A group backing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election bid in Kentucky unveiled a new ad on Thursday, linking McConnell's Democratic opponent to the liberal bastion of Hollywood. On Wednesday night, though, two Hollywood celebrities performed a sketch at the Country Music Awards making fun of Obamacare. Because, it turns out, shorthand references to large groups are often misrepresentative of the group's members! But, you know: politics.
The idea that Hollywood is undermining our shared social norms is about to celebrate its centennial birthday, really, with the first movies of, say, James Cagney, now older than the vast, vast majority of the Americans they corrupted. But it's such a great shorthand for things that (mostly conservatives) don't like! Ugh, that Brokeback Mountain, or whatever. Inescapable and promoting the "gay lifestyle!" Ignoring that there are robust cultural institutions promoting, if not the opposite view point, something close to it.
Here's the ad that "Kentuckians for Strong Leadership" is running against Alison Lundergan Grimes. It's actually kind of a great who's-who of Hollywood bogeymen: Rob Reiner, Barbara Streisand, and Woody Allen (who most people don't exactly associate with Los Angeles). The best line is this one: "Grimes took a Titanic contribution from James Cameron. A Canadian! — who can't even vote in this country!" Which is … a weird argument. The tagline: "Hollywood wins, game over for Kentucky." To repeat: When Hollywood wins, Kentucky's "game" is "over."
Then there's this video, from the Country Music Awards on Tuesday night. It features Brad Paisley, who recently sold his house in Malibu, and Carrie Underwood, who has been in movies, making fun of Obamacare. The jokes don't hit super hard, but, you know, they're fine for what they are.
Country music, we'll point out, is not exactly a cultural backwater. The CMAs aired on ABC, one of the major broadcast networks. According to Nielsen SoundScan, country was the third-best-selling genre of music last year in the United States. It's a bit like the distinction drawn between the "mainstream media" and Fox News, despite Fox being the No. 1 cable news network in the country. Hollywood and the media are necessarily bad, with certain juggernaut exceptions apparently proving the rule.
What we propose, then, is simple: All pejorative references to location- or occupation-determined groups should instead be replaced by specific examples of people expressing political views to which you oppose. The anti-Grimes ad does that in part, we'll note, but it's only under this Day-Glo "Hollywood" blanket. So if we take issue with Barbara Streisand's political donations, maybe uncouple that critique from where she lives. Which is Malibu.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.