It’s kind of hard to convey the newness of the angle in a short excerpt, but if you read the whole thing it (at least struck me as) a very subtly shift from the usual narrative (get it?!) about Hollywood and politics.
No, the problem that the conservative faces isn’t intellectual, it’s social. Conservatism tends to be raw and unfiltered. In conversation, it punctures the Zen equilibrium that sustains everyone in Los Angeles. The industry works by networks and anyone who can’t sustain a long conversation about the importance of raw carrots and natural fibers to the functioning of Yin and the flowing of Yang won’t fit in. One Right-wing writer told me that following 9/11, he found work dried up. There was plenty of interest in his output (he’s deservedly famous) but when it came to small talk before pitches, or the gossip at the writers’ in LA Farm, he was immediately frozen out. “People would open with, ‘Isn’t George Bush a moron?’ And I would say, ‘No, I voted for him.’ And I could feel I was losing their respect.”
True, this suggests that Hollywood has a leftward prejudice. But the real problem with what the writer said wasn’t the content but the act of disagreement itself. Hollywood conversations deal in hyperbolic affirmations covering for lies: “You’re amazing. That pitch was the best ever. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. Adam Sandler is the funniest man alive!” Disagreement and contradiction are acts of verbal rape.
Why is Hollywood so sensitive to criticism? Because it’s a town motored by untested ideas. If we were to tell everyone who came up with a new plot line or idea for a commercial that it sucked (and 9 out of 10 of them do) then nothing would get done. If you were to tell that idiot on the street corner strumming a one-string guitar that he’s actually quite bad, it would spark an industry-wide crisis of confidence. Writers, actors, and directors are sensitive people. They need to know that everything they do and say is “Fantastic!” The cynical, minority-reporting lash of raw conservatism doesn’t fit.
Anyway, I thought it was interesting.