Think of this as Volume 17, Number 27 of the newsletter I have written weekly since March, 1997. Enjoy.
Let's see what's at the cinema:
- After Earth – A father-and-son find they can only rely on one another after everyone else has been forced to abandon it.
- Man of Steel – Superman turns out to be a farm boy who must choose to fight for Europe against his own people.
- This Is The End – Rich Hollywood stars, and Hollywood, get the apocalypse they deserve. (right)
- World War Z – Only one man can save us from the zombie apocalypse.
- White House Down – A black President and his White House must be saved by a white tourist.
- The Lone Ranger – This time, Tonto tells the tale. And the white guy is still the good guy.
- Red2 – The CIA saves the world from nuclear disaster.
Notice what all these films have in common? They're generally about rugged individuals saving a complex civilization through the use of their rude simplicity. When liberals appear, they're the butt of the joke.
They are all, fundamentally, conservative.
This is a feature, not a bug. And it's a feature that doesn't bode well for conservatives going forward.
Fact is, the culture is always a consolation prize of politics. That's the way America plays it. The winners go into power, and the losers go into the sticks. Among those sticks is the entertainment industry.
A lot of liberals cheered a generation ago when they took over the culture in the wake of Nixon's election. Why, even Dick Cheney wore sideburns. All the movies featured well-scrubbed liberals (and sometimes not so well-scrubbed ones) doing good liberal things and thumbing their nose at “the man.”
Ever wonder why that was? Because liberals had been thrown out of power, for good. Or at least for the lifetime of most liberals who got tossed. Without Watergate there would have been no congressional “Class of 1974,” no Carter Administration, and maybe liberals would have noticed how they were getting tossed a bone by a harder, more ruthless political opponent with better things to do than care.
It was similar after 1932. The Hays Code made the culture much more conservative during the Roosevelt Administration than it ever had been under Hoover. Jazz evolved into the “Big Band” era, where large numbers of musicians subsumed their identity under one leader's vision.
My Man Godfrey (right) made rich people the butt of its jokes, but the rich remained in charge, and while the poor showed them the way, they always gave back the reins. Young men and women became “boys and girls” – watch a movie of the time and you're sure to see the director call them all “chillun.” Mickey and Judy were well-behaved.
It takes an awful lot of effort to create and sustain a political thesis, a set of myths and values that are used to exercise power. It takes a lot of effort to push this thesis past its entrenched oppoistion, and to create meaningful political changed. And while that happens, the eyes of the rising Thesis let their attention drift away from the culture – they basically give up on it.
So my point is simple. The rise of conservatives in media, in the culture, is actually a good thing. They're defending institutions and morals while liberals govern and impose a different kind of change on the country.
It's one of those great historic ironies, an “only in America” sort of thing, and it happens all the time. It's happening right now. Go to the movies this weekend and see.