What with one thing and another, I missed the details about James Woods being dropped by his agent, one Ken Kaplan, of the Gersh Agency. Apparently, Mr. Woods’ outspoken conservative political views did not sit well with Mr. Kaplan and were the cause of the agent dropping his immensely talented (three Emmys and two Academy Award nominations) client.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t follow any of the doings of the business I once was part of, and this, in particular, is not the sort of thing to which I would normally pay any attention. Agents drop actors and actors drop agents with such monotonous frequency and regularity—albeit not normally for political differences—that the more interesting take, along the lines of “man-bites-dog,” would be a story about an actor/agent partnership that endures.
But this morning, I happened to catch a news item about the event that included Mr. Kaplan’s tweet to James Woods informing Mr. Woods of the end of their relationship.
My first thought was that tweeting was an exceptionally tacky and unnecessarily public way of breaking the news, but hey, maybe that’s how things are done in the business these days. But what really caught my eye was the text of Mr. Kaplan’s tweet, which read: “It’s the 4th of July and I’m feeling patriotic. I don’t want to represent you anymore. I mean I could go on a rant but you know what I’d say.” (The absence of commas must be a stylistic device of Mr. Kaplan’s.)
Mr. Woods’ response was very elegant and gracious: “Dear Ken, I don’t actually. I was thinking if you’re feeling patriotic, you would appreciate free speech and one’s right to think as an individual. Be that as it may, I want to thank you for all your hard work and devotion on my behalf. Be well.”
At first, I was appalled by Mr. Kaplan’s not even having the grace or courage to break the news to his client face to face, but I was especially struck by his reference to “patriotic feelings,” which I found rather odd. I actually feel patriotic all the time, not just on the Fourth of July.
Mr. Kaplan may only feel patriotic on the Fourth of July, but clearly, like so many well-educated progressives, his annual patriotism is expressed by aping some of the worst tried and true techniques the Nazis used to demonize the Jews: harassment, boycotting, denying opportunities for employment, denouncing those who hold opposing political views, and isolating them as “other.” It might have been nicer if Mr. Kaplan had studied and learned techniques employed by a far greater and more enduring teacher—inclusiveness, tolerance, a willingness to try and understand the other fellow’s point of view, loving one’s neighbor as oneself, following the Golden Rule—but that Book has apparently fallen out of favor in progressive liberal circles these days.
This incident, coming as it does on the heels of Kirstjen Nielson being screamed at in a Mexican restaurant, and Sarah Sanders being told to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia by progressive liberal owner Stephanie Wilkinson, or that paragon of compassionate deeper thinking, Maxine Waters, encouraging people to go after members of the Trump administration, made the comparison to the early days of the Nazi holocaust inevitable. And it begs the question of what conservatives should expect next. Will Maxine Waters introduce a bill demanding conservatives be made to wear an identifying badge, like the yellow star the Jews were compelled to wear? (Possibly a red MAGA hat, something easily stolen from frightened teenagers by violent thugs following an assault.) Should we look forward to an updated version of Kristllnacht, with homes and business looted and destroyed?
Actually, I don’t think we need to worry. Liberal progressives may be ill-mannered, intolerant, and ignorant of the lessons of history, but I think they’re at least smart enough to realize most conservatives are not as cowed and obsequious as the Jews were after fourteen-hundred-years of pogroms and persecution. It’s a shame progressive liberals have only learned the worst techniques from the worst people in history. Almost as great a shame as only feeling patriotic once a year.