Right-Wing Hysteria Watch: Is 'Glee' part of Hollywood's leftist propaganda machine?
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