I love movies. I always have. I make a lot references to movies both in my writing and on my radio show. It’s not unique to me. Most writers, hosts and everyone else for that matter, make at least occasional references, if not flat-out word-for-word quotes of movies while making points, even in politics. This is not an accident.
My late friend, the great Andrew Breitbart, loved movies, music and pop culture. He didn’t love them just for the enjoyment he got from them, or because he lived and worked in Hollywood. He understood their power. “Politics,” he always said, “is downstream from pop culture.”
What happens in movies, television, music, whatever, eventually makes its way into the political realm. Pop culture is the fertilizer for the seeds from which the future sprouts. And on the pop culture front conservatives are sorely lagging.
I hear it all the time – conservatives complaining about “the messages coming out of Hollywood” – and they’re right. Hollywood is a bastion of like-minded, unthinking liberalism. They also wonder where the “conservative movies” are. There’s really no such thing as “liberal movies” or “conservative movies,” there are only good and bad movies that happen to have something liberal or conservative in them.
Before Obamacare became law, how many movies and TV shows were made about the sorry state of the health insurance system? For decades we’ve been inundated with stories of mean insurance companies denying care to sweet, innocent people (mostly children), or how someone without insurance was screwed over by the system, and watched as the hero stood up to or for them and won. It’s a compelling storyline from a human standpoint, but it’s also incredibly rare. But each of them helped in their own little way in the fight over Obamacare.
When all this began, the vast majority – upwards of 85 percent of Americans by most counts – had health insurance and were quite happy with it. But a story about a child who gets sick and gets treated because his parents had insurance is not a compelling story. It’s boring. It’s what’s supposed to happen.
Through the power of pop culture, we learned the system that served most of us quite well existed only because of the profiteering of the evil insurance companies. If we wanted to “help people,” we had to support a 100 percent government overhaul of a problem shared by only a few. And while progressives exploited the power of pop culture to advance this agenda, all conservatives did was complain.
I hear these complaints all the time. “Hollywood is full of liberals.” This is true. I also hear, “Conservatives need to engage in pop culture.” This is true as well. But what happens when they do?