Why Ellen's Selfie Matters

Posted: Mar 03, 2014 11:05 AM
Why Ellen's Selfie Matters

There is a lot of important news today. So it seems silly to write about the fact that Ellen DeGeneres' Oscar "selfie" succeeded in breaking the record set in 2012 by the President after his re-election.

But actually, it's not silly and here's why: The fact that a couple of movie stars were able spontaneously to generate more retweets than the world's most powerful man is a reminder that our politics follows our culture. That means that conservatives will not ever truly prevail in American politics unless we find a way to engage constructively and successfully with the culture.

No one has made this point more compellingly than Andrew Klavan in his pamphlet "The Crisis in the Arts":

[T[he conscience of a race is forged in the soul of a nation’s artists, and it is from that conscience that legislation and politics arise. By the time a fight becomes political — by the time its outcome depends on an election — it is often too late to win by means of rational argument. The battle has already been decided in movies and on television, in novels and in popular songs that, over time, create a general sense — an atmosphere — of what is right and what is wrong, what is cool and what is not, what it takes to be, in Joseph Conrad’s phrase, “one of us.”

Klavan has some innovative ways that conservatives can try to influence the culture. One thing is certain: It's not enough for us to be adversarial (although that can be fun, and certainly is often easy!). It's time for us to start creating some new and intelligent ways to reach those who are infinitely more likely to retweet a celebrity photo than a political one.