Thursday, March 09, 2006

Conservatives Go to the Oscars

Conservative commentators love the Oscars because, for one week, their articles more or less write themselves. Basically they remind middle America how much they hate effeminate overpaid movie stars (particularly if said movie stars happen to be liberal). Take this bit from Jonah Goldberg's article on this year's Oscars.
Many of Hollywood's glitterati have staffers for every human need. Some of the biggest stars have personal aroma therapists. Mariah Carey employs someone whose only job is to hand her towels. Kim Basinger has a personal umbrella-holder charged with protecting her from the sun's aging rays. Sean Penn once made a staffer swim the icy and dangerous currents of the East River simply to get him a cigarette.
If a wealthy executive demanded the same kinds of privileges from their staff, well, Mr. Goldberg would be the first to laud our capitalist system and suggest such criticisms smacks of socialism. To note that some executives make six figure salaries, reap huge benefits, and have the goldest of parachutes while running their companies poorly, laying off workers, and so on, well, that's just not kosher. A mature understanding of capitalism leads one to the understanding that such an executive deserves such compensation because of what he or she brings to the table.

On the other hand when an actor stands in front of a camera for four or five months and collects the same salary, capitalism has apparently broken down.

The thing is I can point to an actor and explain why he gets paid that much. If George Clooney stars in a movie, well he's an accomplished actor with a certain amount of "star-power." A movie he is in will make this much domestically, this much in the foreign markets, and this much in the DVD format. So his cut seems somewhat realistic. And the reason a movie makes that much money is that we all are willing to plop down our money to go see him.

On the other hand a rich executive - well one of the lessons of the nineties is that the connection between the salary of the executive and the success of the company is a tenuous one at best.

But, I am neglecting the salient point, aren't I? Wealthy cinematic thespians tend to be liberal. Wealthy executives tend to be conservative. And that makes all the difference. Apparently.

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