Culture Clips: Are Conservative Stars Keeping Quiet?

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Many celebrities these days adopt political views that tend to align with liberal positions and politicians. But what about those who don’t? What price might a conservative actor, actress or entertainer pay for voicing a right-leaning opinion?

The Hollywood Reporter notes that conservative celebrities are “skittish” about being politically vocal in our “toxic” times. “There used to be more of us, Tom Selleck, Jon Voight, Bruce Willis, who were outspoken, but they’ve been browbeaten and ridiculed, which is the main instrument on the left to shut us up,” yesteryear idol Pat Boone, now 84, told the trade publication.

Likewise, the Fox News article “Hollywood conservatives say more stars stay quiet to avoid public backlash, being blacklisted” featured quotes from other conservatives celebs who believe being politically active can be professionally risky, including Tim Allen, John Rhys-Davies, John Schneider and James Woods. Back in 2017, Woods’ said, “The blacklist against conservatives in Hollywood is very real.”

Elsewhere in the intersection of politics and culture, voters in several states chose to legalize medical marijuana (Missouri and Utah) or its recreational use (Michigan). Voters in North Dakota said no to the drug’s recreational use, though medical marijuana is already legal there. As of this election, 33 states have legalized medicinal cannabis use, while 10 others (plus Washington, D.C.) have also legalized recreational pot. Proponents are now ramping up their efforts to win this battle on a national level, even as an increasing body of scientific evidence suggests that the drug carries significant risks—especially for young people.

NPR reported on a new study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that says teen pot use “is associated with reduced neurocognitive functioning.” Other recent research on marijuana found a potential increase in stroke risk, as well as growing evidence that pot-impaired drivers are involved in a growing number of accidents.

Back in May, The New York Times published a lengthy summary of scientifically documented cannabis health risks (drawn from a comprehensive 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering). Among those risks are cancer; heart disease; respiratory problems; impaired driving; premature births; memory and concentration impairment; and mental health issues such as psychosis and schizophrenia.

The New York Times also published an article this week about how some working in Silicon Valley increasingly view smartphones and other screens as a risk to their children. In her article “A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley,” writer Nellie Bowles interviewed a number of tech workers regarding their approach to screens and their families.

Among them was Chris Anderson, a former editor for Wired, the founder of geekdad.com and the current CEO of a drone and robotics company. Anderson said of screen usage, “On the scale between candy and crack cocaine, it’s closer to crack cocaine.”

Former Facebook executive assistant Athena Chavarria, who now works for Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, was more blunt: “I am convinced the devil lives in our phones and is wreaking havoc on our children.”

Silicon Valley execs aren’t the only ones talking about this issue. Good Morning America followed 10 teen girls as they went through a 14-day social media detox. Among the benefits the teens noticed were better sleep, a greater ability to focus and greater productivity. But they also admitted it was difficult at times to be out of the communication loop with their friends. (Good Morning America has posted a guide titled: “How to host a social media detox for your teen or tween.”)

We often talk about the amount time screens gobble up. But what about the money they consume? Smartphones, especially, aren’t cheap, with the latest batch of whiz-bang iPhones topping out at a whopping $1449 (which is more than my first car cost!). That’s nothing, however, compared to what you’ll pay for your smartphone use over the course of your life. The website flipsy.com ran the numbers, assuming the current average smartphone price of $567, an upgrade every 32 months from age 18 to 78 and an average bill of $80. The total? $75,354! Yikes!

But wait, there’s more! MarketWatch pushed those hypothetical numbers a step further, calculating what you’d make if you invested all that money instead, averaging 4% annually. Ready? About $300,000. So, you can buy a phone … or buy a house. No wonder today’s media and tech titans—those who aren’t worried about their own kids, that is—are trying to figure out the best strategy to keep you permalinked to your screens with their streaming content.

As we begin our final descent en route to an on-time landing for this week’s edition of Culture Clips, we have a few final stories for you.

Fortnite players will soon be able to nab NFL uniform “skins” for their avatars—as if the enormously popular online shooter wasn’t popular and addictive enough already.

Meanwhile, in an odd turn of events, the Girl Scouts are suing the Boy Scouts for “trademark infringement” for opening up their doors to girls now as well. MarketWatch’s Andrew Keshner reports that the Boy Scouts’ “inclusive rebranding effort has caused all sorts of consumer confusion from mistaken enrollment in the Boy Scouts to misinformation about a merge of the two groups.”

Netflix is stirring up controversy again, too, this time with a teen orgy scene in its reboot of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, now renamed The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

The ancient religion known as Zoroastrianism is enjoying a brief moment in the zeitgeist. Why, you ask? Credit the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, as the band’s now-deceased frontman Freddie Mercury came from an Indo-Parsi family that practiced the Persian faith.

Finally this week, actor Mark Wahlberg (who stars in the forthcoming foster care-themed dramedy Instant Family, out next week) told the Christian Post, “There’s nothing more important than faith and family.”

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 1 days ago
Ever since they outlawed prayer in school the world has been getting worse and worse, and with all the school shootings, police shootings, and people like Bruce Jenner and the I Am Jazz person going from male to female, I don't see the world getting any better any time soon.
Anonymous 9 days ago

God has withdrawn His hand from America forever. Where once we enjoyed freedom and liberty to worship Him, it has been lost. Now, we will taste His wrath and experience persecutions the likes of which not even the Apostles faced at the hands of Nero himself.


It's time to prepare to be driven underground. In a short time, I would even say before the end of the year, Christianity will be made illegal in America, and we must be prepared to flee. This country cannot be saved, so all we have to do is wait for God to take us out of this world, and I pray it comes soon.


-Nameless

Anonymous 8 days ago
Is this supposed to be satirical? Because, as far as I can see, we aren't being racked, skinned alive, crucified, roasted on large iron plates, beaten to death, beheaded, or stoned.
-Davidiswise The Clown 
Anonymous 8 days ago
Unfortunately, there are many out there who believe this sort of thing, but let me assure you of something: I have been around a LONG time, I have seen dozens of similar proclamations from doomsayers, and at the time of this writing, not a single one has come true. So take heart. Although I doubt anything will convince you, if you are this far removed from reality.

-Posted by Chuck
Anonymous 6 days ago
As Carman once said "We need God in America again".
Anonymous 24 hours ago
Cartman? You mean that one fat kid from that one show? ;)

-Evan
Anonymous 3 hours ago
No I mean the great Christian singer of such classic songs as The Champion, Revival in the Land, Satan, Bite the Dust, A Witch's Invitation, There Is A God, The Courtroom, Serve the Lord, Revive Us, O Lord, and others of course. I certainly do not mean the guy from South Park.
Anonymous 9 days ago
You probably shouldn't be so quick to claim James Woods - the man is horrifically toxic and has all but thrown his support behind the alt-right.  That's the problem with conservative celebrities.  The ones that DO speak out about their beliefs usually only do so to troll, attack and bully people (see: James Woods, Ted Nugent, etc).  It might have more to do with their blacklisting than simple political differences.
charitysplace 9 days ago
IMO, you're foolish these days not to keep your mouth shut about your political affiliation, especially as a celebrity whose popularity depends on the general public liking them. I'm always baffled to see authors, artists, writers, and actors spouting off about politics -- they assume, I guess, that it won't hurt them ... and in some cases maybe they're already worth a billion dollars (like J.K. Rowling), but what about being a smart businessperson? The less people know about you and how you differ from them, the more they like you, and the less they will think twice in supporting you financially by buying what you have to offer.

I did think "Sabrina" was too dark for a PG-14 rating -- that wasn't the only scene (an earlier one had her and other girls lure school boys into a cave, where they again all stripped to their underwear and started making out -- but it was an illusion / magic and the boys were really making out with each other; she took photographs of the boys all kissing each other to use as blackmail) that made me raise my brows and question the rating. IMO, there needs to be a TV rating between 14 and MA. "Sabrina" belongs in it. (TV-17?)
Anonymous 9 days ago
I'm not inclined to give Pat Boone the time of day, isn't he the one who compared all liberals to a cancerous tumor or something? Among other delightful anecdotes. People don't want him to shut up because he's conservative, they want him to shut up because he's a hate-spewer. 
Julienne Dy 9 days ago
Aside from participating in early voting, I'm not very politically active.  Plus, I don't even know who Pat Boone is or know much about celebrities for that matter, but say Pat Boone is as toxic as you say he is, I'm willing to believe that more people (not you, but other people) would be more inclined to give him the time of day if he had made those same statements about conservatives.  I'm not saying that he's right for making those statements.  I'm just saying that he'd have an easier time getting away with making them if he had chose a different target.
Anonymous 8 days ago
He HAS gotten away with them. His career is still going strong at 84 years old and he has faced little media attention for his comments. As far as I know, I'm the only one on this planet taking him to task for his words. So you're quite wrong. 
Anonymous 6 days ago
Pat Boone is a wonderful religious man who almost stole the show away from Melissa Joan Hart in God's Not Dead 2 playing her grandfather.