When the Revolution’s Over

Last week, my friend John Nolte of Big Hollywood fame did one of his classic take-downs of an hysterical leftist reviewer, some doof who went ape over the new family film Secretariat.  To read the fearsome Noltenator at his Texas Chainsaw best, go here.

But what struck me most–moved me most–about this excellent post was this paragraph:

Every smurf-less left-wing film released over the last few years has not only failed miserably at the box office, they’ve also been artistic embarrassments of the highest order. And yet, a good number of openly conservative films and those openly embraced by conservatives have been monster hits: “The Blind Side,” “300,” “The Dark Knight,” “Fireproof,” “Taken,” and both “Iron Man” films have grossed more than the production costs of all those anti-war flops combined. ”The Expendables” is currently thisclose to crossing a quarter of a billion dollars worldwide. Then there’s “Salt,” the “Twilight” saga, “The Book of Eli,” “Grown Ups,” “Gran Torino,” the Narnia trilogy, and the Pixar collection — all of which appealed to the right side of the political spectrum and have, to say the least, done better than respectable business.

Nolte goes on to say that we right-wing cultural revolutionaries should not declare victory yet.  I agree with that, but I believe that–because of guys like Nolte, and his boss Andrew Breitbart, and Jon Voight and Glenn Beck and all the people in the arts and culture business who have refused to keep their mouths shut–we are winning this fight to take America’s culture back from the lockstep left and we ultimately will win it, with great and good consequences for the nation.

Hollywood or Bust!

But what will victory mean exactly?  And what will come afterward?  Revolutions famously devour their own children as those addicted to strutting radicalism, unwilling to sink back into the everyday routine of life, fall to internecine fighting over smaller and smaller heresies to their self-righteous orthodoxy.  Are conservatives just waiting to become the same sort of censors, blacklisters and distorters cultural leftists have been lo these past forty or fifty years?

I personally don’t want to see American arts in which leftists are barred from launching their assaults on the principles of liberty and piety.  I’m not interested in stopping filmmakers or novelists who want to use nudity or foul language–as I sometimes do.  (It’s amusing to think that Shakespeare is the only screenwriter to slip an overt reference to a woman’s private parts past the Hayes office.  See the 1936 film of Romeo and Juliet: “her…quivering thigh and the demensne that there adjacent lie.”)  I don’t need to live in a sheltered G-rated universe where the arts can’t serve their essential role of holding the mirror up to nature and exposing the hypocrisies and evils that infect every human enterprise and society.

What I would like to see is an American culture that understands, if only as subtext, what elevates mankind:  love, faith and sacrifice–and individual liberty, without which those other noble ventures can’t be freely chosen.  I would like to see an end to knee-jerk praise for the shocking and perverted, for work that casually tosses aside the eternal verities to secure an image of tolerance or ironic cool.  That means we need more critics who aren’t so pathetically desperate to prove their hipness bona fides to the ignorant young.

I would like to see culture makers whose hearts are responsible to reason and whose minds are responsible to their moral core.  If they believe in God, let them say why they do, and if not, let them give some reason other than their own smug arrogance at being in with the current trend.  Likewise, if they believe in liberty, let them sing its praises, and if not, let them tell us why men should be servants of the government rather than the other way around.  If all they’ve got to say is that the other guy is Hitler or a heretic, if all they can do is shatter icons they haven’t the talent to make or blaspheme gods they haven’t the faith to praise, let the critics and audience turn their backs on them instead of encouraging them with slavish oohs and aahs.

We already know who we are.  That is, we know who we’re supposed to be:  we’re the people of liberty and reason, whose God is Love.  I would like to see a culture that shapes the image of that ideal for us, even if (as in Macbeth or The Sopranos) it’s just the silhouette of that image formed by the degradation and evil that always surround it.

Less correctness, more truth.  Yeah, I would like to live to see that happen in American culture.  And actually, I’m starting to believe I will.

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  • EdSki

    Karl Marx got pretty much everything wrong, but he did get a couple of things right.

    Every movement sows the seeds of it’s own destruction.

    One of the things that intrigues me about the tea parties is that we are no partisan. We’re against the ruling establishment, and that includes both parties.

    Keep that in mind GOP.

  • verbatim

    We conservatives have a long hard road ahead of us. The left controls three major avenues of information transfer: entertainment, education, news.

    Until we can balance the scales or wrest control of these, we will have our work cut out for us.

  • Susan

    Not sure if a conservative take-over of cultural experience will ever happen since the Politically-Correct ganster’s totalitarian speech-code long ago permanently executed the poet’s freedom of expression.

    I’d be happy just to see a century of re-threading Mrs Warren’s Profession come to an end; this freedom is about all I can hope for in this ‘liberated’ day and age.

  • QA_NJ

    While I generally agree with what you are saying, I do think that limits often challenge writers to write a better story, instead of relying on cheap shocks to move their story forward. How many still-great movies were made under the incredibly restrictive Hays Code and would adding graphic sex and violence really improve most of them?

  • http://moviebob.blogspot.com/ Bob Chipman

    “I don’t need to live in a sheltered G-rated universe where the arts can’t serve their essential role of holding the mirror up to nature and exposing the hypocrisies and evils that infect every human enterprise and society.”

    Then perhaps you oughtn’t cast your lot with a movement that merely aims to trade blind allegiance to a physical State with blind allegiance to an imaginary one. So long as what passes for “The Right” remains infected by religiousity, any gains it makes it is ultimately doomed to lose – even the strongest swimmer will eventually drown with an anchor around his waist.

  • George Crosley

    On such matters, my late friend Russell Kirk was fond of quoting the following passage by T. S. Eliot: “If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as Lost Cause or a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expecation that anything will triumph.”

    Human nature being what it is, we would be foolish to see the ouster of today’s current crop of sleaze-bags, placemen, and garden-variety crooks as the advent of America’s New Golden Age. However, as Andrew rightly notes, it would be a signal opportunity to show forth high character, a return to right reason and fiscal sanity, and a welcome respite from our nation’s current Gadarene stampede toward destruction.

  • K

    @Andrew: It’s a long long way between here and theocratic control of the media. When the culture changed in the 60s, it first went through a period of “anything goes” freedom. If that happens again, the culture can swing either way and right now, based on the fact that the educational establishment is still in fully left mode I’d say the most likely case is once again swinging back to “progressive” mode.

    Then perhaps you oughtn’t cast your lot with a movement that merely aims to trade blind allegiance to a physical State with blind allegiance to an imaginary one.

    Who knew Andrew was a socialist?

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  • http://IndividualistsCorner@blogspot.com Individualist

    Great Read Andrew….

    I always love how the leftist confuses the conservatives desire not to see or hear something whith a police state mentality. We do not care what you do, however if it involves, swearin, nudity, pronography or jsut plain nausiating bathroom style humor we ‘d kindly ask that you let us know and respect our wishes not to have it in direct public view,especially of children.

    If it peaks our interest we might even view or experience it but we’d like that to be discreet. A call for discretion is not a call for censorship despite the overeaction of athesits vegans for comfortable shoes or whatever the fad group of the week is at Soros central.

  • Debra King

    Years ago, I worked at a small print shop whose primary purpose was printing a weekly fishing magazine. We took in smaller jobs to keep the work week full. One of the jobs the owners took in was a small local paper that thankfully never claimed enough readership to keep it alive.

    The publisher of this rag came in one night with all of his flats and photos for us to shoot and assemble for printing. There had been a terrible jet crash of a South American jet locally (this was on LI). This guy had somehow managed to get to the scene and take photos of the crash site including some fairly gruesome photos of those who obviously had not survived.

    Although at the time I was not really aligned to any particular cosmology, let alone a political vision, I found these photos quite disturbing. I told my boss that I thought it was wrong to print the photos. He looked me straight in the eye and said that “this was reality, better get used to it.”

    I looked at him, pointing to one picture of a woman who’s lifeless body had been thrown into a tree and said to him, “That woman is someone’s mother, or sister, or daughter.” I then asked him if he would want his relatives on display like that.

    There are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed, but our culture at its worse has forgotten that. So, for those of us who look before we leap, it remains important to filter through what is on display in a world which seems to reject any limits at all.

    I look to people like Andrew who still seem to care about crossing lines because I do like a certain amount of edginess in what I read and watch, but he has not lost a sense of respect and dignity for his fellow humans and yes, understands the need and desire for depth, meaning and understanding of the human condition.

  • Steve

    Excellent post, with some good follow-up discussion.

    Too often, people forget that individual liberty does not equate to freedom from consequences. Just once (more than once, actually, but once would be a good start), I’d like to see a friend or family member of a fallen soldier approach a “protester” (one of the “God hates America” types) and without saying anything just clock them in the nose a couple of times. Sure, they’ve got the right to protest, but they still need to deal with the consequences of their actions.

    The same thing needs to happen to the arts, metaphorically speaking.