Hollywood has always been a source of great hypocrisy; this is probably the worst kept secret in La-La Land, where you have producers viciously attacking the values of the middle America audience they rely on for profit. Guns are evil, you shouldn’t own one for your protection, now please enjoy “Die Hard 5,” any Tarantino film, and a new “Expendables.” Given the heavy reliance on guns you can imagine my surprise to come across a column demanding that production in the state of Georgia halt because of their new gun laws.
Feelings are a great thing… I suppose. It’s good to have them, but it isn’t always a good idea to use them as a basis for decision-making. Brian Lowry’s column “Hollywood Should Think Twice About Shooting in Heavily-Armed Georgia,” is a great example of all emotional blackmail and almost no facts.
Film and Television production in Georgia has been picking up steam in the past few years. As a right-to-work state that allows for permit-free shooting as well as other financial incentives the Peach State is an appealing option compared to California. In addition to the financial gain, Georgia offers a variety of locations that can pass for more expensive locales. The 2012 film “CBGB” was filmed in GA instead of New York City. As was every Tyler Perry movie, “The Internship,” “42,” “Trouble with the Curve,” “The Watch,” “X-Men: First Class,” “The Walking Dead,” “Vampire Diaries,” “Drop Dead Diva,” “Teen Wolf,” and “Devious Maids.” It’s actually quite impressive how many shows and movies have been filmed outside of California and New York, despite the stories being set in those states. For example, I was unaware of “Devious Maids” until I read Brian Lowry’s column. A few days ago I watched the show and thought “Wow, they really captured LA, I’m so glad I don’t live there any more.” So despite his claim that it’s a poor substitute, I was fooled. Not like when I watch “Bones” and go “they are so clearly not in Washington.”
Production quality and financial gain aside, the film industry spreading out means jobs for locals. The stars have to stay somewhere (that means hotel rooms filled), they have to eat (that means restaurants filling tables), props have to be bought, sets decorated, below the line crews to be hired. This is a good thing for Georgia and the people who live and work there. This seems like a great deal all around, except for one thing: Georgia has decided that it’s okay for you to carry a gun.
Lowry acknowledges that Hollywood relies heavily on firearms and violence, but doesn’t suggest that they do anything to change this trend. Instead he believes that abandoning Georgia will serve as the big statement Hollywood could make in the debate. That’ll settle things, films and TV shows can still contain violence, but they won’t do it in a place full of legal gun owners. Better to take business back to LA where there’s absolutely NO gun violence (I feel I need to note my sarcasm here).
“Do producers really relish the thought of their stars and crews hanging out in a place where guns are so prevalent – where that loudmouth at the next table might very well be one beer away from letting a few shots fly?”
This column made me think of my second week living in LA. It was 3 years ago now; I was interning for a TV show and came back from a run one day to find out that there had been a shooting on Sunset. Not only had it taken place outside of a store I visited over the weekend, but also one of the victims had been someone who worked at the studio. This was far from the first shooting to occur in the strict gun-law state, and it certainly wasn’t the last one to occur while I was living there. I was constantly worried when I lived in California, co-workers would come in telling stories about how their cars or homes had been broken into the night before, multiple times a week there would be a police chopper overhead shining a light down to try and spot the person they were after. So to make the claim that LA is some how lacking in danger and violence, gun related or otherwise, is laughable and delusional.
Lowry also seems to be under the impression that Georgia is just teeming with backwater folks strolling around the streets with their guns drawn, ready for a fight with one of them fancy Hollywood folks down to make a moving picture. His depiction of Georgians is stereotypical and insulting. He refers to them as “good ol’ boys and gals” who are just so keen to take their guns with them and start shooting up bars and schools. He compares the new laws as a return to “frontier days” and that the state is being turned into “one big gun range.” Kinda like Detroit?
A quick note on the bill that has the anti-gun wing in a tizzy. This bill “allows licensed gun owners in Georgia and visitors from 28 states to bring a gun into a bar without restrictions and carry a firearm into some government buildings that don’t have security measures. It also allows school districts to decide whether they want some employees to carry a firearm and religious leaders to decide whether to allow licensed gun owners to tote to their church, synagogue or mosque (USA Today).” A word to note in that quote: “decide.” It falls to the owners of establishments to make their own choices, a privilege one does not have in California. There you can decide if you want to hand over your valuables to an illegally armed assailant or hide in your closet and let them have their pick.
“Oh, and those peach pits? Turns out they might actually be shell casings.”
No, Mr. Lowry, they’re probably peach pits. Responsible gun owners don’t generally leave casings lying around, but they do like a delicious snack while at the range.