Hollywood knows all too well the power it wields in the culture war.
This week, Angus T. Jones, who plays teenager Jake on the hit sitcom Two and a Half Men, told the truth about the show on which he is featured: it harms American culture. Jones, who has become a believing Christian, cut a video for Forerunner Christian Church in which he stated, “If you watch Two and a Half Men, please stop watching Two and a Half Men. I’m on Two and a Half Men, and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it, and filling your head with filth.” Jones made the point that television has a marked impact on how people think, feel, and shape their own values. “Do some research on the effects of television and your brain,” he urged, “and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television.”
The blowback has been immediate from the left. It’s one thing for Charlie Sheen to go completely insane, hook up with two willing ladies, and then do a drunken tour on which he repeats the word “winning” ad infinitum. It’s quite another for a young man to express the Christian view of much of the trash on television.
So instead of focusing on Jones’ message – an eminently true one – the left is calling him crazy. E! Online ran a piece today suggesting that Jones’ church membership actually made him a cult member:
A source close to the situation tells E! News that both Jones' mom, Carey, and those who work with him on his CBS sitcom want to make sure the 19-year-old actor hasn't been "brainwashed" by his new church …
There’s no question that the head of the church to which Jones belongs has some fringe views. Christopher Hudson, that church leader, has expressed the belief that Jay-Z’s albums are a Satanic plot -- which may be acceptable as an artistic critique, but less so as a political point of view. He has also stated that New York City’s gas crisis in the wake of Hurricane Sandy could lead to cannibalism.
This is kooky stuff. But Jones’ perspective about the television show in which he stars is far from kooky. Two and a Half Men routinely pushes promiscuity – Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher both play serial womanizers who are too cool for school – and that has an impact on the culture.
Even Vice President Joe Biden has acknowledged that television has a marked impact on values; he cited Will & Grace and Ellen Degeneres as two of the leading forces in making homosexuality acceptable to the American people. But while the left celebrates one of its own who says that television drives America’s values, it can’t stand when a non-liberal does it. So they’ve determined to discredit Jones’ view by discrediting Jones himself. Aside from centering their fire on Christopher Hudson, the media has decided that Jones shouldn’t be heard because he’s a hypocrite for taking Two and a Half Men money. ABC News, in its usual “objective” fashion, reported on Jones’ statement that the show is “bad news” and a “deceptive enemy” by writing: “That ‘enemy’ has made him rich. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the 19-year-old actor earns about $350,000 per episode, and received a raise along with co-stars Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher when the show was renewed for a tenth season in May. ‘Two and a Half Men’ tapes about 20 episodes per season and has been on for 10 seasons.”
But, of course, many people in Hollywood don’t live up to their own standards. ABC News never criticizes Al Gore for riding around in a private jet, or Michael Moore for doing the same. ABC News never checks into the charitable giving of those who espouse higher taxes. When it comes to an actor expressing a conservative point of view, though, the actor must be chastised for hypocrisy. The hypocrisy argument is always a weak ad hominem; people can stand for certain values and struggle to act in accordance with them. But for the left, it’s a disqualifier. The good news for the left is that there are no standards on the left, so there are no hypocrites.
As to Jones’ main thrust, he’s eminently correct. In Hollywood, Two and a Half Men is actually considered a conservative show – Gawker.com labeled it one of the most conservative shows on television because it doesn’t have a regular openly gay character. But Two and a Half Men centers on sex, and the lack of consequences for irresponsible sex. Chuck Lorre, the creator, is a massive leftist pushing leftist social values – he says that in college, he “majored in rock & roll and minored in LSD,” and now he complains that the networks don’t do enough to “talk about human sexuality.” At the end of every episode of The Big Bang Theory, which he also produces, he places a text-heavy placard, very often political. Lorre knows that his shows have impact. And he likes it that way.
Hollywood knows it too, which is why they’ll try to ensure that Jones never works in town again. They might succeed. But if Jones has made even a few Americans aware of the political messages emanating from their televisions, he’ll have done some good.
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