By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
We are reporting from the front. The signs of war are everywhere. Standard-issue Hummers, especially the new H2 model in Sunset Orange Metallic, hurtle down Wilshire. Valentino-designed army fatigues, including khaki and camouflage tracksuits with elastic cuffs, are all the rage on Rodeo. Communications are erratic: That Motorola T722i cell phone in the Oscar goodie basket may have been free, but it’s impossible to mobilize with the troops when the damn thing only picks up static on Pico.
See how the battle lines are drawn: to the west, Granita in Malibu; to the south, Toscana in Brentwood; to the east, Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills; to the north, Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank. That’s why Republican tough guy Arnold Schwarzenegger chose Jay Leno’s demilitarized NBC studio to announce whether to run in the California governor-recall election — and not only because late night’s Prince of Pandering is still telling stale jokes about Bill and Monica. (Just as humorously, momentarily progressive Arianna Huffington eschewed her mansion in Brentwood to announce from “A Place Called Home” in South-Central.)
What, you didn’t know that the conservative agenda has us as No. 1 among Axis of Evil capitals? (After all, we, too, have oil fields).
That its chinless no-wonder came here for a just-completed week of shows to “talk common sense where Joe says America needs it most”? (And, in fact, watches him the least. Even Gigli bored a bigger minuscule audience than Scarborough does daily since nobody bothers to watch his Fox News–wannabe cable network anyway.)
That he says our crimes against humanity include “liberal Hollywood activism,” “the sexualization of teenagers” and “sex and violence in the movies”? (Though it was NBC that, according to the Parents Television Council, single-handedly dismantled the once-sacrosanct 8 p.m. family hour with innuendo-laced, adult-appeal shows like Mad About You and Friends. Promotes the so-called homosexual agenda in prime time on Will & Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. And, this fall, starts airing the most sexually raunchy sitcom ever for an alphabet network, its version of Britain’s Coupling, whose pilot features one of the twosomes trying to have sex in a bar bathroom stall.)
So where exactly did big, brave Joe go? To an outdoor set on Hollywood Boulevard, the one spot in all of Los Angeles where Scarborough was certain never to run into anyone who’s anyone in the entertainment industry. Even so, he felt the need for protection from The Industry’s progressive hordes. Instead of a flak jacket, he had in the studio, helping to take the flak as guest co-host, that nationally renowned liberal activist 27-year-old actress Heather Tom of CBS’s The Young and the Restless.
Reminiscent of Private Benjamin on a bad bouffant hair day, Heather contributed at least sane crosstalk with Scarborough, who claimed to be “investigating” what he said were the “politics and plastic culture” of Hollywood “Babble On.”
In truth, the in-over-her-head soap-opera star valiantly tried to get a word in edgewise with the big-mouthed ex-congressman from Florida, who himself acknowledges he’s “O’Reilly Lite.”
Interestingly, NBC’s huge PR machine passed on putting network stars on Scarborough’s shows. Because he came to Hollywood armed with ammo to ridicule the talented and famous through clip after clip of anti–George W. remarks by Jessica Lange, Janeane Garofalo, Woody Harrelson, Mike Farrell, et al.
But it was also clear what Scarborough didn’t allow his Hollywood guests to say on air that made the host look even more ridiculous.
He shut up Screen Actors Guild president Melissa Gilbert when she started to give details about an attempt to get actor David Clennon fired from his TV series The Agency because he openly compared White House warmongers to Nazis.
Scarborough broke away from Republican activist Bo Derek after she said she was “really embarrassed and ashamed” of her own party’s ranks who were “racists who hide behind Jesus.”
He stopped both Ed Asner and UCLA’s Richard Walter, during separate appearances, from pointing out that, besides Schwarzenegger, Hollywood conservatives like Bruce Willis, Robert Duvall, James Woods, Charlton Heston and Jerry Weintraub all have thriving careers.
But Scarborough did allow to go on, and on, and on the author of the latest slim and shallow right-wing booklet, Why Hollywood Leans Left, James “Michael” Hirsen, who is described by Britain’s Guardian as “whiter than Strom Thurmond; claims he used to be a touring keyboard player for the Temptations back in the 1970s; teaches at some Christian degree-mill on radio, TV and Hollywood, a triad he appears to loathe; and has an anti-Hollywood Web site from which most of the book anecdotes were filched.”