Opinion

Hollywood's Slow Suicide

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Posted: Mar 08, 2018 12:01 AM
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Hollywood's Slow Suicide

Well, the Oscars sure did suck, didn’t they? I used to watch them because I love movies, now I watched them for work purposes. And it felt like work. Judging by the ratings, the way I felt watching them was not unique, and a lot of people did not show up for work that day.

The 2018 Oscars were the lowest rated in history due, in part, to the movies the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated (they really embraced movies the public has shown no interest in), but mostly due to the show itself. They can try to blame “cord cutters” all they want, but just because more people have dropped their cable providers doesn’t mean they blew up their television sets. Besides, the Oscars weren’t on cable, they were on broadcast TV. 

No, people actively chose not to watch. 

The Oscars (and pretty much every entertainment awards show) have become the annual version of the Democratic National Convention with significantly more attractive speakers. But no one wants to watch the real thing, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a prettier version would see record low viewership.

Hollywood is killing itself. Not many people will care, they’re that annoying, but it does matter. 

Entertainment, no matter where it occurs, is important in a civil society. “Hollywood” is the catch-all term for everything in that industry, and it serves an important purpose – an escape. 

Whether you want to admit it or not, you have favorite movies, TV shows, bands, whatever. Without them, without that escape, life would be miserable. You can deny it all you like, but you know it’s true. 

That escape serves as an important release, a break from work, family, bills, responsibilities, and all the stresses of life, if only for a short while. We laugh, we cry, we talk about it with friends and make new friends through our mutual enjoyment of them. 

But that’s changing because Hollywood is changing, or vice-versa. How it started is irrelevant, that it’s accelerating is what matters. 

I understand the lack of desire to watch a movie about miserable people being miserable or watching a TV show about how awful people who hold your reverence for the founding principles of this country are. I share it.

But that used to be the exception in the entertainment world, now it’s becoming more of the norm. 

The preachy “this person is a victim” movie that gives the impression this country is “-ist” or “-phobic” land filled with toothless monsters looking to destroy anyone different from them has been a popular theme in Hollywood, but used to be relegated to the art houses. Now they’re released widely, hyped on “news” programs, and discussed as if they document what America is like rather than the stain of the syrup left on a plate from an apple pie they are eating.

The “message movie” is overtaking the popcorn flick. But people aren’t going to see them, no matter how many awards they’re given.

Despite what liberal critics and TV pundits say, no movie is “important.” They’re movies. No TV show will “change the way you view” this or that, they’re time-passers that hopefully make you laugh or care about the characters. 

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” is absolutely hilarious, but the world keeps spinning even when Larry David decides to take years off from making new episodes. Entertainment doesn’t define us, it distracts us. When something connects with an audience it matters to them. But it also ends, life doesn’t. The last thing the public wants is a constant reminder of the worst and rarest parts of society, especially when they’re presented as larger than they are or when deeply held beliefs are mocked with stereotypes so smug liberals can feel better about themselves. 

Yet that’s where Hollywood is now. They’re the preacher I remember outside concerts I’d attend growing up in Detroit yelling at everyone that they’re going to Hell. I tried, on several occasions, to have a discussion with him, to find out why he thought literally yelling that at people would convince anyone to his cause. He didn’t have an answer, and there’s no way he thought it would work considering the fact that the only response he got from those who acknowledged his existence was telling him where he could go and what he could do on his way there. Still, he persisted because it made him feel good, made him feel like he was doing something he felt was important. 

That’s Hollywood – the crazy man holding signs, yelling at everyone that they must conform to his will or they are evil. 

It might be different if, every once in a while, there was some traffic heading the other direction down that street – if there were some acknowledgement of the flaws and hypocrisies of the left in entertainment. 

Imagine a Saturday Night Live skit about the Oscars where Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey keep trying to sneak down the red carpet and everyone tries to pretend they don’t exist, or celebrities covered in ribbons and pins for and/or against every cause imaginable to show they care. But liberals would hate that, moreover they’d be embarrassed by it, so it won’t happen. Instead, there will be a skit about Sam Nunberg’s public meltdown while Donald Trump and a porn star watch it from a bathtub, or something similarly “cutting edge” that has been repeated all week on the late-night talk shows.

Hollywood is killing itself, slowly, and while the prospect of that is appealing, the implications are not. Without what the entertainment industry is capable of providing, the rift between Americans will only grow. As it stands now, they’re aiding in building that gulf. The world needs distraction, the world needs characters and drama, and most importantly the world needs to laugh. Right now too much of that laughter is not out of humor, but contempt from one half of the country for the other. Where that ultimately leads is only bad, because once you go over a cliff there is no going back.