Who Puts The Words In Hollywood Actors And TED Narcissists Mouths?
In certain Hollywood circles, it begged skepticism: Had pro speechwriters come in to help Phoenix course correct before the Academy Awards?
Fenway Strategies is a speechwriting and communications firm founded by former Obama administration officials Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor. Although the firm’s most obvious connection is to the political arena, helping speakers prep TED talks or United Nations addresses, Fenway has branched out into Hollywood. And over the last few years the firm has helped ghostwrite awards acceptance speeches for a number of A-list clients; you definitely know them but their identities are protected by non-disclosure agreements.
To hear it from Fenway principal Sam Koppelman, a former speechwriter for Michael Bloomberg and digital strategist for Hillary Clinton who also co-authored the New York Times best seller Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump, the practice is so widespread among movie, music, and TV stars nowadays, he finds it more astonishing to discover a nominee has eschewed professional speechwriting help than when one seeks it out.
“Writing for actors is a speechwriter’s dream come true,” says Koppelman. “Because unlike politicians, who are not professionals at memorizing lines or delivering them in compelling and charismatic ways, actors actually know how to deliver the lines.”
As for Pitt’s unbroken run of awards speech excellence, the communications strategist is willing to suspend a certain disbelief. “Maybe he just decided to do it himself and he’s really good,” Koppelman adds. “But if you do find out who wrote them, let me know — they’re good at speechwriting.”
Most celebrities don’t think that. What they do think is that if they lend their support to a particular candidate or idea, it attracts a certain amount of media attention, rightly or wrongly. So it gives them a platform that the average Joe doesn’t usually have.
It’s not so much that we sit and wonder what celebrities think about this or that issue. But — depending on their degree of celebrity — that every time they say something, people are curious.
So, for example, very few people say, “I’m going to vote this way because Barbara or Tom or Mel or Meryl feel this way.” But when they talk, people listen.
And there’s nothing particularlly fair about that. The fact that some people automatically attract more attention is one of life’s little unfairnesses. Now, some celebrities will tell you that too much of this attention is an extremely annoying thing, because they can never get away from it. But they do have one big perk, which is that they have a platform for ideas.
John Lennon and Marlon Brando both throught that their immense celebrity was kind of stupid. Why should anyone listen to someone just because he’s an actor or can play the guitar? But both of these guys thought “Well, as long as people are silly enough to listen to me, I’m going to turn that silliness into an opportunity to do some good.”
In Lennon’s case, he turned his celebrity into a chance to apeak out against the Vietnam War. Later, he used it to protest the over reaching of the drug war.
In Brando’s case, he turned his celebrity into a chance to talk about the plight of American Indians, which he felt no one else was paying much attention to.
Again, they both indicated (in interview after interview) that it was goofy that reporters would show up and quote them whenever they opened their mouths. But as long as this happened, they wanted to do something good with it.
Because obviously, lots of Americans, especially young people, do care about their political opinions.
Every time a celebrity tweets about politics, hundreds of people retweet it to all of their friends.
Some Americans even do, or don’t, watch a celebrity’s movies because of their political opinions. Growing up, some of more religious friend’s relatives refused to watch Tom Cruise because he was a Scientologist.
Lots of left-wing Americans care a lot about whether a director casts women and racial minorities in a movie, and if they do then they start to follow that director’s politics.
We have had two celebrity presidents so far, both of them Republicans: Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan.
Celebrities? Because they like it when people talk about them. That’s what makes them celebrities.
However, if you’re talking about ARTISTS, then they don’t really care whether you care about their opinions or not, they’re going to share them. That’s what artists DO. They look at the world, and they interpret it, and they give it back to you. That is their central job description.
That’s what David Mamet does, though God knows I don’t agree with his particular interpretation of the world, or much of the message of his art. That’s equally what Meryl Streep does (I happen to agree with her worl...
It depends on the celebrity. I hung out with several TV and film celebrities back in my Hollywood days, and none of them were ever pushy with their views.. political, religious, or otherwise. They were all normal people that just liked to have fun.. granted they were financially detached from the struggles of most regular citizens.
However, I can see the potential for that to happen. When most of your days are filled with people asking to take pictures with you, give them autographs, etc it would be easy to develop a sense of being slightly more important than “normal folks.” That could easi...
I don’t think celebrities care if you care about their opinions. They have opinions like everyone else and are entitled to voice them, they just happen to have a larger platform upon which to disseminate those opinions. Also, many celebrities do live normal lives. Lastly, President Trump is a celebrity. Ronald Regan was a celebrity before he became President. Should we not listen to them because they are celebrities?
It seems like every TV awards show these days – the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, Tonys, etc. – shows I used to enjoy and look forward to, are filled with liberals constantly spewing liberal propaganda. The political nature of these shows used to be limited to one outrageous comment or diatribe here or there, but it has steadily increased and become more visceral and brutal in recent years.
For such behavior, these celebrities are rewarded with diminishing award show ratings each and every year, like the Oscars this past weekend. Instead of moderating their political posturing during these shows to appeal to a more broad-based audience and help grow their profit margins, they instead rail against the very people who watch their TV shows and movies. In any other industry, this would be considered industrial suicide.
Hollywood scratches their collective heads and wonders why their hubris is not praised and rewarded by all. They are celebrities after all – the “right” people with the “right” views, the modern gods of our celebrity-obsessed culture we live in today. It’s clear though they just don’t care what more than half of America thinks, and are unwilling to try and understand why they couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, and instead voted for Donald Trump.
Let me say at the outset that I believe all Americans have the right to their opinions and should be able to express them, whether you’re a “celebrity” or not. This is one of the cherished hallmarks of our democracy. And there are many wonderful people in the entertainment industry that may pursue political activity with good intentions. Furthermore, I recognize that not everyone in the industry is liberal. Many of the tech and supporting crews may not share the same views as the actors they work with. But its undeniable that Hollywood political posturing is overwhelmingly liberal.
So how did Hollywood become so politically liberal and detached from mainstream America? Hollywood is politically liberal due to three reasons.
First, they are not political scientists and economists; they’re actors and actresses. They’re not recognized or rewarded in their industry for their knowledge of Keynes or Hayek, or of Paine or Burke. They’re talented because they have a unique gift in the theater arts and bring to life stories and characters in books or manuscripts.
Since many of them live and work in the land of “make-believe,” many find themselves yearning for more relevance or fulfillment in real life. Call it liberal guilt but many believe that because they make so much money and have so much influence, they should use their fame to give something back to the world. A noble cause – yes. But like any industry, they find themselves limited to the groupthink that dominates its industry circles.
That leads me to the second reason they are liberals – groupthink. The hierarchy of the entertainment industry is made up of powerful liberal executives that make and break careers for these people. Unlike other industries, you’re legally allowed to be refused a job based on your skin color, race, sex, political affiliation, or ethnicity, and there’s nothing they can do about it.
If you do not comply with the political zeitgeist, you will be ostracized from the industry. Just ask Stacey Dash, the famous Hollywood actress who was blacklisted because she tweeted out support for Mitt Romney in 2012. She wrote about it in her tell-all book There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative.
Or look what happened last year when Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing TV show, which regularly praised Republicans and conservative heroes, like Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, was abruptly cancelled. It was the #2 comedy on ABC, but after Trump won the 2016 election, the show was mysteriously cancelled. When asked about the politics behind it, ABC execs gave a very cagey response to media inquiries.
The third and probably most important reason Hollywood has become more liberal is because of the transition of university film and theater studies programs emphasizing more subjective determination, rather than objective realization of art, or aesthetics. Stick with me here!
Aesthetics is the set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty, especially in art. In the last two generations though, film schools and theater studies programs have shifted their focus from universal understandings of classical beauty, to a more post-modern subjectivity.
Instead of art revealing beauty in the classical objective sense (meaning we can ascertain shared universal forms of beauty), art has been reduced to only a subjective view or outcome (meaning that beauty can be discerned only by the individual, or that art is determined “art” by the artist alone). The latter can be gruesomely seen in Darren Aronofsky’s new movie mother!.
This is important to understand as the switch from objective to subjective determinism of art opens the door to politics or the current zeitgeist. Art merely becomes a tool to advance a political agenda or identity politics. Liberals tend to see the world through this lens and have been sacrificing the means for a desired politically motivated ends.
Don’t believe me, remember the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, the HBO Confederate show controversy, and even TV actress Issa Rae saying the night of the Emmys that she hopes only black people win? It would also allow a mediocre show like The Handmaid’s Tale (yeah, I said it) to win the Best TV Drama Series award because it was considered to be the anti-Trump show of the year. (This is Us, Better Call Saul, Westworld, and Stranger Things were all robbed, but that’s for another article!).
Not only does it just make bad art, bad movies, and bad TV shows, but it could be dangerous to a free and open society. Tucker Carlson did a great segment on the inherent dangers of this.
No doubt there are probably more intrinsic reasons why Hollywood is so liberal today, but consumers and conservatives do have a choice. Those that weave the hand of power in what we watch, hear, and read, will continue to influence our culture. If you want to begin to change this, you need to vote with your feet, wallet, and remote control.
To learn more about Hollywood’s abuses, read Ben Shapiro’s Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences