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March 19, 2016

Whither Conservative TV Shows? [OregonMuse]

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This has been cross-posted at CDB's Cut. Jib. Newsletter blog.

Andrew Breitbart famously said that politics is downstream from culture. And indeed, it can be persuasively argued that we conservatives are merely spinning our wheels trying to get the right people into elective office while the education-infotainment-media complex is firmly in the grasp of the enemy. What good does it really do us (and the country) when we manage to elect some half-conservative legislator or president while a reliably progressive worldview gets continually broadcast from every TV and movie screen?

Answering that question is beyond the scope of this post. But I would like to point out that there are conservative TV shows out there, programs that have not been swallowed up in the left-wing kultursmog. There aren't very many of them, and I don't know how they managed to get past the progressive gatekeepers. There may be others, but these are the ones I am personally acquainted with:

Firefly: This cult classic made the list not for being overtly "conservative", but mainly for being "not liberal". The universe of Firefly is some other solar system with "dozens of planets and hundreds of moons". Some of these are closer than others to the "core" planets, which are under control of the "Alliance", a plus-sized, technologically-advanced and repressive system of government. The outer planets and moons have less technology, and even less law, i.e Alliance control, but subsequently greater freedom. Firefly producer Joss Whedon, a stereotypical Hollywood lefty, somehow (inadvertently?) imbued Firefly with a heavily libertarian sensibility, which may not be exactly conservative, but it definitely isn't liberal. Progressive fans of the show may be tempted to fantasize about the Alliance being an oppressive right-wing government, but that would make the "Browncoat" rebels rat bastard commie revolutionaries, and that makes no sense. The Browncoats are not interested in destroying civilization and putting a new one in its place, rather, they just want to be left alone. Their motto can best be described as "Don't Tread On Me", not "Workers of the World, Unite".

Almost every science fiction fan, to a man, bemoans the fact that Firefly was yanked after only 11 episodes, and their dreams are filled what could-have-beens. I, however, take the contrarian view that the cancellation of Firefly was A Good Thing, a blessing in disguise that helped preserve it when it was still a quality show. For it would not have continued a quality show. I believe that Joss Whedon's perverse Hollywood lefty views would have eventually seeped into Firefly the way a dead rat behind the baseboard will stink up the entire kitchen. A similar thing happened with Battlestar Galactica, as Jonah Goldberg argues in this Commentary article from 2009.

Duck Dynasty: This is a reality show about an extended family of "rednecks" in Louisiana who have built the company Duck Commander, which sells duck calls and other hunting merchandise. I put the word redneck in quotes because rednecks are stereotypically poor, dumb, lazy, and dysfunctional, but the Robertson clan is rich, smart, industrious, and very successful. So, not typical "rednecks". I'm not sure what the suits at A&E thought they would be getting when they green-lighted this show. I have heard speculation that they expected a show featuring dumb, ignorant rednecks the audience would laugh at, but instead, the audience reaction was pretty much the exact opposite. This is because the Robertsons are not dumb rednecks; they are, in fact, smart rednecks who knew what they're doing.

You get to see the Robertsons' family values in each episode. Like the one where Willie had to buy a prom dress for his daughter. He returned one because, as he explained to the store clerk, "it doesn't have enough material in it".

In real life, Phil Robertson has caused controversy because he believes that homosexuality is unnatural, perverted, and harmful, and is not shy about saying so in public. This has caused progressive crybullies to weep and and wail and gnash their teeth, but the Robertsons did not back down. So the progressive lynch mob demands for the cancellation of Duck Dynasty failed.

Every episode ends of Duck Dynasty with the entire family at dinner as grace is being said. You can't get much more conservative than that.

The Men Who Built America: This miniseries made the list because to be pro-American these days is to be conservative, and there are few TV programs I've ever seen which sing the praises of America louder than this one.

The series focus is on the industrial and financial tycoons of the early 20th century, men such Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan and Henry Ford. Now, you would expect a modern documentary about these men to automatically take the Zinn/Chomsky/commie agitator view, i.e. the only thing about the industrialists worth knowing is that they were greedy fat cats who built their empires on the backs of oppressed workers. And while this documentary does not shy away from discussing the titanic egos of the tycoons, the poor and dangerous working conditions and low wages afforded to many workers, the emphasis is on what the industrialists achieved and how it transformed The United States of America from being just another country into the most powerful nation on earth.

As the last line of the series says, "They didn't discover this modern America -- they built it."

Another great thing about this series is its kickass intro soundtrack. You can also listen to the full-length version.

Last Man Standing: Tim Allen's latest incarnation is Mike Baxter, a marketing director for a Denver-based sporting goods store who lives with his wife, a geological scientist-turned-schoolteacher, and their three grown or nearly-grown daughters. Baxter likes to think of himself as an alpha male, and he's fond of expounding his politically conservative opinions, whether his liberal wife or really liberal son-in-law want him to or not. The sniping back and forth is pretty funny, and Last Man's writers show Baxter as worthy of respect, not ridicule or contempt, and truth be told, more time is spent making the progressive son-in-law look like a P.C. dweeb than Baxter's conservative foibles.

Shark Tank: This is a reality show wherein entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs seeking to obtain funding for their companies, so they come on to make a sales pitch to the "sharks", that is, a group of 5 venture capitalists who have been wildly successful at their own enterprises and have money to invest. The deals usually consist of a requests for 'X dollars for Y percent equity in my company." Sometimes all the sharks take a pass. Sometimes more than one see the profit potential and so the entrepreneur has to make a choice between 2 or more offers. It's quite interesting to watch the infighting and the counter-offers as well as the products and services being funded. One product, a plastic cover to temporarily store wet paintbrushes, so impressed Mrs. Muse that we looked up where they were sold locally and bought a few for ourselves.

Shark Tank assumes the validity and value of entrepreneurship and free-market capitalism. Winners who have been capitalized by the sharks always say how many jobs their successful companies have created and how this benefits their communities.

One of the sharks, African-American fashion CEO Daymond John, works with groups trying to teach entrepreneurship and business skills to inner city minorities. When I saw that, I thought, now that's the way to help minorities, giving them the skills they need to succeed, rather than aggravate grievances. Thus has Mr. John has done more good than all of the bellowing of Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson's silly rhyming combined.

The Last Ship: The storyline of this science fiction series concerns the crew of a USN destroyer that is in the Arctic regions when a virus breaks out and devastates the rest of the world. They're up there in the north with a virologist who had advanced warning of the outbreak and who is desperately working on a vaccine. The show is mostly well-scripted and suspenseful, but aside from that, it is one of the most overtly conservative television shows we have ever seen. For example, terrorists are shown not as sympathetic losers of life's lottery, but as psychotic thugs who should never be negotiated with, but rather shot on sight or drop ordnance on. And prayer. 3 or the episodes we've seen so far, 3 had either prayers or a strong statement of faith in God from one of the crew members. Another one showed that men and women serving in close ship quarters is basically a bad idea. And the captain is a strong, patriarchal alpha male who knows it is up to him to protect his family from harm. And for extra conservative bonus points, his XO is played by Adam Baldwin.

One of the executive producers of The Last Ship is Michael Bay, who also produced the movie about Benghazi, 13 Hours.

Blue Bloods: This drama series tells the story of the Reagans, a family whose members are all police officers of the NYPD (the daughter is an ADA). Tom Selleck is the family patriarch, who is the NYC Police Commissioner, and his father occupied the same position before he retired. The Reagans are an Irish-Catholic family, and matters of faith and religion are treated with seriousness and respect. The plot of more than one episode had someone's faith either tested or brought into conflict with the performance of job duties. The parents are strong, in control, and the kids aren't your typical worldly, cynical wise-asses. And it accomplishes all of this without being preachy.

So these are the conservatives TV shows I've found. Let me know if you've found any others that I've missed.

And, uh, Open Thread. Not that this won't eventually become an open thread. Like the bulls in Pamplona need my permission to run.

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posted by Open Blogger at 06:02 PM

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