When Charles Winecoff alerted me to his upcoming coming-out piece on BigHollywood, not only did he draw my attention to his post, but he also reminded me about the recently-launched site. I know (and highly respect) a number of people associated with Big Hollywood, notably my pal John Nolte, its editor-and-chief, and wanted to blog on its recent launch.
John and I have been corresponding for over four years now ever since I discovered his wonderful site, the now-defunct, Stranded on Blue Islands. He’s bounced around on the web a lot since then, but let’s hope he’s found a permanent home on BigHollywood, the perfect site for a guy like him.
John, like me, is a conservative film buff with Midwestern roots. He is one of the few people I know who has a DVD collection larger than mine.
Not only is he a good writer, but he’s also a great guy. And he’s been rewarded by his qualities as a human being with a beautiful and intelligent wife. I highly recommend you check out the site he edits. It offers a conservative perspective on movies and the entertainment industry.
As I scanned the site today, I recalled my own history in Hollywood, how I had become a film buff in the late 1990s when, after watching As Good As It Gets, I realized movies could convey on screen the ideas I had hoped to express in books. And they did it with an immediacy that literature lacked. In a matter of hours, a great flick could move you and so remind you of the things that mattered. Human relationships. Respect for difference. The need to stand up to evil.
Shortly thereafter, I find myself writing scripts, then moved out here to try to sell them.
I had a certain idealism about the entertainment industry when I came out here, an idealism contradicted by my very conduct.
I assumed that since movies appealed to that part of us which transcended politics and brought us together as individual human beings, reminding us of our shared human values, politics wouldn’t matter to those who produced them. Having lived then for the better part of a decade in our nation’s capital where all too often I had been defined by my conservatism, I was tired of being isolated in gay circles because of my politically incorrect political philosophy.
It would be different here in Hollywood. The stories I told would matter more than the ideas I espoused. My politic views would not pigeonhole me.
Even as I held that about Hollywood (my idealism), I deliberately obscured (the contradictory conduct) my political leanings so they would not compromise my professional success.
Only later did I wonder at the irony of my conduct, believing that Hollywood represented ideals which could unite all Americans regardless of political views, but obscuring my political views because I feared knowledge of them would prevent entertainment industry executives from seeing the universal themes in my stories.
Even as I claimed to believe otherwise, I recognized that those executives did not espouse the ideals of the movies I so loved.