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Opening Arguments

President What's-her-name

Hillary Clinton is starting to bore me silly. So are the vacuous pontificators ever on the search for the deep meaning surrounding her candidacy: This is from an actual article in an actual newspaper:

Mere hours after Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her candidacy for president in 2016, "Madam Secretary's" Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) helped prevent another Cold War. "The Good Wife's" Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), newly elected state's attorney, was thrown under the bus by the Democratic Party, and Varys (Conleth Hill) uttered the "Game of Thrones" premiere's most memorable line after naming the qualities the ruler of the seven kingdoms should possess.

"Good luck finding him," Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister snorted in response.

"Who said anything about a 'him'?" Varys replied.

If Clinton loses this election, it will not be television's fault. Many things have changed since she lost the Democratic Party nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, but few more pointedly than scripted television's relationship with women. Where once rare enough to be remarked upon, with inevitable comparisons to "Maude" or "Prime Suspect's" Jane Tennison, female leads now abound, many correcting the double standards that have historically kept women from positions of power.

[. . .]

Like a mirror doing double duty as a firestarter, television tends to both reflect and catalyze social change, and the increase of strong and complicated female characters is no exception. There has been a big shift in attitude since GOP presidential nominee John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 on the daft assumption that even a barely vetted female partner would automatically bring him female votes.

[. . .]

None of which means that Hillary Clinton will, or should, become our next president. She has been a long-standing player in what has become one the most divisive eras of American politics. She enters the race with a lot of baggage, both personal and political.

But America's ability to accept a female president, something that seemed questionable seven years ago, now seems moot. And judging from the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, we are more than ready.

Get that? Because of so many strong female characters on television, Americans are more ready to accept a female president! We see it on TV, so it must be OK! I would have thought seeing so many strong, effective females leaders on the actuasl world stage -- oh, Thatcher, Meir, Gandhi -- would have made us ready for a female presidnet. Maybe not just Hillary, who doesn't come off as strong or effective.

But I get the point -- first raised by conservative Andrew Breitbart, by the way -- that politics might be "downstream from culture." Popular culture, in other words, no longer merely reflects reality; in large part it shapes it.

And then I saw this article today, too, wondering why there is a dearth of "conservative driven content."

In an ironic twist, psychologists tend to define Right Brain people as the ones who are creative, intuitive and artistic. Left Brain people are the ones noted for logic, analysis and linear thinking. So are politically Right leaning (conservative) people less able to go the creative route and produce popular culture entertainment by their very nature? Or is it a lack of opportunity because the field is flooded with political Lefties and their Right Side Brains and they control the access? See… I find both of those answers unsatisfying. I know plenty of conservatives who are remarkably creative and could churn out all manner of fantasies fit for the stage or screen. And as to a perceived lack of resources, aren’t the conservatives the ones who tend to wind up making all the money anyway? What’s stopping them from simply challenging Hollywood on their own terms?

I dunno. Entertainment deals with feelings more than with intellect, so artistic people tend to be feelings-driven liberals rather than intellect-driven conservativess. Or is that too simplistic, not to mention in-the-bubble myopia?