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Culture is a Free Market

November 10, 2012

Two columns caught my attention yesterday. First was Brent Bozell asking if  “Hollywood Won 2012?”  Bozell believes Hollywood is partly to blame for the left-leaning election results. He cites gay marriage as evidence:

Asked about how the shows influenced them, 27 percent said gay-promotional TV shows made them more pro-gay marriage, and 6 percent more opposed. Obama voters watched and 30 percent grew more supportive, to 2 percent less supportive. Surprisingly, the shows were also winning over Romney voters: 13 percent became more pro-gay marriage, while 12 percent were more opposed. (Did you hear that, pro-family conservatives?)

Bozell likes to blame someone else for his own ideology’s deficiencies. Unfortunately he doesn’t offer any solutions. Surely Bozell can’t think The National Legion of Decency is ever coming back. And since we hope a “conservative” like Bozell does, in fact, believe in less government, he must rule out the force of a nanny state.

The second article relates to the first. It’s “D.C. Cannot Save America. Hollywood Can” by Tabitha Hale. Concerning the election results, she claims. “What was lost was a culture war.” Like Bozell, she thinks Hollywood had a lot to do with the loss. But unlike Bozell, she proposes a solution.

“Conservatives long ago ceded entertainment to the Left, and in doing so isolated themselves from demographics they absolutely need to reach.” She notes, “The majority of Americans do not live in the conservative news sphere. They do not tune in to talk radio, nor do they attend political gatherings or rallies.”

She’s right about that. So she suggests entering the market. “Make good music. Make good movies. Make good art.”

She ends with:

Unless there is a concerted effort to spend time understanding and embracing the culture of the people they are trying to reach, the Right will become increasingly irrelevant. A culture war cannot be won when you’re sitting behind your computer complaining about the state of the nation. Get in the game and take it back.

I think she has a good idea, even if it’s an old and obvious idea. It should be obvious that culture is a free market. Aren’t Republicans for letting a market decide? They sure claim to be. So if “conservatives” don’t like the product, make a better product. If it’s truly a good product, people will gravitate toward it.

I’m not as confident as Hale that offering a better culture product will have a dramatic effect on the culture or elections. There is one thing I’m fairly sure of though. It’s the only truly American — and Republican — way of addressing the Hollywood issue. And what’s the worse that can happen? We’ll get more good movies, better programming and more choice. Bozell’s cultural criticism has gotten us what?  He or his accomplices have been doing it for 30 years.  Is the culture better for it?

It’s hard making good entertainment. “Conservatives” can be lazy about it and heckle those who try.  Or they can get to work and produce.

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