Polling has consistently shown that the American public as a whole believes Hollywood is out of step with mainstream views in this country. That belief was borne out Sunday night by comedian Chris Rock, the emcee for the Academy Awards.
I sometimes find Rock to be entertaining. I'm probably one of the few people who found his unusual film Pootie Tang to be funny. That almost certainly proves to the entire world -- and perhaps to Rock -- that I'm possibly out of my mind.
But it was the funnyman himself who was off his rocker on Oscar night. His political diatribe against President Bush during the opening monologue was plenty predictable and for the most part unfunny. Many TV viewers probably noticed that most of the live audience in the Kodak Theater apparently shared his views. Even so, the politicism of Rock's Bush-bashing reduced the laughter to a series of self-conscious giggles. It all but destroyed Rock's cadence and his connection with the crowd.
It's not so much that Rock's comments didn't make a certain oblique sense. The world political stage certainly unfolded in ways unexpected to many people when the president won re-election in spite of his many problems, including Iraq and the national debt. But Rock's political punches were both trite and inappropriate for this night, which is supposed to belong to people of all stripes, political and otherwise.
I found myself anticipating an appearance by some Native American political activist -- or whoever it was that accepted Marlon Brando's Best Actor award for The Godfather back in 1972 -- this time holding up a "Kerry Wuz Robbed!" sign.
So here's a key message to all the smart folks in Hollywood. In between producing about three good movies a year, to go along with the endless succession of remakes and blood-and-guts rubbish, they apparently haven't realized that their nation rejected their political views last November.
I could only imagine television sets in the often-demeaned "red states" switching from the Academy Awards to a TV Land rerun once Rock turned to politics. Like me, they could quickly see that a night of attacks on only one side of the political divide would prove this to be another typical Hollywood self-love fest.