We can look back today and see that George W. Bush’s departure from Washington on 1/20/09 was when the oceans stopped rising, the Earth began healing and, for Hollywood, when an unprecedented era of right-wing oppression and stifling conservative ideological conformity ended.
It is hard to believe the oppression we endured under Bush from our vantage point here in this age of openness and transparency – are you as sick as I am of those endless health care reform negotiations that C-SPAN keeps broadcasting? Before 1/20/09, our artistic community huddled in collective terror at the specter of a midnight knock on the door should they dare to dissent from the Bush regime’s party line in public. Hollywood’s silence was deafening.
But with the dungeons of Guantanamo Bay finally closed, the threat of government repression of dissident voices has completely vanished, and the demonization of opposition voices is a thing of the past. Once again, we have a mainstream media that dares to break and run with news stories that speak truth to power, aided by a White House press office dedicated to providing straightforward, truthful answers to reporters.
Yet, who can forget how the rigid control exercised by the Bush clique led to a soul-deadening uniformity of right wing thought that pervaded every facet of the media? Who can forget how every television series promoted positive, wholesome religious values and behaviors? How every news station faithfully parroted the Republican Party’s positions? How artists were so intimidated that every reference to the President extolled his policies and personal characteristics, and how actors and musicians dared not utter even the most minor criticisms of President Bush on the air?
Thankfully, that’s all ended.
Finally, we can speak the truth, with films that depict American soldiers as the bloodthirsty psychos they are, instead of the unselfish defenders of freedom that movies about the War on Terror – I mean “Overseas Contingency Operations in Response to a Rarely-Mentioned Man-Caused Disaster” – always made them out to be during the Bush years.
Finally, crime dramas can name the real villains who commit the vast majority of crimes in the United States – corporate businessmen, evangelical ministers and Americans trying to defend their country.
Finally, Hollywood celebrities can speak out publicly on behalf of left-wing causes instead of hewing to the conservative line to avoid the well-known anti-liberal blacklist maintained by the right-wing power brokers of Tinsel Town.
Thankfully, the entertainment community can once again assert its independence and fearlessly comment upon our society without worrying about whose toes are stomped upon in the process.
No more will celebrities be forced to humiliate themselves by publicly declaring their obedience and desire to serve the President.
No more will comics fear to make even the most innocuous joke about the Chief Executive.
No more will artists take their marching orders from White House flunkies and surrender their integrity by offering up their art in the service of a politician’s agenda.
Yes, everything certainly changed on 1/20/09.