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Unexamined Premises

Irish Diary—Americay from Abroad, St. Patrick’s Day Edition

March 17th, 2014 - 10:07 am
What are you lookin' at?

What are you lookin’ at?

So I’m on the other side of the pond for a while, and figured St. Patrick’s Day would be a fine time to start this little subdivision of Unexamined Premises. A look at our beloved country from a different perspective; quick hits, brief observations, drive-by opinionating. In so doing, I’m aiming to start an ongoing dialogue with our PJ readers, which means I’ll be reading and responding to many of your comments, as if we were having a conversation, perhaps right here in my local haunt in Ireland. Let’s get the party started:

● Conservatives, especially social conservatives, never embarrass themselves more than when they write about Hollywood without apparently having worked a day in the Industry. Two recent pieces illustrate my point: Christian Toto’s ridiculous notion that renegade filmmaker John Milius’s career effectively ended, for political reasons, after he made the 1984 version of Red Dawn; and Ben Shapiro’s ludicrous (and much-derided) claim that “Hollywood” killed Philip Seymour Hoffman. A brief flavor of both — first, Toto:

Milius was as hot as the proverbial pistol in the industry in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and even a commercial misstep like Big Wednesday couldn’t cool his pen or power. Then he directed a tale of middle American teens who battle against Soviet forces, and Hollywood suddenly mistrusted his talents.

Red Dawn‘s unabashed patriotism and appetite for violence cast him out of polite Hollywood circles. His career never truly recovered, an issue explored in the documentary.

Dawn made a bundle, but that didn’t matter since its values clashed with the minds who mattered–film critics and fellow Hollywood players alike.

Yeah, right, that must be it — what other explanation can there be? Let’s let the Telegraph make a small point:

In recent years Milius has suffered two serious setbacks. A close friend who was his accountant made off with large quantities of his savings and, even worse, a couple of years ago he suffered a serious stroke. He is now, however, well on his way to recovery and is, allegedly, in the first stages of bringing a long-cherished script for a biopic of Ghengis Khan to the screen in collaboration with RZA of hip hop maestros the Wu Tang Clan.

And now to Shapiro’s Unified Field Theory regarding the irredeemable wickedness of Tinseltown:

But his self-inflicted death is yet another hallmark of the broken leftist culture that dominates Hollywood, enabling rather than preventing the loss of some of its greatest talents. Libertarianism becomes libertinism without a cultural force pushing back against the penchant for sin; Hollywood has no such cultural force. In fact, the Hollywood demand is for more self-abasement, less spirituality, less principle, less standards.

Be sure to read the comments, in which NRO’s readers send young Ben off to stand in the corner until he masters English grammar, learns geography, understands libertarianism, and shows a little respect for the dearly departed. Ignorant resentment of Hollywood is the hallmark of outsiders who don’t understand it, envy it, and will absolutely never be a part of it, except as audience members. Meanwhile:

MeetMayors

● The clownish anti-Constitutionalists known as Mayors Against Illegal Guns (and by “illegal” they mean all guns) has blotted its copybook again with yet another revelation that some of them are criminals themselves:

James Schiliro, the one-time Mayor of Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, has been a proud proponent of gun control, a member of Michael Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and one of 600 mayors to sign a letter to Congress demanding more gun control laws at the federal level. And so it was embarrassing when in January the mayor was sentenced to as much as 20 months in jail following what a news report described as “an alcohol-fueled episode … in which he had a police car bring a former neighbor—a 20-year-old to whom he said he was attracted—to his home, made him drink wine, and refused to let him leave for 3 1/2 hours.” 

After the young man rejected the mayor’s sexual advances and tried to leave, the mayor threatened to shoot himself with one of three guns. He discharged one weapon into a stack of papers. The victim, though anxious to leave, still managed to talk the mayor out of killing himself by reminding him of his daughter asleep upstairs. The young man got out of the home and called police. 

Schiliro was convicted of recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, official oppression (i.e., abusing his mayoral powers), and furnishing liquor to a minor. On top of the jail time, Schiliro received five years of probation, 50 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay a $1,300 fine. He is reportedly eligible for work release and time off for good behavior. (Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 15, 2014) Marcus Hook, with fewer than 3,000 residents, was rocked by the sordid political scandal in February 2013. Before handing down the sentence, state Judge James F. Nilon said, “I don’t think you appreciate the seriousness of the nature of the behavior that you engaged in.”

More about this fine upstanding politician at this link. Enjoy! And finally…

Obama-at-Kindergarten

This ought to show that Putin guy who’s boss

President Obama is threatening a veto of the just-passed Enforce the Law Act, sponsored by rising troublemaker Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. Naturally, His Serene Highness Barack Hussein Obama II, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Hoops, Master of the Greens, Bringer of Kinetic Military Action, Vacationer-in-Chief, and Protector of the Holy Cities of Honolulu and Chicago, is displeased. What good is it being president when you have to deal with anachronisms such as a 400-year-old constitution and Congress, some of whose members are even older? The Washington Examiner quote His Majesty’s imperial court thusly:

“[T]he power the bill purports to assign to Congress to sue the President over whether he has properly discharged his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed exceeds constitutional limitations,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said Wednesday in a statement of administration policy. “Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes.”

In other words, it’s the White House’s stance that Congress has — in the phrase of the day — “no standing” to judge the president’s performance in office. Unfortunately for Barry, Congress does. It’s called impeachment. But do they have the guts to use it? Or is Gowdy’s bill just more sham opposition by an all-too-tame Establishment-dominated GOP? Somebody ask John Boehner.

Also read: 

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the Irish Way: Get Drunk!

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Oh, baloney! Walsh is absolutely right. First of all - on Milius. I knew John back in his glory years when working on Apocalypse Now, etc. and EVERYONE knew he was a righty. It didn't hurt him for a second. Milus' ups and down in Hollywood are no more amazing than everybody else's and have mostly to do with box office. Only a handful escape unscathed. It's too hard and too competitive.... Which leads me to point two. Michael is right on about Shapiro as well. For someone who advocates so strongly for gun rights, Ben is hypocritical, to say the least, to blame Hollywood for some actor dying of an overdose. What about personal responsibility? Michael is further correct that vast the majority of movie people work extremely hard and go home to the families, etc. It's way too difficult work not to and there are tons of people lined up to take your place if you don't. Breitbart, as Walsh says, indeed knew nothing about Hollywood and was finally as qualified to write about it as I am to write about Boolean algebra. He never produced, wrote, directed or acted in a single movie - or even was the grip, to my knowledge. He had other political talents, that were immense. About Hollywood it was just hype. As for Kenneth Anger, its fun to read but it's about a subset of a subset or subset. People who keep thinking about Hollywood in this cliche manner will never change or use it to make movies like Lone Survivor.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
About the only thing Obama can do to help the Democrats in November is to sucker the Republicans into an attempt at impeachment. Trey Gowdy is no GOPe mouthpiece; the purpose of his legislation is to force Obama to veto the bill and to begin to build the case for impeachment after the election.

Boehner, on the other hand, is a hopeless GOpe leader struggling to keep his prime seat at the Big Government trough!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (47)
All Comments   (47)
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One thing I should make very clear: I do not seek to work with other conservatives in Hollywood. As a writer, I don't care what your politics are, and just being a conservative doesn't mean you are any good at what is, in my experience, the single toughest field of endeavor for a writer. I just need you to be good. And have money or know someone who does, so we can realize our project. In the end, that's all that matters -- who's got the money? But the money is only interested in projects that are likely to succeed.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would be interested in your observations on Ireland since this country has pretty much gone off the reservation due to typical irresponsible behavior when it comes to their near term self interest. Cynically joining the EU just to get benefits, then a land and debt spiral that bankrupted the country, now an anti-American and rabidly anti semtic strain of lunacy seems to be breaking out. Mostly borne out of ignorance and propaganda coming from the typical liberal socialists societies that continue to lurch towards facism. Sorry to be so hard on them but they earned it on their way to below third world status.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's a lot of truth in what you say. Joining the EU was basically a spite move against the English, who deserve every measure of spite they get and then some. And it brought a lot of short-term economic development, including the spiffy new motorways connecting the major cities. But on balance I think it was a bad thing, since it's also brought on the Brussels-centric anti-Americanism.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Slainte'.

26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry but Holly Wood has earned the contempt of conservatives who don't work in the industry. You can change the "reality" but the "perception" will linger on. Movie and TV making will have to lose its perceived connection to any one physical location and become decentralized.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Decentralized? -- done and done. Nobody physically makes movies in Hwood or SoCal anymore.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even less so Visual Effects (VFX). Hubby is an Emmy nominated VFX Artist & he can't get steady work there now. The Studios are chasing film tax credits (subsidies)...aka "corporate welfare" all over the world. In the VFX community, they call it "the race to the bottom".
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Heard you on Prager before you went on vacation, cool interview I look forward to being back on his show.

I gotta say I go back and forth on the Hollywood thing but in the end I think you and Roger are right. We've got to get into that industry if we ever expect more changes to come about.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We've got to get into that industry if we ever expect more changes to come about." OR...you could help fund those who share your beliefs, but can't get funded. .
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I had the money I would, but I don't and wouldn't even know where to look.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
That is to say I look forward to you being back on his show.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Hollywood that I have a problem with are the people who make the big decisions about what script flies and what script gets tossed, what point of view is given credence, even in the absence of any factual basis, and what point of view withers on the vine, in the absence of anything but political bias. The constant barrage of "why can't we all be as cool as homosexuals?", "why are all capitalists greedy and heartless?", and "why is the military blowing up all of the nice brown people?" is getting old, already. And the rush to pat themselves on the back for challenging "the man" with movies about vote counting "fraudulence" in Florida, for instance, is so very old. Hollywood does seem to throw sex at us, but that sells and always will, conservative angst or not.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is no such thing as "Hollywood" per se, just a lot of people trying to make entertainment. Many are liberals, some are conservatives or libertarians. Rather than complaining (being victocrats) we should work to change the percentages. That includes, as you indicate, changing at the top, which means more pro-American film companies. As they in Nike ads, Just Do It!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Roger, who is starting such a Production Company & would they be interested in hiring a VFX company who shares their values? If you know of such a person/persons send them to Hubby's website to contact him. He would LOVE to work with such people, for a change. www.liquidskyfx.com
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
My response to this common complaint is this: send your children to work in Hollywood, conservatives. By self-selecting out of the Industry, the right essentially abandons the field to the left. But fwiw, I have never had nor heard a single political discussion in any professional (script meetings, pitch meetings, production meetings, etc.) Hwood context. Not one.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is it 'send your children to work in Hollywood' but learn to keep their mouths shut? Otherwise your prospects for career advancement may be somewhat limited?

Why do people with a lot more power than low level employees feel the need to keep their political affiliations on the down low in the industry? I'm confused...why should Friends of Abe (2000 conservative Hollywood industry members that prefer to remain under the radar) exist if there is no issue?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I imagine that would be completely unnecessary. Los Angeles as a whole is very hostile to conservatives, so by the time you get to a professional setting, everyone already knows you think the way decent people think. Why would you even bother asking your coworkers what they think of the modern equivalent of psychotic neo-natizis?

The only time it comes up is when someone you've worked with for years starts parroting off the talking head about how everyone who thinks even remotely like you out to be locked up or shot for the good of the country. What do you even say to that? "I'm sorry you think the world would be better off with me dead, and hope we can work together in the future?"
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
By self-selecting out of the Industry, the right essentially abandons the field to the left.

Ceding the political field to the left has become their trademark. The civil rights and environmental movements have been two biggies in my time.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"of the broken leftist culture that dominates Hollywood,"
"Ignorant resentment of Hollywood is the hallmark of outsiders who don’t understand it"

I think the only thing Ben is guilty of in his indictment of Hollywood culture's role in Hoffman's death is the imprecision of his language. There's no such thing as "leftist culture". I prefer to call it Pagan culture.

I see Ben's point as no different than Kenneth Anger's and Andrew Breitbart's -- Hollywood is a modern day Babylon. That's not an indictment of all filmmakers or all the people in it or the town itself. That's just a description of the secular culture that dominates right now. But it won't forever.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, baloney! Walsh is absolutely right. First of all - on Milius. I knew John back in his glory years when working on Apocalypse Now, etc. and EVERYONE knew he was a righty. It didn't hurt him for a second. Milus' ups and down in Hollywood are no more amazing than everybody else's and have mostly to do with box office. Only a handful escape unscathed. It's too hard and too competitive.... Which leads me to point two. Michael is right on about Shapiro as well. For someone who advocates so strongly for gun rights, Ben is hypocritical, to say the least, to blame Hollywood for some actor dying of an overdose. What about personal responsibility? Michael is further correct that vast the majority of movie people work extremely hard and go home to the families, etc. It's way too difficult work not to and there are tons of people lined up to take your place if you don't. Breitbart, as Walsh says, indeed knew nothing about Hollywood and was finally as qualified to write about it as I am to write about Boolean algebra. He never produced, wrote, directed or acted in a single movie - or even was the grip, to my knowledge. He had other political talents, that were immense. About Hollywood it was just hype. As for Kenneth Anger, its fun to read but it's about a subset of a subset or subset. People who keep thinking about Hollywood in this cliche manner will never change or use it to make movies like Lone Survivor.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh baloney. Since that now constitutes an argument.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"What about personal responsibility"?... INDEED!!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is that Andrew, as much as I love him, didn't know the first thing about Hollywood. You could just as easily write those books (Hollywood Babylon, Hollywood Interrupted) about any industry or any subset of people -- say, about Washington. Hollywood is a high profile target because the audience has bought into the ILLUSION of Hwood, not the reality. Mostly, it's a bunch of very hard-working people who work past 7 every night and go home to their wives and kids -- not the libertine fantasy of resentful imagination.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The ILLUSION of Hollywood is Hollywood. This insider-y bs that you'd like us to think you are privy to is what no one cares about. So you happen to know that some has-been director is on the mend and working on his dream project. Wow I guess the impression we have of Hollywood is all wrong.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Mostly, it's a bunch of very hard-working people who work past 7 every night and go home to their wives and kids -- not the libertine fantasy of resentful imagination."

I don't doubt that this is true. But Babylon is still here. And she's here in much more abundance than the Midwest of my adolescence and early 20s. We've lived in the San Fernando Valley for 4 years now and I've grown all too accustomed to the used condoms on the sidewalks and much else...
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't criticize Hollywood. I have watched the Oscars and most of the movies made in the past 20 years. Hollywood is definitely a place where conservative ideas rule. There are more conservative films made than liberal ones. Anyone who suggests otherwise just does not know Hollywood. It is a place that proudly trumpets the fact that it gave Ronald Reagan his start.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
You should have seen NYC in the early '80s...
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
About the only thing Obama can do to help the Democrats in November is to sucker the Republicans into an attempt at impeachment. Trey Gowdy is no GOPe mouthpiece; the purpose of his legislation is to force Obama to veto the bill and to begin to build the case for impeachment after the election.

Boehner, on the other hand, is a hopeless GOpe leader struggling to keep his prime seat at the Big Government trough!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agree -- impeachment would have to wait until after the congressional elections, which may also give the GOP solid majorities in both houses.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm reasonably confident we''ll go to plus 6, do you honestly think we'll get to 67?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Enough Democrats might decide they're better off going into the next election with Biden at the top of the ticket -- look how many are ready to throw Ruth Bader Ginsberg under the bus just in case she dies AFTER the election of a Republican. They're admirably ruthless.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
They should take out Biden also, and while they're at it, the House should elect someone really good as Speaker. It doesn't even have to be a Congressperson, right?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's to wait for? They running wild. Fire into their backs.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Happy St. Patrick's Day, Michael.

May the road rise up to meet you.

Over here, the ride is a bit bumpy as Obama and Archies are jammed up and jelly tight in Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Venezuela and East Outer Bumflock.

By the way, what happened to Scotland? And has someone set the Yard onto the case to look for their national brain matter?

Hope the weather isn't too damp there. You missed a bit of an earthquake this morning that served as an alarm clock for Roger and Me.

Anyway, enjoy the green!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you are really in Ireland now, I am envious, I know one is not supposed to be envious but never the less I am. I cannot figure out why my ancestors left Ireland so many years ago as I love the country and it's people. The people remind me of the Americans a long time ago, not what they have become lately.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wish. Ireland has become increasingly pagan, with the result that it is losing its uniqueness among European countries. Still, it's a wonderful, magical place to live and write.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Insights? I haven't yet been over, but from some Irish films and documentaries I get the impression that sentences are punctuated and punctured there by the f-word to a frequency higher than that of an artillery battery setting up in a rain storm or a car parkers' discussion of politics.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nobody goes to Mass anymore.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I look forward to hearing about Irish insights on the USA!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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