I interview Andrew by phone Wednesday afternoon about his new website BigHollywood.Breitbart.com.
I previously interviewed Andrew in 2004 about his book "Hollywood, Interrupted."
Luke: "Why do this website?"
Andrew: "The number one reason is that the conservative movement has completely detached itself from pop culture and thinks it can survive in the 21st Century on politics and legislation alone and political rhetoric and great writing reflecting conservative principles. That is not going to happen. What needs to happen is that the conservative movement, based in Washington D.C. for the most part with ancillary entitiies in New York City, Dallas, Virginia, these people have ignored anything west of the MIssississippi for a generation. They’re suffering the consequences. The election of Barack Obama is evidence of that. The conservative movement did not embrace Ronald Reagan initially. He was successful…because he came from Hollywood and understood the importance of communication and pop culture. It took the conservative movement a long time to realize that that magic was a good way to sell conservatism.
"The conservative movement needs to focus on Hollywood in countless ways. It needs to encourage its young to go out to Hollywood to become screenwriters, actors, producers, below the line workers. It also needs to focus on Hollywood proper — film reviews and become engaged in the debate out there. We have so many people in the conservative movement who write about legislation and political controversies every single day. There seems to be about 50 people writing on the same subject every day but few people concentrate on pop culture, the DNA of who we are, and we export that through our satellite dishes and DVDs and on the television screen and on films across the world. If we don’t alter that DNA, if we don’t try to inject into it our best qualities and not our worst qualities, our fate is in the hands of people who don’t agree with us. We have to take them on using their skills.
"The secondary objective of the site is to create cover for those who exist in Hollywood now who are conservative or libertarian or consider themselves Lieberman Democrats or JFK liberals or anyone who dissents from the boutique liberalism that seems intent on squashing any kind of dissent….We want to provide protection from the bullies out here who are rarely punished for their bad behavior. We want conservatives and non-liberals in Hollywood to come out and express their point of view as freely as Sean Penn. They’ll also be able to represent their point of view in the product they make so that movies and TV will show that there are two parties, two basic philosophies, and there needs to be some representation in the arts from the other."
Luke: "Is this the big project your soul has been yearning for?"
Andrew: "Good question."
"The last time I was interviewed by you was for the book Hollywood, Interrupted, which I wrote with Mark Ebner. It was an emotional reaction to Hollywood’s lack of participation in the war effort… The people who were benefitting the most from this country refused to take even a neutral stand with regard to defending this country… History will show that many celebrities were at the forefront of building an anti-war movement. and fomenting anti-Americanism abroad… I have had countless people tell me that they don’t agree [with the reigning leftist ideology in Hollywood] but they need cover to represent themselves. That they need to make enough money to send their kids through college to feel comfortable to speak out against a Sean Penn. How crazy is it that Sean Penn feels so comfortable going to Cuba and Venezeula and Iraq before that and he knows when he gets back from those trips and knows that the powers that be in Hollywood have no problem with that.
"When a Hollywood conservative supports the president of the United States in a time of war is fearful he won’t have a job on Monday when he comes home because the establishment media will expose him, mock him, and if he was an A-list star, turn him into a C-list star. The Frank Riches of the world are so brilliant at a turn of phrase. He did it with Ron Silver, who was his favorite actor. He wanted him to help a Broadway renewal campaign in the 1990s when he was a good liberal. Later in a column, after Silver addressed the Republican convention in 2004, he described him as a D-list actor. It’s that simple turn of phrase in the New York Times or any other liberal publication where you can take a person for whom their reputation is everything and you can diminish it overnight. It’s the same thing that gay activists did for people who supported Prop 8. It’s done writ large every day here. When people find out that someone is on the other team, the whisper campaign and emails go back and forth and people say, ‘That person is dead to me.’ The town is a social town. People choose to work with people they feel comfortable. If people feel comfortable saying on a set that George Bush is Hitler, that means that somebody who voted for him is a Nazi and who wants to work with a Nazi?
"I don’t call it a specific blacklist. It’s not written down. I don’t think there’s a Red Channels out there. It does not need to be. The system is so entrenched, people are so intimidated into silence, there is no need for a blacklist."
Luke: "Most conservative intellectuals think pop culture as below them?"
Andrew: "That’s right. That’s where I come in. I’m not an intellectual."
Thanks to the glories of growing up with pay cable, Andrew says he’s had the opportunity to see Susan Sarandon naked as often as her husband Tim Robbins.
Andrew: "I had a friend come out to Los Angeles to appear on the Bill Mahr show two years ago. He told me that Tim Robbins was going to be on the panel with him along with Paula Poundstone. This is a guy who appears on Meet the Press. He writes for a conservative publication but is featured on CNN all the time and is really considered a straight reporter. He wrote a book saying that Saddam Hussein had a relationship with Al Qaeda.
"I told him it was not like going into the green room at NBC in D.C. and running into Madeline Albright or Barney Frank, people with whom you have political disagreements. People out here in Hollywood are vicious. They will not treat you with dignity. They will not give you the benefit of the doubt. He said, that’s crazy.
"We went into the green room. It’s a tiny room. And the whole time, Tim and Susan sat with their backs to us.
"It’s not like it is in Washington D.C. where you’re in the less cool group. You’re kinda the nerd on campus. That’s what conservatives are. You are the pariah here. He couldn’t believe it until he witnessed it."
"I don’t take venture capital money. The hard part is trying to do the website with limited resources. I’m not as technically competent as one would think. I rely on other people to do this stuff for me, to make my ideas come true."