From “Huckabee” writer and resident pop culture guru, Pat Reeder
As a longtime radio comedy and news commentary writer, writer/guest researcher for the “Huckabee” TV show, author, and head of the indie label that releases my wife and fellow writer, Laura Ainsworth’s, award-winning retro jazz albums (you should definitely support a rare outspoken conservative in music by buying them all at the only site that guarantees she’ll be paid a royalty: https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/LauraAinsworth ), I work in what I call a “showbiz-related field.” Consequently, I get a lot of offers of very cheap insider subscription rates for showbiz and news publications.
I usually stick to the Internet, but last year, I got one too good to refuse: a year of Variety, the “Bible of show business,” for only five bucks. Variety is a very swanky publication: 10x13 inches, stiff cover, high quality paper, color photos, etc. At $5 for 52 issues, that wasn’t even a down payment on the postage. I figured I might glean something useful for our record label or the TV show, so I gambled the cost of a McDonald’s lunch.
But I soon discovered that aside from the occasional interesting review or historical feature, the magazine mostly consisted of insider L.A. studio news of no interest to me and a lot of anti-Trump editorializing. Just as with Entertainment Weekly (and as Laura has written, women’s magazines), Variety never misses an opportunity to slip leftwing political comments and insults about Republicans into the most inappropriate places (seriously, I don’t need to hear your thoughts on gun control when I’m just trying to find out if “The Lego Movie 2” is worth more than a matinee ticket price.)
I began to refer to arrivals of new issues of Variety as the “weekly dispatch from the world’s richest socialists.” Eventually, they started piling up unread. When the subscription automatically renewed for $5, I called and canceled it and got a refund. I thought of Mr. Burns on “The Simpsons,” who saw an ad promising the secret to happiness for one dollar, and he said, “I’d rather have the dollar.” That was in January. Indeed, the mailing label says my subscription ran out in January.
Yet, here it is nearly May, and I’m still getting Variety! Someone is losing money (and Hollywood environmentalists are killing a lot of trees) still sending me this slick, heavy magazine for free. Maybe it boosts their ad rates to keep sending it even to people who no longer want it. That has to be their business model, because I can’t imagine anyone paying for stuff like this (and here we come to the crux of why I futilely canceled my subscription.)
A couple of weeks ago, Gov. Huckabee referenced a review I pointed out to him by critic Owen Glieberman of the movie “Unplanned” which read more like a Planned Parenthood PR release. Well, last week, Variety let him review the new faith-based film, “Breakthrough.” What he wrote is a lab specimen-worthy example of Trump Derangement Syndrome. You know that elderly relative at family reunions who can’t talk about any subject for more than two minutes without launching into an angry rant about Richard Nixon? Well, this is that experience in print. To save you having to spend five dollars and throw away a copy of Variety every week for the rest of your life, here it is online:
“Breakthrough” is a true-life story of a mother’s faith that her son will recover from a seemingly terminal coma following an accident. It’s about hope, faith, adversity, miracles, medicine and lots of other things -- but definitely not Donald Trump. Yet check out the last three paragraphs, where Glieberman steers his review so sharply to the left that he drives it into the ditch.
He veers from the Affordable Care Act to climate change to an anti-Trump rant (“…given that the current leader of American conservative politics, Donald Trump, is a rage-fueled narcissistic demagogue who, measured by his words and deeds, is no more a Christian than he is a Martian…”). He calls it a “movie of the Trump age” (this is a close relative of the annoying cliché, “Trump’s America,” which pops up in these magazines more often than semi-colons.) He also defensively claims that dragging all these attacks on Republican policies into a review of a movie about faith is “fair game, and hardly irrelevant.” For the record: no, it isn’t; and yes, it is.
I don’t know whether it’s the coastal bubble effect (i.e., the legend about New Yorker movie critic Pauline Kael not understanding how Nixon could’ve been reelected when nobody she knew voted for him) or a sincere belief that anyone who disagrees with Hollywood’s approved political views must be a knuckle-dragging deplorable so they don’t care about those people’s patronage. But it does explain why all those leftist last night shows bring in a fraction of Johnny Carson or Jay Leno’s ratings, yet no network ever thinks to grab 50% of the potential audience and bring back the millions who’ve tuned out simply by putting a funny conservative on the air.
If you would like to have a source for conservative-oriented show biz news and reviews, try Hollywood In Toto, which pretty much has the market to itself. In this article, Christian Toto explains that it’s not enough for Hollywood liberals to dominate pop culture, they must also destroy anything, such as the movie “Unplanned,” that presents an alternative viewpoint.
I figure there must be tens of millions of Americans who are just as weary as I am of this endless, inappropriate interjection of politics into entertainment writing. It’s no wonder they have to sell this stuff at a loss or give it away for free. If Variety's editors don’t tell their writers to climb down off their soapboxes, I might demand that they start paying me $5 an issue just to allow it into my mailbox.
Oh, and by way, I wasn’t kidding about buying Laura’s albums. They really are fantastic, and you have my guarantee: you won’t find a single word about politics on any of them.