It's a measure of how low out expectations are that anyone considers "The Hurt Locker" to show our troops in a positive light. My son, a career soldier, saw it and was angered by the unprofessionalism and foolish it depicted.
There were only two reasons, and TWO only, that caused Hollywood to support the US effort during WWII.
First, and the more important of the two reasons, was that Stalin had ordered the CPUSA to support the effort because of the USSR's war with Germany.
If Hitler had never invaded the USSR, Stalin would have ordered that the CPUSA agitate against US entry into the war.
Note that subsequent to the Hitler-Stalin Pact but before Hitler turned on Stalin, the CPUSA did in fact ACTIVELY AGITATE for US neutrality in that conflict.
Of course, the 2ncd reason Hollywood did not produce anti-American propaganda during WWI was that the FDR administration would have censored it (similar to how Woodrow Wilson, during WWI censored all anti-war activities during that conflict).
A very interesting read is BETRAYAL, written by a former German communist who lived in the USSR during WWII. He describes how Stalin's goals in signing the Hitler-Stalin Pact had everything to do with the expansion of Soviet hegemony and nothing, zero, zilch with "buying time" to prepare for a Nazi invasion. Stalin was absolutely shocked to learn that the Nazis had attacked the USSR.
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Thanks Mr Klavan for this article. I'm posting here at year end, having found this while doing some other reading- and note the huge drop in movie theater viewership.
I'm sure Netflix and the economy have had an impact, but as to this long-time movie fan, part of it is deliberate boycott.
There's no way I am going to pay good money to watch a movie anti-military, given the heroic sacrifice by our young men and women the last ten years.
And I hope someone somewhere will forward this to the agents for the George Clooneys, Matt Damons, Sean Penns, Alec Baldwins (spit), Susan Sarandons, etc-
I wont be paying for any of their new movies, either, or renting the DVDs, or paying for them on cable. I simply wont be watching them at all, ever again.
And in talking to many friends and other movie fans, I find my views are not uncommon.
Andrew I like your St. Louis radio visits, but this column is your writing at peak form.
9/11 changed everything. With the collapse of the towers so did the post '60s, post Vietnam, post Watergate world of moral relativism and presumed American guilt (the only morality recognized). The leftist intellectuals, academics and artists saw their worst possible fate, obsolesence, become suddenly real. They have fought that ever since. Their scene of their greatest triumph in this is the "Nat'l Sept. 11 Memorial at the WTC." It remakes the site so that it does not recongize the attacks; so it does not recognize the innocence of the victims or the guilt of the attackers; so it does not blame the non-Western, non-Judeo-Christian, non-democratic peoples who struck (and being non-democratic is as impt as the others; the intellectual left despises democracy) and does not exonorate America. It was chosen specifically to deny the foundational values - and vices - that were displayed so dramatically 9/11. None of the authentic artifacts, including the iconic Sphere has been returned to the WTC site; the Sphere has been flat out banned. For the sake of a massive monument to our "loss." Where else have we done this? What if past generations had done this at say, Auschwitz?
The vast memorial is a con job; it indulges our wounded psyches in order to eradicate the truth. The movies have been a disaster and a disgrace; however, the real enemy is way more clever than the fools in Hollywood. Thousands will visit the site of the attacks upon America by jihadist Islamic terrorists and never notice that it denies 9/11. See save the sphere on facebook and my online petition.
Read my article "The Stephen Hopkins vs. the Germans" in The American Spectator Online of 6.10.08 (It's indexed under "contributors") and tell me there's not a film in it.
The blame lies with the republicans, and more generally the conservatives, who have no inkling of culture-war. They have access to adequate mney to make good patriotic films, books and other works of art, but they do nothing. The situation is the same in Britain, Australia, and, as far as I know, Canada and New Zealand.
The failure of Hollywood's conspiracy-minded movies is a reflection that people don't take Hollywood all that seriously and aren't guided by it.
That said, what is most disturbing is the apparent willingness of a considerable chunk of what at root is a commercial industry to not only eschew successful commercial projects that offend their political pieties ; but to actively keep others from prospectively successful projects that don't reflect radical views.
This requires a widespread myth within Hollywood that , somehow , the bad anti-American movies are failing for technical reasons or because of suppression of some kind ,and the patriotic movies would bomb because "nobody we know" would like them. The insular obscurantism that requires deserves study , although I hope Mr. Klavan will approach it with his excellent satirical side and less as a jeremaiad.
Hear Hear...that city should be leveled and rebuilt once evacuated after what these leftists have done to it since Vietnam. A freaking heathen haven and downright disgrace.
I agree with every single words of this article
Hollywood is a consequence, not a cause, of our problems. Brings back memories of Ayn Rand, who disdained libertarians because they accepted any non-conformist types who wanted the government to leave them alone.
pitch this idea to Hollywood...remake "TO Hell and Back" the Audie Murphy story, and have the guy who plays Peter Campbell in Mad Men play Audie, he looks just like him. there hasnt been a great American hero portrayed in
American movies in a long time. That movie would outgross all ten of those leftist anti American war moves.
Taking Chance was one of the best movies I've seen in the past 10 years !!
The only even remotely countercultural film post-9/11 is Renzo Martinelli's "Stone Merchant" with Harvey Keitel and F. Murray Abraham. It's far from perfect, but it does, after a fashion, name the enemy. Martinelli is apparently working on an epic about the siege of Vienna in 1683. One may hope.
My mother did me a big favor when, in the eraq of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russel, she told me they were not admiraqble women. So, I looked for other women to admire. Mother Angelica is my favorite.
Jews HATE White Christians i.e. Founding Stock America - so of course Jewlywood "covered itself in shame". Too bad the vast majority of Goy are still sound asleep.
B. Samuel Davis
I, too, tossed my television, and never looked back, for all the reasons discussed in the essay and below.
However: With Netflix (not working for them, honestly!), I can watch shows, without all the propaganda we see on the television. I suppose purchasing DVD collections of these amazing shows is another viable option.
I recommend: Stargate:SG-1, and both spinoffs, SG:Atlantis and SG:Universe, as well as the 3 or 4 movies that came out with that name. Every episode shows nothing but respect for not only our armed forces, but for American exceptionalism. The creators of these shows are to be commended greatly. They are science-fiction awesomeness, and GOOD (in the sense meaning NOT EVIL.)
SG1 is 10 seasons long -- 20 episodes a season -- no commercials...
No Hollywood P.S.A.s telling me how to be a better person by "going green" and change my lightbulbs; no commercials from a network news division; no commercials from a chemical company telling me how virtuous they are because their products are used to wash evil oil from ducks; and on, and on, and on.
Another one: LOST -- completely apolitical serial fiction awesomeness.
Yet another: Walker: Texas Ranger
And another: HEROES -- no political brainwashing BS, nothing but good fiction.
Oh, and theres: Babylon 5, yet another INCREDIBLE series, available on DVD or Netflix, which bucked the "Star Trek" trend of infusing every single episode with Leftism, Marxism, Trotskyism, and everything we see in a typical episode of CSI:Somewhere.
Toss your TVs, America! (Or at least only use them for the aforementioned...)
And Andrew K. you rock, as always.
Could not have said it better - no other issue rankles more than this. And it isn't only movies that failed America, television was just as bad, if not for commission, then omission.
Like many Americans we vote on this issue with our feet. The TV was tossed out in 1991. We rarely go to movies - nearly all of what is made is crap, and shills for leftist causes in one way or anther.
The odd thing is that by going leftist Hollywood is going against making money - ideology has trumped the profit motive. It took an outsider to understand that selling to conservatives is good business.
In other words, why there aren't film makers out there making films for the vast conservative American audience - after all in a capitalist system the mantra is find a need and fill it. That's what Fox did, what conservative talk radio does - but...television, movies? How about a conservative channel? How about films for conservatives and moderates, not just the 18% left?
Don't people want to make money?
Hitler said the same about degenerate art of the jews. The only acceptable artistic output is propaganda according to Mr Klavan. Normalize sexual abuse? Are you insane? This twisted Victorian view of the world is a fine example of why this country is hated the world over, since this view has been domestic and foreign policy with everytime the Republicans have been in power.
Hollywood, as "creative" workers know well is purveyor of fiction,fantasy, lies, dreams, entertainment.
The "artists" play their hands as the skilled professionals they are. When they decide they really are gods/goddesses, then the games begin.
Requiring of the audience exceptional detachment and self respect. Special American national traits derided by soi-disant elites worldwide. Which Hollywood creative artists work/worked for the past half century to belittle every which way in their cowboys of the West. WHY?
we have now as example of the fictions of which Hollywood artists are so adept a Messiah/god? on the ethereal throne in the White House. Educating by example how useful hopeful fictions are in the mundane,the concrete "work-a-day" world in which most of the audience for Hollywood fictions live.
Wow. Hot article! Let's see if anyone is listening.
Andrew Klavan's writing is one of the main reasons I subscribe to City Journal.
I wonder if, between the efforts of the Andrews Klavan and Brietbart, and Rob Long: is there any evidence that Hollywood is re-considering is lockstep with the hard left? it would seem to me that the "talent" will follow the dictates of the producers: as Andrew mentions, the acting community is not rife with deep thinkers.
You got the exact wrong hit on Stop-Loss, although I agree with you in general, and certainly regarding the other films on that list.
Tell me true now, did you actually see Stop-Loss? All the way through? And you considered it just another dollop of demoralzing, subversive lefty crap?
I thought it portrayed the nightmare of booby-trap/IED urban warfare accurately and in the end, the hero --who went AWOL after the suicide of his PTSD'd-out best buddy-- rejoins his AfPak bound unit. No regrets, and his commanding officer was a completely honorable and sympathetic character.
The director, Kimberley Pierce, also made the superb "Boys Don't Cry", for which Hilary Swank won the fully-deserved best actress Oscar.
Hollywood did confuse me then... was I a ruthless and evil kill-bot, or merely a dupe of HALLIBURTON!!1!1!!
LTC John, according to moveon dot org (AKA George Soros) you dupe of HALLIBURTON until George Soros bought 1.9 million shares of Halliburton stock in the fourth quarter of 2006, then HALLIBURTON became noble again and moveon dot org (AKA George Soros) stopped trying to drive down the stock price of HALLIBURTON.
As for the ruthless kill-bot, learn to use that to your advantage.
Well Said!! Kodos for saying what 50% of the American public has been thinking for 20 years.
The Islamist radicals hate us for what HOLLYWOOD portrays as American culture, the loose morals, the skin, the degradation. That's what Bin Laden has said. Don't take my word for it.
Yet they are so beholden to their philosophy they wouldn't believe that if I could prove it true.
PS I stopped going to movies 20 years ago because of all the points you spoke of. I know a lot of other Americans did too. Bring back the patriotisim and we will start going to your movies again.
Saw Source Code. Very interesting flick. But the guy setting off the dirty bomb was...of course...a white guy.
Well said and exactly correct!
Aside from the obvious Democratic/Liberal mindset of Hollywood, they were probably scared of getting killed like the Danish cartoonist. Y'see, the difference between Nazis and Islam is that Nazis were identifiable, organized and proud of their agenda. Muslims are the extreme opposite. They are vermin/cockroaches. No central or physical agenda, like a cockroach infestation. Their agenda is based on lies, from the founder to the rules - it's all based on lies. Subsequently, anything negative of Islam, even criticism, has only one conclusion in a Muslim's mind - *KILL*. Little do they realize that even is Islam somehow won at Global Domination and becomes the norm, it will collapse within from the next generation of rebels.
While Hollywood, in general has not been very favorable to the War on Terror fighters during the Bush years, i would like to give a special callout to a few televison shows that went against the prevailing winds.
1. The Unit: the show by David Mamet about the Delta Force Unit. Numerous episodes deal with fight against Jihadists. The soldiers are not psycho puppets of the Bush Administration. They are multidimensional characters with families who are constantly at risk defending this country from its numerous enemies. You even spend time with their families and see how they cope with what is happening.
2. NCIS: During the Bush years, the show held back from bad mouthing the administration. The military was general portrayed positively. Any episode with a negative military character was shown as not worthy of wearing the sacred uniform. Many episodes dealt with fighting the Jihadist threat (with America being the good guy). There were numerous episodes where civilians, the media, and political figures would try to tarnish the reputations of those in uniform in order to pursue their own political/personal; paying a price for it. One episode even had a political figure frame an Iraq War vet in order to cover-up his own illegal actions. Soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were constantly called "heroes" by the protagionists and commended for their actions.
3. 24: Even though the show ocassionaly attempted to be politically correct. Numerous seasons (including Post Surnow season 8)portrayed Jihadists as barbaric sadists who never elicited sympathy and had no limits as to how far they would go. America was never portrayed as being deserving of the terrorist attacks and the theme of doing whatever it takes to protect the country and its citizens was constant. Those charged with protecting this country were complex sympathetic figures constantly under pressure and having to make many sacrifices and do whatever it took to keep us safe. Politicians form BOTH sides of the aisle had protagonistic and antagonistic characters. Also the theme of politicians/the media/ and political organizations either turning their backs on or interfereing with those who wore themselves out working to protect us in order to further their own political/personal agenda.
Superb article, thank you.
Do what I do - do not go to the movies - it is a fact that this is a product - I will not by their product. Hollyweird might one day get the message.
I believe the producers of hate-America films are targeting foreign audiences. Of all popular media film is most powerful. World-wide malice and violence toward the U.S.A. is fomented by hate-America film-makers who live like kings in Malibu. Wretched hypocrites.
Those films bombed here. What about world wide? Are they turning a profit eventually?
Follywird sucks, and all those anti-Iraq War films, besides bombing, were AWFUL! NOW, they want to show us in a good light because The Messiah was behind his alleged "killing"? Screw them, I aint falling for it, and Ear Leader will still get landslided next Nov!
One pro-military war film that came out after 9/11 was Blackhawk Down, a good film that did quite well at teh bosx office.
This is why FPS military-inspired video games have proven to be so popular recently. Why wait for Hollywood to make the kind of movie we want to see, when we can star in it ourselves?
The upside to this is the same process that has thrown the print and TV news gatekeepers into disarray and irrelevance. The explosion of infomation technology made communications instantaneous and economical. Anyone can now write a blog and capture audience. Expect naer-term improvements in visual media software and inexpensive computing power to break the stranglehold of hollywood and render it into irrelevance. Their days are numbered.
"When America really needed them, our filmmakers betrayed her."
I'm sorry, but this is patent nonsense. I don't think that in the wake of 9/11 anybody really "needed" cinematic panegyrics of the war effort. Maybe the soldiers' spirits would have been boosted by promotion of the war, but Hollywood doesn't exist to promote governmental action: such behavior seems more appropriate in Nazi Germany or the USSR and, as I recall, we tended to criticize such things.
Ultimately, this is all political, as evidenced by the right's anger over the fact that Hollywood finally seems interested in making a movie that portrays the United States Government in a positive light.
There were no bureaucratic roadblocks in place to prevent conservative filmmakers from creating films about the war effort that portrayed our presence in the middle east as noble or righteous. But what would the movie have been about? The accidental predator drone bombing of Afghan weddings? The story of a marine who tries to keep the faith as it seems less and less likely that his unit will find the WMDs they're looking for (sounds more like an epistolary novel than a movie, but ok)? A buddy comedy about the Iraqi Information Minister and his goofball speechwriters who have grown disillusioned with Iraqi political life?
"It’s no surprise, then, that most of our creative types have failed to formulate a forthright response to the ongoing Islamist threat"
What response do you need to a system that is manifestly backwards and evil? Do you really think Hollywood producers and directors envy or respect sharia law? Do you know what you call art that addresses questions to which everybody already knows the answer in a straightforward manner? Bad art.
What would you want to see here? A sort of "The Passion of the Christ" about the treatment of minorities in the Middle East? A "Hostel" for captured American servicemen?
There are books out there that do indeed embed this message. You just won't find them offered by the bigger houses or promoted at all.
The Bible... is our source.
Hurt Locker was pretty nasty. American offers were either fools (the hapless, doomed Army psychiatrist) or war criminals (the lunatic colonel refusing medical treatment to the wounded Iraqi). Private contractors were amoral, cowboy bounty-hunters, and the enlisted men were either pawns (the young private who ended up crippled), confused man-boys working out their intimacy problems (the sergeant that went to war because he wasn't ready to be a father) or addicts that couldn't live without the adrenaline rush.
Bigalow is a talented film-maker. She chose to use that talent to falsely portray the U.S. Army as a nobility-free institution.
I have been arguing on the film blogs and websites for years about the lack of movies depicting the heroic acts of the soldiers serving in the last ten years. Most simple cite Hurt Locker as the ultimate pro military movie without even realizing that it is far from a factual and positive depiction of what is going on over there. Nor can they see all the Anti American movies that have been released since most never went to see them either, hence why they bombed.
Normalising sexual abuse? Little Children has a man wracked with guilt castrating himself. In The Woodsman, the protagonist serves felony jail time and is ostracised by much of his family and he attempts treatment to extirpate his perversion. Neither could be seen as normalising paedophilia.
Towelhead is a more morally ambiguous work but as said about freedom of speech in respect of anti-war films, do directors not have a right to advance the view that young adolescents should be exposed to sex and early initiation by an experienced person is beneficial or at least not detrimental (widely held in Europe), even if it violates American cultural norms of protection from sexual activity until the later teenage years?
They still make movies? When does the next Roy Rogers come out?
Hollywood lost me as a customer after 9/11 for exactly the reasons you describe.
I simply don't go to movies anymore, as I refuse to contribute even a penny to enrich them.
Your griping at Hollywood makes little sense. You disapprove of the post 9/11 war films (I too think most were bad) and then remind us that they bombed at the box office.
To me this proves that things are as they should be. Liberals have exercised their freedom of speech in badmouthing the Iraq war, and markets have made them pay a price.
Little damage was done as these films were only seens by those who already prescribed to that point of view.
Hollywood reacted by churning out propaganda movies that could only demoralize our allies and bolster our low and savage enemies
And how does that not meet the definition of treason, "giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States"?
Call the Copperhead Democrats the traitors they are and have been.
Hollywood did confuse me then... was I a ruthless and evil kill-bot, or merely a dupe of HALLIBURTON!!1!1!!
I wish they would have stuck with one or the other.
A cursory search of the internet reveals a number of pro-war films over the past ten years. (Team America, Flight 93, United 93, The Kingdom, A Mighty Heart and more). Before the war we had all those Tom Clancy movies and "Rules of Engagement." And remember that the Pentagon signs off on any movie that uses American military equipment. Hollywood movies are not as clearly leftist as this article makes them seem. Clearly we are not as patriotic as 1941, but the issues are also less clear-cut and - be honest - not as threatening.
I'm thinking a 60% tax on all film revenue and income on actors, directors, producers, writers, agents and publicists? Sound good?
Ok. Make it 75%
Sexual abuse of children in Little Children? Kate Winslet seemed very much Adult to me...and she did as much abusing as her abuser....
Even if you were to see a Hollywood movie celebrating our war on Islamic terrorism, you would think that something was seriously wrong!
Thank you Mr. Klavan. I think a lot of us have been thinking the same thing, but of course you put it so much more elegantly. All I wanted to do was throw rotten tomatoes and cabbages at the nearest Hollywood denizen. Shame on me.