5 Myths About Those Tinseltown Liberals
By Andrew Klavan
(Washington Post, Sunday, October 12, 2008)
Hollywood used to be called the Dream Factory, but nowadays it seems to be grinding out as much propaganda as anything else. Next off the weary assembly line: Oliver Stone's "W.," which opens on Friday. If the trailer is any indication, this movie will depict our current president's life as an evolution from drunken loser to dangerous idiot -- and just in time for the election, too.
The director of "Nixon" and "JFK," Stone has shown himself to be a master of rewriting reality until it resembles his left-wing ideology, but he's by no means alone. For the past 30 years or so, Hollywood storytelling has been guided by a liberal mythos in which, for example, blacklisting communist screenwriters during the '50s was somehow morally worse than fellow-traveling with the Stalinist murderers of tens of millions ("Trumbo"); Che Guevara was a dashing, romantic liberator instead of a charismatic killer ("The Motorcycle Diaries"); and the worldwide violence currently being waged by Islamo-fascists is either a figment of our bigoted imaginations or the product of our evil deeds ("V for Vendetta").
Hollywood moviemakers, in other words, have been telling lies -- loudly, constantly and almost always in support of a left-wing point of view. And these lies are most prolific and tenacious when the Hollywood left is lying about itself. Here's a list of their most egregious whoppers:
1. Hollywood has no political agenda -- it's just out to make money.
Would that it were so. All through 2007, Hollywood sent American multiplexes the message: "We don't like the war on terror." All year, American moviegoers sent a message back to Hollywood: "We don't care." "Lions for Lambs," "In the Valley of Elah," "Redacted," "Rendition" -- movie after movie in which our film-land elites derided U.S. efforts to smack down Islamist terrorism bombed at the box office. Even the guys who ran Fannie Mae would have figured out that this was a losing economic strategy. But not Hollywood; 2008 gave us even more anti-war flops, such as "Stop-Loss" and "War, Inc." As ace film blogger John Nolte pointed out, only one war-on-terror film, the mediocre "Vantage Point," did good business. Why? Because it showed Americans as the good guys they are. If Hollywood were all about making money, it would do that a lot more often.
2. Hollywood liberals speak truth to power.
In a pig's eye -- and a pig wearing lipstick at that. Sure, left-wing filmmakers are fearless when depicting snarling, evil Republican politicos, as in "The American President," or savage environment-destroying businessmen, as in "Michael Clayton," or the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, as in the Edward R. Murrow hagiography "Good Night, and Good Luck." But those make-believe right-wingers and long-dead senators have no power whatsoever over the filmmakers. The people who do have power are the executives and directors who hire them, the reviewers who bolster their product and the elite opinion-makers who lavish them with prizes and prestige -- and they're all part of the Hollywood left-wing establishment. To the true Hollywood power, liberal filmmakers speak nothing but slavish conformity . . . and after a while, they start to think it's the truth.
3. Hollywood liberals are liberal.
Is censorship liberal? Movie ideas that don't toe the liberal line are hampered and censored at every level. I have personal knowledge of ideas that were shot down, drastically rewritten and limited in release simply because their themes were pro-American or pro-military.
But Hollywood supports unions, a stalwart Democratic cause, right? Well, yeah, if you watch "Norma Rae" or "Hoffa." But in real life, filmmakers routinely outsource their productions to places such as Vancouver and Budapest, where they can avoid paying union premiums. And when the Writers Guild struck last year, we saw studio liberals turn into corporate hard-guys in the blink of an eye.
All right, but anyone who saw "The Contender," with its tale of a female vice presidential candidate slandered by sexists, might think that the Hollywood left wouldn't run down a politician because of her gender. Yet Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has found that this applies only if you conform to the leftist agenda. Hollywood insiders have attacked Palin with sexist remarks so low and crude they can't even be repeated here.
4. Liberals don't exclude conservatives; conservatives just aren't that creative.
I get this in letters all the time -- and even fielded it while sparring recently on washingtonpost.com: "Why don't you just admit it? Conservatives have no talent!" But how often have we heard this argument made by those on the inside wanting to keep others out? "We're not excluding blacks; they're just not smart enough to manage baseball teams." "It's not that we wouldn't hire a woman; women just don't have a brain for business." There are a million pro-American, pro-God, pro-family, pro-liberty stories waiting to be told and plenty of good writers and directors to tell them. Can't they film "Hard Corps," the autobiography of Navy Cross recipient Marco Martinez, who went from being a New Mexico gangster to a Marine hero in Iraq? Or "My Men Are My Heroes," the rousing story of Marine 1st Sgt. Brad Kasal and the taking of Fallujah? Forget it. The door is shut, the fix is in, and the blacklist -- or at least a graylist -- is alive and well.
5. Hollywood leftists are patriotic in their own way.
Words -- despite what you might have learned at university -- actually have meanings. The meaning of the word patriotism is "love of country." If you don't love your country, you're not a patriot. "When I see an American flag flying, it's a joke," the late director Robert Altman told the Times of London in January 2002. "America is dumb," actor Johnny Depp, who lives in France, said in 2003. Receiving an award in Spain in 2002, actress Jessica Lange told the audience, "It makes me feel ashamed to come from the United States -- it's humiliating."
Making anti-war films while American troops are under fire is not patriotic. Exporting movies that consistently show the United States in a bad light is not patriotic. Ceaselessly casting America and its government as the bad guy is not patriotic, either. And while, yes, I admit that there are many people of good will and patriotism on the left, those who love truth, courage, tolerance and America might be forgiven for wondering whether it isn't time for regime change in Los Angeles.
Andrew Klavan's novels and screenplays have been turned into such films as "True Crime" and "Don't Say a Word." His latest novel is "Empire of Lies."