Had a good time last week at Bouchercon, the annual crime writer’s convention. I believe this was my first trip there, but I may have gone once before. I did a panel called “A Gathering of Eagles: The Heavyweights,” which I figured translated as “Fat Old Men,” but turned out instead to be me, Joe Finder and Martin Cruz Smith talking about our careers, moderated (very effectively) by Wallace Stroby.
I couldn’t help noticing the number of people–readers and writers–who came up to me at the conference, dropped their voices and whispered half-jokingly, “I love your political stuff too–but don’t tell anyone!” Reminded me of a column I wrote a few years back for the Washington Post, asking cultural conservatives “Why are We Whispering?”
In filmland business meetings, the executives, producers and talent feel free to wax on about how stupid President Bush is, how evil American foreign policy is, even what awful human beings conservatives are. Hollywood rightists, meanwhile, are reduced to holding secret gatherings to confess their beliefs in sympathetic company.
The results of having a bold artistic left and a cowering artistic right are clear on both the big and small screens. It’s not just the movies attacking the war on terrorism or rehashing Joe McCarthy’s peccadilloes or sanctifying murderous communist thugs such as Che Guevara. Those are mere vanity projects bravely speaking leftism to leftists. Far more pervasive, and damaging to our society, are the off-hand leftist assumptions that underlie a vast majority of mainstream TV shows and films: American might is sinister, soldiers are criminalized by war, Christians are intolerant and hypocritical, housewives are desperate, corporations are evil, the environment is in mortal danger from wicked man and, in general, something is terribly wrong with mainstream society that only the wisdom of radical types can cure.
You can read the whole thing here. And stop whispering!