WASHINGTON, December 30, 2016 — Moved by the passing of Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, comedian Steve Martin took to Twitter. “When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well,” wrote Martin.
One of the cultural scolds at New York magazine tweeted back, “Steve Martin, This is a Bad Tribute to Carrie Fisher. Please be better than Jabba the Hutt.”
Suddenly realizing the severity of his politically incorrect sentiments, the panicky Martin quickly deleted the tribute.
An article appearing in New York magazine shortly after Fisher’s death described her past “sex symbol” status as “a one-dimensional reading of her [Star Wars] character, who was a brilliant tactician, a strong rebel leader, and an ace shot with a blaster. And yet, with the launch of George Lucas’s Star Wars trilogy in 1977 – and especially thanks to her infamous metal-and-leather bikini in 1983’s Return of the Jedi – that’s exactly what Fisher became on an international scale.”
It was remarkably similar to criticism leveled at Hollywood by the guardians of the female mystique at the website Everyday Feminism. Even though the Princess Leia character was the daughter of Darth Vader, they said, she was “not a Jedi” and condemned Star Wars creator George Lucas for not populating his imaginary universe with women that “actually do something… These are characters that kids will dress up as for Halloween and role-play in invented adventures.”
They added that the “bikini-clad Leia is likely the image that people most associate with Fisher from these films, revealing the insidious power of objectification.”
Perhaps Lucas will someday follow the lead of friend and fellow director Steven Spielberg, who digitally altered his film ET for its 20th anniversary re-release. The film’s gun-toting, alien hunting feds were suddenly armed with nothing but walkie-talkies.
Lucas could digitally change the original cast of Star Wars, making them sexless eunuchs, physically and emotionally, in time for the original film’s fortieth anniversary later in 2017.
To prevent “objectification,” we must become less human.
Steve Martin was right to describe the late Carrie Fisher as “the most beautiful creature” that he and the film-going public had seen. And it is his and their right to feel, think and say so.
That’s because we are not gleaming automatons programmed to respond to outside stimuli according to a programmer’s neatly typed rows of sterile zeros and ones.
We are complex and remarkable beings.
The decades-long culture war, in which the political left currently has the upper hand, is alive and well in modern America. Political correctness is its whip. And its transmitters are the news and entertainment industries.
Kate Lorenz at CareerBuilder.com writes that political correctness is an unchangeable fact of life and, like the fictional Winston Smith of George Orwell’s novel “1984,” we must come to love Big Brother.
“Political correctness does not just mean watching what you say,” insists Lorenz. “In its best sense, being politically correct means learning about others and respecting the differences that make each of us unique. In the workplace, there are steps you can take to make sure you are not only following the ‘PC rules,’ but are also making your life richer.”
For comedian Steve Martin, that richer life now includes self-censorship. In fact, his very livelihood depends on it.
Back in 2014, Dan Gainor at the conservative Media Research Center told Fox News, “More actors and actresses will be blacklisted. Twitter will ruin careers.”
And the political affiliations of actors is also a factor. Mell Flynn of the Hollywood Congress of Republicans told the same news network, “I have known quite a few people who were let go from a job after they made their political affiliation known. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I doubt it.”
The Hollywood conservative organization Friends of Abe, founded in 2004 by actor Gary Sinise, keeps the names of its members, which includes Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood, a closely guarded secret.
Political correctness even played an important role in the recently concluded presidential election. When Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump grew tired of the constant rebukes by reporters unhappy with his politically incorrect answers, Trump said, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness.”
And as the outcome of that election implied, neither do many Americans.
When the Hollywood trade publication Variety announced that casino magnate Steve Wynn had snagged country singer Garth Brooks to perform at Trump’s inaugural, the singer told TMZ, “It’s always about serving. It’s what you do.”
Shortly thereafter, Brooks said he would not be performing.
Pop singer Elton John even released a statement declaring the rumors he might perform for Trump to be untrue – really, really untrue.
The word must be out that hobnobbing with Trump is a career-ender.
Since William F. Buckley founded National Review in 1955, conservatives have toiled to free Americans from the iron grip of the left. Rush Limbaugh expanded the conservative franchise via America’s syndicated radio airwaves.
However, for conservative ideas to advance beyond wonky journals and talk radio markets, its promoters will have to move into the entertainment arena.
The screenwriting Hollywood reds of the 1950s understood the influence popular culture has on the American imagination. And so do the blacklisting infotainment moguls of today’s news and entertainment media.
Just ask the cowering Steve Martin.