- - Friday, March 9, 2012

HOLLYWOOD HYPOCRITES: THE DEVASTATING TRUTH ABOUT OBAMA’S BIGGEST BACKERS
By Jason Mattera
Threshold Editions, $25, 272 pages

I am a fan of new-media maven Jason Mattera’s guerrilla videos and radio appearances, so I was disappointed to find his latest book, “Hollywood Hypocrites: The Devastating Truth About Obama’s Biggest Backers” - about, well, Hollywood hypocrites such as Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, etc. - not of the same level of interest.

To be fair, Mr. Mattera does unearth some new details in the long list of dishonesties, great and small, promulgated by Mr. Stone, Mr. Moore, Sting, Bono, Arianna Huffington, Spike Lee and other monumental scam artists of the quondam-liberal persuasion. And perhaps I’m not the book’s prime audience anyway, having spent the better part of 40 years living and working with several of Mr. Mattera’s targets, in some cases quite directly.

And, yes, he and others are right in all they say about these poseurs. Indeed, close up, it’s even worse. Not only are these supposedly great artistes and people’s tribunes giant tax cheats and megapolluters (as Mr. Mattera indicates) but the way they deal with their employees, especially those lower on the pecking order, is nothing less than reprehensible. In my personal experience, the further left a Hollywood personality proclaims himself to be, the more despicably he treats “the help.” You could almost graph it.

Still, we’ve heard this song before. That the likes of Mr. Moore and Mr. Stone are hypocrites who enrich themselves while mouthing left-wing pieties and cozying up to dictators, or that Ms. Huffington made millions off the free writing of a thousand bloggers is not exactly breaking news. It already is the stuff of a gazillion blog posts, umpteen hours of talk radio, Fox News and a fair number of books that go back years now, and even some documentary movies.

To take us down this road again, Mr. Mattera owes us a bit more than he has given, especially if his writing is to be memorialized between hard covers. Specifically, he owes us some in-depth analysis of how and why this behavior happens, and perhaps something about how this hypocrisy should be dealt with or changed, something beyond telling the objects of his enmity to “shove it up their liberal pieholes,” a not-terribly-funny locution the author employs a tad too often.

After all, the “limousine liberal” or “parlor pink” is far from a new phenomenon in our culture. Tom Wolfe wrote about the Black Panthers and “radical chic” at a Leonard Bernstein party in 1970. Long before that, in the mid-1930s, foreign correspondent Eugene Lyons, just returned from viewing the mass starvation in Stalin’s Soviet Union, described the Manhattan smart set who didn’t want to hear the truth as “penthouse Bolsheviks.”

Mr. Stone, Mr. Moore, et al. are indeed penthouse Bolsheviks, part of an old phenomenon. Mr. Mattera thinks they and their cohorts had a great deal to do with the election of Barack Obama, that the culture wars are, if anything, more important than the political wars.

Quite possibly so, and the justification for Mr. Mattera’s book is that it may provide some talking points for right-wing culture warriors in the battle of 2012. I just wish it were done better, with less invective and more depth. “Hollywood Hypocrites” doesn’t just preach to the choir. It preaches to the ultrachoir.

Roger L. Simon is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, CEO of PJ Media and author of “Turning Right at Hollywood & Vine: The Perils of Coming Out Conservative in Tinseltown” (Encounter, 2011).