- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2008


While conservatives own an ironclad argument that Hollywood discriminates against our kind, we are certainly not blameless for the predicament.

The most frequent snipe thrown our way by industry stalwarts and Huffington Post bloggers (when presented with the overwhelming evidence that the entertainment industry tilts dangerously to the left) is to say that we sound whiny.

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The truth hurts.

The victim card - liberalism’s reliable ace in the hole - is not a winning ploy for conservatives who want to make inroads in Hollywood. David Geffen certainly owes it to no one to produce work that runs contrary to his point of view. Until artists and entrepreneurs work together to make a stream of successful products openly rebelling against the status quo, then the game isn’t even on.

When conservative icon Paul Weyrich wrote in 1999, “we probably have lost the culture war,” he was grossly mistaken. We never fought it.

What a terrible message Mr. Weyrich sent to young foot soldiers looking for a battle plan at the end of the subject-rich Clinton years. If Bill Clinton couldn’t spawn a cultural revolution, then who can?

Where are the young playwrights that romanticize freedom over servitude? Where are the brash Gen Y artists mocking baby boomer excesses? Where are the scholarships cultivating fresh talent? Where are the venture capitalists ready to fill the void? Where are the movie stars telling the press gaggle at Cannes that America is still beautiful?

While it’s mostly true that the conservative experience in Hollywood is long on diagnosis and short on remedy, what sets us apart from our liberal counterparts is that we don’t ask for a legislative fix.

Surely there’s an affirmative-action program that can put Republicans to work in the entertainment industry at ratios similar to our numbers in the general population.

Or how about a “Fairness Doctrine” that extends beyond talk radio to TV, film and music?

Conservatives who allegedly embrace free markets need to take responsibility for allowing the left to become the dominant pop cultural force, and for granting homogenized radicals creative control over America’s second-largest - and arguably most important - export.

If we encouraged our young to consider careers in the arts, we would begin to reap the benefits in short order. Instead, we waste valuable time complaining and now are knee-deep in our enemy’s dogma and have the indignity of paying for their products. Too much time has been lost navel-gazing about why things haven’t fallen our way.

Had Mr. Weyrich and other leaders encouraged participation in the commerce of entertainment, instead of acting like defeatists or the puritanical parents in “Footloose” (how Hollywood truly envisions conservatives), we’d have a new generation of players pushing their scripts - and truth be told, their reality-show gimmicks - through the development process right now.

Today, the conservative movement is alive and well at the American university, though certainly not at the faculty level.

The College Republicans, Young America’s Foundation and the Leadership Institute, not to mention countless alternative campus newspapers, all exude a rebel spirit that greatly resembles the motivations and enthusiasms of the liberal counterculture of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Yet mistakenly, when they receive their degrees, they are directed to Washington, D.C., and their state capitals, thinking politics is how you win. Or they think the path to victory is becoming the next George Will or Rush Limbaugh.

This has to change. Now!

There are enough talk-radio and opinion-journalist aspirants in the pipeline to last us through the Sasha Obama administration. AM radio harangues, books, speeches, seminars and campus affirmative-action bake sales may be wildly provocative and endlessly entertaining, but until Tim Robbins’ common-law wife takes her top off on camera, it isn’t art.

Today, we have the resources to change things a lot. Perhaps we can wage a different kind of culture war - and not one directed by armchair generals from church pews in Virginia.

We need to break out of this mind-set and send our best young minds to Hollywood. There are tons of low-level jobs that lead to greater opportunities for industrious young adults. Our armed forces coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq provide us with a source to replenish the Hollywood creative bloodstream, too. Soldiers should vie for leading roles - especially with all those Laguna Beach swimming-trunk-laden shows.

Wouldn’t a Marine who helped turn around the Anbar province make a better grip, runner or mail-room clerk at CAA than Maggie Gyllenhaal’s yoga instructor’s niece?

Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site breitbart.com and is co-author of “Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity.”

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