Man Without Qualities

Saturday, June 28, 2003

The Surprising Mr. Grammer; A Possible Trend In Hollywood

In a particularly whingey article whose main purpose seems to be to complain about the success of George Bush's recent California fund-raising swing (Sample whinge: "Mr. Bush spent fewer than 10 hours in the state, meaning that he collected money at the rate of $500,000 an hour." This is "news that's fit to print?"), the New York Times allows this interesting tidbit:

[The President] appeared with the singer Johnny Mathis, the actor Kelsey Grammer and the comedian Dennis Miller at a dinner in Los Angeles, where Mr. Bush's campaign said the take was $3.5 million.

What's happening in Hollywood? Is it a coincidence that more Hollywood conservatives and Republicans seem to be "coming out of the closet" - or is the last, pure spring of Democratic support becoming tainted by common sense? Mr. Grammer is an interesting case. He is, of course, the star of the long-running television show Frasier - which is not known for particularly conservative views, as exemplified by a recent episode in which Martin, Nile’s and Frasier's father takes Niles to a gun range where they meet three other shooters, presented as negative stereotypes. Niles tries firing a gun, loves it, continues shooting and is invited to go to a gun show by these three (Martin, an ex-cop, "sanitizes" himself by saying he shoots only once or twice a year and that gun shows are no big thing). At the gun show, the three ask Niles to go to their “Idaho Compound” which they are preparing for the coming “New World Order”. Niles hurriedly leaves, realizing that his three new friends are right-wing nuts.

Fine. If it gets the rating, write and produce that show. But it interesting that Newsmax also recently reported:

When Kelsey Grammer guest-hosted the Letterman show, he let the cat out of the bag about the way conservatives are treated in left-leaning Hollywood. In his monologue, he shared with the audience:

“Some of you may or may not know this. I’ve recently come out of the closet, actually, in Hollywood. I’m a Republican, you see. It’s a dangerous thing to do in Hollywood because it means you are very isolated and lonely.”

The actor went on to describe what a small group of Hollywood Republicans that he hangs out with did recently for kicks. He quipped, “Last weekend, just for fun, we kidnapped Michael Moore and gave him a decent haircut and some clothing.”

Grammer also commented on the latest cynical ploy by Democrats to create a hubbub over not finding the actual WMDs in a country the size of California. “John Kerry’s been leveling some real shots at President Bush lately,” he said. “I want you to give them some time … don’t forget they’re still looking for O.J.’s weapons.” The “Frasier” star appeared recently on “Fox & Friends,” too, and revealed that he was a “pro-Bush guy.”

One obviously must be careful in assigning too much direct meaning to a comedian's monologue - and nothing Mr. Grammer says here should be naively construed as reflecting his serious political views, although the monologue appears to be a riff on those views and to present some serious observations in humorous form. But Mr. Grammer's involvement in the Bush fundraising event is a different matter - that is a pretty serious statement in a town widely felt within the entertainment industry itself to have been quite vindictive towards Bush supporters and Republicans in the past.

Something is changing in Hollywood. And it's not small.

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