Roger L. Simon

"Big Hollywood" takes a bow

Big Hollywood” — the new project of Internet guru/impresario Andrew Breitbart of and (formerly) the Drudge Report — makes its debut Tuesday. Working with his editor John Nolte, Andrew’s intention is to create a web home for those in Hollywood of right, center-right and libertarian persuasions. His contention is that there are more people in the entertainment community with those views than normally assumed and, much like gays in the past, they need a comfortable place to “come out.” In other words, most of them are not loudmouths like I am.

Full disclosure: Andrew is a friend of mine (several years now) and a short pre-publication excerpt from Blacklisting Myself from “The New Blacklist” chapter will appear on Big Hollywood Thursday.

Breitbart, however, has a more serious theme behind his website that is worthy of discussion here and elsewhere. He thinks popular culture is more important than politics and one of the great mistakes of the right is to have ceded pop culture to the left. Well, that’s not entirely precise. I imagine Andrew would say at the same time the left has arrogated popular culture to itself, snatching it from the unwitting jaws of a compliant right. (Hello, our dear friend Annie Lennox and all other great, good friends of Hamas). Of course, Breitbart has a point. With notable exceptions like 24 and South Park our culture, as we all know, tilts liberal.

And now our politics also tilts liberal. Is this the cart leading the horse or the other way around? Beats me. I think we’re into the old chicken and road conundrum and, unlike Andrew, I would weight politics and culture equally. In fact, I would see them as inseparable, two chickens crossing the road tied together in what we called as kids a “three-legged race.” To make things more complicated, as Lionel and I were discussing today on Poliwood, while we were recording forthcoming shows on The Wrestler and Gran Torino (made by that putative conservative C. Eastwood), the best film art transcends politics. It follows the dictates of its characters where they want to go. And sometimes they say and do things you hate and you want to kill your own characters, but you don’t, or you’re not sure you’re allowed to, so you don’t, or you feel guilty for doing it, so you don’t.

Got that? I’m not sure I do. But, much as I love Oscar Wilde, I don’t want to get into that old “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life” argument.

So coming back to the simpler Breitbartian Truth — that pop culture is more important than politics — I kind of agree, although I’m not sure that would mean so much to the citizens of Darfur, if you know what I mean. I don’t think their lives would have improved much from a good episode of South Park. Nevertheless, we — at least most of us — are citizens of the US of A and near constant consumers, witting and unwitting, of that same pop culture. Might as well do our best to maniuplate it. It’s the one chance we have of shaping the culture at large . It’s either that or (gasp) running for office — and you know the results of that from, er, The Candidate, i. e., pop culture.

So, all this palaver is to say “bon voyage” to “Big Hollywood.” I’m sure it will be vaut le detour, as the French say (while it itself is saying many nasty things about the French).