Would right-wingers like a larger presence in mainstream news and entertainment media, or would they rather grumble about the MSM’s liberal bias while patronizing conservative media outlets? To American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, it’s clear that the second is correct.
Waldman’s peg for his Wednesday post was a National Review piece by editor and publisher Adam Bellow on the need for a conservative counterculture that would produce novels, movies, music, and so on. Apropos of Bellow’s comment that it’s too bad righties have “hived ourselves off into our own politicized media bubble,” Waldman snipes that conservatives want very much to stay inside said bubble, even though it leaves them prone to “all kinds of pathological beliefs and behaviors.”
From Waldman’s post (emphasis added):
Conservatives often complain that the machinery of entertainment and popular culture is controlled by liberals, which is basically true. So periodically, one of them tries to encourage the rest to get behind a project to produce a right-wing culture, to get conservative ideas into the collective consciousness…The latest of these pleas is an essay by publisher Adam Bellow in the National Review…While the essay is overwrought at many points and self-contradictory at others…Bellow makes some interesting points even as, I think, he shows why this is such an uphill climb for his ideological brethren.
…[P]erhaps because they try to produce culture less often…when conservatives [try] they usually fail, if not commercially than certainly artistically…
As I've noted before, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report work as well as they do because they're not shows written and performed by professional liberals who happen to be comedians, attempting to use humor to score political points; rather, they're shows written and performed by professional comedians who happen to be liberals, using politics to produce comedy. It's a really important distinction.
That doesn't mean that popular culture written for a political purpose can't have an impact; to see how it can, all you have to do is look at the endless legions of 19-year-old frat boys (many of whom later won seats in Congress) who had their own selfishness validated as a profound philosophy by Atlas Shrugged. But culture created to serve ideology is never going to become just the culture, because by serving a political cause it almost inevitably ghettoizes itself...
…Bellow concludes that this is conservatism's pop culture moment:
In short, the tide is turning. People are getting fed up with the humorless enforcers of the Left. This represents a golden opportunity for conservatives to reach people who otherwise couldn't be reached, and even to make some converts for a change instead of simply talking to ourselves, which is basically what we've been doing since we hived ourselves off into our own politicized media bubble.
The problem is that conservatives love their politicized media bubble. It's so nurturing and warm and supportive. Unfortunately, it also produces all kinds of pathological beliefs and behaviors, from the Benghazi obsession, to the insistence that climate change is a giant hoax, to the "unskewed" polls proving that Mitt Romney would trounce Barack Obama in 2012.
If Bellow can find a conservative writer who's also the next great American novelist, more power to him. But he'll start at a disadvantage, because artists are just more likely to be liberal. As a group, liberals tend to be more open to new experience and tolerant of ambiguity—traits that might lead one to be more creative—while conservatives tend to be more conscientious, but also more rigid. That's why artists of all types have always been more likely to be liberals—challenging tradition, exploring new ways of seeing—and always will be…