The Sky is Blue; The List is Black

Over the last forty years, leftism has failed in every particular but one:  it has succeeded in demonizing the opposition.

Leftists will blacklist you—then if you complain, they’ll attack you for whining.  They will call you racist and compare your leaders to Hitler—then if you return the insult, they’ll scream about the decline of civility.  They will do everything in their power to cut you off from media and artistic outlets—then when you create outlets of your own they will savage them for their bias.  Like the mobster in a Raymond Chandler novel, they will beat your teeth out, then kick you in the stomach for mumbling.

As a result of their success in marginalizing dissenting opinions, nothing now creates a greater commotion in modern American discourse than speaking the obvious truth.

Last week during a stop in Washington DC, I gave a five minute interview to an extremely nice reporter named Peggy Star from CNSNews.  I pointed out that, while leftists speak their political minds openly and aggressively in Hollywood, conservatives are forced to meet in secret and speak in whispers to avoid insult and tacit blacklisting.

As if I had said something shocking or hitherto unknown, the video of this interview went viral.  On the left, Nikke Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily attacked me, and Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times called for proof.  On the right, my friend John Nolte at Big Hollywood leapt to my defense and even Sean Hannity asked me about it when I appeared on his panel.

But is anyone, left or right, really surprised or doubtful about what I said?

Can I prove conservatives are excluded from work in the movie business?  Of course not—not without revealing the identities of the frightened people who tell me their horror stories.  Even I, who will speak openly in general, won’t name the names of blacklisters because it would violate the trust of business interactions and close specific markets irretrievably.

But consider the circumstantial evidence.  More than a dozen movies attacking the war on terror without shading or nuance but not one film that said simply “We’re heroically right and they are villainously wrong.”  Not one film exposing the lies and excesses of environmentalism.  Not one in which, say, a brave radio talker battles the mainstream media on behalf of white boys wrongly accused of raping a black girl.  There are narratives—evil corporations, American military abuse, desperate housewives, victimized minorities—that are acceptable and others—the glories of capitalism, America’s defense of liberty, fulfilled homemakers, race-baiting con men—that are not, despite their truth and the fact that the majority of the audience approves them.  That’s proof aplenty.

As always, I’m not petitioning the left for redress here.  I find their worldview deluded, but that’s their business.  Nor do I want their films silenced.  Talent and truth will out.  This is the responsibility of the right:  the right whose TV shows interview Karl Rove (God bless him) a million times but David Mamet almost never, whose magazines review every volume published by every political think tank anywhere but a novel only once in a blue moon, who give no artistic awards and precious few grants and who think, in short, they can beat culture with politics, which is like bringing a club to a nuclear war.

I’m not asking the left to stop excluding us, I’m asking the right to break down their walls.  But it would be nice, for purposes of discussion, if we could all begin by acknowledging the obvious.

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  • Clara Strom

    Thank you for speaking for those of us who “whine” after being ridiculed by tolerant liberals.

  • Keith Rickert, Jr.

    “Stalinists have always subjected authors who publish critiques of Communism to ad hominem attacks, labeling them ‘simplistic’ or ‘obsessive’ or ‘visceral’ anticommunists, the object being to discredit them as paranoids incapable of objective thought. Epithets like these were cooked up more than a half-century ago in the backrooms of the totalitarians’ thought police, yet the non-Communist left, with pathetic servility, still uses them in their strivings to marginalize the heterodox.”
    —Jean-Francois Revel, Last Exit to Utopia: The Survival of Socialism in a Post-Soviet Era, 42.

    “[Classical] liberal societies acknowledge contradictions and entail a multiplicity of viewpoints by their very nature. But for the left and the ultra-left, a regime is totalitarian if it does not guarantee them a monopoly on free expression. ”
    —Jean-Francois Revel, Last Exit to Utopia: The Survival of Socialism in a Post-Soviet Era, 173.

  • shinsnake

    Hey, some of us conservatives are trying to break down those walls, but we either are a) not talented enough to do so (entirely possible, though I hope not in my case) or b) are not being discovered because of the content of our creations. I’ve submitted short stories to Writer’s Digest and Glimmer Train for their contests, all were declined. I’m working on finding a few “right” publishers that will accept unsolicited manuscripts, but most conservative publishing groups are also strictly Christian conservative publishing groups. Or I might try looking for an agent, but I’m only at the beginning and I’m not sure which route to take. I’ve even looked into self-publishing, but really, how does that help spread stories about conservatism being such a small market.

    So, some of us are trying to break through, but it may not happen soon and it may not happen at all.

  • backerman

    We’ve tried and we will. My daughter is a young actress, 15, and was on a couple of shows when we lived in LA a year. She’s committed and was able to share her faith with one of the stars on the show. One goal she has is to host a debate on evolution theory versus creation theory. She’s bright, intelligent (#9 in her class), pretty, and articulate. She stands a chance. But breaking in to the system to sustain yourself takes at least 4 years of going into debt. It’s hard, but there are people who are trying to do it because they love acting, and will stand their ground when they get there.

  • Steve Plitt

    I believe that the most limiting thing for those of us who feel disenfranchised and ignored is our own mindset. We have access to all kinds of opportunities to get our point of view out there; conservative talk radio, Christian media outlets, and yes, even self-publishing. And we have an enormous (and largely free) promotional and
    networking tool– the Internet.

    I’m a filmmaker in Canada and the industry culture up here is that what you do is apply to the government for funding, and if they approve, you make your film. Don’t get me wrong, the commercial option (raise money, promote a marketable film, sell it to theatrical, television and video outlets) but the overwhelming mindset of Canadian filmmakers is that you wait for someone else’s permission to do your thing. And so the Canadian film and television industry is largely moribund.

    But there’s a huge market out there, by all accounts, relatively wealthy, by all accounts, underfed by all accounts, and all we have to do is access it. And we have amazing powerful tools at our disposal. The opportunity looks amazing.

    Andrew Klavan is doing it. Breitbart is doing it. It takes bravery, chutzpah, and a willingness to fail, but keep trying.

    So I’m optimistic. I just have to put on my Can-Do hat.

  • Gerard Knorr

    I think what we should do, is engage some unimportant George Soros flunky in a personal contest of wills, while Rome burns. Maybe he can hire one of them to keep each of us busy individually.

    They could say stupid shit that would never be believed by anyone we could possibly reach, and we could invest all our energies in destroying their tissue paper arguments on their ideological terms.

    And then we win. Slam dunk.

  • Manuel

    Funny how leftists have no problem “proving” racism simply by pointing to what they call “disparate impact,” i.e., “See, there are fewer black broadcasters/studio executives/leading actors/nuclear scientists than there are in the general population, ergo, it must be racism.” But when it comes to establishing ideological bigotry, you’ve got to unearth the innermost thoughts of every Hollywood player. Double standards, anyone?

  • Jesusland

    Brilliant as always, Klavan.

  • joseph sligo


    I am 86 years old and retired. I ran across your article and
    much of what you write is familiar to me because I paid attention
    to politics in the United States.

    I am a longtime fan of Hollywood and I was aware of the Blacklist Problem at the time. I followed the hearings before the House and the Senate.

    I want to compliment you on your article. I found it fair and well-written. Thank you.


  • Mo

    The Left will never acknowledge the obvious, simply because they sincerely don’t see it.

    If you speak up to clear the record after being misquoted or your words completely twisted as happened to you in this incident, the Left will say you’re whining.

    If you speak up about issues like protecting our borders from those who enter illegally, the Left will call you a racist.

    If you choose not to vote for a politician because of their views, the Left will call you a racist.

    It does not matter how many facts you bring to a discussion. It doesn’t matter how polite and patient you are. It doesn’t matter how many times you overlook their bad attitude and continue to be even close friends with them – none of it matters. They cannot and will not see any of these things.

    And once you’ve come to the end of your rope and can think of no other way to communicate what you are trying to say, they will end the friendship. I’ve had it happen so many times that I’ve lost count.

    It really is as simple as that.

  • gocart mozart

    “conservatives are forced to meet in secret and speak in whispers to avoid insult and tacit blacklisting.”

    Maybe that’s because conservatives are by nature COWARDS. Man up and grow a pair and welcome to the free market of ideas.

  • Brianna

    Cheers Klavan. Your PJTV culture videos are amazing :-) Keep on fighting the good fight, we’re with ya.

    P.S. Just in case any liberals happen across this tidbit, the grammatical incorrectness was deliberate. Since you seem singularly unable to distinguish fantasy from reality, I just wanted to make sure you knew that.

  • Mike Wrinkle

    I read material from Breitbart only every great once in a while because I believe Conservatism in its true philosophical form is incompatible with the idea of popular culture( read mass produced culture ). This is why I take exception to Andrew Klavan’s article. Not that I dispute anything about what he says about Hollywood but what he says at the end of his article where he claims that Conservatives need to break down the Left walls in culture. The problem with that, is that Conservatives have assimilated post modernism and the lefts cultural values to the point that they actually want a place at the table. Not to long ago Joseph Farah published an article on his World Net Daily “Why I’m Not a Conservative”, the jest of which was that he could see very little of the current culture that was worth conserving. G.K. Chesterton at the beginning of the 20th century joked that the job of liberals was to ruin the society and the job of conservatives was to conserve the ruins. Today his joke is reality and why Conservatives seeking to influence culture through popular culture is rather mislead if not pathetic. Mass produced culture is a symptom of liberal post modern philosophy which over saw the death of Western High culture at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century. Mixed with new technology and the radical egalitarianism and morally relative aesthetic standard it produced a factory style culture turning out the latest thing forsaking quality and transcendence for variety and novelty. Real creativity is produced by genius and is rare and wonderful thing; you can not mass produce it. Making an industry of creativity can only produce second rate hacks and material that panders to the lowest common denominator. This is the sorry state of culture and education in Western civilization it is nothing but what the late Professor Allan Bloom called the act of Dwarves standing on the shoulders of Giants. On a rare occasion I tuned into American idol to see Cowell berating an aspiring Christian about wanting to be a rock singer and part of popular culture, he informed him that both Rock and popular culture were very much the antithesis of Christianity. He obviously understood something the young man did not just as well the late conservative political philosopher Russell Kirk even up to the day he died in 1994 refused to keep a TV in his house. He obviously new something post modern conservatives do not. Unfortunately as I stated before Conservatives have assimilated much of the left values so that we see them produce shows like 24 with lots of graphic violence and the likes of Limbaugh and Rove make guest appearances on the Family guy who took to mocking Sarah Palin’s child with Downs Syndrome and Terri Chiavo medical state and her family. Rove not only held and attended a $2000 a plate dinner for George Bush’s reelection where the porn star Marey Carey attended and gave her and her date some time for a private conversation. Now we see the defense of South Park crass buffoons on the basis of free speech. There are a lot of things about Western civilization I would love to defend to the death but the guys from South Park aren’t one of them. There is much of popular culture, graphic sex, violence, profanity, vulgarity and obscenity which smells of a peculiar streak of barbarous sadism not unlike Rome in its last decadence with the Circus and orgies. Only you get to experience it in a secondhand way so that you get the thrill of perversion without doing anything you can be arrested for. The Romans in their last decadence were at least honest on a moral and intellectual level about their tastes whereby current Westerners slyly use the excuse it’s only a joke, movie, show, music to excuse their depravity without experiencing a case of cognitive dissonance. I rarely watch any TV and I can count on one hand how many movies I attend in a year, I have replaced most of the pop culture literature and music with classical literature and music and I don’t miss the pop culture very much. I find it in fact a very liberating experience to the point whereby it assumes Orwell’s dictum that as a form of resistance it acquires all the thrill of a vice. It has had a radical influence in unassimilating me from liberal values and post modernism. I highly recommend it. The problem with Breitbart and the people who publish on this site as I see it, they are conserving the ruins by wanting to turn out a conservative version of culture which grinds its axes instead of liberal ones. Great Art, literature and Music tell stories on a transcendental level rather then act as contemporary propaganda, a thousand years from know no one will be interested in the petty arguments left or right of the current culture to seek it out to inform or entertain them selves as culture. Great culture speaks to all people at all times. If Conservatives want to produce culture fine, but for God’s sakes lets not use popular culture as a model, rediscover the high culture Western civilization once produced and use it as your model. Before you want a place at the lefts table take long look at it in good light I think you will find it’s cheaply made of fiber board with a dirty plastic table cloth that hasn’t been cleaned in ages and full of cigarette burns. Get your own table made from a gorgeous piece of hardwood, hand made by a Master craftsman and cover it with fine linen. You will find that a much more stable basis on which to build a culture.
    For anyone reading this who refers to themselves as Conservative or Christian who believes any or all of the following: That tastes are relative rather than cultivated and change with the times rather then transcendent. That any graphicness, profanity, vulgarity or obscenity does nothing to enhance a piece of art literature or music
    but is in fact inspired by laziness and a lack of talent or finally that Pornography is not obscenity and does not qualify as free speech. Further more that aesthetics are separate from morality or that there is such a thing a values rather than virtues and vices then you probably know only what the lefts culture has taught you rather then much about Conservative Philosophy or Christianity and need to be deprogrammed from it before you can move forward.

  • Mark Allinson

    Borrowed Tactics

    Senator McCarthy was a bastard, as we know,
    To damn and black-list artists till they couldn’t get a go.

    We shouldn’t judge an artist by the company he keeps,
    But by his work alone—some of the best were private creeps.

    But now we have the numbers we can use McCarthy’s trick
    To shun and black-list artists who oppose our PC clique.

    And like McCarthy we will tell you who you shouldn’t read,
    We’re poles apart in theory but we’re fascist both in deed.

    by Mark Allinson

  • Daniel Crandall

    Keep up the great work, Andrew. Your clear thought and excellent writing is what we need to inspire conservatives to take on the arts, pop culture and the cultural influence professions.

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