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Book Review: Hollywood Hypocrites

Jason Mattera’s marvelous new compendium of celebrity arrogance, Hollywood Hypocrites: The Devastating Truth About Obama’s Biggest Backers, is guaranteed to make your blood boil… but it’s also guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.  This is partly due to Mattera’s impudent writing style, as he uses the lazy vernacular of youth culture to mock the people who “bank fat coin” producing it.  But mostly it’s because today’s celebrities are very silly people.

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at the spectacle of class-war millionaire rock star Jon Bon Jovi dodging taxes on his huge estate by pretending to be a bee farmer, or the image of Mattera’s suggested awareness-raising remedy of young conservatives showing up at his concerts dressed like giant bees.  You probably don’t know how weird Arianna Huffington really is, and you’re bound to laugh when you find out.  If you’re the right age to remember the glory days of rocker-activist Bono, you’ll be in stitches when you learn that he runs his vast financial empire as a ruthless capitalist straight out of Ayn Rand, using Holland as his Galt’s Gulch, because the very friendly corporate tax structure of his native Ireland isn’t quite good enough for him.

The chapter on Bono beautifully captures the underlying theme of Hollywood Hypocrites: these people aren’t just arrogant, they’re dangerous.  Bono’s pleading for African welfare and debt forgiveness has made Africa much worse, because it props it up warlords and corruptocrats, who steal much of the money to finance their repressive armies and lavish lifestyles.  (Remember the Nicholas Cage movie Lord of War, about a notorious arms dealer selling guns to Third World dictators?  If Hollywood wasn’t besotted with leftist ideology, they could make an even more interesting movie about the people who sell luxury cars and other six-figure goods to the maximum leaders of starving African nations, their wallets stuffed with money poached from international welfare.)

In a similar vein, the celebrity infatuation with leftist politics is a big factor in preventing those pinned at the bottom of struggling Western economies from embracing the free-market capitalism and limited government that would give them a chance at a better life.  Hollywood hypocrisy hides some of the most remarkable examples of business success, hypnotizing the masses into forgetting that the people lecturing them on “income inequality” have hundreds of millions of dollars salted away in the bank.  The Evil Rich become shadowy, faceless, unappealing figures, quite unlike the glamorous entertainers instructing us to hate them.

These “money grubbing anti-materialists,” as Mattera labels them, also use their star power to hide some grim examples of crony capitalism run amok.  Hollywood studios really are the kind of corrupt tax-cheating lobbyist robber barons they love to portray all other businesses as.  No one is less interested in “paying his fair share” than a blue-collar poseur like Bruce Springsteen.  Mattera’s book will dispel a number of very old glamours shrouding our celebrity vampires.

The chapter on high-living celebrity hypocrites, “Private Jets Against Global Warming,” brings home another major theme of Mattera’s work: the presumption, common to all leftist ideologies, that the ruling class does not have to live by the rules they would impose on the rest of us. 

You need to reduce your carbon footprint, little peon.  You really ought to give up your carbon-spewing automobile, and arrange your life around mass transportation.  You’ll hear that lecture from rock star Sting… who flew on a private jet, followed by a massive mechanized entourage, to deliver it.  Confronted by this hypocrisy, Sting is surprised and annoyed that anyone would dare to question him.  The people trying to save the Earth don’t have time to fiddle with the “sustainable” junk they would impose upon the rest of us!  And besides, the Earth can handle a few limousines and private jets – just enough to please the really important people.  The same foul stench of hypocrisy emanates from celebrities with heavily-armed private guards who hammer the little people with gun-control lectures.

It’s remarkable how so many people are willing to swallow this attitude from a self-appointed aristocracy that really should have been laughed off the stage decades ago.  One of the indispensible core requirements for a liberal is the willingness to believe your leaders are higher beings, who deserve the rewards of power.  Liberals are hopelessly in love with the fantasy of the enlightened strongman, dominating the foolish masses for their own good, and looking fabulous while he does it.

Some on the Hollywood Left know perfectly well where this kind of thinking ultimately leads, and it doesn’t bother them one little bit.  “Straight down the line, if there is a dictator, communist, America-hater, or rogue enemy of the United States, Oliver Stone will find him and hug him tight,” writes Mattera.  “In this Hollywood radical’s worldview, only capitalists who create jobs for people and presidents who fight to protect innocents are evil.”

Also troubling is the modern American Left’s courting of people who espouse criminal and political violence.  You’ll get a bellyful of it during Mattera’s chapter on liberal rappers, invited into the very walls of the White House by Barack Obama despite songs glorifying violence and the abuse of women… and criminal records to prove they sing from experience.  Your stomach will churn when you find out what Obama keeps on his iPod.  One wonders if his playlist full of thug rappers is resting in his pocket when he delivers one of his lectures about civility, or rails against the menace of schoolyard bullies.

The Left is a mountain of hypocrisy, and Jason Mattera’s extensively-researched book takes you to its snow-covered peaks… where you’ll enjoy sermons on gun control from the heavily armed, learn about tolerance from hatemongers, be hectored on your unsustainable lifestyle by people with a hundred times your “carbon footprint,” and find yourself castigated for greed by singers with half a billion dollars in the bank.  In a culture infatuated by celebrity, these people have far too much political influence.  Ignoring them is a dangerous mistake.

Mattera suggests you respond by going on offense, and “humiliating Hollywood progressives into silence.”  In other words, speak up and talk back.  These people are vain, greedy, and materialistic, the exact opposite of the deep-thinking compassionate public images they have crafted.  They “clam up and fade from sight” when they think their endorsements are hurting favored candidates.  They clam up even faster when they become toxic at the box office.  Read Hollywood Hypocrites, and you’ll know exactly what to shout back, the next time your favorite rock star interrupts his performance to favor you with a political lecture.

Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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