tv National Review Institute Ideas Summit Hollywood and Pop Culture Panel CSPAN March 19, 2017 6:07am-7:01am EDT
>> i don't inc. in the next two years we will get a mandatory e-verify bill. i think the left is so determined to stop anything that donald trump does, they will not allow it to happen even if they wanted it. >> please join me in thanking our panelists. [applause] event, a panele discussion about how conservative viewpoints are represented in film, television, d popular culture. this is just over 45 minutes.
>> thank you very much everyone for being here. -- of the smartest writers we have so many wonderful writers who we are blessed to have among us during these two days on culture. you two are some of the best though on culture. one thing i have found when i am traveling is people keep saying to me, and these are people who may or may not have voted for donald trump, depending on the state they live in. especially if i am in the middle of the country or not on the northeast especially, people will say things like -- donald trump is president. it is coming from this place like -- he used to be the host
of "celebrity apprentice." how did that happen? it is not a dismissal or a criticism. so how are you expecting -- how are you processing that when people expect you to process that? are there lessons to learn ere? once in a while it hits me that donald trump is president. there was a good book by tevi troy who has written for national review. and it gs through a history of wasidents in terms of what instructing them. it looks at libraries that early presidents had and the transition to televisions and then the age of social media
that obama was very good at figuring out and using to his advantage. that the rise of celebrity has a lot to do with donald trump being president. jonathan lassiter is pretty sure that oprah will be our next president. but i think donald trump is a master of media in general and he has spent decades of learning how to navigate a hostile system. and learning how to make it work for both he and the media. that happened at a time when a lot of people on the right had therey given up on getting a fair shot from the media. i think it has worked out to some extent to the benefit of both of those groups. that, iecond half of
think is really important. a lot of the things about donald we gentle disturbs folk is his strengths. he has a pinpoint sense of how information travels, it's timing, and how to deflect in narrative. media which has become an opposition party, he is right. you watch the media buildup this narrative. he is a russian spy. the elections have been hacked. he let it build up to a certain point and then he gave the press conference where he just slapped those people silly. and a lot of my friends were saying -- this is terrible but i thought it was genius. the next morning, the narrative was -- we are so hurt. we are damaged. and i thought -- that is smart.
when you look at what the media did to george w bush and you look at how he has fought back against them, it makes as feel more uncomfortable than people who speak more politely. talks to a lot of what we heard during the election. . was not surprised that he won i was just listening to people when i was traveling and i would listen to the mexican cabdriver or the mexican waiter but said, i am everyone voting for donald trump. and i would say --but you heard what he has said? and they would respond that he is not a politician and i am fed up. through onollowing
giving it to the people who are the sources of frustration. -- alot of times people lot of times he says something and people jump on him because he is unclear or vague. and he talks like the people talk and that is a benefit. -- we hear in the news all of the time, right part. breitbart. the history of national review -- we used to have a lot of lengthy conversations with andrew. one night, he instant messaged me. he would send me a text message and say -- pick up your phone. son is named
william after william f oakley junior. andrew always had a love for national review. i bring him up because andrew, you wrote a piece about crises in the art. from everyhave money four your scum are told in the last second that they need to give a million dollars because these four counties in ohio are going to determine the election. why didn't we invest 20 million -- why didn't we invest 20 years institutionsng that would reflect and affirm that which is good with america. the point is that there is an overwhelming narrative that the can have ahe culture differing opinion. hd, molly you have written that jon stewart elected donald trump.
did it backfired at so point? -- did a backfire at some point? it is very interesting how we have had decades of people running roughshod through all of our institutions, the academy, our cultural institutions, and now everyone is surprised that we have donald trump as president. they are concerned how he does not speak clearly or speak truth. fors funny or sad that decades it seems like people on the left have questioned the notion of truth and reality and everything is relative and we are reaping what we have sown through decades of letting our educational institutions roger on the inside. from the inside.
i have a more positive take on hollywood or visual arts. in part, because i think they are tied to telling stories that are true and beautiful. it is such a great highest to have and it -- it is such a great bias to have and it benefits everyone. if you are going to tell a great story, it has to be based in truth and tell something beautiful. to the jon stewart point, when you look back, i do not know i amhe got his start, getting so old that i just do not remember. when he took over the daily show and it really got going and everyone on the left but also a moderate audience really loved it and thought it was great. approachdo that snarky to the news with a lot of sarcasm. as you watched it, you might
pick up that he was not being and he waser people taking clips out of context or manipulating interviews to make it seem like people were idiots. best, it really was a good engagement with contrary ideas. some of the best interviews -- there was one with cliff may when they talked about something to do with the war. it was a nice give and take. john you and he had a nice discussion about torture which changed my mind about what those torture memos were. there were other interviews when he ranted and raved and could not contain himself. the end result was this horribly edited thing that did not make any sense. became theehow this primary way that people were getting their news.
it other comics have taken and run with it and samantha bee is probably the best example of that. there is no difference between her approach and the worst of jon stewart in terms of manipulating information. breakingt reaches a point where people just cannot take it anymore. instead of engaging with ideas on the other side -- they say -- screw it, i am out of here. in general, there was this approach with our media and cultural elite that was so antagonistic towards conservative viewpoints or even common sense viewpoints that people just stopped listening. and i think jon stewart was a big reason for that. >> before i go on to andrew, you brought up samantha bee so i have to go there. you have written a lot about the craftiness of women comics but
also abortion. sketches oncomedic abortion are straight out of hell. they are horrifying to watch. and i think they are supposed to be funny. >> that is a big topic and i find it interesting and it says something to what i said about truth and beauty keeping culture from going off the deep end. there has been a massive push to make abortion comedies or abortion dramas. and they always turn out not just badly that horribly. sometimes christian filmmakers do a preachy message and the art suffers. a lot of these things are byerally written by poor --
pro-abortion groups and it shows. itorder for comedy to work has to be more honest in that it cannot be so partisan. schumer is the one in particular who has had struggles with making abortion comedy funny. but in general, it is a difficult thing to pull off unless you are truly engaging with the topicnd if that is so, it is really hard to keep your pro-abortion message. >> i so agree with what you are saying about the truth and the beautiful. these things tend to be good stories. now, iu, you do it more used to try to watch primetime tv and find the good and it would be amazing. some of these shows like shonda ofes -- she is on the board one was arenthood --
drama about a reproductive health clinic in but once in a while, you would get a pro-life message -- probably by accident but maybe because there was a writer in the room that was pro-life and conservative. i remember seeing andrew breitbart out in hollywood. and we would see the conservatives. i remember when it these very sunnis gatherings -- gary sinise gatherings. one of my colleagues asked to me who was hercules. and kevin is conservative and quoting in the corner. you ok around d you see all of these character actors and yomeet theamera guys and scriptwriters and everyone behind the scenes and there are so many conservatives out there. that will make a difference if you are in a room trying to tell
stories. first of all, i want to say that it is true that annoying celebrities can and alienate -- help getate people and people elected. narratives change over the course of decades and we are suffering from a serious narrative deficit. all good stories say something ise and beautiful and that helpful to conservatives and not to leftist. good leftist artists have learned to get around that i changing the premise of the argument and making up facts. if you have a picture like changed they simply to innocence.ion they have plans that light up at
night, they have dragons that fly. these are all things that need of populations do not have. we had them because we have oil. if you change the premise, you can say something that feels true and beautiful that is not in fact here. hollywood, there is still a tacit blacklist. the way it works is this. i have worked a lot in hollywood. you walk in and you're trying to sell a script and there are assumptions made in a room. there is a friendly conversation. you are trying to sell something. the odds are fantastically against you all of the time. i walked in during the romney-obama election. i spoke with a very famous
director who called me up about a script i had written a long time ago. he said he liked the script but wanted me to rewrite it. i walked in and within minutes of the meeting beginning, he said to me -- republicans do not really care about mitt romney. they just want the n-word out of the white house. and he did not say "n-word that puts me in a position to sit there and let him assume that i am a person that thinks like that or politely, as i did come across lake him and effectively ending any chance of a sale. that happens about 30% of the time. other quick story, a woman i know had a great tv idea. she called a famous show runner to pitch it and she said -- to a, i am on my way hillary fundraiser, you can pitch me on the way over. that atmospheric makes it. difficult -- that atmosphere
makes it very difficult to operate. it makes it that much rder. the good news is tt hollywood is fracturing a little bit. mainstream hollywood is no more a solid force then mainstream media is anymore but in that mainstream which is still very powerful, there is a powerful anti-conservative highest. bias.conservative >> people do not watch movies the way that they used to. many of us do not go out to movies anymore. -- tv whichemselves -- andnew narrative
other things that come out of hollywood that are more important. the thing that we lack is we lack the infrastructure that gives artists a safe place to speak. lena dunham made that show went to newf you york when that was made, you would say that everyone was watching "girls." on a good night, they had 600,000 euros. is zero.ally, that we do not -- and the same thing is true of jon stewart. he had under a million viewers but he was on the cover of time or newsweek. they know had to do this stuff so people seem much more important than they are and a show like bluebloods which has very conservative values gets no press. and the story about the minister with the seven children -- no
press but it was one of the most popular tv shows for years. they have an infrastructure that makes everything a lot louder than it actually is. >> but those shows are on the air so they are successful. you have people like patricia heaton and jim who are able to get a primetime show. people said that would not happen. are there exceptions? >> we simply do not have the infrastructure to play them up. there was a movie by the cohen brothers -- hail caesar. it was an amazing anti-communist statement, a pro-catholic and pro-jesus statement. it was an amazing movie that the critics loved because i don't think they understood it. this story about logan.
i do not know what the guy's politics are but it was like a religious movie. we lack the upper structure to encourage and reward conservative artists. artists work for love. anyone that says hollywood is about money has not worked in hollywood. >> but there is a lot of money there. people, artists, not producers -- they work to get rewards were invited to parties. that is the thing that we lack. the second thing is talking about rewriting the facts. hollywood and hbo are chief among these have been rewriting history for 40-50 years to you have kids that think jfk was killed by a conservative cabal
because they have only seen the oliver stone movie. we never do that. most of the great conservative films are either cartoons or costume dramas. you get the dark knight trilogy. toy story three. but we do not like the way we see history at all. >> what out there do you see that encourages you? who is trying to do something right? >> i am very encouraged -- we own the internet. culturally, we rock the internet. made a book in his basement called "reasons to vote for democrats." the book is blank. as number onecker on amazon for over a week. it made over $100,000. a blank book. [applau >> sounds like an expensive
notebook. emes ontrolling m twitter -- we are funny. it is a wonderful thing to behold. that is becoming the major place were culture lives. that is a wonderful thing. >> can you measure that in the same way that you can measure block us to release -- blockbuster movies? >> it is important. the other day a friend came over and brought a couple who live in the middle of nowhere. they were not culturally sophisticated. she was a homemaker and a mom. she says -- i feel bad because everyone on facebook says i am doing the wrong thing because i am a homemaker. were wrong.er they and she said -- i never thought about it. in those do not live
facebook spaces or youtube spaces, that is what you get. isple that do not know there another opinion out there. i'm really encouraged by the fact that we are funnier, cooler. they keep talking about resistance -- we are the resistance. even donald trump in his weird way is the resistance. and that makes us cool" online. >> and you get to a place that is so important. talking about hollywood and culture. in many ways, we have to rethink and redefine what culture is. coulter has not always been hollywood. it is great books and art and these other things that i think maybe conservatives have not focused souc on being out reached by hollywood. engagement.ly the i think we have this bipartisan
problem where we are looking for -- federal government looking for a savior in politics and not appreciating that you have all of this power. and in a weird way, donald trump is showing you how to use it. on twitter and all of the rest. and even listening to kellyanne conway today. as somet being handled politicians let themselves be handled and maybe that is a good thing also in the context of what we are talking about especially here, appreciating that there is a power that you do not know you have. by is a political journalist. he has a high view of gary hart that i do not share as a colorado native at the whole point is how journalism changed
at that time. 24-hour four hour news channel, technological advances that allowed news to spread more quickly. to thisle continue interest in the lives of created as that stifling political environment where politicians, instead of sitting down with reporters and freely talking about what they were thinking about, had to be packaged and managed. and the gary hart scenario where he gets a dusted for shenanigans on the monkey business only coirmed that for a lot of people. to not be open to talking to people. it is a wonderful change that you have this barrier coming down between people and politicians. and you are seeing more people do it than just the president. i think that trend will continue and it is a good thing. but i just wanted to make a
quick point about being optimistic. one thing that is very good is that people are being more critical about the media that they are receiving and that is a requirement for a functioning people. to think through the messages that they are receiving. but i am worried that our educational systems are so bad that people are not knowing how to think deeply about anything and they are passive receivers. too many people are just passive receivers of what they are getting from media, whatever they happen to get whether that is news media, hollywood or books. were writing in the context of that saturday night live hillary clinton's career. i can tell from the look on your face that this will get you started which was my intention. near the end of that piece, you wrote -- would -- wouldn't it be great that artists would understand that we are a large
nation. >> the weekend after hillary clinton lost -- i want to mention that on election night i was with a bunch of people who were not fans of either of the presidential candidates. i was not prepared for how happy those people were when hillary lost. saturday night live was extremely sad. , out andkate mckinnon not do comedy. leonard cohen had also died that week. played "hallelujah." you hear it on all of the tv shows.
she played that song. you keep waiting for the jokes to come. there is a line in that song about telling the truth which made a husband and i laugh. that she was playing it in honor of hillary clinton. and then we realized that no one in the audience was laughing. a deadly serious tribute to hillary clinton. at the end, she turns to the audience and says -- i am not giving up and neither should you. -- what happened to saturday night live. leonard cohen had once been at a festival show in u.k. -- late 1960's and it evolved into a riot and no one wanted to go on stage. but he went. and he speaks very quietly. story about when he was a kid, his parents took
into a circus and there was a favorite part he had. the ringmaster would ask everyone to turn on their like to or like to a notch and look at the audience and see each other in the dark. he gets these people to do this. because he is so quiet and telling a story, they all quiet down and stop throwing beer bottles and they look at each other and then he goes on to perform for an hour and a half. and i was thinking -- at this point when our country is so divided, wouldn't it be great if our artists -- it is such a to manipulateg leonard cohen and do this tribute wouldn't it be great if we look at each other and chose to come together. >> someday that might actually happen. i am a little hopeful. >> thank you for being hopeful.
>> donald trump has given the left and excuse to say -- we were fair before but now -- and that is a lie. the coverage of george w. bush trumpe coverage of donald is only louder. there is a little bit of a roomsg in some producer -- not the actors because they -- but be on one train some of the rooms where people produce things that maybe we should be talking to these people. racistust calling them -- this is one of the funny things. whenever i think of the side, ie on our frequently think of paul ryan. i am a big paul ryan fan. that makes me alone sometimes. applause]
when paul ryan introduced wanting to reform social security. and the third rail of politics. does what all republicans do which is point at charts. and the left makes a commercial of paul ryan pushing an old lady in the wheelchair. that is the difference between narrative and fact. this is inherent in our pop -- philosophies. truth.eve in the sometimes we think it is too much. believes thaty narrative is everything. that narrative establishes truth. there is no truth but who has the power to establish the narrative. what i see as hopeful is that donald trump is actually one of
them. he is actually an old democrat and he gets that. if we start to be able to tell stories like that, we may come back. there may be an opening for us even in mainstream hollywood. >> lindsay craig told me a story where there was a story of sam jones talking to real americans who voted for donald trump. there was a story about them hunting and putting the animal in the refrigerator. and he is saying -- wait, do you understand what you are doing? downhey say -- no, we are
and out right now. and that had never occurred to him. >> they always say hollywood is in a bubble. it is in an iron lung. hitlowest point hollywood was during the war on terror when they started to make movie after movie about how evil americans were and where we raped and merrick -- iraqi women and they all bombed. but they kept making them. variety ran an article that said -- americans are not interested in these words. -- in these wars. and then clint eastwood makes "american sniper." a wonderful movie. and it was a complex and interesting movie. but in it, the americans are the good guys and the bad guys are
the bad guys. and they ran an article saying -- maybe enough time has passed that now they are interested. you just wanted to slap them to say -- they are not interested in watching a bunch of barbarians portrayed as the good guys while our guys are in the field being shot by those barbarians. they just do not know. it may be partially malevolence but it is really ignorance and stupidity. >> and not knowing what you do not know and not appreciating that. think this is true on things like marriage, family, and now we have to have conversations about disney movies and transgender care is. are we -- and transgender characters. can we win this narrative? i i walked out here thinking
was really optimistic about things. areve two daughters who elementary school age and they are prime "beauty and the beast" age. ad then everything came out couple of weeks ago that the big exciting thing about this beauty and the beast is that it has a strong clinical message. one of the things is that one of the minor characters is flamboyantly gay. to beis is supposed exciting. it is so expensive going to movies anyway. it was the thing that changed our mind from taking our kids to see it, to not seeing it. it is always interesting how people market that is dangerous. there is an internal story about me arch -- about marriage that comes out. one recent example is a real life story and one that may or not -- may or may not be real.
jennifer garner and matt damon had a beautiful, hollywood marriage. >> ben affleck. >> sorry. i get them confused. there was a great joke that ricky to raise said -- he asked how did it feel? just this week it turns out that the husband has successfully completed rehab. they are not divorcing. which is not the same thing that the marriage is healed but watching a high profile couple go through marriage problems and still try to work it out -- for good or ill, we do look to celebrities on how we should live our lives and it is nice to see something like this. worship who many people
-- very talented but the love of her is something a little overkill. she put out a concept album called lemonade." it was about a husband cheating on a woman and then restoring their marriage. it was a huge flash sending a good message about working on marriage even when you face horrible problems. and there is something about that that people like. you see this in movies all of the time. people sometimes joke about it being called divorce poorn. has soual revolution completely overtaken this hollywood was an early indicator of that. and the message it sends is so bad and continues to be bad and
is promulgated sue -- through every medium. i do not know what to be done to stop it. unless it has gone so far, that you see a pendulum swing. >> i don't think conservatives have figured this out. the sexual landscape changed with birth control and will change again in fairly short that take births place out of people's bodies. what technology does is transforms physical imperatives into values. in other words, before you could say to a woman -- do not have sex before marriage because you will get pregnant and then you'll be stuck with this baby. and they have done everything they can to eliminate that so we are arguing from a position of values. it is still a good value. even with all of this technology. "logan" is movie
basically about that. about a world, and apocalyptic world, trying to restore and find the mythologies that will bring them back to christ. in the middle of the movie, there is a scene where the x man and the people he is trying to save stop in a home that is a christian family. a father, mother, and son. they pray over dinner. the one scene where all of the bloodshed stops. you see that this is the life that has been left behind. and the picture actually asks -- it is a very sophisticated movie. very violent with a lot of her's words but it is very -- with a lot of curse words but it is a sophisticated examination of how to keep these values alive where all of the rules have changed. i think conservatives pretend that the rules have not changed
and the values are the same. for a young person coming up can have sex as much as she wants and not get pregnant. there are other dangerous but we are selling values now where we used to have those physical imperatives to back us up and that is a different conversation we have to learn how to have. >> can you give a two second option -- explanation for what the benedict option is? a writer that has a book out called "the benedict option." how christians can exist in a hostile environment. practical tips on how to handle education and family formation. a big part of his point is some of what we were talking about before. there are a lot of people in this nation that have a lot more
power than they realize. how can you restore and renew by looking around you rather than looking for a politician to fix things. >> it is also about understanding how the culture does not share your values. a lot of conservatives have an idea that the united states is a conservative place. change, theyhings keep an understanding of what the culture is like but it is not true. if you understand where gore values to her from the predominant culture, it makes you better able to raise children in that environment and to hold back the negative effects of that culture. fan of maybe not the benedict option which includes a lot of withdrawal but that culture will become nich
culture. >> if you do believe culture is more important, the breitbart quote is good. you have to engage the culture in order to deal with it. i grew up in a very traditional family. they welcomed culture in our home and we would watch angst together and talk about it together. we would watch a movie together and we would say things like -- should they be doing that? is that a good drug? i hereby point -- i hear my voicerance -- my parents' when i watch movies with my family. appreciating that the culture is not just a movie that you brought into the home. it is supporting things locally.
ruliing it arde convsomeonnsid adin >> tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. winning, scott paul, president of the alliance for american manufacturing discusses how the trump administration's trade policy might affect american manufacturing. and then a mental health legal advocate talks about a proposal to allow employers greater access to employees medical and genetic information and penalties for employees that do not participate in wellness programs. and later, peter discusses his book, which examines homegrown terrorism in the u.s.
as always, we will take your calls, and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. "washington journal" is next. ♪ host: good morning. on capitol hill this week, the confirmation hearing for neil gorsuch to serve on the u.s. supreme court begins tomorrow morning before the senate judiciary committee. opening statements monday. questioning getting underway on tuesday. also tomorrow on the house side, james comey testifying before and intelligence committee with another round of questions on president trump's claim that president obama wiretapped his offices in new york. the house taking of the republican plan to repeal and replace the affordable care act.