The 10 nominees for 2022 Cultural MVP

The late Andrew Breitbart is credited with the observation, “All politics is downstream from culture.” Wanting to create a podcast that dealt with something other than the news of the day, my partner-in-crime, Hollywood veteran Loy Edge, and I have launched “Upstream,” a podcast dedicated to exploring the cultural source of today’s political issues.

As a year-ender, Loy and I will award the first annual “Upstream MVP,” the recognition of that person who contributed most to the advancement of American culture in the otherwise misbegotten Biden era.

Below are my 10 nominees in a preliminary ranked order. I have not conferred with Loy yet, and I am sure I am overlooking or underestimating someone, so all input is welcome. We will make the final announcement before year’s end. Stay tuned.

Dallas Jenkins is the creative force behind “The Chosen,” arguably the best depiction of the life of Jesus Christ yet put on film. This multi-episode, crowd-funded series is in its third season. More than 100 million people worldwide have already seen at least some of the episodes, which have been translated into 62 languages. Jenkins has shown that, if done well, Christian-themed broadcasting can compete in the otherwise venal entertainment marketplace.

Seth Dillion did not start The Babylon Bee, but he bought it and helped turn this genuinely hysterical Christian satire site into a cultural force to be reckoned with. His refusal to back down when Twitter banned the site for naming trans Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine “Man of the Year” prompted Elon Musk to buy Twitter.

Enes Kanter Freedom recently was named “Most Valuable Patriot” at Fox Nation’s Patriot Awards Show, and Mr. Freedom surely deserved the honor. Turkish by origin, Enes Kanter became a United States citizen in 2021 and legally changed his name to “Enes Kanter Freedom.” A New York Times headline summarizes the risks he has run to stand up for liberty. “Enes Kanter Freedom has condemned human rights abuses in Turkey for years. Now he claims the NBA is blackballing him as he focuses on abuses in China.” Although a healthy 30-year-old, no team in the kowtowing NBA seems willing to sign him.

Naomi Wolf was once the darling of the feminist movement and a telegenic consultant to both Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Now she is dismissed by the left as a “conspiracy theorist” and worse. Her 2022 book, “The Bodies of Others,” not only deconstructs the fraud surrounding the COVID mania, but it also, and perhaps more importantly, reveals the authoritarian inner workings of what Wolf calls her “liberal elite tribe.”

Chris Rufo, writing from his perch at the Manhattan Institute, somehow managed to become the public face of the fight both against critical race theory and gender ideology in America’s schools. Not yet 40, Rufo has had impressive success on both fronts.

Robert Kennedy Jr. has likely sacrificed more invites to dinner parties than any other American in the last two years. He put his name on the line to expose the fraud of America’s public health establishment. His page-turning bestseller, “The Real Anthony Fauci,” is a must read for anyone interested in the real history of COVID or for AIDS for that matter.

Tucker Carlson cannot replace Rush Limbaugh – no one can – but he has emerged since Rush’s death as the most formidable conservative voice in the media. Carlson talks about subjects many other conservatives will not, including the shocking injustice of the January 6 witch hunt and America’s mindless involvement in the misbegotten war in the Ukraine.

Ron DeSantis, Chris Rufo tells us, “shows conservatives how to fight the ‘culture war as public policy.'” If proof were needed, Disney’s quiet surrender in the battle with Florida’s stalwart governor is exhibit A. (Please do not take this as a presidential endorsement. At this stage, I am sitting out the self-destructive internecine squabbling).

Clarence Thomas finally delivered the big one, the overthrow of Roe v. Wade tyranny, 30 years after the “high tech lynching” he endured to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. In the six years since Justice Scalia’s death Thomas has served as the anchor on the bench. During his tenure, President Trump delivered the support Thomas needed to make the Supreme Court the one national institution resistant to the walking woke. As was evident in the 2022 midterms, Republicans need to find a strategy (and the backbone) to manage this newfound freedom.

Elon Musk reshaped the cultural landscape with his Twitter purchase in a way no one could have anticipated just a year ago. The left may or may not succeed in destroying Twitter, but in their panic they have already destroyed any attachment to the word “liberal.” Atticus Finch would not recognize them. The mob in front of the courthouse most certainly would.

Dissenting opinions are welcome. The winner of the first annual Upstream MVP will be named before year’s out. Stay tuned.

For more info or to see the most recent Upstream podcast, check

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