Tags: Why | Hollywood | Leans | Left

Why Hollywood Leans Left

Saturday, 30 April 2005 12:00 AM

Those known to be lined up as contributors to huffingtonpost.com include Barry Diller, Gwyneth Paltrow, David Geffen, Rob Reiner, and John Cusack. The New York Times report says "the site is likely to start as a watering hole for liberals." The Variety report concludes: "Huffington is wisely confining her site mostly to politics. It's safer, after all, for liberals to bash the government than Hollywood."

It really isn't clear what portion of Arianna's more than 250 unpaid contributing "bloggers" would agree to wear the liberal label. But it's interesting to see that the default assumption in the mainstream reporting on this is that Hollywood "celebrity bloggers"

Well. Possibly quite so. (Maybe I needn't reach Tom Selleck or Mel Gibson to compare notes on taking Arianna's calls.) People do speak of our "town" as being exclusively populated by liberals, and for years the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Medved have mused over what causes Hollywood's leftward political atmosphere without quite nailing it.

So, let this fool rush in with a theory here, one I haven't seen anyone offer elsewhere. My intent is not to scorn – as in "Liberalism is a mental disorder" or any of that – but to ponder things coolly from the close-up vantage point of an entertainer who's resided the same jogging distance from Sunset Strip since 1960. If I win my own scorn from some who will be contributors to Arianna's maxi-hyper-meta-blog, I expect it will be because my theory makes them uncomfortable, and attacking me as judgmental will serve them better than attacking my judgment.

The mystery of why Hollywood is so left-liberal does have a solution. Keep in mind the obvious: Hollywood is a place where people come from near and far to devote themselves to the pursuit of conspicuous public career accomplishment. These individuals, perhaps even to their credit, do believe in themselves as exceptional, or at least believe in the exceptional worthiness of their aspirations. Each of them reflects a remarkable choice or ability to give higher priority to making it big

Unless you're a lucky heir or beneficiary of someone else's money, to live your young adult life willing to wait tables and perform unpaid in showcases or work on music or film productions "on spec," you must put aside the focus on financial stability that more traditional young adults practice in their family-formative years.

If you live this "on spec" lifestyle for many years, the value you place on making it big in the future must compete with any idea of family stability in the present. Duty to things like children or in-laws would distract from your needed obsessiveness with showbiz "prospecting."

So Hollywood ends up being home to disproportional numbers of the more self-absorbed who lack a bit in the way of family bonds and who often "have a problem with commitment" in their personal lives.

Being more narcissistic and less family-integrated than most citizens is a difficult (if not much pondered) fact of life for folks in this community. As long as it remains un-cool to be a narcissist, and as long as homo sapiens remains a family-organized species, they have a problem.

Ah, but Hollywood does have its remedy: It's long been just to cultivate a standardized "I love you" posture toward any audiences, fans, and peers you may have, while substituting a high-minded universal "community" consciousness for the missing family component in your personal life. This way, you provide yourself cover from seeming narcissistic or unrelated. Inherent in this remedy is (

The collective "we" so reflexively embraced in Hollywood naturally welcomes something of a nanny state. If it's a problem to have neither the means nor the time to provide the best for your children, why not have the government do it?

Family values are more negotiable if you don't value family a heck of a lot more than you value conspicuous public career accomplishment. So, merging the duties of individuals and families into those of politicians and governments makes easy sense.

And to favor such

A Hollywood so populated with citizens committed more to personal biographical accomplishment than to family turns out to be a Hollywood known for its leftish politics. This should mystify us only if we ignore the universal human need to be sure of membership in community, perhaps tribe, and above all else, family. The human animal, as the anthropologists say, is social. When its need for family gets compromised or repressed, as it does routinely in Hollywood, it comforts the human animal to get more socialistic.


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Those known to be lined up as contributors to huffingtonpost.com include Barry Diller, Gwyneth Paltrow, David Geffen, Rob Reiner, and John Cusack.The New York Times report says "the site is likely to start as a watering hole for liberals."The Variety report concludes:...
Saturday, 30 April 2005 12:00 AM
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