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The Oscars

February 23, 2017

Most Republicans expect that Sunday’s Oscars will be wall-to-wall Trump bashing, because why wouldn’t a celebration of movies be a perfectly appropriate place to harangue viewers with your leftwing political opinions? (When you’re done with that, why not also list all the foods you hate before saying thanks to your agent? Because we all care just as much.) But as with the Grammy Awards, I have to wonder if anyone in show business understands the damage they’re doing to their own industries.

Both music and movies are facing falling revenues and stiff competition due to file sharing, video games, and a thousand other cuts bleeding their traditional business models dry. Yet when they’re presented with an annual three-hours of prime commercial time to sell their wares, they take it as an opportunity to make divisive, insulting political comments that insure at least half their potential audience will change the channel. Or else turn off the TV entirely and spend the rest of the evening making out their celebrity boycott lists.

If they do, chances are they won’t miss much that they care about, anyway. A Hollywood Reporter poll found that even with NINE “Best Picture” nominees to choose from (were there really that many good movies this year?), only about a third of Americans could name even one. If Hollywood studios don’t want to go the way of the prehistoric fossils in the LaBrea Tar Pits, they should take the advice of someone they seem to respect, Woody Allen. In his movie “Stardust Memories,” he plays a successful comic who now makes pretentious art films that nobody wants to see. In a dream, he meets space aliens and starts asking them about God and human suffering. They reply, “If you want to do mankind a real service, tell funnier jokes.”

All the Oscar participants should take the advice of Woody Allen’s aliens. Instead of rending your garments over your political angst (those are expensive duds, and the designers want them back), stick to the point and open with a joke. That might keep millions of Republicans from turning off the Oscars. Unless they’re nothing but Trump jokes, which I fully expect them to be.

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A lot of people found a photo of Ivanka Trump sitting at the Presidential desk, flanked by her dad and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to be warm and inspiring. Aside from illustrating the pride and trust Donald Trump has in his daughter, it also shows that women have “a place at the table” in his Administration, and offers an aspirational image of a poised and accomplished woman in the Oval Office. So naturally, it infuriated liberals. Click the link to see the photo and read some of the range of reactions to it. One category of negative reaction was especially amusing. These were the leftists who railed that it’s “disgusting” that Ivanka would be allowed to sit in the President’s chair, with one woman sneering, “Nepotism, anyone?”

So to be clear: Hillary Clinton supporters are “disgusted” someone with no official elected title sat in the Oval Office and might be considered a potential first woman President, just because she happens to be related to a man who was President? Some people really need to think a bit harder before they tweet.

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This story offers a good example of why so many Americans are fed up to the gills with modern day politics. It started with leftist attacks on businesses that carry Ivanka Trump’s merchandise. That inspired White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to stick up for her by responding to a TV interviewer with, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you. I’m going to give it a free commercial here. Go buy it today.” She was called on the carpet by the White House for that inappropriate remark, but that wasn’t good enough. The Office of Government Ethics is now calling for an investigation of Conway for allegedly violating the Standards of Conduct Act, followed by disciplinary action. With a little effort, we can turn it into a long, drawn-out sinkhole of time and tax money. Say, maybe we could even appoint an independent counsel who could destroy several people’s reputations and careers before his ever-expanding investigation inevitably destroys his own career.

My question: Does this seriously require an investigation? Does any sentient being not know what happened? Conway was incensed by what she quite understandably saw as unfair political attacks and cowardice on the part of retailers. She’s not a professional politician and is used to speaking her mind, so she did, unaware that in Washington, saying what you’re actually thinking may be illegal. She obviously shouldn’t have said that, and she’s been reprimanded and knows better than to do it again. This is one of the drawbacks to sending people to Washington who haven’t spent their entire lives steeped in political minutiae, but voters thought the advantages vastly outweighed the drawbacks. Still, any hint of political advantage is like blood in a shark tank in DC these days, so we’ll probably be subjected to a never-ending investigation of something about which anyone with a handful of functioning brain cells already knows everything there is to know.

I’m not part of the current government, so I am allowed to make the following free commercial announcement on behalf of common sense: if the ethics office thinks she unknowingly said something actionable on live television, then spare us the kabuki theater of an investigation, slap her with a modest fine, tell her not to do it again, and let’s get on with making America great again. Or has the government already solved the easy stuff like job creation and national security, so it has plenty of time to waste on nonsense like this?

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