Ever since exit-pollsters discovered a significant chunk of voters were casting their ballots based on which candidate stood for moral values -- and most of those who chose that reason for their vote said they picked Republicans -- the Hollywood crowd has tried to pick the idea apart, as conflicted, even ridiculous.
The anything-goes gang is suggesting we live in a pretty hypocritical country if we can profess our desire for moral leadership and make our No. 1 smash on television the ABC smut soap "Desperate Housewives." When the red states profess a great concern for moral values and then embrace sleazy shows, that's hypocrisy, is it not?
No, it's not. The argument is disingenuous. Television today is so splintered, with so many choices, that a hit show -- even a No. 1 show -- doesn't translate into broad (and never mind majority) appeal. "Desperate Housewives" attracts less than 25 million viewers a week. Out of an estimated U.S. population of 290 million people, that's less than one in 10 Americans who cares for this allegedly massive hit show. That fraction of the country is a very lucrative fraction for ABC and its advertisers, but political and pop-culture theorists are drawing wild conclusions about an America riddled with hypocrisy with some rather addled mathematics.
By the same token, a show like NBC's "Will and Grace" is ranked 20th so far this season, averaging about 15 million viewers. That's very good ratings for a TV show these days, but it's awfully flimsy to take those 15 million Americans -- five percent of the population -- and say, voila, America favors gay marriage.
Hollywood can write a saucy show with all of its creativity aimed at the collective crotch and make buckets of money. But the numbers prove that a vast majority of the public does not applaud when they push every envelope, erode every decency and mock every moral standard. Hollywood, unfortunately, couldn't care less. Millions can write and call Hollywood in opposition, and nothing happens. Hollywood has made it clear that their La La Land hot-tub programming tastes are not up for debate. Like it, or lump it, but the sleaze parade will continue, so long as a buck can be made. So those millions have learned to send their letters and calls instead to Washington, which seems to be the only way to get Hollywood's attention.