Ask A Genius 53 – Social Media, Political Views, Hollywood, and Raptures
Scott Douglas Jacobsen and Rick Rosner
January 9, 2017
Scott: With social media and people having narrow political views, people can have more information than ever, which can help if people are active in finding the information of the day. However, as with most people, the problem is the passive intake of information, which leads people into silos, as you noted with HuffPo, Salon, and so on.
Rick: Are silos the same things as bubbles?
Scott: Roughly the same metaphor, you’re in a smaller worldview, or a narrowed perspective.
Rick: Most people don’t search diverse or opposing viewpoints. I only occasionally read Drudge, but not too much. It annoys me. I never go to The Blaze or The Daily Caller. I’m not sure if it is if I can’t handle the viewpoints or the dumbness. There’s this young woman named Tomi Lahren.
She was going crazy about Meryl Streep – either pro or con. Her most annoying tweet was that Hollywood wouldn’t know hardworking Americans if it bit us on the ass. It’s dumb because she’s 24, and for all I know she has worked on TV and some congressional Republican campaign; whereas, I didn’t get to join the Writers Guild until I was 35 and had a lot of menial jobs. I cleaned a lot, a lot, of toilets.
When I get to work on TV shows, the work was no less hard, and maybe harder – working for a daily TV show was pretty much an all-the-time thing. You were either working on the day’s bits or jokes or getting ready for the next day’s stuff.
It was at least 10 hours and more than that. It is a lot of work to do a good job. She is saying Hollywood elites don’t know what hard work is, which is dumb, hypocritical, and bullshit.
Scott: Does Hollywood lean Left?
Rick: Yea! Truth has a liberal bias, which may not be the case for some eras and some places. But, in America, right now and for the past couple of decades, increasingly, conservatives traffic in bullshit more than liberals do. Conservatives engage in more fake news.
Scott: If you take the Left and the Right of Hollywood, does Hollywood have less influence than it thinks it has with regards to the people it has in it – actors, comedians, writers?
Hollywood has less influence than it would like to have. It probably has less influence than it thinks it has. Celebrities have less influence than they like to think they have. When you look at some celebrities who are competent and well-informed, like Meryl Streep, if you look her up, and Trump calls her overrated, on Wikipedia, she’s been nominated for 409 awards and won 157 of them including Oscars, Golden Globes, and Emmys.
Scott: She’s batting at Babe Ruth.
Rick: Yea, she’s not a dumb person. She’s well–informed. She’s made her career out of figuring out how the characters she plays feel, which is not the worst way to understand people. A lot of people come to Hollywood to make it, but there’s a bias to not being stupid to people who do make it. A lot of celebrities are smart, and make effort to be extra well-informed about things they do support, like when Clooney testifies before congress.
When they testify, they are testifying from an informed point of view. When people say they’re full of shit or dumbass celebrities spouting off, that is frustrating for those of us who believe most celebrities are well-informed and not stupid about the things they’re talking about. As with any large group of people, there are some celebrities who speak out who are idiots, at least about the things they speak out against like the anti-vaccination people.
Where if you look at the science of it, they are almost entirely a good thing and objections tend to be based on dumbness and misinformation. Let’s take an example like a Clooney, a Clooney will not hesitate to go on the internet and figure out if the things he is talking about are true or not. They inform themselves. Then if they feel they need more information, they will reach out to people with more information within the field. DiCaprio has probably spoken to a bunch of scientists about climate change. He is a bit of hypocrite by flying on private jets because they do pollute a lot.
At the very least, he knows what he’s talking about. He is an interesting spokesperson to have for a cause because people like listening to him. He will get more attention than the run-of-the-mill climate scientist. As opposed to people on the conservative side, like the senator who held up a snowball in 2016 and said that disproves climate change, where often on the conservative side, you find people who search out information and scientists only with an eye to find loopholes in commonly held scientific truths.
Scott: Also, sociological analysis, some sociological analysis of people known to be good observers like comedians, e.g. Paul Mooney or Eddie Griffin on the presentation of race in Hollywood movies.
Scott: Which is sometimes outside of the political or scientific analysis.
Rick: Entertainment, most good entertainment, is based on presenting a nuanced view of the world, which is based on observing things and viewing the world as it is. There are various ways the world as it is does not get to the final product, but somebody who can intelligently observe and analyze the world is more likely to have success in writing and producing entertainment than somebody who is oblivious or is chained to a semi-false agenda. Unless, they are selling to a captive doctrinally-anchored market, like you’re selling the Left Behind books.
I read a couple of those things to see what was going on with them. I mean, they’re okay, but they’re not great. They are big, thick novels. It takes like 10 of them to get through the entire Book of Revelation. I didn’t read all of them. It’s like 4,000 pages.
Scott: That’s probably bigger than Game of Thrones.
Rick: Possibly. There are characters in them. One is an airline pilot, and misses the Rapture bus. He goes through all sorts of tribulations. We know how tall he is, what he likes and doesn’t like. You wouldn’t read these books for the wonderfulness of the portrayal of the individual humans, as opposed to another book that deals with another type of Rapture, which is The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta.
He’s written a bunch of good well-observed books. I’m not sure if The Leftovers is his strongest book. His strongest book might be Election or Little Children (which was turned into a movie with Kate Winslett). That’s a brutal, sharply-observed book. Election does too. It puts characters through their paces. The Leftovers is a better work of observed humanity than Left Behind, which just needs humans in place to move through the tribulations of The Book of Revelations.
As one general rule, if you like being entertained or moved by your stuff, you want something that is more like Tom Perratta than a Left Behind book.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
American Television Writer
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