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Jewish World Review March 14, 2003 / 10 Adar II, 5763

Julia Gorin

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Hollywood, D.C. | It's a place where the Clinton presidency lives on in the personage of Martin Sheen, and where JFK is always a hero. It's where problems really can be fixed by throwing money at them, and where the rest of the world wants peace too. It's where death row inmates have been framed and pedophiles are victims under Megan's Law. It's where raising taxes improves an economy and where unlimited social programs still leave the budget balanced. In short, it's where liberal policies work, because what sounds good on paper and works in theory also works in the movies.

The West Coast's America is Hollywood's most elaborate set, a design which has no physical boundaries and which insinuates itself into almost every production.

This insinuation, crafty to a point, hit rock bottom of blatancy earlier this month in an episode of Ted Danson's new CBS sitcom "Becker." Danson's title character, a doctor, reprimands a sexually active teenager who refuses to wear condoms because, as common teen perception goes, "you can't feel anything with one of those." Upon hearing the teen's reasoning, Becker answers, "You just stooped to the level of stupidity reserved for Republicans and other lower primates."

This kind of dialogue, gracing primetime situational comedy television, is an encouraging sign of the times. Because it means that in the real world, where socialist policies don't work, and where Republicans are popular and so is the "resident" in the White House, the unprecedented vastness of the podium fairly representing conservative ideas has reduced the other side to impotent name-calling. It means that, despite their best efforts, adherents of the Democratic Party with its "government in exile" are running scared as they lose their grasp on thought control. While Martin Sheen is introduced at fundraisers as "the real president," the mainstream of the public remains content with the "selected" president.

But if the comparison is one of Republicans to primates, it's worth asking whether it is Republicans who characteristically don't exercise sexual self-control and who champion the ready disposal of the biological consequences of that lack of control because they can't even be bothered to wear the prophylactics they've now so zealously proliferated to school children--whom they assumed wouldn't exercise self-control either but who, it turns out, couldn't be bothered to wear the prophylactics themselves, as evidenced by the increase in STD rates among teenagers.

It's worth noting the public figure whose sexual behavior the "Becker" teen was emulating. What other president's contraceptive practices (or lack thereof) are known to all the world? What man brought oral sex to grade school? And who elected him? Republicans with their abstinence programs?

But when one lives in a world of make-believe, nothing has to make any sense. How else could one produce a movie like "The Contender" (2000), Hollywood's great analogy for the "sexual McCarthyism" that "hunted" the presidency of Bill Clinton. In the film, the female Democratic vice presidential hopeful (Joan Allen) is publicly crucified for college sexcapades that she may or may not have engaged in. In one scene, her Republican father, upon hearing his grandson mention "Baby Jesus," curses the education system, saying that he fought for years "to get that s--- out of the schools." To which his daughter replies, "Then maybe we should send him to public school." Even more confusing and less realistic is that the nominee turns out to be not "guilty" of college-age sexual misconduct, but refuses on principle to protest her innocence, almost losing the nomination solely to make the point that these private questions shouldn't be asked.

Fortunately for the industry, for the execution of cockeyed scripts such as this, projects must appeal to actors, who are borderline retarded. A condition which does not prevent them from pursuing their own political ambitions, with George Clooney being only the latest in a steady stream to follow in the footsteps of Warren Beatty--whose thoughts are so hard to follow that they can't even be edited into coherence or quoted out of context. (Beatty of course is outdone by Sean Penn, who speaks in Freudian word association.) Fortunately for them all, Hollywood provides an alternate reality in a parallel universe, where liberals can recreate the world in their mental image.

To get through the Clinton years, conservatives had reality-rooted talk radio. To get through the Bush years, liberals have La-la Land.

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JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and comedienne residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.

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