Does anyone else remember the 1990s, when conservatives and Republicans such as Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) would attack Hollywood for making violent movies that he claimed caused violence in the real world? He also was happy to criticize movies he admitted he hadn't watched. To make matters worse, he also exempted the violent movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger from his opprobrium, because, well, Arnold was one of the few public Republicans in show biz.
Fast-forward a few decades and now conservatives are attacking Hollywood actors for playing characters who use guns in movies but call for gun control in real life. That's just what happened to Jamie Lee Curtis, whose new film is the latest installment in the Halloween franchise that helped make her a star. Writing at Fox News, Louis Casiano trolled Curtis because her character uses a gun in the movie.
Curtis's on-screen actions stand in contrast to her real-life persona as an advocate for gun control—one of several Hollywood actors who use firearms in their films while preaching against them away from the set….
For the "Halloween" reboot, Curtis tweeted a photo of a paper shooting target and said: First shot. 357. Feels good to have Laurie back on set for @halloweenmovie. #halloweenmovie."
The conundrum applies to other Hollywood A-listers like George Clooney, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore, Sally Field and Jim Carey, who have all made their living portraying gun-toting characters while calling for stricter gun reform.
Casiano posted a bunch of past tweets in which Curtis calls for a ban on "assault weapons." And then he goes here:
Some politicians have seized on the issue to call out what they perceive is Hollywood's hypocrisy.
"Hollywood liberals on gun control is akin to Hollywood liberals on global warming," U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told TMZ. "Which is they fly their private jets to a conference, step out and say, 'Global warming is terrible. Let's take away everything from the working men and women.' And then they get back on their private jet and fly back. Same thing on gun control. If you have a bevy of armed security officers protecting you, maybe you shouldn't be trying to strip Second Amendment rights from law-abiding citizens."
OK, fair enough, right. Absolutely. Curtis tells USA Today that she is indeed in favor of some forms of gun control, but…
"I am vocal about common-sense gun safety and gun laws," she says. "For instance, I fully support an assault weapon ban, I fully support a bump stock ban."
That doesn't make her anti-gun, she clarifies. "I fully support the Bill of Rights. And fully support the Second Amendment. And have absolutely no problem with people owning firearms if they have been trained, licensed, a background check has been conducted, a pause button has been pushed to give time for that process to take place. And they have to renew their license just like we do with automobiles – which are weapons also."
I don't agree with Jamie Lee Curtis on the effectiveness or sagacity of bump-stock bans or an assault-weapon ban (in fact, a ban has been tried and had no effect on gun-violence). But I actually kind of like the fact that she's willing to say she supports the Second Amendment. You can argue with her, but she's not saying private gun ownership should be banned or anything like that. Is she bullshitting when she supports the Second Amendment fully? I don't know, but her gun-control suggestions are kind of in line with Ronald Reagan's (he supported waiting periods and a ban on assault weapons too).
The lessons here? We really shouldn't look to celebrities for too much guidance when it comes to policy. Probably we shouldn't look to politicians, either. And our lives would be more interesting if we weren't constantly on the hunt for hypocrisy, too.
Watch "5 Facts About Guns, Schools, & Violence."