If Hollywood Ran America

This weekend the Fox News… er … Comedy Channel will air its latest stab at humor. Fox entertainment reporter, Bill McCuddy, will host “Reel Politics: If Hollywood Ran America.” The program purports to take a humorous look at the denizens of Tinseltown who inject themselves into the political arena and extends the premise into what a celebrity-led administration might look like.

The only thing Fox is interested in here, is the opportunity to take another swipe at creative people.

The program actually undertakes a daring assignment. They’re stuck having to defend the position that it’s possible to do worse than the current administration. In order to do so, the celebrity team would have to exceed BushCo’s record setting marks for dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence.

If the promos for the show are any indication, Fox will be cementing their liberal-bashing reputation with an emphasis on notorious lefty thespians (no, that doesn’t mean Mary Cheney). This animation (wmv), which begins with a warning to, “Watch out America. Stars already think they run the world,” features Alec Baldwin, Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Moore, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Sean Penn, Spike Lee, George Clooney, Diddy, and of course, Barbara Streisand. What, no Dixie Chicks? Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, and Tom Cruise were likely added in search of some demented sense of balance.

What seems to be missing is any mention of the fact that none of these folks has ever expressed an interest in elective office. They are merely Americans with opinions and a sense of civic duty. They are not trying to run the country, but are proud to exercise their rights as citizens. While the program has not aired yet, the hype leading up to it neglects any reference to the many right-wing celebs that actually have entertained the notion of “running America.” For instance, Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fred Thompson, Sonny Bono, Fred Grandy, George Murphy, and more. And we rarely hear anything but praise from the anti-Hollywood chorus for conservatives in the Biz like Tom Selleck, Dennis Miller, Patricia Heaton, Ted Nugent, Bruce Willis, Toby Keith, etc.

Reel Politics will air in conjunction with a Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll that surveyed the nation’s preferences for a celebrity president (a post that, I remind you, none of them seek). Amongst the field offered, Clint Eastwood and Oprah Winfrey led with 32% and 30% respectively. No other “candidate” made it into double digits (although, amongst Republicans only, Mel Gibson did pull a frightening 18%). It is also notable that 71% of Republicans think most Hollywood movies reflect a liberal viewpoint. That compares with 26% of Democrats and 36% of Independents. If you needed additional proof that Republicans are either out of touch with mainstream America or brainwashed, there you have it.

In the end, the only thing Fox is interested in here, is the opportunity to take another swipe at creative people who have the audacity to pursue what is, in fact, their mission in life: to express themselves. Disguising this assault on free expression with comedy only makes it all the more insidious. (And we’ve seen how they massacre comedy: The 1/2 Hour News Hour). And for repressive critics, like those at Fox, it is only artists who should be censured for having opinions and daring to utter them aloud. As I’ve written before in “Join The Art Insurgency:

The obvious extension of [shut up and sing] is that anyone who does any job other than serving in Congress is unqualified to have an opinion about what our government does in our name. Just try changing the word “sing” with the word “farm” or “teach” or “weld.” This is unadulterated elitist bullshit. If we’re qualified to vote them into office, then we’re qualified to comment on the job they are doing.

“Shut up and sing” is just a longhand way of saying “Shut up.” And they mean all of us. If your son was killed in Iraq, Ms. Sheehan, shut up and grieve. If civil liberties are eroded by Congress, shut up and obey. If terrorists fly jets into skyscrapers, shut up and shop.

But I’ve got bad news for them. We won’t submit to their tyranny. We won’t whither under their lash. We won’t tolerate censorship. And we most definitely will not shut up.

For Reference:

  • This CBS poll also also surveys the public attitude toward celebrities in politics.
  • Fox says that you will “laugh-out-loud” at these hypothetical campaign commericals. Fox must think the Paint Drying Channel is funny.