I was admitted to the
writers’ branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in
1983. I was thrilled at the time, joining a short, but august list that
included people like Neil Simon and Tom Stoppard.
Every year after that I dutifully voted in the Oscars, although the
movies themselves, in general, got worse and worse. At the same time,
the voting got to be more and more of a chore while my politics and
world view drifted further apart from the lockstep Hollywood leftism of
the majority of my fellow Academy members.
Still, I soldiered on, if only to make some small impact on the results
from the right. After all, the Academy only has roughly eight thousand
members and my vote in the Oscars counted far more, on a percentage
basis, than it did in normal government elections.
But I think I've had it. I'm not into boycotts, but I'm not sure I can
participate anymore. I don't know if I'm going to vote in this years'
Academy awards. There's only so much a man can take.
The latest Emmys may have been the proverbial straw that broke the
camel's back with Stephen Colbert making brain dead "Trump is Hitler"
jokes that would embarrass Mel Brooks. (I have some sad news for
Colbert: Trump is funnier than you are - and he gets to be president
and the Emmys have been platforms for some of the most puerile political
posturing imaginable for years now, but the latest Emmys may have been
the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back with Stephen Colbert
making brain dead "Trump is Hitler" jokes that would embarrass Mel
Brooks. (I have some sad news for Colbert: Trump is funnier than you are
- and he gets to be president too.)
The Academy and the creative guilds (writers, directors, actors, etc.)
make endless pronouncements on the necessity for diversity in their
memberships - remember #Oscarssowhite - but the real diversity missing
from those organizations is viewpoint diversity. Without that, the rest
is meaningless. Worse, it's gratuitously divisive.
A recent mailing detailing monthly events at the Writers Guild reaches
the level of self-parody. Not a single activity was listed that wasn't
centered on the grievances of some minority - Asian writers, Latino
writers, LGBTQ writers, women writers, etc. Gone are the days of the
creative artist as rebel. Here are the days of the "creative artist" as
whiner - no one is doing enough for him, her or “ze.” The Hollywood
creative guilds have turned into upscale versions of campus "safe
So back to my vote. One of the perks of Academy membership is that every
year at this time members receive personal DVD screeners of the year’s
films gratis from the studios and indepndents. It’s fun to get them, but
there are a lot of movies and it’s a commitment to watch them all. I'm
not sure what I will do or if I'm going to vote yet, but, with Hollywood
going more knee-jerk left than ever, as they say in Congress, “I'm
Roger L. Simon - the only writer alive to be profiled positively by both
Mother Jones and The National Review - is an Academy Award-nominated
screenwriter of many films, prize-winning mystery novelist and
co-founder and CEO Emeritus of the influential new media company PJ