March 24, 2003


More Moore-slaps, this time from James Poniewozik in TIME. His basic premise is "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." In other words, if the self-styled liberal intelligensia wants to get people on their side, they should stop treating them the way Michael Moore does:

The remainder of the speech was no improvement. There was the general hectoring and finger-wagging — and I don't mean finger-wagging figuratively; the man literally thrust his finger at the camera. A man with Moore's sense of history has no excuse not to realize that makes him look like a crackpot dictator shouting a harangue from the balcony.

Why is this bad? Because:

More people in America identify as conservative than liberal, like it or not. So lefties who want to accomplish anything outside Santa Monica and Manhattan need moderate support even more than their righty analogues do

The problem is, many of these people don't want to coax "conservative Americans" onto their side. They have based their entire career on being against what they see as stuffy, puritanical, no-fun Middle America; in other words, their parents. They are stuck in "rebel without a cause" mode. They have taken that line in The Wild One ( Girl: "What're you rebelling against, Johnny?" Johnny: "Whaddya got?") as their central ideology, even though in their professional and personal lives they are as hidebound to their own traditions as a deacon of the First Lutheran Church of Des Moines is to his.

One of their traditions is to look upon people outside the entertainment industry -- and in this country politicians are not necessarily outside the entertainment industry -- as an easily-led, unintelligent bovine mass. The relationship of entertainers to the audience is necessarily partly antagonistic -- after all, these are the people who must be persuaded to part with their hard-earned money to view the fruits of all that expensive location shooting and studio time. But since most entertainers are also unstable and have massive egos, this seems to translate all too easily into a paranoid view of the audience, especially the middle-class, suburban portion of it, as being a stand-in for every parental admonishment, unfavorable review, directorial berating, and that little inner critic that everyone has that tells you "you suck." So to many activist entertainers, the idea of actually treating an audience member like an equal and trying a little sweet persuasion doesn't even occur to them.

(Via Jim Treacher again.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at March 24, 2003 10:21 PM

Wow. Very pithy & accurate, Andrea.

Posted by: David at March 25, 2003 at 12:21 AM


Posted by: Dean Esmay at March 25, 2003 at 02:28 AM

It's not just entertainers, it's pretty much all lefties. They define themselves as "anti-[fill in the blank]". My college newspaper (late 70s) once ran an editorial whose basic message was "we're running out of things to protest, we need to find some more."

As Isaac Asimov said about the protesters more than 30 years ago, "They could easily be maneuvered into crewcuts if President Nixon would make the ultimate sacrifice and grow his hair long."

Posted by: Ken Summers at March 25, 2003 at 08:50 AM