Cultural winners and losers of 2017
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revolves around how the entertainment elites offended Americans in the red states by trying too hard to correct their outdated patriotism and other traditional values.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, resulting in 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 counterprotest. The NFL also chose to ignore the obvious. Look where that got it.
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 partly because they don’t have spoiled ingrates for players.
Loser: Planned Parenthood. The dead-baby-parts conglomerate that committed about a third of the nation’s abortions in 2014 celebrated its 100th anniversary by honoring Hillary Clinton as its champion of the century. Clinton boldly predicted in 2015 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 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 forbidden from reading, and reproduction is accomplished by baby-bearing servants called “handmaids.” (Got it?) Liberals gushed over this kooky nightmare as very “relevant” and “timely.” That’s how they felt about a Clinton presidency, as well.
Winner: Harvey Weinstein’s victims. The real-life feminist nightmare emerged from the shadows with abusive Hollywood baron Harvey Weinstein. He has not only allegedly demanded sexual favors from actresses but also apparently blacklisted those who rejected him. According to “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, Weinstein’s underlings warned him that Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino “were a nightmare to work with” and that he “should avoid them at all costs.” Now the truth can be told.
Loser: Kathy Griffin. For some reason, Griffin thought it would be funny and profound to pose for a photo 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 former President Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Griffin would have been the first to denounce it, too.
Loser: former Vice President Al Gore. His second eco-panic documentary, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” grossed less than $3.5 million domestically over six weeks, according to Box Office Mojo. What if you were to throw 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, Box Office Mojo says it grossed $86 million in America and another $130 million abroad. As the Roger Ebert website 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” reportedly drew 5 million viewers and won the night. In December, the CBS 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.