Editor's note: Loyd Pettegrew co-authored this column.
Hollywood, using Harry Potter’s words, is “The word whose name I will not repeat.” The former head of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks, warned us in a 2015 New York Times opinion piece, “Back in 1993, the misanthropic art critic Robert Hughes published a grumpy, entertaining book called ‘Culture of Complaint,’ in which he predicted that America was doomed to become increasingly an ‘infantilized culture’ of victimhood.”
Hollywierd has been a blatant abettor of American victimhood and other progressive thought on the silver screen, the Oscars shows, TV and cable, and through its leftist actors and producers. It is often asserted that it is the main contributor to our current mess along with politicians and the usual SJW suspects. Not enough attention has been given to fact that Hollywierd once upon a time promulgated and backed much of the true American spirit.
There is no argument that Hollywierd has used its progeny, products and largess to create America’s increasingly leftward social agenda. This thought process engineering takes place on the big screen where heroes and villains capture viewers’ imagination, and fantasy casts a mindless, euphoric spell on its audience. A magical moment captivates those hearts and minds with bits of dialogue creating attitudes and ultimately behaviors about nearly every subject under the sun. War is glorified or vilified, love can be simply sex or romantic. Lawyers are heroes or villains. Politicians, corrupt or saviors. The cause de jour becomes big screen, larger than life, but its truth or falseness depends on the current socio-political agenda. Who needs food court subliminal messaging when the customer (and mainstream media) have already drunk the Kool Aid? Here are some memorable movie taglines that while falling silent lately, have useful relation to today’s mindless victims of their own imagination.
Consider “Stupid is as stupid does...” Forrest Gump (1994), and “You talking to me? “Taxi Driver (1976). Here are two movie quotes that describe both the character and elitism of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, botching New York’s Covid pandemic response, then patting himself on the back in his fictional book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons Learned from the Covid19 Crisis. The fact that he earned an Emmy Award for this fantasia speaks directly to the ever-adoring leftist entertainment complex. Andrew is the height of stupido-narcissism along with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Finally, under fire for his nursing home policy which resulted in tens of thousands of needless deaths, his book’s subtitle should be the tagline from Catch Me if You Can (2002) -- “The True Story of a Real Fake.”
Congress has recently gone full stupido-narcissist, fulfilling their bit parts as liberal socialists with their eye on winning a political academy award and receiving more Google financing. AOC has morphed from a simple Boston University bartender to one of the best character actors in the Beltway—Stop the presses! Her animated movements mimic old time method actors where her flailing New Green Deal arms accompany discordant diatribes that please an adoring Twitter GenZ set. AOC’s biography reminds you of the tagline from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), “One man’s (woman’s) struggle to take it easy” or the Taxi Driver (1976) tagline, “On every street in every city in this country, there is a nobody who dreams of being somebody.” Most of the world could care less about AOC’s dreams.
When Nancy Pelosi is in action one has trouble disassociating her from Snow White’s (1937) wicked witch of the far west who voiced, “Magic Mirror on the wall, whose the fairest one of all?” We know she isn’t it because her political views are fair only to those who genuflect to her authoritarian powers. Pelosi’s leadership style bulldozes over political enemies just as the tagline from Jaws the Revenge (1987) espoused: “This time it’s personal!” For Madame Nancy, “Reality is a thing of the past”, The Matrix (1999).
Who could forget the 46th President of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden? He is just getting started and deserves the full benefit of the doubt, although about 75 million voters doubted he was up to the job and expressed their views at the ballot box. Two timeless lines from Cool Hand Luke (1967) seem to articulate what the elder statesman cannot: “What we have here is a failure to communicate!” And when he wears his reflective aviator-style shades, it commands, “Don’t mess with the man with no eyes!” Also relevant is the tagline from Memento (2000) that cautions, “Some memories are best forgotten.” Trying to be Tom Cruise Kool behind aviators only works if you were once Kool, and can actually remember what it was like.
The chronic impeachers in Congress prosecuted President Trump both times with fabricated political charges. Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (1939) asked the Scarecrow, “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain? His response was, “I don’t know. But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?” It seems the Scarecrow knew what he was talking about, especially concerning our current politicians.
Are there taglines/quotations that serve the character and politics of President Donald J. Trump? Yes, because Hollywood at one time sold values that were timeless and American. Here are but a few:
Spider-Man (2002) tag line “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Braveheart (1995) “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”
The Social Network (2002) “You don’t get 500 million friends without making a few enemies.”
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), “I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine. All you people don’t know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes fighting for. And he fought for them once, for the only reason any man ever fights for them; because of just one plain, simple rule: ‘Love thy neighbor.’ And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust. You know that rule, Mr. Paine, and I loved you for it, just as my father did. And you know that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any other. Yes, you even die for them.”
We must ask ourselves when Hollywood became Hollywierd. When they co-opted their messages to promote political agendas that conflict with traditional American values of fair-play and the American Dream.
Our response to them should be what Cher famously shouted to Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck (1987), “Snap out of it!”
This is some old Hollywood advice for a country imbued with a left-handed crisis of conscience.
As Billy Joel was moving out of L.A. in 1981 and returning to New York City, he wrote a fitting song for conservatives, Say Goodbye to Hollywood. Its refrain is fitting in our cancel culture:
“Moving on is a chance that you take, Any time you try to stay together, Say a word out of line And you find that the friends you had are gone forever. Say Goodbye to Hollywood…”
Where is Clint Eastwood when you need him most?