I've been hearing conservative pundits and reading conservative writers taking aim at Hollywood more and more lately, and their efforts strike me as so disingenuous and transparent, I believe it's time to shed some serious light on them. This is the first in a series of posts devoted to exploring the methods and goals behind these efforts. To get it started, I'll jump right into the film that symbolizes better than any other the "passion" of this campaign.
On Tacitus, there's a blog-ad that illustrates the tone and temperment, not to mention the lack of rationality, behind some of these efforts. With a picture of Michael Moore flashing a "peace sign" it reads:
This Man Wants Another Oscar
But you can help us stop him.
Impose your values on Hollywood.
Visit Passion for Fairness today and support Mel Gibson and The Passion of The Christ.
That's right. There's an entire blog, with a petition you can sign, devoted to lobbying the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences into nominating Gibson's film for Oscars in several categories. The petition begins:
To the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:
It has come to my attention that you and your Board of Governors are considering ignoring the important film The Passion of The Christ, its director and its actors when you hand out nominations on January 25th. This would be an unspeakable insult to the millions of us mainstream Americans who believe this is the most important film in years, decades even.
I urge you to give fair consideration to the film and its principals when you determine and announce the nominees for this year's Oscars.
Now, film enthusiasts lobby the Academy relentlessly leading up to the nominations, and much of it crosses the lines of good tastes and some is downright delusional in its arguments, but I've never seen any effort that went so far as to suggest it would be "an unspeakable insult to the millions of us mainstream Americans" for a film not to get nominated. But that's not the worst of it. The petition continues:
• The Passion should be nominated for Best Picture
• Mel Gibson should be nominated for Best Director
• Jim Caviezel (Jesus) should be nominated for Best Actor
• Maia Morgenstern (Mary) should be nominated for Best Actress
• Monica Bellucci (Magdalen) should be nominated for Best Supporting Actress
Do so, and Hollywood might actually win back some of its lost credibility with mainstream Americans like me. Ignore us, and we will continue to turn our backs on your anti-Christian, anti-Middle-American products.
Where to begin? Where to begin?
First of all, anyone feeling that strongly about this should join the Academy themselves, so they'll have a vote. As an independent organization, its decisions, while having a major impact, should be respected as the will of its members.
But I also want to highlight one of the most ludicrous parts of this petition: It seems to be arguing that should the Academy nominate Gibson's film, the signers will then, against their own morality or personal interests, one must assume, reward Hollywood by actually paying to see some of its "anti-Christian, anti-Middle-American products." Silly, I know, but that's how it reads.
There's no indication on this blog that Gibson is aware of it, let alone endorses it. Still, he might want to pay a bit of attention. Across their site you'll find rhetoric like "Read More About Our Demands" or "Impose your values on Hollywood" or "We are asking -- no demanding -- Hollywood put aside their own cultural bias against Christians, conservative and other mainstream Americans."
OK, so perhaps it's best just to ignore this as the work of wingnuts, but this example was chosen specifically because it embodies the tone of the overarching rhetoric, if not the logic, that I'm reading and hearing. In the end, the ultimate irony is that these folks are demanding validation from a group they supposedly dislike.
More to come....