by Steve Finefrock, founder Hollywood Conservative Forum
Hundreds of ‘big name’ political and cultural writers are flowing to Andrew Breitbart’s BIG HOLLYWOOD blogsite, with Roger Simon blurbing BH on PajamasMedia [where he’s CEO, as well as a commentator/writer on The Politico] and earlier flakking on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Howie Kurtz, followed by a headline in the Washington Times. To Kurtz, Breit-eyes said the new site would be “about helping to rebrand the conservative/libertarian and center right movements. And what we’re going to do at first is to start getting the establishment conservative culture to be paying attention to culture.”
Doing the Breit-Thing is a decade-long goal of this project, before Breitbart showed a commitment which now rivals his with Drudge and briefly with Arianna Huffington. For some odd reason that escapes me still, he invested his political capital with that maniac; a warning issued was ignored, and soon she most predictably canned his ass and sent him reeling. In the meantime, Andrew has met a few ‘players’ in the political arena, and a few activists in such venues as Brentwood [Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a Jewish conservative], not entirely without yours truly giving an assist here and there for his political rolladex.
To Kurtz, Breit-eyes noted a long-running blind spot for conservatives, that the “movement is so focused on policy and politics, that it’s forgotten that the biggest prize is culture.” Not entirely forgotten – one of my favorite quotes used in my speech to Heritage Foundation was Bill Bennett’s frequent assertion, “I would give people with whom I disagree the government, if I could give the culture to the people with whom I agree. I think it’s probably in the long run much more important what happens on television and what happens on the radio and what happens in the movies than what happens in the halls of Congress.” [my emphasis]
A whole lotta arguing is going on about culture and Hollywood’s role in its formation and dissemination, and has been among conservatives, for at least a decade. Long before Dubya’s re-election year, one major player invested a first-class plane ticket, four-star hotel room and two days’ time to jump-start a nascent and promising organization, into taking the reins of getting some cinematic culture created by creatives with a conservative tilt. His prize? Two pieces of chicken and a diet cola. Five years later, that effort paid off for this past GOP convention: conservative creatives came aboard the gathering. But despite that piss-poor ‘organization’ role in the early effort.
On this pathway strewn with much broken glass, was the goal of proving conservatives in Hollywood would bust their buttons to see a regular offering of conservative thought, from thoughtful conservatives with political competence. The first formal, public effort, by the Hollywood Forum, brought a panel discussion to that thirsty audience. Among the many so-called ‘allies’ who offered nothing to make that even happen is Breit-eyes himself. The ‘thank-you’ flood by the audience for making the event happen, with tears in their eyes and trembling in their voices, helped make up for the fiscal and mental cost of the event. And the lack of ‘fellow’ conservatives of many supposed conservative ‘support’ actually boosting the occasion.
Two years later, Friends of Abe came into existence, and now works with Breit-eyes and others of conservative leaning – that GOP convention assist came in large part through FOA liaisons. A few folks are now taking serious the serious issue of CULTURE – somewhere there’s a check waiting to be written by such stalwarts of the culture wars, such as Bill Bennett and Bill O’Reilly, to finance Hollywood conservatives.
Despite the failure of such ‘allies’ to support prior work, we see Andrew now and finally and even somewhat belatedly doing The Breit Thing: putting his money and his mouth and his political capital into a political-cultural capitol of advocacy. To Kurtz, Breit-boy distilled the Hollywood Forum thesis of many years – and many words – into a concise mantra:
“[For political mutts] in the last election cycle, if it wasn’t obvious to them before this election cycle, it certainly is now that they need to get into the game. If Arianna Huffington and her left wing pals feel comfortable writing about their ideas and actually effecting change, now it’s time for people who have a different point of view to come in and get their feet wet.” [emphasis added]
As with most ego-meisters, in and out of Hollywood and politics and business, Breit-eyes has possibly overhyped his site: claims of ‘hundreds’ of really big names, from politics and film, flooding to write [for free] are perhaps overwrought. Andrew’s middle initials may be “P.T” as in Barnum, but he’s on the right track, and the Right Track, if somewhat belatedly putting some skin in the game; his political capital. It may be a site for gathering around the soothing campfire of conservative creativity – where Simon is offering an excerpt of his new book – and expressions.
BH may bring serious political players to comment in circles around one camp site on these issues, and help them gather to actually do the actual work of actual film projects: MAKE DEALS. Assemble, motivate, fund, direct, inspire and coach teams of writing talent, producing skills, directing capacities and acting brilliance – to PUT OUT OUR MESSAGE.
While Breit-eyes isn’t the first, he is adding to the growing awareness of another favorite Bennett Quote:
“The kind of country we have now and the kind of culture we have now owes a lot more, for good and for ill, to the creative people in New York and Los Angeles than it does to the bureaucrats in Washington.” Bennett implicitly grasps that the two places are the same place in many ways.
Now, will BIG HOLLYWOOD take us to another level?
Only the Shadow knows….
copyright 2009 Steve Finefrock
Finefrock is founder of Hollywood Forum, a speaker-bureau and panel-discussion vehicle to “Bring the Potomac to the Palisades” on issues that overlap politics and culture with the Hollywood film-TV influence on such national concerns. His scripts have addressed politics [including a TV series pilot/bible package about state political combat, called "A State of the Union"], hazardous materials [from twelve years in emergency management, including six years managing FEMA's Superfund curriculum for hazmat], terrorism, equestrian reincarnation, serial murderer killing journalists in the nation’s capitol, and fantasy about time-wasters. Finefrock is proprietor of PhoneBooth: The Smallest Space in Hollywood…