Posted: 05 Sep 2004
We've seen over and over one of the linchpins of Bush's stump speech. He leans forward, one arm on the podium, looking not unlike Lloyd Bridges in Airplane!. He smirks and says, "You know, my opponent thinks the heart and soul of America is in" -- here he pauses just long enough to intake the breath necessary to hiss out the first syllable of this next word -- "Hollywood." The crowd, predictably, boos.
I wonder what would happen if he were to follow up that statement with, "Now, please welcome the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger!" Because, essentially, that happened last night. (And let's not even mention how Hollywood lifer Ron Silver made a speech on Monday night, and is providing his unique brand of insightful, belligerent commentary on MSNBC's Convention After Hours.)
One thing I've learned during this election is that middle America hates the entertainment industry. Or, at least, they're supposed to. You may remember that brilliant anti-Dean ad where a kindly-looking old couple seemed to be freestyle rapping a list of slanderous adjectives about the Vermont governor. In addition to "latte-drinking" and, if memory serves, "baby-eating," they definitely called him "Hollywood-loving."
So, that's fine. No one's going to look at major Hollywood pictures and call them paragons of virtue. For one thing, no one really knows what the word"paragon" means. But also, everyone has simply come to accept that if you go see a movie called Alien Vs Predator, you're probably not going to see a story that affirms your values and upholds your faith. Unless you happen to value hot Alien on Predator action, and you have faith that one day those verminous Aliens will be eradicated from the galaxy. But AVP made something like forty million dollars its opening weekend. It can't all have been snobby, East coast liberals with Ph.Ds lining up at the box office for that one.
And if you're looking for the one guy who makes movies that no God-fearing American should ever let his children see, you might find Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, I love Arnold. He's appeared in at least two of the best movies I've ever seen, Terminator 2 and Predator, and if I were to choose one film to preserve in a time capsule so that our future monkey rulers will understand our primitive culture, I would pick Commando. But Arnold, with detours for the occasional high comedy like Twins or Jingle All the Way, made almost exclusively brutal action pictures.
Kindergarten Cop might have been one of the most disingenuously advertised films of all time. Surely you remember the posters, which featured Arnold overrun by tots, a dazed look on his face. See, he's a tough cop, but he can't handle kids! You get it, right? Imagine all the parents who took their kindergarten-aged children to that film only to discover that the climax involved a psychopath dangling a five-year-old off a water tower.
I've gotten off track. These Hollywood-hatin', America-lovin', church-goin', NASCAR-watchin', backbone-of-America delegates ate up Schwarzenegger's speech with a silver spoon. I didn't see the whole speech, so fortunately I wasn't moved to punch a hole in the wall when Arnold said the DNC should have been called "True Lies," but sadly I was there to heed his clarion call to terminate terrorism around the world. I was also informed that I'm an economic girly-man because I don't like the way the economy's going. I'm certainly not going to defend myself against accusations like that from the Austrian Oak -- he could beat the shit out of me.
And, after all, isn't that what the Republican Party's about? Do it our way, or we'll beat the shit out of you? There's clearly no room in their world for anything but the deepest blacks and the brightest whites. Arnold took a page from Jeff Foxworthy last night by doing a "You might be a Republican..." routine. These ranged from blatant lies -- "If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group, then you are a Republican!" -- to unwittingly revealing truths -- "If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope of democracy in the world, then you are a Republican!"
And I'll add: if you can watch speeches like this without ruing the decline of honesty, circumspection and virtue in this country, then you are a Republican.
(originally published at http://www.livejournal.com/users/shotfrog/146867.html)