Friday, August 09, 2019


As I mentioned to readers of my newsletter (Subscribe! Cheap!) this morning, Rod Dreher is raging that a screenplay for The Hunt, apparently an upcoming The Most Dangerous Game ripoff in which people are kidnapped and hunted as prey, shows the hunters in the film referring to the hunted as "deplorables," which Dreher, following the age-old conservative formula of judging movies they haven't seen by their collateral materials, took as an assault by Hollywood on conservatives. Other rightwingers have picked up the cry, and Fox suggests that Trump was talking about this during his latest brain-fart about Hollywood, even though he didn't mention the movie and in fact referred to Hollywood's "racism," which seems not to be a factor in The Hunt.

Snopes is, as you would expect, more cautious about the alleged connection and more sensible overall:
However, the ideology and political affiliation of the characters who hunt and kill what appear to be working-class people from largely rural areas remains unclear, despite the aforementioned websites’ repeated and emphatic descriptions of them as “liberal” and “left-wing” elites. Notwithstanding the context of a fictional horror movie, it should be unnecessary to point out that hunting human beings for sport has never been a tenet of Enlightenment liberalism or modern-day American progressivism. 
Equally, it should be obvious to any mature consumer of culture that a movie that portrays wealthy psychopaths paying to hunt and kill other human beings is not likely to reflect well on the wealthy psychopaths, despite PJ Media’s claim that “The Hunt” actually “promotes violence against ‘deplorables.'”
(Snopes is referring to this dumb Matt Margolis PJ Media thing, which cites the Steve Scalise shooting as evidence of liberal bloodthist.) "It should be unnecessary to point out" are of course famous last words in the bad-faith festival that is modern conservative discourse. In fact Dreher seems to understand that the film's intentions are as yet unknown, but spreads his paranoia capaciously enough that no matter what it turns out to be, he can still be one outraged JustTheTip Trumper:
If you watch the trailer, it’s clear that the liberal elites — talk about your armed Social Justice Warriors! — are not portrayed as good. Still, what the hell could NBC Universal be thinking? They are treating the hunting down and murdering of white conservatives because they are white conservatives as entertainment. Or, more neutrally, they are presenting political mass murder as sport. For all we know, this movie will make the Red Staters out to be heroes. That’s beside the point. In a time of deep and rage-filled political division in this country, in which unhinged people are committing politically-motivated mass murders, this is insanely irresponsible. You cannot convince me that this isn’t an example of wish fulfillment on the part of the Hollywood executives making this movie. 
Universal is stirring up and exploiting primal hatreds. And these cretins wonder why so many people hate them, and vote for Trump. At least now it’s more out in the open than ever.
We last saw this kind of willful misreading in the wingnut sputterfest over Shakespeare in the Park's Julius Caesar which, against all logic, conservatives claimed was inciting violence against Trump. Lord knows they're always comfortable misinterpreting things, but I think they're even more eager to do so with movies, plays, novels etc. because they realize even the simplest works of art have power they neither possess nor understand, and the only way they can deal with it is by squeezing its meanings into tiny bullet-shaped units of propaganda.

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