Is GOP Attempting to Ignite Hollywood's Next Big Civil War?

I love Big Hollywood. I really do. I love all the seething resentment, the writers' reactionary-for-reaction's-sake approach to film culture, and the haven it represents for the ceaselessly entertaining Victoria Jackson. Mostly, though, I just love its base appeal to fear, dread, angst and class consciousness among the most emotionally fragile sectors of our entire culture. Today, it's "non-wealthy" actors. And it's war!

BH editor John Nolte does the honors, not hesitating a bit to draw the stark contrast between the Hollywood haves and have nots. In this case he impugns actor Sam Robards -- the son of Lauren Bacall and Jason Robards, just another rat-bastard scion of Hollywood privilege who dared to publicly count his blessings for having good benefits through SAG. What a dick, right? No, not Nolte, but Robards. Right?

When you've Got Yours, there's no real reason to spend a whole lot of time thinking through something. Considering his own resume and those of his parents, like a lot of name actors, and unlike the rest of us, Sam Robards will probably never have to worry about the real-world effects of ObamaCare on his life or that of his family's. This gives him the luxury of blindly backing his team (the Left) and using the talking points about "more coverage for all Americans" to feel nice and selfless about his admittedly ignorant self.

Mm-hmmm. See what Nolte did there?

1. Call out the dumb, rich Hollywood liberal (all the better if you can do it exaggeratedly and out of context)

2. Attribute said liberal's success not to 28 years of steady employment as an actor, but to the silver spoon in his mouth

3. Conflate his earned status and level of security with an aloofness toward the "real-world effects of ObamaCare."

Which is when things get really good, because it sets up the perfect straw man for Nolte to thwack with a typically radicalized "join or die" broadside. After all, it's not every day you see a conservative knock a working guy who puts in his 40 or 50 hours a week (at least) while supporting a family of four. And it's definitely not every day you see that same conservative rally around the proletariat union rank-and-file to overthrow the bourgeois pigs from L.A to Washington. To wit, regarding a five-month-old SAG/WGA/Teamsters memo cited by Nolte:

If these massive tax increases are about to hit your health benefits as hard as SAG themselves believe they will, that leaves you non-wealthy actors out there with a pretty simple choice. You can either support conservative politicians (in secret, of course) who will do everything in their power to kill the ObamaCare Monster before it causes too much chaos, or you count on these "good" liberals to spread a little of their wealth your way to help the victims of their mindless, self-aggrandizing advocacy.

Wow. Forget about the next ugly labor skirmish between the studios and the labor unions, which already have a bit of a history of talent-on-talent violence. (I can't believe Nolte got through his whole column without calling out the sitting duck George Clooney for going to financial-core status in 2008, effectively disavowing SAG and its ostensibly "non-wealthy" leadership.) This is an incitement to full-on Hollywood class warfare -- and a fantastically condescending one at that, suggesting that whatever godless liberal heathen you were before this legislation, it's OK, because we working folk are all in this together against the "ObamaCare Monster."

And that says nothing of its ideological contradictions, which, again, conflate "wealthy actors" with "dangerous people" whether they earned their comfort or not. You would never see this claim levied against an upper-level Wall Street executive whose bonus and benefits package eclipses his or her lower-level peers' by upwards of 50 percent. But in left-leaning Hollywood (which these days is really as fiscally conservative a company town as you'll find anywhere in the world), that conflation is all too convenient at a time when the politics of division are turning into pretty much the only politics. This is the Tea Party Right pamphleteering in enemy territory with the hope of turning a community it actively hates against itself, with a goal toward its deregulation, destruction and dissolution. I'd say the most amazing thing about it might be its obviousness, were it not for the jaw-dropping nihilism of it all.

Anyway, I love these guys. The film industry wouldn't be the same cynical, disingenuous, self-loathing, paranoiac ego trap it is today without them. Keep up the good work, gang.

· ObamaCare: Non-Wealthy Actors Need to Vote Republican in 2010 [Big Hollywood]


  • For a second I thought Chris Elliott had gone wingnut on us, but it's just some Big Hollywood nobody, so whatever.

  • Is it the GOP ... or one writer sharing his views on a topic? Might want to rethink your headline.

  • Brian says:

    What I love most about right wing attacks on "Obamacare" is that they never mention specific parts of the bill that they are against, they simply rail against some vague evil that they see in it. In reality, they hate that Obama and the Democrats won, and they also hate that people will actually be helped by the government.
    You do a good job of pointing out the classic divide and conquer strategy Republicans have used since at least the 60's. They don't care about the social costs of pitting one group of Americans against another, they just want to attack their enemies and win. I do hope that you wrote this piece as a warning rather than as an appeal to reason. Wingers now live in their very own fantasyland, created by Fox News and the right wing blogosphere. These are people who still insist that Obama is not American, is a muslim, and has wrecked the economy and our two wars since taking office. Reason is as dirty a word as facts to these nuts.

  • Lauren says:

    my specific complaint with all of this is that everyone (myself included) can just fuck off and die. I don't want universal healthcare b/c I don't want to encourage more people to continue to live.

  • Real American says:

    so a real American calls a hollywood millionaire on his hypocrisy and you America haters dont like it cuz its the truth ........................... its tough when you cant get your leader to convince America that his rationed care is good for us, no matter the govt interference or cost
    but, when you got the money that robards has, you can act like obama and his fellow democrats that are not affected but the rationedcare law and just laugh all all of us that see it for what it is and dont have the freedom to reject it for the good of our family
    typical liberal agenda - dictate to real Americans something that takes our freedoms and of which you will not be affected by.
    cant wait for november and the adults can get back to cleaning up after the children and their rich leaders

  • If "non-wealthy actors" are encouraged en masse to "vote Republican" -- even if by one writer -- then that would be an effort to exert GOP influence. Unless the party wants to disavow Nolte, which I'd pay good money to see. Let me know if/when that happens.

  • Brian,
    Many conservatives, particularly talk show hosts but legislators as well, speak at great length about their specific complaints about ObamaCare.

  • Amrita says:

    You know why he didn't go for Clooney? Coz Clooney went fi-core on WGA not SAG. Still shocking he didn't find some way to tie Clooney in though.

  • John says:

    The Author of this article sure isn't trying to hide his Bias.
    1. Calling out Hollywood as "fiscally conservative" ? that's a stretch.
    2. 'You would never see this claim levied against an upper-level Wall Street executive whose bonus and benefits package eclipses his or her lower-level peers’ by upwards of 50 percent."
    Rich Liberals are always bashing Rich Capitalist. Hypocrisy is never ending.
    3. Politics of Division is something the left wing party is good at.
    4. "This is the Tea Party Right..... blah, blah, blah" = You're a liberal.
    5. "Anyway, I love these guys"
    Ofcoarse you do. We're not surprised. You're a lefty after all.