During this month's Golden Globes ceremony in posh Beverly Hills, Calif. celebrities preached diversity and tolerance, some of them subtly or not-so-subtly denouncing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. Hollywood has traditionally been an important force for America around the world, a "soft power" export of U.S.culture, influencing hearts, minds and values. That role has eroded over time. What exactly happened to Hollywood?
During the Cold War era, films such as "Top Gun," "Flashdance" and "Rocky" promoted the ideals of hard work and triumph over adversity. After seeing "Rocky" as a child, I went to sleep with extra motivation to get up at 4 a.m. the next morning for competitive swimming practice. I wore legwarmers to school like Jennifer Beals' ambitious character in "Flashdance" as an inspiration to stay focused on my goals. After seeing the fighter pilots of "Top Gun," I was inspired to pursue a scientific education that would leave open the door to perhaps becoming a pilot myself one day.
The fact that the inspirational characters played by actors such as Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone were men didn't obstruct the dreams that Hollywood inspired in women during that era. I didn't get to the end of a "Rocky" film and think, "Wow, that's inspiring. Too bad Rocky is a man and I'm a woman, so I guess none of this applies to me."
Hollywood appealed to universal human values, regardless of race, gender or origin. That's why it became arguably the most successful soft power export in the history of the world.
But then two unfortunate things changed the nature of Hollywood.
On the domestic front, Hollywood became self-conscious of its role as an influential force and transformed into a vehicle for the leftist values that increasingly dominated the American political landscape. After the Cold War, there was no opponent left to fight, so Hollywood drew battle lines within Western culture itself. It became a pawn for leftist social engineering. The universal values that were agnostic of gender and race were replaced by the promotion of diversity in its most superficial forms.
Stars aligned themselves with the Democratic Party, which championed these social divisions. We saw this in the recent presidential election, as scores of celebrities threw their support behind Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Meryl Streep, who received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in film at this year's Golden Globes, jetted from outgoing President Barack Obama's final White House party to the Globes ceremony, during which she slammed Mr. Trump and celebrated diversity in her acceptance speech.
Internationally, Hollywood went from being a leader in shaping global values to being a useful tool of the very worst of what globalization represents: the collusion of establishment elites at the expense of the average citizen's interests. (The entertainment industry is rife with tax breaks that the average person can only dream of, for example.) Whether making videos slamming Mr. Trump on behalf of establishment candidates like Hillary Clinton or fronting for globalist conventions like the World Economic Forum in Davos, celebrities have aligned against the interests of their audience, who find it increasingly difficult to accept all of the preaching.
And while many people believe that globalization has been a detriment to their interests, Hollywood has benefited from it, with big studios striking co-production and financing deals with European, Chinese, Persian Gulf and other state- controlled interests, many of which impose content and location requirements. When you watch a Hollywood movie in the Western world these days, there's a good chance it's not geared toward you, but rather toward an overseas audience expected to account for a majority of the gross earnings. Tracking some of the Hollywood films that recently put me to sleep in the theater, I noticed that at least half (and sometimes upwards of two-thirds) of the box office grosses typically come from overseas markets.
Hollywood has the right to seek out the best deals that it can so it can continue to pay its stars the multimillion-dollar fees that they command. But the film honchos shouldn't be surprised when they turn off the general public by making movies that prioritize a hidden agenda or promote the globalist establishment's superficial one-world values, which have been culturally and economically detrimental to large swaths of the intended audience. Actors shouldn't expect widespread support when they denounce the democratically chosen president-elect as some kind of tyrant even though he intends to fight for the average citizen's interests.
"Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if you kick them all out, you'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts," Ms. Streep said in her acceptance speech.
Streep misses the point. Hollywood's dwindling appeal has nothing to do with the presence of "outsiders and foreigners." It has everything to do with the promotion of establishment and globalist values.
Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and former Fox News host based in Paris. Her website can be found at www.rachelmarsden.com.