I used to like this girl called Amy Schumer. She was funny. She made me laugh and I felt a kinship to her as a fellow unconventionally attractive funny chick. But she has totally flipped her shit. Fer realz. It’s like she’s become this mythical creature made of 2 parts drama queen and 1 part ironic cluelessness. I think I’d like to call it a Schumera.
But that’s not really the point. The point is what happened in the dentist’s office a couple of years back. My kids had gone back to get their teeth cleaned and I was wallowing in the decadence of several months’ worth of People Magazines. There was a big screen tv on the wall of the waiting room, playing the Today Show with the sound off. I looked up, and to my surprise, I saw Matt Lauer on TV, clad in bondage gear, interviewing the cast of Fifty Shades of Gray. The funny thing was, I was…surprised, but not THAT surprised. The reason I wasn’t surprised was because every media outlet had been humping (so to speak) that stupid book and probably even stupider movie for months and it only figured that this was the next logical evolution of their marketing campaign.
Now, let the weirdness of that sink in. I saw what I believed to be a respected journalist dressed in bondage gear to promote a movie about S and M or whatever and it didn’t shock me. I didn’t get up and demand that the receptionist change the channel, or look around to see if anyone else had noticed, or do anything other than file that away to tell my husband later. It felt totally like something that modern media in 2015 would do. Of course, within a few moments I realized it was a prank done by the Ellen Show, actually highlighting what I had already subconsciously noticed – that DAMN, the Today Show is sure giving 50 Shades a hell of a lot of press coverage here.
As a libertarian I have no problem with coordinated ad campaigns (even if rather silly) but there was something about it, the context of it, that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like it may indicate something larger about the culture in which we live. Surely we wouldn’t have expected Ernie Pyle or Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite to promote terrible sex movies and in fact it would have probably destroyed their careers had they tried. And what does it even mean that I’m so used to the idea that journalists are at least part of the time, if not most, shilling for somebody or the other that on some level, I wasn’t even particularly surprised that poor Lauer would have to be forced into leather studs and trotted out on morning tv that way. But, what are you gonna do, change the world or something? Nah. So my family and friends and I had a good laugh and I promptly forgot about it.
A couple months ago I noticed a very similar phenomenon happening – just like the weeks before 50 Shades of Gray came out, only it was Goldie Hawn. All of a sudden, Goldie Hawn was EVERYWHERE. There were articles and news stories falling out of the sky left and right. (Google News her the week of May 10, 2017, through May 18, 2017 if you don’t believe it) She was talking about how being a woman in Hollywood had changed over the years. She was talking about how she prayed for her sick son 35 years ago (aww). She was talking about her sex life (eww). She and Kurt Russell got stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (wow, they didn’t have those already?). Finally, when she appeared for the 500th time that week on Sunday Morning, my husband looked at me and said “She’s gotta have a new movie coming out or something.” I whipped out my laptop and sure enough, she was in a movie with…
See, I was coming back around to that the whole time. Yep. She was in a movie with Amy Freaking Schumer. Now, let me pause my narrative again here to explain my deal with Amy Schumer, who I actually did once like. As most know, she is the cousin of Chuck Schumer and has used her fame to promote her political views, going so far as to call out Trump voters personally – people actually sitting IN HER AUDIENCE in her comedy shows (which I find rather creepy in a thought police-y way that seems fundamentally at odds with the spirit of standup) and when people booed because you know, they came to hear some jokes, she had security remove them.
Amy Schumer most recently really, really ticked me off on a personal level by completely screwing up my Netflix ratings system. Oh, you noticed that too?? Yeah, she’s singlehandedly responsible for that new and horrible change on Netflix where the ratings stars have been removed and replaced with percentages that indicate how similar movies are to other things you’ve watched in the past. So now you get 10,000 suggestions for lame versions of genre movies you’ve already watched a lot of (so if you watch horror movies fairly regularly, all horror movies, including terrible ones, will come up at 98%). And if you want to watch something out of a genre, it is much harder to find them (so a Civil War movie will come up at 47% simply because you haven’t watched as many of them as you have horror, but of course that would always happen since there are only like 3 Civil War movies anyway). If you like horror movies, I suppose this is ok, but if you like good movies and just happen to have watched a lot of horror movies along the way, good luck finding an engaging period drama when you’re in the mood for one.
The reason why this happened was because people, allegedly “alt-right” people, gave Schumer’s recent comedy special, the one where she apparently talked about what her girly bits smell like for a super long time and then the punchline wasn’t even funny, one star. Since even reputable critics said it was terrible, whether this alt-right thing even happened is open for debate, but it’s irrelevant. Imagine having the kind of power on this earth that when something doesn’t go quite your way, you have the ability to simply whoop! change the rules! Hey, 50 million American Netflix subscribers, FU, Amy has spoken. She is our anointed princess and has special needs. She cannot be criticized, her lovely skin is too thin for that (and this is not an exaggeration, the woman cannot take criticism and has proven as much on several occasions). Again, I just find all this to be incredibly strange and creepy.
When I did a Google search of Amy Schumer for the same time period as Goldie Hawn, the time when Goldie was reaching peak saturation, there was only a fraction of the articles, most of which had to do with her recent breakup with her boyfriend. It is very evident to me that Hollywood licked their finger, stuck it into the wind, realized “whoops, Amy’s not so popular right now, let’s go with Goldie instead!” And that’s what they did. Now maybe it was all about making money – most things are – but in light of the fact that Netflix, lovely, independent Netflix, has redone their ratings system essentially FOR Amy, something about the context of it all bothers me. Just like the Today Show forcing Matt Lauer, a man who interviews presidents, to spend his days interviewing soft-core porn actors, I think this means more than just a studio trying to make back some dough on a movie that may flop. I think they’re trying to redeem her, trying to trick people into seeing a Goldie Hawn movie without really realizing oh — it’s an Amy Schumer movie.
Hey, whatever, that’s cool. Free market, and all that. But Hollywood has about as much in common with a free market as Venezuela. Come on, we all know that liberalism reigns supreme in Hollywood and thus when they anoint a princess, they intend for it to stick. They do it again and again – continue pushing someone who it’s pretty obvious that most people dislike (cough cough, Lena Dunham, cough cough) because they have the right politics, and drop people who are popular, because they don’t. I think that is scary. I see zero, nada, nil difference between that and between a mean, small-minded, 50’s town that insists upon cultural conformity, only it’s even worse, because these people are churning out what is, in essence, political propaganda for not only our nation, but for our planet. At least in the 50’s you could move to a different town or to the country or city or close the door and pull down the shades and do what you wanted to then.
If you’re a Chuck Schumer superliberal, I suppose that’s ok, but for the rest of us – even those of us with just a mildly liberal bent instead of liberal extremists – it takes our voice away. The opinions and life experience of millions are not reflected in the entertainment we consume. It kills debate and dialogue and curiosity and diversity of opinion. It kills art. The people we have hired to produce art for us are making crappy art because they are so busy making propaganda and arranging the system to support those who they’ve deemed will make the right sort of propaganda for them. And when we start to notice it and decide, eh, maybe Amy Schumer just isn’t for me, they try to pull a switcheroo on us and substitute in Goldie Hawn instead.
Maybe this doesn’t bother you that much. It bothers me, though. I see through the smoke and mirrors now, it isn’t just business. If it was, they’d have been promoting Amy Schumer, since it’s an Amy Schumer movie – at least as much if not more than Goldie Hawn. They’d be promoting Kurt Russell, who also has a big movie coming out this week, as much or more than Goldie (yes, I Googled him too, and he had way, way less coverage for a much, much bigger movie). They aren’t doing these things and that indicates to me that this is more important to them than just the average flop movie that Hollywood craps out every other day. They want this particular movie to succeed just like they wanted Fifty Shades of Gray to succeed for some reason, and so they promote Goldie, because who doesn’t love Goldie?
I just wish they’d put her in a movie that I wanted to see instead of using her to sell a movie that I have negative-a-million interest in.