Wednesday, November 02, 2005

COMRADES! IS MAKING (AND TAKING) DOUBLE-PLUS-GOODFILMS FOR GLORIOUS REVOLUTION! Tbogg points out the latest "I claim this cool thing for conservatism" article, this one by Brian C. Anderson, who predicts a right-wing takeover in Hollywood because all his favorite movies promote the Republican agenda. Like Cast Away.

You didn't know Cast Away was right-wing? Anderson explains:
The movie makes us keenly aware of the benefits -- the immense human achievement -- of an advanced capitalist society. (Untypical for Hollywood, Cast Away depicts a big corporation as a caring and effective organization: when Noland returns after his rescue, FedEx takes him in like a long-lost family member.)
Whereas goddamned liberals want us to rot on desert islands.

There's plenty such nuttiness to enjoy there, but may I play killjoy a moment and point out what's really wrong with stuff like this?

It's the presumption that there is no such thing as art -- merely better or worse propaganda. Anderson closes:
If [conservatives] can create a popular cinema that artistically reflects a right-of-center worldview -- rather than crudely imposes it -- it would be a huge advance for the Right in America’s ongoing cultural struggles. After all, it’s not just reason and analysis that will decide the outcome of those struggles. The imagination and the heart -- the Dream Factory’s stock-in-trade -- will play at least as large a part.
That bit about "ongoing cultural struggles" in which the imagination and the heart "play a part" sounds like Stalin running a filmmakers' boot-camp.

Anderson's fellow numbskull Michael Medved asserts that artists make "dark, hard-hitting, critically acclaimed material" in order to get laid. He is of course half right. But he's half-wrong, too, and that's the important part. There are easier ways to get laid than making art. There are easier ways of getting anything than making art. Yet some people continue to do it.

Doesn't it seem as if Anderson could never even imagine a person making a work of art out of pure love of craft? When he looks at paintings, movies, novels, etc., a little meter in his head calibrates each cultural artifact's relative usefulness in the Struggle.

Culture War, these days, apparently means war on culture.

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