Conservatism in Hollywood | National exam


The Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, California. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters)

The film and television industries are, notoriously, populated mostly by progressives and liberals (the latter now living in terror of the former), with a handful of libertarians and a much smaller, mostly silent, minority, of preservatives. Hollywood production increasingly flaunts these policies: the inability of many of its creators to understand those who disagree with them, the didactic desire to tell stories that promote leftist piety and obsessions with “representation” and the sexual politics of the left. .

And yet, no matter how hard they try, people who tell stories for a living – if they’re good at their job – inevitably end up producing stories with popular conservative characters and conservative themes. Part of the reason is that the types of stories audiences respond to tend to follow certain conventions. The good fight the bad guys by any means available, romances lead to marriage, pregnancies lead to children, merit is finally rewarded, chaos is bad but freedom is good. An example of this is Sonny Bunch’s saying that “environmentalists make good movie villains because they want to make your real life worse.” The reason audiences respond to these accounts takes us to a deeper point: Many universal truths about life are what conservatives preach, often over the objections of left-wing Hollywood types. Sexual liberation is one of them: movies and television overwhelmingly portray divorces and extramarital affairs as leading to complications, conflict and unhappiness. Abortions, even when shown on screen, often inevitably appear as selfish choices, sometimes to a sociopathic extent.

The inevitability of conservatism in representations of reality came to my mind while watching Netflix’s limited-edition drama series The chair, created by Amanda Peet and with Grey’s Anatomy and Kill Eve veteran Sandra Oh as the new chair of the English department at fictional Pembroke University, a not quite Ivy League college that’s shaken by time. Pembroke takes a look at the declining enrollment in the English department, overpayments and geriatric teachers, and the inability to demonstrate the relevance of his topic to college students in the 2020s. Oh, Ji-Yoon Kim, is an impeccably PC figure – she talks about being the first “woman of color” to chair the department, uses all the buzzwords, and worries about the injustice of female professors. (A jarring note: Professor Kim is worried about needing more “women of color” in his department – besides her, there is a young black female professor – but looking around the table when of faculty meetings, no one seems to care that there are no non-whites Men.) She’s also a never-married single mom trying to raise her adopted daughter in a combination of the Mexican culture of the daughter’s birth and the Korean culture of Professor Kim’s aging, non-English speaking father. We’re led to believe that all the characters we see on screen are progressive or liberal, and some conservative viewers may find it difficult to swallow their aroused collegiate language.

And even, The chair is full of themes that curators will find familiar, if not likeable. Professor Kim’s daughter clearly needs a father. One of the professors is targeted by a crowd awakened from the culture of cancellation for a classroom gesture taken savagely out of context, and the show’s sympathies go entirely to the faculty; the students are portrayed as an unreasonable Jacobin mob, and the administration as cowardly flatterers indifferent to truth or fairness. David Morse plays the college president like an infuriating number that means nothing. The elderly professors, two of whom are played with skill by veteran character actors Holland Taylor and Bob Balaban, appear like daggers in the back of the Ivory Tower, but also sincere and sympathetic scholars who cannot understand why. the lives they lived dedicated to the enduring relevance of Chaucer and Melville are suddenly outdated and bewildered by the hostile rhetoric of social justice and their students’ warriors. (Balaban says he prepared for the role by listening to his daughter’s graduate studies stories about how “culture cancellation” is “even more terrifying” than the show shows. .) The “cool” liberal professor who charms young women with his charismatic lecture. style is also an irresponsible and drugged mess. Some of the show’s best moments highlight the power of traditional Korean and Mexican culture, the difficulty of passing it on to the next generation, and how raising an adopted child to learn a culture that isn’t yours is harder than raising. simply adopt slogans. Some of them might not have been the moral this show intended to tell, but telling a good story sometimes means working with reality as it really is.

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