During last night’s Emmys there were several jokes about the fact that while the award show took place on network TV, most of the nominations were for cable and Netflix shows. Also, this year marked a record number of nominations for Netflix. Mediocre host Seth Meyers joked that now the cable channels were getting a taste of their own medicine after several years of getting more nominations than network shows.
This gives me hope. The lesson for conservatives is that the public is totally receptive to entertainment from new mediums or sources. The trick is combining willingness to engage in a new medium and credibility in that medium. Unfortunately, Blaze TV and Palin channels might be totally lucrative, informative and entertaining to us, but they aren’t doing much to gain converts. We have to do more to focus on good writing, good acting and thoughtful storytelling, not just a commercial for our political beliefs that hit people over the head. It should be a courtship, not a regretful one-night stand.
Too often we conservatives dismiss pop culture and entertainment from Hollywood because it’s run by liberals, while ignoring that it is a valuable tool for reaching non-political people. It’s time to put the snark aside and talk to these non-political people. The other key is to tell our message in a non-confrontational, entertaining way. Last night’s sweep by “Breaking Bad” in the major categories proved that even in liberal Hollywood, good and entertaining writing and acting trumps politics. Also, there are always lessons to be taught.
Last year Ann Coulter wrote a brilliant column titled “Breaking Bad: A Christian Parable.” She wrote:
This one’s about AMC’s smash TV series “Breaking Bad” — the most Christian Hollywood production since Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” (Not surprisingly, both were big hits!)
It may seem counterintuitive that a TV show about a meth cook could have a conservative theme, much less a Christian one, but that’s because people think Christian movies are supposed to have camels — or a “Little House on the Prairie” cast. READ THE BIBLE! It’s chockablock with gore, incest, jealousy, murder, love and hate.
Because the Bible tells the truth, the lessons are eternal — which also marks the difference between great literature and passing amusements. Recall that even Jesus usually made his points with stories.
Someone expresses sadness that Robin Williams died? Rather than dismiss Williams as just another liberal (which he may have been), say that you liked that he continued to perform for the troops and USO despite others in Hollywood being disrespectful to them and their mission.
Someone asks if you’ve ever seen Girls/Scandal/Mad Men/etc. or what you thought about this week’s episode? Rather than talk about all the trash on TV and boast that you only watch Fox News and the History channel, say that you’ve noticed that despite the writers’ intended purpose, the characters make morally bad decisions and are never happy.
Someone talks about movies like Hunger Games, Divergent, or The Giver? Rather than dismiss movies and remark that nothing good has come out since [Your favorite movie], use it as an opportunity to talk about the centralized, all-powerful government and loss of freedom.
Fellow freedom-lovers, I know it’s tough out there. Maybe you just want to get through life with as little interaction as possible with people who disagree with us, call us horrible names and put down our values. But I want to change hearts and minds. That’s why I wrote a book in the genre (chick lit) that I thought would give me the best chance of reaching young women who, like me, have made all the wrong choices when it came to religion and relationships. I put myself out there despite criticism from liberals and conservatives because I knew in my heart there were a ton of women out there who could identify with my story. With any luck, I’ll bring the story to the big screen, too.
Like it or not, to those who know our political beliefs, we are billboards for conservatism. When we dismiss the things they enjoy, we’re not just judgmental, conservatives are judgmental. When we engage with them, ask their opinions and add our own thoughtful opinions, it opens their eyes and they get a different view of conservatives than the one presented to them by the mainstream media. Who knows, maybe they’ll start questioning the other narratives the media puts forth, too.