…putting 60% to 70% of Hollywood Elsewhere behind a Patreon paywall, that is, you’re greatly mistaken.
I would like nothing better than for Hollywood Elsewhere to just cruise along like it has for the last…God, it’ll be 17 years on 8.4.21. (And nearly 23 years if you count the October ’98 launch of my Mr. Showbiz column, which was lamentably titled HOLLYWOOD CONFIDENTIAL.) I really wish I could’ve kept going as a free site until 8.4.23 — 20 years, nice and tidy.
Alas, the monsters began arriving on Maple Street back in early ’18, and before I knew it “the terror” had begun to infiltrate everywhere.
HE began making modest amounts of dough almost immediately after launching in August ’04, and the income began to grow a bit more by ’07 or ’08. For about seven years (’10 to ’16, let’s say) HE award-season ads were pulling down decent six-figure revenues, and from this I was able to savor a modest lifestyle that included travel, buying the rumblehog, Italian lace-ups, Prague touch-ups and so on. Hardly a life of luxury, but, as Randy Newman might’ve put it, “it was all right.”
Then came the politically correct lizards and crocodiles and Komodo dragons, and before I knew it ad revenue had begun to shrink. Because “they” didn’t like me (or were afraid of seeming vaguely supportive) and so little by little revenue began to dwindle. Or as Lady Bird Johnson used to say, to “dwinnel.”
The ’20 and ’21 Oscar season (COVID) was the worst in HE history. There’s no sense kidding myself from where I sit right now. I have to either launch a paywall and do the best I can (or the best we can, I mean…myself and HE ad guy Sean Jacobs) with the ’21 and into ’22 Oscar season, or find some freelance writing gigs or, God forbid, send out resumes and find a (choke) “job.”
Over the last two or three years some truly wonderful Millennials and Zoomers in the publicity and marketing end of things (initially at film festivals and then within distributor offices) decided that I’d become a kind of pariah. Except I’m not. I’m the same columnist I’ve always been — the same mentality, the same passion, the same edge. What’s changed is that the culture has tipped into a kind of rigid woke mindset — say the right things and repeat the party dogma or you’ll be cancelled.
I am a humanist, a sane person, a father, a husband, a good writer, and a left-center moderate. And I haven’t written anything, said anything or done anything to warrant pariah status. I haven’t changed — the culture has. Things have gone CRAZY in some ways. All I’ve said and written has been the same old plain-spoken stuff. I have a voice, a way of writing, etc.
Do we ALL have to sound like Anne Thompson and Eric Kohn in order to survive these days? Isn’t there room for just one of us — i.e., myself — to have a blunter, franker opinion?
The shunning of certain ex-Commie screenwriters happened between the early to late ‘50s, but that era finally ended. “Scoundrel Time”, somebody called it. The woke totalitarian era will come to an end also. Sooner or later, all pages are turned, all chapters end and all things pass.
I. Have. Done. Nothing. To. Warrant. This. Kind. Of. Treatment. Even that recent thing that got me kicked out of Critics Choice…that wasn’t me! I wrote nothing. A friend did and I posted it for 45 minutes. And then I took it down. It was nothing. It was bullshit. And yet Jen Yamato and Chris Bumbray‘s fanged teeth were soaked in saliva.
Thank God for the sanity and friendship emanating from the good people I’ve been lucky to regard as friends for the last two or three decades, and press credential-wise from the Telluride and Cannes camps. From my persepective these are the last sane people on planet earth.
Wokesterism is a social-political plague — the new iteration of Maximilian Robespierre, the New McCarthyism, the New Victorians and surely a form of Bolshevik Totalitarian Orwellian insanity. Wokesters are suppressors and punishers — they’re against any concept of freedom that you or I or any semi-liberal person might recognize. I can’t wait for the zeitgeist to gradually swing in the other direction and for these reprehensible jackals to be on the run and/hiding in tall grass. And again, my core beliefs are liberal moderate and I come from a place of adventure and satori and clarity of the soul.
Wokesterism is fundamentally guided by love and compassion and humanitarian goals and a respect for all modes of ethnicity and sexuality and what-have-you, agreed. But in the name of righteous cleansing these people have become the totalitarian brain police that William S. Burroughs was so properly terrified of…they’re against freedom of speech…they’re about punitive measures and suppression and ruining good people’s lives…in a phrase they’re the new Khmer Rouge…FUCKING FANATICS.
Critic friend several weeks ago….
“The weird thing to me in all of this is the number of people — i.e., more than half of Jeff’s readers — who do not get it because they simply cannot see what is going on. They are such lockstep, go-along-with-the-crowd personalities that they think Jeff is talking about some fantasy in his head, rather than a genuine universe of real ideas that can no longer be expressed in the public square of mainstream media.
“Every time one of them says ‘Give it a rest, Jeff!’ I think: Here is someone who is truly, definingly clueless. The house is on fire, and they just think it’s a warm day.”
Nobody loves great, earth-shaking cinema more than myself.