Opinion: Who lost the culture war? The side that didn’t fight

In this Nov. 23, 2011 file photo, producer Harvey Weinstein appears during an interview in New York. Weinstein faces multiple allegations of sexual abuse and harassment from some of the biggest names in Hollywood. (AP Photo / John Carucci, File)

The news about film executive Harvey Weinstein, accused by numerous women of sexual harassment and even assault, is being portrayed in part as a political story. There are a couple of obvious reasons for this. One is he’s a prolific donor and fund-raiser for Democratic candidates and causes, and there’s always a certain amount of “gotcha” by the other side when such a person falls from grace. (The Democratic National Committee’s brazenly self-interested move to part with but a fraction of what Weinstein gave it, with even that going to organizations that try to elect Democrats, won’t help the party turn the page.)

Another reason is denizens of Hollywood have long been vocal and self-righteous about their political beliefs, but perhaps never more so than today, from their disdain for Donald Trump to their views on guns, Planned Parenthood and more. It’s hard to hold one’s community up as having “the best moral compass” — as Weinstein himself did in 2009, while arguing on behalf of convicted child rapist Roman Polanski — and then concede Weinstein’s history of sexual assault and harassment was a poorly kept secret within the industry.

But the best reason to consider this a political story is the adage from the late right-wing provocateur, Andrew Breitbart, that politics is downstream from culture.

One cannot bemoan our lousy politics without recognizing the rottenness of the culture which enables it, and the moral bankruptcy of those like Weinstein (and his protectors) who have done so much to shape our culture. Our coarse, violent, libertine culture.

It is such a culture that elects as representatives some of the creepiest crawlers from our local bogs, decries their new habitat as a swamp, and then sends the biggest bull gator of them all to “drain” it.

It is no coincidence Trump, the man so many Hollywood types detest, came from the same world as Weinstein. Remember: When is it, according to Trump, that women “let you … do anything,” even “grab them by the” — well, you know?

“When you’re a star.”

Why does Hollywood hate Trump so much? Maybe it’s in part because, like Weinstein, he reveals it as every bit as hypocritical as the political world he now inhabits.

Here, you might expect me to blame liberalism for today’s culture. That’s too easy. Less self-evident is that conservatives have largely abandoned this space to the left.

We haven’t lost the culture war so much as failed to engage. Oh, we fight about abortion, the line between church and state, and so on, but that’s not what I mean. Those fights are best understood as desperate attempts to stave off the terms of a defeat already suffered, to regulate a culture we failed to shape.

How have we failed? By taking an approach at turns neglectful, incompetent and ham-handed. We too often ignore the shaping of culture — in essence, story-telling. When we stop neglecting it, we tend to do it badly. Then we warn people not to consume what little we have to offer, labeling it as overtly as possible as a “conservative” or, sometimes, “Christian” film, book, etc.

Half of the market won’t give it a look because they know it’s essentially propaganda. Half of the rest will turn away because they know it’s going to be bad; see the point about incompetence. All it does for everyone else is reinforce their isolation. (One might say much the same about news media, the main cultural arena in which conservatives have actually tried to fight it out in the marketplace.)

When conservatives despair of how to turn the tide in a culture that feels hostile toward them, one important answer is to engage in that struggle to shape the culture. It is a struggle over the very soul of this nation. And as Harvey Weinstein reminds us, it is a struggle in which the other side doesn’t own the moral high ground.

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178 comments
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panacifuga

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4xtra
4xtra

Just reading the comments on here, I get the impression that LIBERAL is the new "N" word

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

The Democrats crying about people losing their healthcare would be laughable if it were not so tragic. People have already lost their healthcare because they're holding policies that aren't worth the paper those policies are written on because they can't afford to use them or to pay the premiums. This is only getting worse and at least Trump is taking steps to correct it. If his efforts can't help fix the problem it will be congress which includes Democrats that have failed.

MarkVV
MarkVV

By Trump's phone and pen he sabotages Obamacare to prove hat it is not working. And his supporters cheer that people will lose their healthcare.

Aileen.
Aileen.

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SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Obama's false accomplishments are being obliterated by Trump's phone and pen doing what the congress lacked the balls to do.

bu22
bu22

@SGTGrit  Extralegal payments to insurance companies and legal fees defending it:  No more.  Extralegal treaty bypassing Senate:  No more.  Hopefully, the abuse of the IRS, DOJ and EPA to attack political opponents is no more as well.  The culture war to defend the Constitution is not lost.

Doomy
Doomy

(The Democratic National Committee’s brazenly self-interested move to part with but a fraction of what Weinstein gave it, with even that going to organizations that try to elect Democrats, won’t help the party turn the page.)


And that tells ya everything you need to know about the morals of the Dims. 

bendedknee
bendedknee

Moral corruption in the Dem party is eclipsed by GOP leaders like gasbag Newt and his paramour who the vagina grabber in the WH appointed as  of all things- ambassador to the Vatican with her immoral husband as her companion.

Doomy
Doomy

@bendedknee


Several women have accused Weinstein of rape. And Bill Clinton was accused of rape by a woman that NOW deemed as credible. Can you show us where women that worked for Trump have accused him of rape? 

MaryAsicit
MaryAsicit

That's because he liked them underage.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Well?

Jane Fonda is ashamed of herself for not speaking up a year ago when she was told about Weinstein.

Helloooooooo, ladies!

If you know something, say something!

And don't make false accusations that discredit legitimate accusations.

We can be our own worst enemies. 

_Eleanor.....
_Eleanor.....

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Kaylee__
Kaylee__

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vurdogorki
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SGTGrit
SGTGrit

The Harvey Weinstein scandal and multiple criminal investigations now in progress will have the potential of bringing down the liberal far-left Democrat party. The DNC should be scared very scared.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit  Harvey Weinstein? He's not even a politician, just a misbehaving bidnessman. 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@SGTGrit How about trials and prison sentences for those business "leaders" that hire illegals? Now that would level the playing field!

DonJM
DonJM

You add six Harvey Weinsteins to half a dozen Donald Trumps and you end up with a dozen of the same thing.  I don't see one as any better, or worse, than the other.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@DonJM 


Yeah pretty much Don.

Given the state of the world today who would you rather have in the White House?

A. Donald Trump

B. Mitt Romney

C. Michael Bloomberg

D. John Kasich

E. D, C, or B but not A

Doomy
Doomy

@RoadScholar @breckenridge @DonJM


So he can build world class buildings but he can't clean a toilet? LOL!


Insulting Trump is fine. But at least lob an insult that makes a semblance of sense. 

bu22
bu22

@DonJM @breckenridge  John Kasich thought a convention full of Trump, Carson and Cruz delegates would select him in the event of a deadlock.  That classifies him as totally bonkers.  Almost Hillary level crazy.  If there is one outside person Donald Trump should thank for his election more than anyone else, it is John Kasich.  He pulled votes from all the rational Republican choices even when he had no shot.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

When conservatives despair of how to turn the tide in a culture that feels hostile toward them, one important answer is to engage in that struggle to shape the culture.

This article has left me perplexed.

Hostility is in the eyes of the beholder.

If I see it, it matters not to me. I move forward in spite of it.

Reflecting on my encounters with AmVet and his disdain for social conservatives, I can recall telling him...

"As Christians go, I'm not that committed to directing people who don't wanna be saved."

In other words? I recognize my limitations.

Whether Kyle sees that as a self-indulgence or self-reflection is a mystery.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@FIGMO2 I'm not saying all conservatives despair of this. But I know many who do.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@FIGMO2

Well Figgy if you go back to last year, after Trump won the republican nomination but before the election, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention was extremely critical of Trump. And what happened? Tremendous backlash from the rank and file was directed at Moore.

Trump represents almost everything social conservatives have railed against for years.  "At least he's not Hillary" only goes so far.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@breckenridge @FIGMO2

Late response.

It wasn't so much Moore's critique of Trump as it was his critique of his fellow Baptists that supported Trump.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@FIGMO2 

I came to Christ later in life like many people actually in my late 40's. I'll share my testimony with anyone with an open mind but like you I don't force my beliefs on those who I know have no interest in listening. I hate the label "social conservative" because it's a label the far-left atheists use to demean those of us that believe in the Holy Bible.

bu22
bu22

@SGTGrit @FIGMO2  So?  They use "conservative" and "Republican" in failed efforts to demean others who don't agree with them.  You can only be demeaned if you allow yourself to be.  Often, it only reflects on those who try to demean others.

bu22
bu22

@metitotktodd  Which is why Hollywood never complained about Weinstein.  They like being the people to whom the rules don't apply.  They aren't the little people.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@FIGMO2 - "I think Bannon's influence has been exaggerated."


LOL.  His influence has been exaggerated in much the same way Karl Rove's was.

LionelTwain
LionelTwain

Trump and Weinstein were cut from the same cloth. One is now a pariah, the other, well, also a pariah. Let's talk about what is wrong with the "culture" that deifies one over the other!

breckenridge
breckenridge

@_Alana.. 

Now when you say the company you work for is similar to the honest company, does that mean they also aspire to be honest someday?

MarkVV
MarkVV

When one hears complaints about Hollywood and other popular “culture,” it gives an impression that that “culture” is forced on people against their will. It is not. The spread of that culture depends on it consumers, who are free to accept or reject it. Does anyone wants to claim that those consumers are only members of one party?

 I am not sure what Kyle means by the “struggle“ in his opinion that “one important answer is to engage in that struggle to shape the culture.” Personally, I choose not to consume what I find objectionable. But it appears that this is not the choice many people on both side of the political divide make.

But there is also another side of the coin. The so called “popular” culture is only one, and in my opinion not the most important part of the “culture” of the country. Many people may shape the popular culture in a way some of us find objectionable, but when it comes to areas such as healthcare, wars, racism and gun culture, mostly I find their morality preferable to that of their critics.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@MarkVV 

 I am not sure what Kyle means by the “struggle“ in his opinion that “one important answer is to engage in that struggle to shape the culture.”

Well Mark let me give you an example of struggle.


Back in 1988, when Religious Right icon Jimmy Swaggart was riding around in the back of a limo swigging champagne with hookers, he struggled to find quality toot for the girls. Well I assume they were girls, but after all he was in New Orleans.........


Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls.
It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world,
Except for Lola. Lo lo lo lo Lola.

DeepStateDawg
DeepStateDawg

@MarkVV For anyone interested in having an angle on all this culture stuff happens, I highly recommend the Frontline episode on this very thing: The Merchants of Cool. 


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/


Things have changed in the few years since it was produced, but the basic tenets hold true. Namely, that capital markets are actively engaged in creating culture so that they can sell stuff. 

Mary
Mary

Kyle's comment regarding how conservatives "despair" over how our fluid culture seems hostile towards them is at the heart of today's bitter battle between cons and libs. It is so bitter, it has taken a bite out of a deeply held "Country First" mindset.

I was pretty young and immature when 9-11 occurred. But, I remember the emotions and pride of who we were as Americans from many of our poltical and social leaders being on full display for young people to see. It had an impact on me as a young college student that had little to no interest in politics or quite frankly the ills that our Country had.

Despite all the issues we have in America, I wish for the same unity we had on 9-11. I wonder if our fragile culture could withstand another event like 9-11?

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@Mary


Very interesting. The country was divided as well after the 2000 election. But still there was a unity after 9/11. 


I think another similar event could unify the country as well all want to destroy terrorism. But Trump has become too much of polarizing figure. Everything he touches divides us. Our culture is at a vulnerable state.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Mary Maybe if we start talking to each other instead of at each other and listen. How about some education for both sides, but that would take time away from our 20 second sound bite press we have today.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@RoadScholar @Mary 

Talk to each other, yes.  But first there are a huge number of people you'll have to convince to stop staring at their phones all day.  Especially when they're in front of me at a red light. And it turns green.  And I politely honk. And they continue staring at their phone.  And then I roll down the window.  And......oh never mind.