The first year of President Trump stirred the makers of popular culture into a frenzy of resistance. Any list of the year’s cultural winners and losers revolves around how the entertainment elites offended Americans in the red states by trying too hard to correct their outdated patriotism and other traditional values.
Loser: The National Football League. Ratings took a dramatic hit and attendance at games dropped, showing thousands of empty stadium seats, and in some cases half-empty stadiums. Worse, the disdain shows no signs of abetting. The media tried not to draw the conclusion that kneeling for the national anthem to protest the country’s incurable racism caused a dramatic counter-protest. The NFL also chose to ignore the obvious. Look where it got them.
Winner: Pro basketball, hockey, and baseball. Somehow all of these sports managed to avoid a flag-hating controversy, partly because they have owners that won't put up with these insults, and in part because they don't have spoiled ingrates for players.
Loser: Planned Parenthood. The dead-baby-parts-selling conglomerate that commits a third of the nation’s abortions each year celebrated its 100th anniversary by honoring Hillary Clinton as its “Champion of Change.” Hillary boldly predicted that to preserve abortion rights, “religious beliefs” would have to change. But the changes aren’t going their way: Planned Parenthood closed 32 clinics in 2017.
Winner: The Handmaid’s Tale. Liberal panic over Hillary Clinton’s loss led to Hollywood throwing eight Emmy Awards at this drama series on the Hulu live-streaming service. It’s based on a radical-feminist novel that imagines America falling under a theocratic Christian dictatorship. All women are deprived of their rights and are forbidden to read, and reproduction is accomplished by baby-bearing servants called “handmaids.” (Got it?) Liberals gushed over this kooky nightmare as very “relevant” and “timely.” It's how they felt about a Hillary Clinton presidency as well.
Winner: Harvey Weinstein’s victims. The real-life feminist nightmare emerged from the shadows with abusive Hollywood baron Harvey Weinstein not only demanding sexual favors from actresses, but apparently blacklisting those who rejected him. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson said Weinstein’s underlings warned them that Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino “were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs.” Now the truth can be told.
Loser: Kathy Griffin. For some reason, Griffin thought it would be funny/profound to pose with a fake severed head of President Trump. At first, she boasted how her photograph was “art” and the outrage would boost her career. Then CNN’s Jake Tapper denounced the stunt on air and Anderson Cooper disavowed it as “disgusting” on Twitter. CNN fired her from her annual New Year’s Eve hosting gig with Cooper. Everyone knows how the country would have greeted anyone “artistically” holding up a severed head of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Griffin would have been the first to denounce it, too.
Loser: Al Gore. His second eco-panic documentary An Inconvenient Sequel grossed less than $3.5 million over six weeks. What if you threw a tantrum and nobody listened?
Winner: One of the lamest animation concepts of the new millennium, The Emoji Movie. Despite being annihilated by movie critics, it grossed $86 million in America and another $130 million abroad. As RogerEbert.com summarized, the movie was “so completely devoid of wit, style, intelligence or basic entertainment value that it makes that movie based on the Angry Birds app seem like a pure artistic statement by comparison.” Ouch.
Loser: Anyone who liked The Emoji Movie?
Winner: Beloved reruns. There’s still a place for old favorites on TV. In April, ABC’s annual showing of The Ten Commandments drew 5 million viewers and won the night. In December, CBS’s 50th anniversary special celebrating Carol Burnett’s show drew 15 million viewers. Some lovable chestnuts just keep roasting on broadcast television.
Merry Christmas, from us to you.