The Chicks on the Right aren't your father's idea of conservatism.
Brassy, bold and brimming with humor, Miriam Weaver and Amy Jo Clark bring a new brand of right-leaning banter to their Indianapolis radio show and blog. The duo added authorship to their collective bio last month with “Right for a Reason,” the pair’s new book.
HiT checked in with the conservative “Chicks” to share their views on modern conservatism, pop culture and how their book can steer the GOP toward a brighter future.
HollywoodInToto.com: You started out as bloggers and became radio personalities. Was a book the next logical step in your career evolution, or was there a specific spark that inspired it?
Miriam Weaver: It was definitely the next logical step! When we were first contacted by our literary agent in the fall of 2012, and she suggested we could write a book, it was like a dream come true opportunity. We also have a bi-weekly column in the Indianapolis Star, and both of us have always loved writing, so a book was the perfect way to keep that ball rolling!
Amy Jo Clark: I think it was an organic next step. Reaching a broader audience has always appealed to us, but we never had the desire to self-publish, so when our literary agent reached out to us, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to write this book. I’ve been a professional writer my whole career, but I’ve always written for other people. After writing countless pieces for other people over the past several decades, it was somewhat cathartic to finally have a book with my name on the cover.
HiT: The new book includes tips on a “conservative makeover” .. can you give us an example or two from the world of entertainment or radio to give people an idea of your perspective?
MW: The last chapter of our book is devoted to ideas about how individuals and the GOP as a whole can makeover conservatism. The key is messaging, which the GOP has notoriously sucked at. We need to embrace pop culture more, use it to our advantage (or at least use it as well as the left does), and get out “in front” of conservative messaging. Conservatives have a great story to tell, but we need to improve our story-telling skills! As we say in the book, “politicians need to go on talk shows, go on Saturday Night live, get on “Between Two Ferns” and help the American public understand that they are human beings rather than one-dimensional politicians.”
AC: Conservative entertainers exist. They’re out there – I’m convinced of it. I mean, there’s NO WAY that Hollyweird is made up entirely of liberals. So, I’d really like to see those conservatives come out from behind the shadows, start showing their true colors, and be brave enough to say, “Hey! Look at me! I’m conservative!” But we have to give those folks some backup and support to do so. I’d like to see the GOP use social media more, get on the offense more when it comes to messaging, and generally be more pitbull rather than Pomeranian when it comes to demeanor. We’re too polite all the time, and it’s to our detriment. We need to have a little more edge. We need to engage youth. We need to be willing to play Democrats at their own public relations game. It may not be fun, but we need to be willing to get our hands dirty and just do it.
HiT: Your writing and radio show employ a great deal of humor. There’s a common misconception that conservatives aren’t funny — how do you respond to that, and are conservatives partly to blame for that image?
AC: The happiest and funniest people I know are conservatives. I look at some of the comedic liberals out there – the Bill Mahers, the Sarah Silvermans, the David Lettermans….those people seem freaking miserable to me. Our radio show format is about 70 percent pop culture and 30 percent politics, and we often get mail that we’re laughing too much and having too much fun and we’re not serious enough compared to other shows out there, so yeah – if people think that conservatives don’t have a sense of humor, perhaps they should check out our show or our website.
Without question, there’s a bias in all forms of media now – including comedy. — Amy Jo Clark
HiT: Regarding humor, many of the major comedy institutions have treated President Obama with a deference not shown to previous presidents. What is your reaction to that, and has political humor become weaponized by today’s humorists in the wake of Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impersonation?
MW: Absolutely. But that’s not to suggest that what the left has done is bad. On the contrary, their use of satire and humor has been a BRILLIANT way to capture the interest of otherwise non-engaged people. We need to do the same thing, but do it better. We have mocked Obama’s appearances on non-serious programs, because it’s true – the pass he gets in the media as a whole is absolutely shocking – but honestly, it’s probably a lot more effective to copy that formula, and use it to our advantage, than it is to pout about it.
AC: Without question, there’s a bias in all forms of media now – including comedy. The liberal left has treated Obama with kid gloves up until the last 6 months. And it worked to get low-fos (low-information voters) to the polls to vote Democrat. THIS IS HOW THEY WIN ELECTIONS. And this is how we need to fight back. Just like Mock said, we need to emulate this tactic, and then do it better.
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HiT: What role does pop culture play in the political landscape? Do celebrity endorsements carry real weight, and how should conservatives respond when Hollywood en masse throws its support behind a particular candidate or cause?
MW: This is where conservatives fall flat. First, Hollywood is dominated by liberals, so we’re already at a huge disadvantage, but we have an opportunity to use pop culture as a way to reach people. For example, we employ a huge number of pop culture references and story lines on our radio show. We do it because if we can appeal to non-political folks via stories that they’re interested in, and capture their attention because we mention Kim Kardashian, we hope to hold their attention when we then tie in a conservative theme.
AC: Unfortunately, pop culture has replaced real news for reaching people and getting messaging across to the masses. What we’ve always aimed to do on our website, our radio show, and in our everyday vernacular is to engage people with pop culture stories – really draw them in – and then once we’ve established a relationship with them and gained their trust, we can talk to them about politics. We’ve had people come to us and say, “You know, I used to be a liberal, and I hated everything you used to say, but then I started listening to you and reading your site, and because I genuinely liked you girls, I kept listening/reading. That’s when I started hearing what you had to say about politics, and now I’m a conservative, because what you say makes sense.” We know where the public’s interest lies, and we know that if we get their attention with a story about a chick with three boobs (seriously, that happened), we can keep them for a while and talk to them about the economy for a few more minutes. This isn’t by accident. We totally do this on purpose.
HiT: How can conservatives use new media (social media, blogs, podcasts) to share their views and change a heart and mind or two? What lessons have you learned that you can share?
MW: Be real. Be authentic. Be interesting. We’ve always said, since Day One, that we would stay true to ourselves no matter what. And we’ve understood from the get-go that it’s impossible to please everyone, so we’ve never bothered to try. That’s probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned from this journey. We’re happy to report we’ve changed a number of hearts and minds, and that gives us immeasurable satisfaction!
AC: Don’t copy someone else – be yourself, because trying to be something other than you would be exhausting. And remind yourself why you started using social media to “share your views and change a heart and mind or two…” For me, it’s my kids. I want them to inherit an America that I once knew. And that fires me up every single day to do what I do. Whatever that one thing is for you – remind yourself what it is…every single day.
HiT: How do your readers and listeners respond to Hollywood’s leftward tilt? Do they separate the actor from the actor’s political stance, or does it impact how they spend their entertainment dollars?
MW: It’s always interesting to us to see how rabidly angry conservatives sometimes get when we post a clip of interest from a left-leaning celebrity. For example, we loved when Ellen DeGeneres poked fun at Matthew McConaughey’s car commercial, and posted the clip on our website. We were disappointed at the number of people who, simply because they don’t agree with Ellen’s lifestyle, either refused to watch it, or watched it and then ripped on us for posting it. The good news is that the vast majority of our followers can appreciate humor, good acting, good music, etc. from liberal performers and put aside the political differences. But there are a lot of boycott-happy folks out there, too!
AC: I think most people will still watch movies and spend money on good, fun entertainment regardless of the actor’s political stance. Otherwise, they’d not be living in the lap of luxury that they do, since about half of us out there are conservative, right? It sure would be nice to see a dent in their lifestyles, though, especially for lefties like film producer/executive Harvey Weinstein who says he’s not going to make any more movies with “gratuitous (gun) violence” in them. Well, now that he’s made $150 million from movies with gratuitous gun violence, that’s really convenient for him. To further answer your question, I personally won’t go see any of his movies, because they’re hyper-violent, but the fact that he’s a hypocritical jackwagon doesn’t help, either.