Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Is Hollywood Really Run By "Liberals"?

I thought this comment was worth its own post:

LIBERALS ARE MAKING THE CARTOONS - IT'S THEIR FAULT
R said...

I agree with you in your overall distaste for blandness but its unfair to pin all of this on Christians and conservatives. Most of the good cartoons were produced when the country was far more Christian and conservative. Go figure!

Are Christians and conservatives running Hollywood now? I don't think anybody can say that with a straight face. The fact is, liberals have dominated the entertainment industry for the past forty years. If you're going to pin the current state of affairs on anybody, it has to be them.

I'll grant you that Christian "entertainment" is the bottom of the barrel. Probably because its mostly made by amateurs now. However, putting that aside, I think real conservatives are not the problem. For some strange reason, its the liberals, in striving for their utopian fantasies, who give us the "let's all cooperate and save the planet" cartoons. "Let's have diversity and equal time for all" cartoons have been the ruin of real entertainment.

LIBERALS IN NAME ONLY, BUT NOT IN PRACTICE

JohnK said...


When I use the term conservative, I'm not talking about the political party, I'm using it in its dictionary sense.

Conservative people like to leave things the way they are. (The way the last generation of liberals and the previous generation of radicals made them). They distrust new ideas and creativity in general.

I can't think of a more conservative concept than "political correctness". This is designed to stop you from using observation to judge what you see around you. No more inductive reasoning. Turn off your senses and your faculties. Burn Aristotle's books.




The so called "liberal" democrats are as conservative as anybody. they just have a different set of dogma than the "conservative" Republicans.

Anyone who follows the party line is by nature conservative, no matter what party he belongs to. He surrenders his free thinking to the cause.

If you belong to the Disney party, you are conservative in your idea of creativity. Completely afraid to break the mold.


SpongeBob is the conservative version of Ren and Stimpy.

Simpsons is ultra-extreme conservatism-when you compare it to All In The Family or the Honeymooners.



Politically affiliated liberals may run some of Hollywood, but they follow the most Republican of practices. They squeeze out the competition, blitz market their blandness into success and brainwash the masses, who never get to see alternative, more creative and skilled entertainment.


Didn't it make anyone else besides me feel ill to see the Dreamworks robber barons schmoozing (and funding!) Barack Obama? The guy who says he's gonna change things?

37 comments:

Jerry said...

You know, JK, I admire the hell out of you. And this post is on-target.

Except, you know, your bitterness towards the Simposons is legendary. And there is no way to read your shoe-horned-in comment about them as "ultra-conservative" makes any logical sense.

To "All in the Family"? The Simpsons is far more confrontational and unafraid to tackle all sides of 'controversial" issues than that show (in its earlier, more strident years) ever was. "The Honeymoomers"? Simpsons if far less hoary in construction, and Homer actually sttrangles Bart - he doesn't just shake his fist and threaten "..to the moon".

What context were you implying "conservatism"? Your other examples are all over the map.

PCUnfunny said...

The only difference I see between Democrats and Republicans is one party wants to exploit minorities more then the other.

idragosani said...

Well said.

Fco. de Borja said...

Democrats? Republicans? Does any one really believe there's any substantial difference?

Andy J. Latham said...

If conservative people like to keep things as they are, why aren't cartoons still made the way they used to be?
-----------------------------
Visit Andy's Animation!

Kunster said...

hahaha you crazy motherfucker

R said...

Wow! I'm honored by the attention!

I understand what you're saying about "conservative" being a conservation of existing ideals. You're absolutely right. Every belief in the world has its own conservatives. It get's confusing when all the lines and terms are blurred by politics.

I don't want to stray too much from your original intent, but the name of your blog is "All Kinds of Stuff". The only thing I would push back on is your statement, "I can't think of a more conservative concept than 'political correctness'."

Political correctness is a fairly new contrivance(although the methods of its enforcement are old). When the Left finally rejected the old morality that the Right is still trying to conserve, the Left tried to invent a new morality of its own. Political correctness is the result. It is nothing more than the ideals of the Left in a hazy codified form. It is only conservative in the way that you described-- that some try to conserve it. But PC is totally unRight.

We ought to be concerned about PC because it has a real chilling effect on creativity.

Here's another twist on common perceptions: While the most on the Right will freely complain about things that offend them and even use their freedom to avoid such things, there is almost no attempt to get Government to censor. However, it is the Left that vigorously censors those that cross it. Its the Left that mandates "sensitivity training", enforces "hate speech" laws and vigorously opposes other views on campus and in the media. Again, go figure!

We all need to be careful who we support because it directly affects our freedom to be creative. If you hate PC, support an ideal other than the Left. I imagine the Libertarian position is what most creative people would enjoy.

JohnK said...

>>If conservative people like to keep things as they are, why aren't cartoons still made the way they used to be?<<

Good question.

Because when you try to merely preserve something, it inevitably decays.

You need to encourage expansion and growth- building upon the past, rather than trying to merely preserve it.

pinkboi said...

I think the political terms radical, liberal, conservative and reactionary work quite well in describing creativity, too. How many of you are radical and want to destroy? John K. here is a progressive liberal, but maybe it takes a radical Bolshevik who hates cartoons to make good cartoons?

JohnK said...

>>
To "All in the Family"? The Simpsons is far more confrontational and unafraid to tackle all sides of 'controversial" issues than that show (in its earlier, more strident years) ever was.<<

"tackling issues", does not make one creative or imaginative or skilled.

Again

you are equivocating the two different meanings of "conservative".

And on that note anyway, All In The Family was way more confrontational and politically smart.

But it also was brilliantly written and performed. For real. Like when professionals made things.

Michael K said...

When it comes to main stream cartoons that are designed to pander to all children, we come across the same problems we have with textbooks. In an attempt to appease both liberals and conservatives alike, everything gets watered down.

When you move out of the mainstream, I think you'll find that the left makes far better animation than the right. In fact, I think that applies to almost all forms of entertainment.

EIBass said...

The words "Liberal media" are a buzz term used by the man to trick you. If they use the words enough and you hear them enough, people start to believe it to be true.

The Media/Propaganda Machine is the tool of the Government. Run by the bankers and privileged elite. They enslave all with their credit cards, car loans and mortgages. Working class Americans are Wage slaves only a step from serfdom!!!

The Democrats and Republicans have the same boss and it's NOT "We the People".

Now I've said too much I must go back into hiding.

Great job on the blog. I appreciate all the work you put into it.

J. J. Hunsecker said...

>>Here's another twist on common perceptions: While the most on the Right will freely complain about things that offend them and even use their freedom to avoid such things, there is almost no attempt to get Government to censor.<<

WHAAAAAAAT!? What planet do you live on, R? Most of the censorship in the US comes from right wing groups! Right wing Christians in particular.

Have you forgotten that it was Christian wingnut Reverend Donald Wildmon who got an episode of the New Adventures of Mighty Mouse edited, because he erroneously thougth the character was sniffing cocaine? It was a show that the author of this blog worked on, so I'm surprised you wouldn't know about it.

As for PC, progressives complain about that, too. The liberal atheist comedian George Carlin has a whole routine where he rails against it.

kate yarberry said...

About Barak Obama
I have to honest when I say I haven't been following American Politics lately. I just moved to the Uk and we have a constitutional monarchy. The most exciting thing going on here is whether or not Brown will Bush's bitch (and it looks like he will be). Still I am an American, so I am interested in the up comming Presidential race, only I don't care who wins. I can't vote, I don't pay Americcan taxes and we will all be fucked inevitably, it just depends on by who and when. All good guys go a little off when they are given a certain amount of power. But the truth is in politics, there is more grey area than left, or right, or anything more extremeist. It all comes back down to the earlier post of "bland-ness". Just face it, even if we elected the best candidate ( who ever that may be) we're all going to die from global warming anyway. I want an ice lollie. ta.

pappy d said...

Revolution is upsetting because it involves breaking things. Rotten things.

Liberals have a blind faith in the Enlightenment notion that children are a blank slate onto which we can write whatever we please. They'll face any suggestion that there IS such a thing as innate human nature as heresy or a Nazi biological determinist plot i.e. a threat to the idea that we can be improved & to the purely moral argument that we are born equal.

Conservatives think God made entertaniment corporatons to serve society AND the shareholders. Despite the fact that there's money involved, they believe that these co.s prefer competing to colluding. They believe that government serves no useful purpose except to censor artwork & run other, foreign governments.

Kids don't get to vote, especially not with their pocketbooks.

elephantmarchblog said...

All right, say we agree with you. Now what? Its the easiest thing in the world to sit around and point out the problem; give us the solution and then you'll become useful...

and it can't be a solution that just requires change from the artists, how do we come up with a solution regarding the people that can afford to pay for these things?

Andreas said...

>>If conservative people like to keep things as they are, why aren't cartoons still made the way they used to be?

Besides what John K said about when you try to preserve something it invariably decays, we see a reactionary culture. If something "works" then everybody else thinks they have to do it too. Of course, a copy of a copy of a copy is never as good as an original.

Mr. Semaj said...

To answer your main question: No, Hollywood today seems to be far more conservative, where they seem more content on maintaining a status quo with sequels, remakes, rip-offs, etc. than liberal.

Few other things:

Sorry, I cannot see The Simpsons as being conservative, unless it's put against Family Guy or South Park, where in FG's case, that would be a blessing.

I'm not so sure about Disney. When you're comparing classic cartoons, of course Disney would be conservative versus Warner Bros. and MGM's liberalism.

But in the past few decades, and even today, Disney has had problems agreeing with exactly how "conservative" their products should be. If you read about why Don Bluth exited Disney in 1979, and then look at the films he would later make, it's kinda messy.

In one way, seeing as how the studio today is still shedding its bureaucratic skin, it would be more liberal.
In another way, their more recent films are more conservative than say, DreamWorks. But when you compare Chicken Little to Shrek, is that in itself a bad thing?

PCUnfunny said...

"Sorry, I cannot see The Simpsons as being conservative,"

It is conservative, it leans on the ideals on one political group.

pappy d said...

elephantmarchblog:

Believe me, if I knew how to fix it I would have by now.

Having read my comment above, I recognise it sounds pessimistic. I really didn't mean to be discouraging, but you can't have a solution without understanding the problem.

These people with the money aren't stupid. They don't REALLY hate kids. They aren't evil in a Disney-villain sense. They are trying for the best return on the least investment & for whatever reason, don't want to be involved in the adult film industry or distribute drugs. Speaking for myself, I wouldn't put my money in a co. that didn't try to get the best return on investment.

From the first (relatively funny) Ruff & Reddys to the last episode of He-man, I've watched animation gradually perfect a business plan that consequently made shittier & shittier cartoons until cable arrived & made possible Ren & Stimpy et al as corporations competed with each other for market share among real kids. The market "stabilised" even faster this last time around & there's much less profit being wasted on the consumer today.

Maybe it can happen again on the web if someone can figure how to get money out of it. It may be a way out of the PTA interference & mass-market blandness that comes with trying to please literally everyone.

Assuming, as you imply, that you don't agree with me how would YOU describe the problem?

dotter said...

How in the world, in what world, are the Simpsons conservative? In the style of drawing? Certainly not in the writing. I don't get it. It's not "cutting edge" but it's not exactly Casper the Ghost, either.

I'd say Ren and Stimpy was cutting edge, but...when's the last time you saw an episode?

JohnK said...

Every 5 or 6 posts I have to answer this myth again:

>>These people with the money aren't stupid. They don't REALLY hate kids. They aren't evil in a Disney-villain sense.<<

They have no human feelings at all. They don't like kids and they like creative people even less.

>> They are trying for the best return on the least investment<<

This is the absolute opposite of the truth.

No one wastes more money than modern corporations.

They make movies that cost $200 million and more, then spend another $100 million to market the thing.

Then they have millions a month in overhead, plus free buffet lunches for thousands of employees.

Then there's market research, scads of lawyer salaries, psychologists.

I forgot to mention they make each feature at least twice before they sign off on it.


There is nothing fiscally responsisble in the way they make cartoons anymore.

Ren and Stimpy cost a very little investment up front and made more than a billion dollars. Did they try doing that again?

Nope. They spent the money on a new studio run by people who had nothing to do with R and S instead of the people who made them successful, made dozens of cartoon series that didn't make money for a decade or so.

Not until Sponge Bob (Ren and Stimpy light) did they make big money again. Now they waste all the profits on more market research, executive salaries, development, overhead and tons more cartoons that don't make money.

The shows that do succeed are the ones that accidentally slipped through the system.

Robert Hume said...

I liked this post! :)

JohnK said...

>>How in the world, in what world, are the Simpsons conservative? In the style of drawing? Certainly not in the writing.<<

>>
It is conservative, it leans on the ideals on one political group.<<

I don't know what its political leanings are. That's not what I mean by conservative.

I mean it's conservative creatively. It doesn't allow for imagination in the drawing, voices, writing, music in anything creative. It's all simplistic plodding formula.

Bland as white bread with the crusts cut off.

It's what high school kids would write and pat themselves on the back for.

dotter said...

High school kids....WOW. Those are some pretty funny high school kids.

So give me some examples of non-conservative animation. Something that's been on the air in the past year.

pappy d said...

John:

"They have no human feelings at all. They don't like kids and they like creative people even less."

I see no contradiction on this point.

As for the rest of your response, I really don't see anything in that that you can't put down to simple cowardice.

">> They are trying for the best return on the least investment<<

This is the absolute opposite of the truth."

OK, that was rash of me. They just want to make a perfect machine where you put money in one end & get more money out the other.

They are frightened, like capital itself is frightened. They resent artists because they're frightened of their dependence on them & especially of missed airdates. To paraphrase an early H&B show, "The show must go on...otherwise we have to give the people their money back."

Thanks again for all your good work. The post on bland characters is priceless. I'd gotten so used to it, I forgot to be outraged.

PCUnfunny said...

Oh okay.I get it John.

PCUnfunny said...

"So give me some examples of non-conservative animation. Something that's been on the air in the past year."

You have got to be joking.

lastangelman said...

Jerry said...

You know, JK, I admire the hell out of you. And this post is on-target.

Except, you know, your bitterness towards the Simposons is legendary. And there is no way to read your shoe-horned-in comment about them as "ultra-conservative" makes any logical sense.

To "All in the Family"? The Simpsons is far more confrontational and unafraid to tackle all sides of 'controversial" issues than that show (in its earlier, more strident years) ever was. "The Honeymoomers"? Simpsons if far less hoary in construction, and Homer actually sttrangles Bart - he doesn't just shake his fist and threaten "..to the moon".

What context were you implying "conservatism"? Your other examples are all over the map.


The Simpsons is ultra-conservative not in script, it is ultra conservative in its designs, its acting and its cartooniness. Ralph Cramden as performed by Jackie Gleason is more of a Bob Clampett Cartoon, whereas Homer Simpson is an unimaginative Friz Freleng cartoon - funny scripts but bland acting, bland design, bland cartooning. I think John K is very spot on.

dotter said...

to pcunfunny, no, not joking. Examples?

Mr. Semaj said...

Homer Simpson is an unimaginative Friz Freleng cartoon

HA HA HA

wow

PCUnfunny said...

John I have question for you. Would you say that there is no real risk in putting out any sort of films,music,etc. anymore ? There are so many ways to advertise and promote all sorts of entertainment these days. And if so, are executives that greedy and stupid they rather steal money from there companies instead of taking advantage of good ideas and pushing them through all sorts of mediums ?

R said...

I think there's some truth on both sides. Pappy D is right in saying that the entertainment industry wants to create a money-making machine. John K is right in pointing out how self-defeating they really are. If anyone has ever worked in a big business, they would know how DILBERTesque these businesses really are. They are run by scared morons who are more interested in covering their own asses than building up a good business or creating good products. The only vision these morons have is in self-preservation.

CENSORSHIP VS. THE MARKET PLACE OF IDEAS

J. J. Hunsecker questioned my comment about the Right not going to the government to seek censorship. Actually, they didn't go to the government. They exerted economic pressure.

I think there's a lot of confusion about censorship and its germane to the conversation on blandness.

Real censorship is enforced by the government or those who hold some power over us. Its when authorities shut you down and forbid any further expression. We don't want this.

On the other hand, a thriving market-place of ideas is healthy and good. Everyone has the freedom to offer their ideas and works and everyone else is free to listen or walk away.

Often in the market-place of ideas, some choose self-censorship to suit their own goals. If this is voluntary, there's nothing wrong with it. If a business desires to reach a certain demographic, it will tailor its product to appeal to that demographic. Its really the freedom of association in action. If an artist desires to work for a certain company, he will tailor his work to suit its parameters. There's no mystery to this. Self-censorship happens all the time and most of us do it to some degree or another.

Entertainment companies (supposedly) seek the widest audience possible in order to (supposedly) make as much money as possible. They may (or may not) be in business for the sake of both art and money. However, their shareholders and the advertisers don't care a whit about art. They are in it for the money.

Now, in the market-place of ideas, we are all free to walk away from both the product AND the supporters of that product. I remember the Mighty Mouse sniffing cocaine incident. I thought it was stupid. There are idiots everywhere. But they were certainly within their right of free association to tell the network and its advertisers that they would walk away. So the network and the advertisers had to decide about their own right of association. They decided they wanted to associate with these customers more than they wanted to associate with the producers of Mighty Mouse. That's the way it works. I don't think any of us will suggest that free people ought to be compelled (by government?) to support something they don't believe in. Even if their position is stupid, they are still free.

Was the Mighty Mouse fiasco censorship? Not if the producers were free to find other sponsors or other venues for their product.

Let's look at John K's struggles with Nick over Ren & Stimpy. I won't pretent to know all of the particulars but I'll offer up a simplistic version.

Nick is a private company that has the freedom to associate with whomever it chooses. It has the freedom to air or not air whatever it chooses. However, they exerted a kind of censorship agaist John because they demanded ownership of his characters. Thus they prevented him from seeking other venues for his work. They used their power to shut him down. Censorship.

Its this PC desire to avoid offending anyone that has led to the blandness in cartoons.

Someone asked what the practical solution is. I think John has already spelled it out in his idea to use the internet as a new kind of venue. Just beware, there are some (on the Left again) who want government control of the internet. If they get it, you'll see FCC control expanded and the blandness will go on and on.

TamalH said...

>>So give me some examples of non-conservative animation. Something that's been on the air in the past year. <<

There aren't any shows to get examples from.

pappy d said...

r:

Clearly you favor one kind of conservatism over the other. Maybe hysterical chickenshit would be a better term than conservative, but all the same, I'm glad to know that theoretically everything is great in animation.

It seems to me (somebody/everybody correct me if I'm wrong)that conservative in this context is the opposite of revolutionary. You can't say "reactionary" because there is no revolution in cartoon animation at present (except in theory).

Donald Wildmon was motivated by publicity & propaganda against the entertainment industry.

The censorship problem is largely one of self-censorship. If pressured by any special interest, business will cave in rather than see it come to a boycott or legislation. That's the profit motive.

"Fun" or "entertaining" is abstract & harder to quantify than dollars & cents, so it fades in importance.

It would be a very different world indeed if John had been allowed to retain copyright to R&S. For one thing, you'd have never heard of Mickey Mouse, but Oswald the Lucky Rabbit would be everywhere.

Peter F. Bernard, Jr. said...

Spongebob is the "Log Cabin Republican" version of Ren and Stimpy.

TParker said...

I don't see anything wrong with Spongebob (at least not the first season); Yes, it's conservative, but that's because it follows YOUR rules; appealing (and appeal in ugliness!), expressive design, good layouts, and off-model when it needs to be. And best of all, the characters look three-dimensional.

Sure, they're not doing anything new, but they're doing what works and what YOU have demonstrated to be appealing.