The Beacon

A century ago, people started making movies as far away from New Jersey as possible in order to keep Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patents Company from enforcing the patents they had on all motion pictures. 

In 1910 D.W. Griffin made one in the recently incorporated Los Angeles neighborhood of Hollywood. For the last century or so, that’s where the industry grew.

Modern America and the world, since technology has enabled us to turn our collective gaze in one direction, has looked to Hollywood as an escape from the realities of life; a chance to partake in a fantasy world where people without limitations and endless options for love, wealth and adventure pretend to live out stories on screen.

There’s comfort in the understanding that Hollywood is not real. And the people who live there are not real. That separation of reality and fantasy allows enough room for satisfaction in our somewhat less than glamorous lives.

We are real. They are not.

And therefore, they get no say in the normal things of the world. The politics. The economics. The policy.

Real America.

Last night, at the 90th Academy Awards Ceremony was hosted in Los Angeles.  Hollywood made its collective political views clear.

Of the show, conservative talk show host Glenn Beck tweeted,

“Thnk U, . It’s official: There is no place in Hollywood 4 conservatives-except as the butt of jokes.And that’s fine. We’ll make our own Hollywood.We won’t be victims, We will not react,We will create.From this, Magic. Life is happening for us, not to us.”

Over the last two years, the new American conservative movement has found gold as the tough talking antidote to the value signaling hypocrisy of the coastal elites with their capitals in Hollywood and Silicon Valley and New York, Boston and San Francisco. Conservatives have let America know where her real strength lives.

In the heartland.

Sprinkle in a healthy dose of nativism and we can bind the American conservative mind to a purpose: A life in a world that we already won. Rewatching the tapes of games we already know the score. The safety of the past.

Putting dots on the map and dividing up those that believe one way against those that believe another is an effective exercise politically.

In an ironic turn of reality, Hollywood spoils the fantasy though.

Jennifer Lawrence is from Kentucky.

Woody Harrelson is from Midland, Texas.

Brad Pitt, born in Cherokee, Oklahoma and grew up in Springfield,Missouri.

Spielberg is from Arizona.

Last night’s Oscar for best female actress went to Frances McDormand. She was born in Illinois. She grew up in Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Tom Cruise is from Syracuse.

Lupita Nyong’o  and Kamil Nanjiani, born in Mexico raised in Kenya and born in Pakistan raised in Iowa respectively presented together last night, complete with jabs at immigration fearing conservatives.

Giullermo del Toro won the Oscar for best director last night. He’s from Mexico He’s the third Mexican Director to win the award since 2013.

Maybe they are at least sending some their best people.

There’s a problematic message of Hollywood for the conservative movement in 2018 America that has become frightfully concerned with immigration and guns. Gone is the character and moral authority of one-time Screen Actors Guild president Ronald Reagan. In it’s place is something uglier.

Hollywood ruins the narrative though.

Hollywood isn’t a place. It’s a beacon. And like the other clusters of production, not at all coincidently placed in the elite capitals of liberal America—Silicon Valley, New York, Boston—that are the global captains of industry in technology, finance, biotech and others, it draws the world to its gate. For those of us that live and work there, the no nonsense message that hurts people’s feelings that we subscribe to is that diversity isn’t a goal. It’s a reality.

And you can’t stop it if you care about being great.

Because when you’re where something happens, the people will come. Like America for the last three centuries, the people will come.  And if you try to stop them, you won’t be great for long.

Maybe Beck is on to something. Maybe they can build a conservative Hollywood and make it great. When that happens though, they shouldn’t be surprised when people from other places start knocking at the door to be a part of it.

And then they’ll have a choice of their own. Let them in. Or let the world pass them by. And be great no more.

The institutions of industry in America whose narrow focus on production, innovation and industrial progress allows for a broad interpretation of the definition of an in group:

Those that can are welcome.

Those that can’t, aren’t.

Nothing else matters.

Is there anything more American than that?


3 replies »

  1. Insightful, as always, Sean.

    In the last paragraph, you might want to take out the word “whose”. Or else bullet point the first three sentences after that sentence ends with the colon [“:”], since I think that is what you refer to by “whose”?

    Or just leave it the way it is.

    Either way, your observations are, as always, compelling.

    Thank you.

    On Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 11:03 AM, Chartwell West wrote:

    > Sean Patrick Hughes posted: “A century ago, people started making movies > as far away from New Jersey as possible in order to keep Thomas Edison’s > Motion Picture Patents Company from enforcing the patents they had on all > motion pictures. In 1910 D.W. Griffin made one in the recently” >


  2. So Hollywood who is as elitist and close minded as Glenn Beck, is a beacon? Maybe I’m missing the point, but polarizing sides like Hollywood elite, or right wing political commentators like Beck are not going to bring the divide of the country closer…regardless of where they are from.


  3. To quote a meme I saw on Pinterest, “When will the people realize that the left wing and the right wing are both part of the same bird.”