Friday, September 29, 2006

Religious Right vs. Hollywood

On any given day, we can hear, if we wish, right-wing spokesmen (and women) railing against the "media". According to them, the "Media" is a giant conspiracy, run by jews, gays and other subversives, to destroy America by undermining American "Values". No one gets the religious right more twisted up in their undies than Hollywood. And they hate no one more than Disney, though that is mainly for giving gay employees full benefits, not because of Disney's cloying and culturally illiterate pap. Christian organizations regularly call for a boycott of Hollywood movies. Around Academy Awards time, we are assaulted by right-wing talkers insisting that the Oscars are really not that big a deal, that they are not watched by that many people, blah blah.

Now, there is no desire here to defend Oscar night. It is really hard to imagine something less interesting. That so many people DO watch it, is inexplicable. But my reasons for saying that have nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with boredom. Meanwhile, it is actually weird that the religious right are so suspicious of Hollywood--is there any more effective purveyor of the kind of cathartic mayhem and Stalinist kitsch that warms the hearts of fundamentalists? If you visit any country outside the U.S., you will find they are surprised and puzzled that conservatives hate Hollywood. After all, other than Coke, what is a more powerful symbol of American cultural dominion than our movie industry?

For one who has time for neither religious zealots nor for Hollywood, it is almost fun to see them at each other's throats. Too bad neither camp show any sign of climbing out of the gutter.


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