Yes, Hollywood celebrities can be very annoying, self-righteous liberals. But when one of them makes a serious effort to get to know red state America, and steps outside of her bubble to do so, she deserves praise.
Which brings us to Sarah Silverman. Her new show on Hulu, I Love You America, has her traveling to red states to encounter people different from her—i.e., conservatives in flyover country.
In a recent interview in Entertainment Weekly, Silverman displayed a humility and understanding of conservatives that hopefully will rub off on the rest of Hollywood. Silverman had just returned from a visit to Mineola, Texas. Eighty-seven percent of the town, which has a population of only 2,000, voted for Trump. She also had dinner with a family in Louisiana who she said voted for Trump and had never met a Jew.
Here’s how Silverman described the dinner: “It was interesting. I fell in love with this 7-year-old named Blaize who just broke my heart. He and his grandfather, who is five years older than me, talked about how Blaize got one of his guns taken away because he shot it too close to a little girl. This 7-year-old has a shotgun, a BB gun, and a rifle. And I’m not judging it. It’s a different culture.”
Silverman went on to note that while Trump’s election was the catalyst for the show, trying to understand the people who voted for him is what keeps the show interesting:
The night Trump was elected, for instance, I remember thinking to myself I need to get a gun. And I need bottled water and canned food. Then I thought, oh, this is how a whole bunch of people were feeling when Obama was elected, and although I can’t relate to that on any level I can now understand that feeling of not feeling safe or feeling like you need to protect yourself from the government. So although I can’t at all relate to Obama’s election instigating that, I now have to understand what that feeling is. I was suddenly able to.
She’s also surprisingly honest about what Trump’s victory over Clinton meant for Democrats. “We had our smug smiles wiped right off our faces and until you’re able to look at yourself in a micro way or a macro way and see how you need to change you can’t expect anyone else to change,” Silverman said.
Most celebrities can easily avoid interacting with the public that supports their lavish lifestyles. But comedians are different. As Silverman notes, “As much as comedians are enmeshed in the liberal-bubble universe, we’re also the one form of show business that travels the country—all reaches of it—and whose job it is to connect with people no matter how different-minded. We are both Marvel and DC. It’s inherent in our nature.”
Sarah Silverman, a gifted comedian, has done a lot of things that have annoyed conservatives and religious traditionalists over the years, such as making tasteless jokes about Jesus and indulging in gratuitous anti-Trump rants. But now it appears she’s decided to take a new approach, one that literally reaches out and touches (with a hug and a conversation) people on the other side of the political and cultural aisle. Good for her. I for one will be tuning in to see how her experiment fares.
Image: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Sarah Silverman Uploaded by maybeMaybeMaybe) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons