Hanks, Streep, and Reagan: The actor as an intellectual

Ronald Reagan Time for Choosing

Today’s Left accords great intellectual respect to Democrat actors but I can remember a time when the Left openly called at least one actor (Reagan) stupid.

Those of us alive during the Reagan era, whether when he was California governor or United States president, remember that a consistent insult that the Democrats hurled at him was that he was “an actor.” This was understood to mean that Reagan was stupid and ill-informed because actors — mere puppets who repeat words other who put in their mouths and who, often, barely graduated from high school before heading for Hollywood — could not be expected to know facts, understand complex systems, have moral principles, or function in an executive capacity.

Given the disdain for Reagan’s pre-political career, it’s amusing today that Democrats give such political deference to actors, a thought that occurred to me when I read Mark Tapson’s excellent Truth Revolt article this morning about two of Hollywood’s top-tier actors:

The New York Times published excerpts from an interview with Hollywood elitists Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks about their upcoming film, and the conversation predictably turned to contemporary politics — because for some reason interviewers today feel compelled to ask self-righteous celebrities their meaningless political opinions.

The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg, is centered on Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham (Streep) and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) as they wrestle with the decision in 1971 to publish the Pentagon Papers, the government’s secret history of the Vietnam War.

Interviewer Cara Thomas quickly addressed the film’s relevance to the current contentiousness between the news media and a president who isn’t afraid to call them out for their blatant, left-leaning activism and bias.

“There are echoes of Nixon in what we’re hearing now from the White House,” she said, “with the difference being that the person in the White House is saying that real reporting is ‘fake news.’ Was it gratifying to do a movie set when people actually believed things?”

Let’s pause for a little correction: the person in the White House is calling media lies and disinformation — not real reporting — fake news. Cara Thomas’ paper, the New York Times, doesn’t do any real reporting.

I urge you to read the whole article. Tapson does a superb job exposing the idiocy that passes for analysis when The New York Times sits down for a cozy conversation with Hollywood lightweights.

I’m not saying here that there aren’t smart people in Hollywood, because there are. Indeed, there are two who come instantly to mind. I’m saying that the Left’s default position during the Reagan years was that actors were too stupid ever to serve their country while the default position now is that, provided the actors vote Democrat, their opinions are always entitled to respect.

For those who need to be reminded that Reagan was one of the most brilliant political thinkers around, I can’t do better than to give you his 1964 “Time for Choosing” speech. This is a fully-formed, tightly reasoned, morally irreproachable political speech from a very deep and sound thinker:

Because I lived in a pre-internet age when Reagan ran for president in 1980 (the first election in which I voted), I had no idea that this speech existed. Moreover, given the San Francisco-Berkeley Democrat bubble in which I lived, I’m embarrassed to say I probably would have been incapable of understanding it if I’d heard it. I’m proud to say, though, that my former-communist, former-socialist, former-Democrat, always brilliant father voted for Reagan.

About Bookworm 1357 Articles
Bookworm came late to conservativism but embraced it with passion. She's been blogging since 2004 at Bookworm Room about anything that captures her fancy -- and that's usually politics. Her blog's motto is "Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts."