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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Right-Wing Hysteria Watch: Is 'Glee' part of Hollywood's leftist propaganda machine?

Jane_lynch-glee I'm not the world's biggest "Glee" fan, but from what I'd heard from my 11-year-old's school chums, the musical show is a fun, lighthearted look at a fictional high school glee club in Lima, Ohio. Or, as the San Francisco Chronicle put it, the show is a "quirky, sweet, humorous, non-partisan funfest."

But now the pundits in the conservative blogosphere, always quick to pull the trigger whenever they see Hollywood trying to hypnotize America using its all-powerful left-wing propaganda machine, have raised the alarm about "Glee," citing a disrespectful slam at Sarah Palin in the show's Tuesday night return to the airwaves. As the Newsbusters website described it, Jane Lynch, who plays a conniving high school cheerleading coach, told two of her cheerleaders: "You may be two of the stupidest teens I've ever encountered. And that's saying something. I once taught a cheerleading seminar to a young Sarah Palin."

"Glee" was already in hot water with the right wing, since the show's creator, Ryan Murphy, had in previous episodes made fun of abstinence education and, as Newsbusters puts it, "tried to normalize teen homosexuality." Apparently on the right, treating gay kids as regular folks, instead of as scary deviants, is cause for alarm.

Not to be outdone, over at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood website, John Nolte has also weighed in with his usual light touch, claiming that the Palin gag was part of a concerted liberal effort to mesmerize your children with lefty propaganda. Here's his not-quite-so-entirely levelheaded take:

"Glee" is millions of dollars of sound and fury aimed squarely at your children. And as we can now see, the creators are all about getting between you and your kids with their political and social agendas. They know Palin is a growing political force and nothing's off the table when it comes to marginalizing her -- even at the expense of their own show's entertainment value -- even at the expense of audience share.

Poor Ryan Murphy. I guess it would've been oh-so-much simpler if he'd just had Jane Lynch tell the silly cheerleaders that they were the dumbest teens she'd ever seen. And that was saying something, since she'd once taught cheerleading to ... Megan Fox. It would've gotten a nice knowing laugh without prompting any hysterical shrieks of angst from the right-wing blogosphere, which is so paranoid about Hollywood's oppressive Marxist-Obamaism that it seems bent on getting worked up every time anyone in show business shows any signs of liberal bias.

(As you may recall, the righties were up in arms for weeks when Tom Hanks seemed to imply, while doing interviews promoting HBO's "The Pacific" series, that there was some link between our war against Japan during World War II and the modern-day war on terrorism.)

But guess what? I'm betting that Murphy is a liberal and he liked the idea of a Sarah Palin joke. The same goes, in reverse, if you listen to right-wing-dominated talk radio, where you can hear Rush Limbaugh, pretty much any day of the week, making jokes about his favorite liberal whipping boys. Ditto for Fox News. The conservatives rule talk radio and cable TV, the liberals rule Hollywood and that's the way it goes.

What I did find intriguing is that in all the attacks on "Glee," none of the conservative bloggers got around to mentioning that, despite their constant drumbeat of charges that regular Americans don't like Hollywood leftist entertainment, "Glee" is a huge hit, with its Tuesday night show drawing 13.7 million viewers, a huge leap forward from the average viewership of its first 13 episodes. And even more intriguing, the conservative bloggers somehow forgot to mention that this leftist propaganda show is, ahem, airing on Fox TV, which is owned, ahem, by arch conservative Rupert Murdoch.

Does that make Rupert a traitor to the cause? Or is he one of those conservatives who actually believes in creative freedom, where show-runners can offer their own special slant on the world as long as they attract enough eyeballs to have a hit show? Does that make Rupert a turncoat? Or is he just the kind of guy who, when it comes to entertainment, believes in different strokes for different folks?  



Photo: Jane Lynch directs the Cheerios! squad in "The Power of Madonna" episode of "Glee" on Fox. Credit: Michael Yarish/Fox



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"one of those conservatives"

Hmm, guess that makes Patrick Goldstein "one of those liberals".

Perhaps some folks were merely irritated that in the midst of an otherwise fun and poignant ep of a charming and entertaining TV show that someone's personal politics got shoved into viewers faces like the Glenn Beck slam that got shoehorned into an earlier episode? Nah. Must just be a right-wing reactionary thing.

Rupert Murdoch does not care about which end of the political spectrum his company's programming swings. If it's a hit, and it makes him money, then it's a keeper. Why do you think The Simpsons/Family Guy do all the Fox bashing they do?

Were it only one show, it would be hysteria. But almost every show out takes a shot at the GOP and Conservatives whenever it can.

Of course, you will hear like a mantra said in a nasal drone, "It's only a TV show."

But when 90% of the media is (NYTimes, LATimes, WaPo, CBS, NBC, CNN, and so forth) you get so tired that you can't escape it, even when watching escapist TV.

You would never hear a joke directed against VP Biden, and any objective look at that guy shows him to be a total doofus. But he is one of Hollywood's buddies. All the Democrats are.

That's why it gets old. And it's stupid as well. The country is at least 50% on the right side of the spectrum. Not all of those will care about the slights directed at them, but many will. Annoying your audience for no real reason, well I guess it makes your core audience giggle...

I'm a huge conservative, but I like Glee. I don't care about the snide comments or "normalizing teen homosexuality" (normalizing is a good thing, promoting is not... One says "it's okay to be you" and the other says, "why don't you try being someone else to see if you like it" which is the opposite message). The ONLY thing that I don't like about the show is that the ONLY characters shown to be beyond redemption were the ultra-conservative parents of the pregnant cheerleader. Blue collar dad? Okay with his son being gay. Vapid, emotionally abusive wife? Motivated by her love of her husband and the knowledge that he was too good for her. Heck, even Sue had a story arc that showed a softer side or two.

Yep. In the world of high school glee clubs, the only bad guys are the Republicans.

That doesn't mean I don't like the show, though. I honestly just figured the writers didn't know any better. I mean, we conservatives can seem like a pretty scary group of people to those who've never met one. But we're not all bad... Some of us actually have more teeth than guns!

It am flabbergasted by the comment "liberals are afraid of Palin." She is exactly the person liberals hope will run in 2010. Do you have a tin ear? I live in Alaska and Palin was the worst governor ever. Legislators wore buttons during legislative sessions that said, "Where's Sarah?" She was never engaged with her job, and when she sensed she was considered a possible VP pick in summer 2008 she gave each Alaskan $1,200. Her approval ratings went through the roof! Sarah only looks out for Sarah. Bring her on!

["Imagine if a character on Glee, or Grey's Anatomy, or any other prime time show made fun of President Obama for an attempt to pass a health care bill without laying out a believable plan for how such a bill could actually work?"]

Well, we would most likely just roll our eyes at the blatant falsehood. We might even make a public statement about how it was a falsehood. We wouldn't get hysterical and write lengthy "woe is me" flames about it, though.

On the other hand, can you honestly claim that Sarah Palin isn't conspicuously unintelligent? No. You can claim it, but not honestly. And yet you right-wingers are almost literally foaming at the mouth in outrage over how *mean* Hollywood is to you simply because some silly TV show made a joke about this.

Seriously, grow up. Between your almost physical devotion to 24 and your tendency to lose your minds whenever you're subjected to even the lightest ribbing, you right-wingers take TV shows way too seriously.

Patrick: people tune into Rush Limbaugh expecting to get political commentary, just as they expect it from Rachel Maddow, etc.

But Glee is supposed to be entertainment, not a platform for some shallow screenwriter to insult a politician he doesn't like. It's tiresome. So is your inability to discern the difference.

And if want dumb jokes, Joe Biden is a walking talking dumb joke.

right wing teabaggers - stay out of my business!

right wing about Glee - we want to tell you how to run your business!

oh the irony.

Considering Sarah Palin has the IQ of a handball, AND considering she came way too close to becoming Vice President of the Unites States of America, I say more power to Glee.

The joke is mentioned as an aside, which I think is the most troubling thing for right-wingers. It is simply no-big-deal to make fun of Sarah Palin because the writers, actors, and producers of the show think she is herself a joke. The problem for right-wingers is that she is, indeed, a joke.

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