Sitting down to write this article I pondered many things, and before I loose anyone please do not think I’m a big fan of Hollywood these days. Coming up with an article about guns in Hollywood and pop culture was a fun task because it lets me write about something I love, guns, and something I’m always complaining about….Hollywood. My wife hates it when I chuckle in the middle of a movie gun battle, she knows I’ve just seen something that is not possible. Like a six-shot revolver shooting ten times, or a shot of a bullet going through the air still sitting in its case. My favorite movie faux pas is when an actor holds something like a Glock sideways…..I can’t restrain my amusement. I always say to my wife….”That spent casing is going to hit him right in the face when he fires that!”
We are seeing the emergence of pop culture in other countries throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. It is like a global awareness with no consciousness. Pop culture is mostly defined as many different cultural segments that overlap each other bringing people together under one cultural urbanism. Some of these include; media culture, image culture, and consumer culture. There are more of course, but these three are the major segments that make up most of America’s pop culture today.
In my experience and research I have concluded that in America today Hollywood and our pop culture are so intertwined that one affects the other. I will bet you a million dollars that more people know about Angelina Jolie’s recent breast surgery and why she did it, than know two honest facts about George Washington. Besides being our first elected president and that he is on the one dollar bill. Stand on any city street corner and ask passerby’s to name just one true American hero. You will get names like Oprah, Clooney, and Damon, before you ever hear, Washington, Lincoln, or Kennedy. If they do say JFK it will only have to do with his womanizing, and very few know who Martin Luther King Jr. was beyond the fact that we have a holiday named after him. This is all due to what is on TV or in the movies.
The media (Hollywood and TV) make movies and do stories with their tint, and taint ideas and facts. Special effects in Hollywood have become so much a part of the fabric of films that people often forget that they are being entertained and the effects are for enhancement. That is how we get guns that can shoot more than they can hold. If people would spend one day at a shooting range I’m sure they would be amazed at what they have perceived as reality isn’t so.
Television news and documentaries have agendas that work to swing public opinion in one direction. Leaving out facts in a news story is to me as bad as lying. Take the George Zimmerman Travon Martin case. People think it is more plausible for Mel Gibson to shoot a smiley face in a target with a Beretta 92 at over 25 yards distance, then it was for George Zimmerman to get his pistol from behind his back when he was fearing for his life. Thanks to Hollyweird (A Duck Dynasty quote), people will believe the truly impossible, and then pop culture spreads it around as fact. I discovered that pop culture is explained in some academic circles as a modern folklore. Explaining it in this way, one can understand better just what it is.
Folklore is of course storytelling and basically gossip by word of mouth. Thanks to the internet since the 1990’s word of mouth has evolved into a global mass media that incorporates traditional news organizations, political groups, and private individuals. The folkloric element of popular culture engages heavily with the commercial element, the public has its own opinions and doesn’t always embrace every aspect of popular culture. But, more often than not in the case of firearms the public is swayed to believe the unbelievable.
Mark my words, popular culture, starting with individuals, then political groups, and through our media, will….if it has not already… give Hollywood the idea to start writing stories about both Zimmerman and Martin. There will be elements of truth, but it will be tainted by untruths, omission of facts and popular culture opinions. One influences the other. Pop culture and Hollywood feed off each other, and one cannot exist, or at least thrive, without the other.
Hollywood has forever exaggerated the use of firearms. The Lone Ranger throwing his bullets out of his gun while riding Silver fearlessly comes to mind. Or the well timed shot in a “B” western that grazes the bad guy just right so he drops his gun. The difference from then to now is that people knew the reality of guns in those Silver Screen days. Since Americans have stopped using guns as tools, and more as recreational items, the awareness of just what they are have been forgotten.
Those of us in the gun community should understand this all too well. We have been persecuted and blacklisted for many years. It is time to band together and fight our banishment from the pop culture debate. We can’t win in Hollywood until we win in the popular culture arenas. You don’t have to be a member of a gun club or the NRA to do this; you just have to stand up for yourselves. We all know the kind of people we are, yet we are allowing our identity to be defined by people who are full of narcissism who have never asked us any questions. They don’t want to because they don’t want to be proven wrong; in their minds guns are evil because Spielberg has said so.
Whether you are a hunter, collector, NRA or other club member, or you have one lone .22, or one day you want to own a firearm, we are all in this together. Gun ownership and camaraderie, transcends political ideology and parties. There are no barriers of race, color, or religion. Gun owners as a group are united in freedom, and are the most democratic segments of our American population today; no other groups can say that. It is time for us to be united in our fight against the factions that want us to go away. Point out to family and friends inaccuracies you see in Hollywood films. When someone believes news stories you know are wrong, say something. Tell people that Hollywood stars don’t have to be afraid they have private armed security. The best point to make is that many of them make their living using guns in their films! Don’t be afraid we are all together in this. We have to fight back, we have to change public opinion and with that popular culture itself will begin to change. Remember, to see a wrong and to do nothing, is the same as committing that wrong yourself.
Cecil Beal is the owner of 2nd Hand Heaven, LLC, firearms business. He has been involved with guns his entire life, as a shooter, hunter, and gun advocate.