Nolte: Today’s Hollywood Would’ve Blacklisted and Canceled Norman Lear

Norman Lear
Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Watching Hollywood leftists embrace Norman Lear as one of their own is as Orwellian as it gets.

In his prime, Lear, who died at age 101 on Tuesday, stood for everything modern-day Hollywood seeks to destroy: free speech, humanism, laughing at ourselves, the melting pot, the glories of cultural appropriation, unity, and racial harmony.

If Lear premiered one of his classic sitcoms today, these very same Hollywood hypocrites would demand his white, straight male head on a pigpole.

Well, I never! How dare Norman Lear portray a white bigot as sympathetic! (Archie Bunker)

Well, I never! How dare a white Norman Lear portray a black man as a bigot! (George Jefferson)

Well, I never! How dare a white male focus on women’s issues! (Maude)

Well, I never! How dare a rich, white male depict black life and poverty! (Sanford and Son, Good Times)

For a glorious decade-plus that began in 1971 with the groundbreaking premiere of All in the Family, Norman Lear was our greatest American. Why? Because he brought us together through laughter. Lear committed what modern Democrats now consider a mortal sin — he focused on what people of every race, background, and income level have in common: our flaws and our humanity. He ridiculed the easily offended, made them uncool, and freed us from being slaves to over-sensitivity by thickening our skin.

Norman Lear (Tim Rue/Corbis via Getty Images)

Sure, he focused on hot-button issues, but Maude (the great Bea Arthur) didn’t shout about her abortion; she agonized over it.

Sure, Archie Bunker (Caroll O’Conner) was racist, but he was also a human being — a proud, hardworking provider grappling with a rush of social change that left him feeling alienated.

Sure, Archie’s son-in-law, Mike Stivic (Rob Reiner), was progressive, broad-minded, and a fundamentally decent man, but he was also smug, strident, off-putting, a free-loader, and a frequent hypocrite.

George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) was a lovable bigot and sexist.

Fred Sanford (the mighty Redd Foxx) was a lovable bigot, homophobe, antisemite, conspiracy theorist, and “sex pest.”

I own every one of those sitcoms on DVD and have watched them repeatedly. An added delight in this Age of the Woke Gestapo is imagining all the Well-I-Nevering that would come from the very same people writing and xweeting their hypocritical Norman Lear tributes.

The Norman Lear of 1971 would be branded a racist, sexist, homophobe, and a “problematic” “cultural appropriator” stealing “spaces” from women and “people of color.” If the Norman Lear of 1971 wanted to survive modern Hollywood’s McCarthyism, he would have to censor everything he believed in, stop being funny, stop being a humanist, and stop calling for racial unity.

What Lear understood in 1971 is the same thing all the greats of that era — Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, Don Rickles, George Carlin, Blake Edwards, Redd Foxx — understood: that nothing brings people together more effectively than laughing out loud at our collective and shared foibles, flaws, and prejudices.

Lear also committed the most grievous of sins…He diminished the power of hate and bigotry through ridicule. Today, in order to keep us divided, Hollywood and Democrats deliberately empower bigotry, words, hate, and the narcissism of being offended.

For example, Mel Brooks brilliantly castrated neo-Nazis through ridicule. He almost single-handedly made Nazis a punchline and, therefore, uncool. Lear did the same with bigotry.


Modern Hollywood will not allow that, for if we collectively point and laugh at Nazis and bigots and words, that removes their power and unifies us. To distract from the fact their ideas and policies are so awful they have destroyed their own cities, Democrats have re-empowered bigots, words, and symbols because they need to distract from their punishing failures with a manufactured enemy.

Call it the George Floyd Rule. America was ready to come together in collective outrage over the death of George Floyd. But the very idea terrified the organized left (media, academia, Democrat Party, Hollywood), so the goalposts were moved. It was no longer enough to demand justice for George Floyd. Unless you championed riots, looting, arson, and dropping to your knees to apologize for something you never did, you were still a racist.

Don’t you get it? Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. If 1971’s Norman Lear had been transported to 2023, he would’ve been annihilated by the very same Hollywood McCarthyites paying tribute to him today.

Every parent should raise their kids on Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, All in the Family, and Good Times. 

Get a FREE FREE FREE autographed bookplate if you purchase John Nolte’s debut novel, Borrowed Time (Bombardier Books) in December. After your purchase, email JJMNOLTE at HOTMAIL dot COM with your address and any personalization requests. 

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