I love movies. I have since I was a small child and my uncle took me to see Star Wars back in 1978. It was a cultural phenomenon back then, of course, and it ignited so much within me, things I still love today.
But I don’t love Hollywood as an entity all that much.
See, the problem is that these are the same people who protected Harvey Weinstein and numerous other predators for years, but they routinely seek to lecture the rest of us about whatever.
For example, gun control. They’ve pushed it for years to some degree, but now it seems they’re stepping up their efforts.
Hollywood is gunning for guns. Again.
The industry routinely pushes for new gun control measures. Films like “Miss Sloane” are part of a larger effort toward that end, using pop culture’s bully pulpit to advance its messaging.
TV shows are far more confrontational on the subject, and they aren’t acting alone. Groups like Everytown for Gun Safety work hand in glove with screenwriters to push gun control narratives on your favorite programs.
This time, the Hollywood messaging machine is looking internally.
The effort, part of the Brady’s “Show Your Safety” campaign, demanded the industry show restraint when it comes to on-screen gunplay.
The group wants films to take greater care, for example, displaying gun safety measures happening on the home front. It’s hard to see how such scenes could organically be woven into stories, but it’s not the worst idea out of Hollywood.
The idea that films and TV shows will dramatically reduce gun violence is, on the other hand, farcical. And it’s not the first time it’s been introduced.
That messaging is a repeat of similar efforts that went nowhere fast.
Why didn’t they go anywhere? Because Hollywood doesn’t have quite the power they think.
As writer Christian Toto notes in the above-linked piece, actors could shine a light on what’s happening in cities like Chicago and what is and isn’t being done there–a subject the mainstream media likes to ignore–but even if they did, I’m not sure it would do much.
It’ll do less if they try to push an anti-gun narrative in film and television, though.
The truth is that people don’t like being lectured to or at in their choices of entertainment. They tune into a television show to escape the real world for a little bit. They want to see the relationships of doctors and nurses with a smattering of medical technobabble on some hospital drama or watch a family engage in whacky hijinks on some comedy.
They don’t want some millionaire who can generally afford private security telling them they don’t need to have access to firearms for self-defense. It comes off as remarkably tone-deaf, to say the least.
Hollywood, however, thinks they can lecture people at will. They’ve gotten away with it for years.
Yet on guns, they’re biting off more than they can chew.
The American public has shown that it likes to see gunplay. Look at the success of the John Wick franchise for a moment. Four movies with fairly little plot, all things considered, but tons of shooting.
The truth is that Hollywood has too many internal problems to justify making moralistic stands on anything. Tell good stories that entertain people and most Americans will be content to look at Weinstein as an aberration, not a symptom.
Keep pushing, though, and people will start to recognize Hollywood for what it truly is, the Mos Eisley of the United States–“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”