going to say, ‘No, I disagree.’ But that’s pretty much the end of my sale. Whereas, if you’re a conservative, especially if you’re a religious person, people like that meet in secret, talk in whispers. It’s a very disturbing kind of culture.”
Goldstein wrote that “being a Jew who grew up in the South, I sympathize with all oppressed minorities, but I think that conservatives need to get a grip here. Yes, Hollywood is lousy with liberals — they’re everywhere. That’s a given, okay, just like where my family comes from, there’s a Baptist church on every block. But where’s the evidence that conservatives are denied jobs because of their political beliefs? For all the vague charges being bandied about, I’ve never heard any specific examples of suppression in action. If you’re a conservative and can offer me chapter and verse, I will be happy to take up your cause.”
The way I heard it fifteen years ago, it’s not that right-wing actors fail to get hired for this or that film or TV show — that’s not the problem. It’s more in the realm of conservative-minded directors and screenwriters not getting hired to direct or write any sort of sensitive touchy-feeling material because leftie executives believe that righties are too militant and hard-assed to get this sort of thing. Which seems unfair. Really.
Of course, there is the Stephen Baldwin issue, which I got into on 4.22. I was dissed for being cavalier or two-faced, but I’m at least honest enough to admit that putting right-wingers under the economic lash for their beliefs is a delicious fantasy. If for no other reason than to rhapsodize about karma payback for all the liberals that their grandfathers put out of work during the blacklist days of the late ’40s and ’50s. I don’t actually advocate this, mind — the only way to go in this town is to work with the best people for the job, no matter who they are or what they believe — but…well, you know.
I mean, is there any other culture in America besides Hollywood where you can make righties suffer and get away with it? It is dead wrong to actually do this, obviously, but can you blame liberals for at least closing their eyes and indulging in a little day-dreaming? How is an ardent liberal supposed to respond, after all, to a group that’s committed to suppressing or ignoring green innovation, coddling the oil industry, goading the tea-baggers and the birthers, trying to block health care, defending Goldman Sachs piracy, praising reptiles like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, denying global warming, and spending much if not most of its time catering to the beliefs of the ugliest and stupidest block of voters in the U.S.? Really — how should liberals react to all this? By patting conservatives on the back, buying them a drink at the golf club, sending business their way and turning the other cheek?