America’s Royalty

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).


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The day after the Golden Globes, I got together with a friend for breakfast at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles.  The Four Seasons has long been known as a celebrity hangout – it’s a super-posh hotel smack in the middle of the city – and so it wasn’t all that surprising to see Hollywood celebrities milling around.  One of those celebrities was Harvey Weinstein, the man whose company stands behind such art-house hits and commercial mediocrities as The Iron Lady, My Week With Marilyn, The Artist, and W.E.  This is the man Madonna called “The Punisher” and Meryl Streep called “God,” large pockmarked bullies with enormous pocketbooks passing for deities in Tinseltown.

Weinstein is also widely known as one of the biggest jerks in Hollywood.  The word “jerk” is a dramatic understatement here, but the more accurate terms don’t belong on a family website.  He once put New York Observer editor Andrew Goldman in a headlock and dragged him out into the street after Goldman had the temerity to defend another reporter who asked Weinstein tough questions.  He has reportedly threatened and assaulted other writers and directors.  Hollywoodites have accused Weinstein of cooking the books.

So it was no surprise that when my friend at breakfast had the temerity to say “Congratulations!” to Weinstein on his Golden Globes victories, he glared at my friend as though he’d thrown up on his $1,000 shoes before muttering “Thanks” without enthusiasm.

Which leads to a bigger question: who the hell do these people think they are?

Hollywood doesn’t seem able to understand why the bulk of Americans both adore them and think they’re the scum of the earth.  Both answers were in evidence at the Golden Globes this week.

First, why we adore them.  We adore Hollywood because it entertains us.  It’s that simple.  The people there may act like royalty but they’re glorified court jesters, dancing to our amusement at $10 a pop.  They make us laugh, make us cry, and tell us stories.  What’s not to like?

Well, what’s not to like is who they actually are (here we speak mostly of actors, who have the most unearned self-esteem).  They make lots of money and dress beautifully, which is all fine and dandy (although it must be pointed out that making millions to cry on film is not exactly the same as making millions to perform heart surgery).  The real problem, though, is that so many Hollywoodites treat others badly; they act as though we’re interested in them not because of what they do on screen, but because of their sheer intellectual brilliance; and, more perversely, they act as though they’re men and women of the people—the 99%– when they scorn the people with the unbridled contemptuousness of the true elitists who define what the 1%  is.

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  • oldtimer

    This kind of example is why there are so many bullies in the schools and innocent children are hurt or worse.

  • The Infidel

    This makes me glad I have never actualy watched any of those show's. Makes me glad I rarely go to the movies, I wait until they come out on dvd and then only when they hit the $1 for a week at the video store, or wait till they come on free to air tv. Give me a good book any day.

  • Rifleman

    When someone puts you in a headlock, both their hands are occupied, both yours are free, and everything from their knee to their head is in range.

  • Jennifer

    Reminds me of another supposed royal, John Kerry. Saw him sneeringly dismiss the overture of a massachusettsmstate park worker who had proudly offered to show him a new asset in the park. Reprehensible conduct, the complete opposite of George bush and bill Clinton. A royal jerk, he is.

  • tagalog

    Well, it's true that the greatness of art is not determined by its popularity, but it's equally true that the prominent artists of our time don't necessarily have the inside track on what great art is, either.

    Who remembers that celebrated film that made the rounds of the art theaters for two or three years, Elvira Madigan? They don't even show it on TV. How about the much-raved-over Johnny Got His Gun? Seen that one in the art house film festivals or on American Movie Classics recently? Lindsay Anderson's If…? Or his more celebrated This Sporting Life?

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    I was eating breakfast at my kitchen counter before work and I laughed at this. Can’t we reform Hollywood so Ben Shapiro can eat at the Four Seasons without his yammering rants about Sesame Street being interrupted?

    • Tanstaafl

      Still waiting for that apology, Flippy.

      If you have forgotten, I can remind you. On another topic, you insulted a fellow poster by by saying that "Aspergers must be tough for you."

      My son has Aspergers Syndrome.

      Again, I await your apology.

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        I don’t need to apologize for that. Some people genuinely have autism. That does not preclude telling someone they are acting autistic when they are unable to process nonroutine input. So your son has Aspergers Syndrome. Then it is appropriate for him to exhibit symptoms. It is not appropriate for FPM writers to exhibit those symptoms in their arguments or writing. The two issues are entirely separate.

  • Questions

    Ben Shapiro is conservatism's Little Ritchie Rich. Calling him a film critic is like calling a kid building a backyard tree house an "architect." His terming of "My Week with Marilyn," "The Iron Lady" and "The Artist" as mediocrities takes a special brand of chutzpah. Good for Harvey Weinstein.

    • UCSPanther

      Hollywood shill, anyone?

      • Questions

        No, actually. Just a filmgoer. In other words, someone who knows at least a few things about film.

  • Martel64

    The Fool's Gold-en Globes….

  • UCSPanther

    Hollywood is facing an increasingly well-deserved irrelevance in these times.

    The trash movies, the dim-witted, talentless celebrities who are famous just because they banged the right people (Think Kim Kardashian), the poor jokes, the "holier-than-thou" attitude of other celebrities who think they know what's best for the common man, the trash "Reality shows", everything all show how isolated that section is from the real world.

    • Questions

      Kim Kardashian doesn't do movies. She does herself. And she couldn't hold a candle to a real actress like Michelle Williams, Nicole Kidman or Reese Witherspoon. Maybe you can see a few movies instead of ragging on people more talented than you.

      • UCSPanther

        Whatever. The fact that you are willing to defend hollywood suggests that you are either a shill or a fanboy.

        • Amused

          and you're a shiiithead Panther .

  • Amused

    What a bunch of morons . And the pied piper[ Shapiro ] leads [throws redmeat to pavlovian dogs....,again . Now I know why these guys , these psuedo-"journalists " get so much play on this blog ..lol....you folks were made for people like Shapiro. Bitter , jealous ,contemptuous and vindictive [did I leave out STUPID? ]
    These that you attach so much importance to , these whom you put the blame of all things wrong in the country on , these are JUST ACTORS , ENTERTAINERS , do they really mean that much more to you barking dogs ? It seems they do .
    One fool here proudly proclaims – " I dont go to the movies …I wait till it comes out on DVD ! DUH !!
    Get a life ! You've got way too much time on your hands .Hollywood hasn't changed since the days of the silent movies . They are just actors people , and guess what , they have opinions just like you , SO WHAT !
    Enough of this phony , sanctimonious ,self-righteous B.S. They make movies and tv shows , and you all watch them , you pay the media's expenses by buying the products they advertise . You buy the rags that expose their scandals . You are in effect kicking yourselves in the assss.

  • Amused

    PSSSSssssssst ! Shapiro !!! HOLLYWOOD AIN'T THE PROBLEM !

  • Ann

    in the end, it's your fault –because you go to the movies and give them your money!!! you think they are cool —haven't been to a movie in years and never,never watch TV — turn it off and stop treating them like they are cool!!! get out and get a life, forget make believe — live!!!

  • Carl

    I realized what a fool Weinstein was when during an interview he praised Obama as one would their God, calling him at one point an "intellectual." Which goes to show you what passes as intellectual in Hollyweird. I didn't know he was a jerk to boot.

    What I don't get is why you expected Ricky Gervais to brutalize his own on national television. he's as much Hollywood as Weinstein these days. Sure he's got no problem brutally mocking Christians but his own kind, that's another story.

    "Acting is the most minor of gifts. After all, Shirley Temple could do it when she was four."–Hepburn

  • vlparker

    So why do you waste time going to watch these jerks? I haven't been to a movie in over three decades and I don't waste my time watching the idiot box.

    • Questions

      Would you like an Oscar for irrelevancy?

  • NotaBene

    Amazing how much grandiosity an irrelevant internet yacker can fit into an article about grandiose people being irrelevant.