Monday, November 8, 2004

When I titled my book “Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco,” I could just as easily have pointed out that liberals are from Hollywood. It really is a different planet from the one most of us live on.

To begin with, it is populated with high school drop-outs and drama majors making millions of dollars a year, convinced they should decide how the rest of us think, live and vote. What you must never forget about these pampered pets is that the first lesson they learned in acting class was to get in touch with their feelings. Those self-absorbing exercises only served to diminish whatever thought processes they might have possessed. The end result is that, at their best, they can mimic emotions and action, but have an impossible time trying to suggest they are thinking about anything at all serious.

Never forget that the things we see on the screen are shadows. The real articles are people who spend their lives wearing other people’s clothes, mouthing other people’s lines, and being told how to walk and talk by directors. They should come with warning labels stating that, for all their fame and fortune, they are as bright as department store mannequins.

This past election was the most bitterly fought in memory, but nowhere was it waged more vituperatively than in Hollywood. In recent months, lifelong friendships have been torn asunder. Just this morning, I heard about a poker game involving writers and producers that had weathered 20 years of trials and tribulations but could not survive George W. Bush’s re-election.

One thing you have to give Hollywood celebrities credit for is their monumental gall. I mean, Barbra Streisand insults conservatives more often than she bathes, knowing full well it won’t harm her CD sales. Julia Roberts announces that if you look up Republican in the dictionary, you’ll find it right after reptiles, and yet she continues selling movie tickets, even though 52 percent of the electorate recently cast their ballots for Mr. Bush.

You’ll notice that show biz liberals are very outspoken, just so long as they’re addressing the choir. But you rarely see them placing themselves in a situation where they have to debate the issues. Have you ever once seen Michael Moore addressing any groups that didn’t consist of either American college students or French film snobs? No, neither have I.

Some years ago, long before Alzheimers set in, Charlton Heston offered to debate Miss Streisand on the subject of gun ownership, all the money collected to go to the charity of her choice. Naturally, the debate never took place.

If you do not live in L.A., you cannot imagine the grief that descended upon this community on Nov. 3. How could Hollywood’s glitterati not take Mr. Kerry’s defeat personally? After all, for the past year, people like Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, and the rest of the usual suspects, had taken time out of their busy, privileged lives to help elect Mr. Kerry. Like children anticipating a white Christmas, they were imaging themselves speed-dialing the White House for the next four, maybe eight, years, inviting John and Teresa to movie premieres and weekends at the Springs. How dare those “folks we fly over” spoil their plans?

These people live in such a cocoon that they, quite literally, do not have dealings with people who are not in lockstep with them. A few years ago, a friend of mine and his wife were invited to a cocktail party. Several other guests had already arrived before they got there. As they entered a fairly crowded den, a very successful TV producer was telling the group that he, personally, did not know anyone who had voted for Mr. Bush. My friend, with perfect timing, said, “Well, you do now.”

These Hollywood people are more likely to question the deaths of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley than they are to question a single plank of the Democratic platform. And, being the self-righteous ignoramuses they are, they never see any contradiction between the populist pap they parrot and the way they actually live their lives.

For my part, the election results provided me with a euphoria the Hollywood crowd only gets to experience when one of their movies cracks the $100 million barrier at the box office, when someone else’s movie doesn’t, or when they get their hands on — and their noses into — some really primo cocaine. And when the high threatens to wear off, I merely have to think of yet another Hollywood pinhead who must really be in the dumps these days. Just the other day, I thought about Bill Maher and chuckled for the next half-hour.

Before this last election, as with every election for at least the past 40 years, we all had to listen to the liberals vow that if the Republicans won, they were moving en masse to New Zealand. Well, I’m taking this occasion to announce that I stand ready to shuttle them, one and all, to LAX for the next flight to Wellington.

Burt Prelutsky is the author of “Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco” and an award-winning TV writer.

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