Paint ‘The Town’ Woke

by Shelt Garner

One of my favorite media industry podcasts is The Town. It’s great. I really enjoy it and I recommend you listen to it. And, yet, this most recent episode left me thinking, “What the what?”

So, our intrepid media reporter Matt Belloni had his good buddy from CNBC Julia Boorstin on to talk about gender inequality in Hollywood. So far, so good. I was going to do some blogging this evening and that sounded like something fun to listen to while I did some writing.

And then.

Boorstin comes out swinging, saying that it’s all Hollywood’s fault that starting around 1983 smelly boys took over the software industry because of the popularity of movies like Wargames. Now, some context, as I understand it, most “computers” before the rise of personal computing were, well, people — women, specifically.

And I was a horrible college student and even I know that “correlation is not causation.” Maybe it’s not that Hollywood drove women out of the software industry, but rather Hollywood was picking up on changes in not just society, but all the wealth being generated by successful programmers. And it’s a pretty high level of “presentism” when you assume that given such a development that Hollywood execs would suddenly show a 2020s level of wokeness and decide they were going to produce all these movies showing how great it would be for young women to be programers.

Of course the did what they would always do up until Woke Hollywood — try to tell stories that got people (specifically sweaty young people who needed a dark movie theatre to make out in) into theatre seats. Again — I just don’t think you can blame Hollywood for “driving women out of the computer industry.” Hollywood is reactive, not proactive on a lot of social justice issues — and everything else, for that matter.

But, back to the story. No longer was a human “computer” using brute mental force to get us to the moon. Now, it was male programmers who were doing a totally different type of job with a totally different value in the eyes of society. And I just don’t see any scenario where Hollywood back in the day was going to say “THIS WILL NOT STAND” and be go out of their way in 1983 to make sure women continued to be “computers” only now called “programmers.”

It’s all very murky and could be interpreted in a variety of ways. It all depends on your agenda and if you want to sell books about the gender gap in high profile industries or not.

First — does pointing this out make me “problematic” and “canceled?” Probably. But, in my defense, I point all of this out because “wokeness” — specifically in Hollywood — is really, really hurting that industry. As the popularity of Top Gun: Maverick attests, sometimes, people just want to see a movie without any ulterior motive.

And, I will note, that I’m writing a six novel series with a lot of representation and a lot of empathy. And, yet, of course, given that I’m a middle age CIS white male and a lot of Leftists will probably freak the fuck out that I would do such a thing — even if I try to be as empathetic as possible to women, the LGBTQ community and POC.

Given how many non-male, non-white, non-straight characters I have planed for these six novels I’m working on, it’s going to be pretty ironic when I’m attacked when I don’t fit the media narrative on this specific issue.

And, really, like I said, this is all a matter of interpretation. It’s easy to spin the particular in either direction. But at least, even I, someone who sees himself in the center-Left spectrum of the political debate, have to admit that “woke Hollywood” exists and it’s poorly serving the audience.

Author: Shelton Bumgarner

I am the Editor & Publisher of The Trumplandia Report

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