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  • Victor C. Bolles

Silly Season

The television has been blaring announcements of all the great and wonderful awards shows for the upcoming awards season. There is a virtually unending number of these shows in the offing including the Golden Globes (Jan 7), the Critic’s Choice Awards (Jan 11), the Producers Guild of America (Jan 20), the Screen Actors Guild Awards (Jan 21), the Grammys (Jan 28), the Directors Guild of America (Feb 2) and, of course, the Oscars (Feb 25). This is only a partial list as there appears to be an awards show for almost every category of movie, television show and form of music imaginable.

And the awards go on and on. Awards not only for stars, but for makeup artists and sound mixers. I gave up watching these shows a long time ago. Not just because I had not seen or heard of any of the movies or songs up for awards (which is even worse now that awards go to movies seen only on streaming services such as the Handmaid’s Tale) but because of the deep psychological yearning of these already wealthy and accomplished professionals to be festooned with even more adulation and accolades.

And it used to be boring for them to thank everyone from their hairdresser to Harvey Weinstein for helping them on their way to winning such a prestigious award. But now these needy narcissists believe that winning such an award gives them a platform to spout publicly about their political beliefs (varying from left to far, far left) and how much they hate President Trump and everything he does. Being an entertainer does not give you credibility as a political pundit. These entertainers state that they have a first amendment right to such speech just as much as Colin Kaepernick. But I have a right too and I exercise it by turning off your boring show and its political tirades (as do many other people since viewership of the awards shows is way down).

But there is a reason why Hollywood (and other places where entertainers gather) is so heavily populated by the left. The psychological factors that make them good at their craft also drive them to the left. A study published in the Psychology of Popular Media Culture (The Personality Disorder Profile of Professional Actors, Davison, M & Furnham, A (2018)) found that a group of 214 professional actors scored significantly higher on Anti-social, Narcissism, Histrionic, Borderline and Obsessive-compulsive Scales than did a control group of non-actors. They further found that, in fact, these traits actually made them better actors and actresses.

Wait a minute, you might say. Just because they are messed up doesn’t make them leftists. First, let me be clear. Just because the actors in the study scored higher on these traits than the control group does not make them nuts. You (and I) probably share many of these traits to a lesser or greater degree. But actors need to be empathetic to the feelings of others in order to be able to show those emotions on stage or screen. And a study (the neuronal basis of empathy and fairness, Singer, T (2007)) shows that feelings of empathy and fairness light up the same areas of the brain as shown by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

You might still not see the connection between acting and leftist causes. But Jonathan Haidt in his 2012 book, The Righteous Mind (you can read my analysis Righteous Thinking and Foolish Nature) found that progressives and leftists rated caring and fairness as the most important moral foundations while conservatives and libertarians also rated loyalty, authority, sanctity and liberty highly. And while actors need empathy to portray people on stage and screen, Haidt found them to be blind to the any other moral foundations than caring and fairness (which is why they do such a good job of portraying the downtrodden but are so wooden and unconvincing when portraying conservatives). And while other entertainers may not be so directly reliant on empathy, a performing artist that cannot empathize with his or her audience will soon be an accountant.

To a progressive only empathy and fairness are important. Leftists believe that people who do not rate empathy and fairness as the most important imperatives are not just different, they are evil – bad people to be opposed with every fiber of your body. This is why they rage and riot on campus when a conservative speaker tries to discuss any topic. The topic is meaningless. The person is evil and must be opposed

But a society based only on empathy and fairness would be a very lopsided society. It would also be a very poor society. Empathy does not provide material goods and fairness does not generate capital necessary for economic growth. An advanced society needs more than just empathy and fairness. But tell that to a progressive and you are likely to get a blank stare – or worse.

So, when the stars walk across the stage at the Dolby theater (or other stage of the almost innumerable venues), thank everyone from their mother to the key grip best boy and then veer off into some leftist diatribe or rant against the president, please have pity on them. They cannot help themselves. Then switch the channel to the hockey game and go on with your life.

And while we’re at it.

Hollywood isn’t the only place in the country having its silly season. When it comes down to silliness the entertainers in tinsel town must take a back seat to the pros in Washington DC.

At a December 11th meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (by now Speaker of the House), President Trump as an expression of his firm resolve for a border wall said, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.” And when the Democratic minority in the Senate used cloture to prevent the majority of Republicans from approving $5 billion for the border wall in a bill to fund the government, President Trump followed through by shutting down that part of the government not already funded (about a quarter of the discretionary budget affecting about 800,000 government workers).

Now is President Trump acting like an asshole for shutting down the government, creating enormous hardship for 800,000 government workers and their families and making the United States look stupid and silly to the rest of the world for a piece of wall that will cover only a fraction of the border and is likely to be the only walled section once Ms. Pelosi takes over as Speaker? Or is Chuck Schumer (and by extension Ms. Pelosi) acting like an asshole for invoking cloture to block an expenditure that, even though it is silly and pointless, represents only a few tenths of a percent of the total budget compared to the many billions spent on other silly pointless things that governments (Republican and Democratic) foist on the people every year?

You might say that the answer might depend on your political affiliation. But a recent survey by More in Common (a centrist think tank) stated that only 14% of the population make up far-right and far-left fringes of political opinion that would support such a stupid and counterproductive exercise of governance (see my blog post Wingnuts, November 5, 2018 for more detail). It is likely that most of the remaining 86% of the people would think the three are all acting like assholes for sacrificing the country to their political agendas.

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