The Double Standard of Hollywood


Benedict Cumberbatch is facing criticism. The man beneath Sherlock Holmes’ hat on the BBC series Sherlock and the villain in the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, Cumberbatch offered his commentary on the social message behind the film. I see nothing wrong with that, and I’ll tell you why, but first let’s look at what he said.

“In the film there’s a debate among Starfleet personnel over how best to extract an enemy in a distant part of the galaxy,” said Tom Brooks, a writer for BBC America, “and whether that enemy should be subjected to due process.”

Cumberbatch concurred. “It’s no spoiler I think to say that there’s a huge backbone in this film that’s a comment on recent U.S. interventionist overseas policy from the Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld era,” he told BBC America in an interview. Criticism of the Bush administration is not at all uncommon in Hollywood and in media as a whole, but many are tired of hearing it.’s article on the statement offered clean-cut reporting and little commentary. The comment section, on the other hand, wasn’t as reserved.

“Oh Benedict, shut up and act. You are a pretty young guy, you are great in Sherlock but seriously man, just be Khan and don’t ruin the movie for me.”

“Thanks for the warning, Benedict. I know not to waste my money now.”

“Let’s blame Bush again. I’m so over this. Come up with something new, Hollywood.”

Now this article isn’t a commentary on what Cumberbatch said. Clearly, the same charges of interventionist policy can be leveled at our current President and his aggressive use of unmanned drones to kill overseas targets. This, of course, doesn’t absolve former President Bush of any guilt whatsoever. We’ve had a bad run of presidents.

However, Star Trek has always been cutting edge with social commentary, putting controversial issues in a science fiction setting, an effective strategy that Cumberbatch acknowledges the new movie is continuing.

Does everything hollyWEIRD produces have to send a flippin’ message?

I’m honestly not quite sure why you like Star Trek if you’re so against Hollywood using media to send a message.

When actors make left-leaning statements, generally conservatives respond by lamenting how actors have such a strong cultural influence, calling the actor’s intelligence into question, or responding with the pervasive “shut up and act.” You would think that the overwhelming consensus in the conservative community is that actors shouldn’t talk about politics. However, we’re then faced with the exception of Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood is an actor, yet he is also a conservative. His “empty chair” speech at the RNC was met with mixed feelings from conservatives, ranging from approval and emulation via “empty chair day” to concern that Eastwood has “lost it” and an uneasy feeling from his quirky onstage performance.

But almost nowhere were calls for actor Eastwood to “sit down and shut up” due to his place in Hollywood.

So why the double standard? Why do conservatives disdain liberal actors while lionizing conservative ones? I think the answer is pretty clear. It’s the same immature mentality of “if you disagree with me, shut up!” that conservatives hate when it’s coming from the left.

Can the opinions of actors be valid? Clearly the opinions conservative actors like Clint Eastwood, Adam Baldwin, and Ronald Reagan are valued by conservatives, but in the culture at large, many people take Hollywood opinions with a grain of salt. One of the most common arguments I hear against actors is that “they’re experts at acting, not politics. They should stick with what they know.”

Fair enough, they’re not political experts.

But then, couldn’t the same statement be leveled at many of us?

“You’re a bank teller, not a political expert. Stay out of politics and stick with what you know.”

“You work in a marketing department, not the military. What gives you any right to opine about Benghazi?”

“You’re not an economist, so shut up about the economy.”

When we start demanding that people are experts, we put the nails in our own coffins. I do a lot of research about the subjects I report, but I’m not a credentialed “expert.” Many of us aren’t experts, either, we’re just concerned citizens trying to spread a message. We can tell Hollywood to sit down and shut up, but sooner or later the same thing is going to be said to each of us.

Embrace the 1st Amendment. Be a loud talker.

Also, stop freaking bashing Hollywood and start encouraging your kids to follow their dreams, especially if they want to be filmmakers or actors. This hostile attitude towards Hollywood is what is keeping it so liberal.


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