As we get closer to the actual transition, rightbloggers are shifting gears. They’re losing interest in the remaining pre-inaugural Obama business. We probably won’t see anything like the Hillary Clinton Constitutional crisis again. Leon Panetta’s CIA appointment drew some criticism on the grounds that he’s not a spy, but also surprising rightblogger endorsements, as well as playful suggestions that Panetta may be more friendly toward black-bag operations than Obamans are supposed to be. Even the Blagojevich scandal that lately energized them has, with the Illinois governor’s impeachment, lost its savor.
So rightblogger energy is being redirected to two main activities. One is laying groundwork for future anti-Democrat activities, with Al Franken’s brazen election theft their first big project. The other is morale-building.
Since they have few subjects about which to be positive these days, rightbloggers are juicing the troops by reminding them who the real enemy is: Not Obama, not even Al Qaeda, but the People’s Republic of Hollywood.
As the Minnesota Board of Canvassers prepared to certify Franken’s victory over incumbent Senator Norm Coleman in a recount, and Coleman’s people prepared a court challenge, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial that stopped just short of declaring the Board’s findings a fix. Rightbloggers happily went the extra distance, and also cut out the middleman, putting responsibility for their ruling directly onto Franken.
“Yep, Franken Stole the Election,” said Ace of Spades. “Mean-Spirited Minnesotan Steals a Senate Seat,” said Gay Patriot. “Al Franken steals the election,” said Thoughts of a conservative mind. “Franken Steals Senate Election,” said God & State.
“The Angry Clown Steals an Election,” declared UrbanGrounds. “Thankfully for Franken, he’s not black,” he added, referring to Roland Burris’ troubles entering the Senate. “Or [Harry] Reid would move mountains to prevent him from taking his ill-gotten seat.” Also: “Between Franken, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fran Drescher — our US Congress has become a joke where celebrity and nepotism is more important than qualifications.” (UrbanGrounds has in the past been kinder toward Schwarzenegger, and more aware that he does not serve in the U.S. Congress.)
Election expert Nate Silver forcefully disputed the Journal‘s version of events, but rightbloggers ignored this, moving on to more far-reaching analyses such as Say Anything’s “How and why George Soros put Al Franken in the Senate” (“Norm Coleman’s work uncovering the oil-for-food scandal got in the way of George Soros plan to have his own man running the world bank” — wheels within wheels, people!) When Politico noticed that Franken had become the GOP’s “top public enemy,” this too became the subject of spin: “Al Franken, Already an Unpopular Democrat?” asked NewsBusters.
Wizbang’s Cassy Fiano predicted with understandable confidence that liberals would not dispute the outcome, though they have “for the past eight years… screeched and moaned about how President Bush STOLE THE ELECTIONS!!!11!!!1!!!1!!!” Which, she helpfully added, “is a load of crap, as President Bush actually did win the election.” Of course, if Franken’s victory holds, we can count on rightbloggers to repeat their present claims that Franken stole the election, with or without 1’s and exclamation points, any time his name is mentioned. By 2010, when many House seats will be up for grabs, Franken will be cited as proof of Democratic criminality. Maybe by then they’ll have been doing it long and loudly enough that people will believe them.
Better news for rightbloggers emerged this week as Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood site rolled out. Conservatives have of course been shaking their fists at the godless liberals of filmdom since the days of Joe McCarthy, and rightbloggers have kept it up on the web, but Big Hollywood is a major aggregator — one-stop shopping for culture-warriors looking for an angry fix at dawn or whenever else the fit is on them. It brings together Republican politicians, well-known rightbloggers like National Review‘s Kathryn J. Lopez and professional Young Conservative Ben Shapiro, and Hollywood apostates like Gary Graham for a smorgasbord of hatin’ on Hollywood liberals.
As in other incarnations, these culture warriors sometimes claim they’ve actually already conquered Hollywood (“Top of the box office so far: the blatantly pro-war on terror Dark Knight“), but mostly gripe that the place is infested with traitors who will not let them do their nation-saving work.
Gainfully employed conservatives are enlisted to testify that they have been blacklisted. Filmmaker John Ziegler, despite his lengthy resume, nonetheless talked about “the hardships associated with being a ‘conservative’ in and around Hollywood” and being “on the firing line with the scars (and lost jobs) to prove it.” James Hudnall, who has a development deal with Universal Pictures, said in Hollywood it’s a “social crime to support your government or want to express patriotic thoughts in a public forum.” Famous comedian Orson Bean claimed “my voice-over career dried up” because he supported Richard Nixon.
Bad enough Hollywood has limited these men to their current successes — it also seeks to destroy the United States of America from within. Andrew Klavan denounced a film in which “hundreds of innocent people are destroyed, but we’re not supposed to care. Just pay attention to the Nietzschean Super-Men fighting center screen, children, they’re the only ones who matter… killing alone has significance, the good or evil of the killer and victim count for nothing…” Was he talking about Che? No, the Angelina Jolie potboiler Wanted. But don’t think Klavan’s patriotic rage is limited to popcorn-selling trifles: he also scorned Clint Eastwood’s “silly Iwo Jima pictures” in which we are allegedly pushed to “root for the noble Japs over the corrupt Yanks.” Elsewhere Endre Balogh attacked that “particularly vile, obscenely violent exercise in pointless nihilism,” No Country for Old Men, and Breitbart reviewed Gone Baby Gone thus: “If [director] Ben [Affleck] is willing to rethink his love of Marxism and former neighbor, pal and history revisionist Howard Zinn, perhaps there is redemption for him.”
The treasonous object doesn’t have to be a movie to enrage Big Hollywood operatives: Debbie Schlussel was angered when Obama appeared in a Spider-Man comic book (“When Obama goes to share some baklava with his new friend Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or his buds in HAMAS, will we see Spidey cheering that on, too, and, again, tell America’s comic book readers we’re in ‘capable hands’?”). And a film doesn’t even have to exist, strictly speaking, in order for them to review it: National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg warned readers that the graphic novel on which the upcoming Watchmen film is based “places the blame for the omnipresent climate of fear on Reagan,” when in Goldberg’s reading “the existential angst and moral nihilism that serves as the spine of the book isn’t a product of Reaganism, but of the left’s ill-advised, ahistoric, and self-indulgent response to Reaganism.”
Do you think Goldberg presumptuous for re-interpreting Alan Moore according to his own politics? Then get a load of Evan Sayet, who claimed that Bruce Springsteen doesn’t even understand his own songs. “While Springsteen the multimillionaire, rock star with the mansion in Beverly Hills may be a Liberal,” said Sayet, “Bruce Springsteen the poet is one-hundred percent Republican.” Attend Sayet’s close reading of “Thunder Road”:
Springsteen implores “Mary” to “Trade in these wings on some wheels.” After all, wings may fly you quickly and safely over all of the bumps and potholes on the road… but they don’t exist! Wheels — cars — on the other hand, do exist and are the only way to achieve the dream of finding something of value somewhere further down the road.
This proves to Sayet that Springsteen is no utopian, but “the epitome of the Conservative vision,” even if Springsteen, in ignorance of his own work, supports traitors like Barack Obama.
A Hollywood where conservatives are simultaneously persecuted and triumphant, blacklisted and successful, and where artists are simultaneous conservative and liberal — even regular readers of our column may find this unrealistic. But that’s the wonderful thing about the arts, especially for people who really have no respect for them — they’re even more subject to interpretation than provisional ballots. With situations like the Franken election, rightbloggers have to craft new, flattering realities out of slurs and lies — but movies are magic. If a couple with their popcorn can lose themselves in big-screen fantasy, why can’t a horde of rightbloggers? As the inauguration looms, there are much less comforting places they could be than out there in the dark.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 12, 2009