Alan Klavan’s ‘Liberal Myths’ in and About Movies
Posted on October 19, 2008 at 8:00 am
Writer Alan Klavan calls Hollywood movies liberal propaganda in a provocative opinion piece in the Washington Post.
For the past 30 years or so, Hollywood storytelling has been guided by a liberal mythos in which, for example, blacklisting communist screenwriters during the ’50s was somehow morally worse than fellow-traveling with the Stalinist murderers of tens of millions (“Trumbo”); Che Guevara was a dashing, romantic liberator instead of a charismatic killer (“The Motorcycle Diaries”); and the worldwide violence currently being waged by Islamo-fascists is either a figment of our bigoted imaginations or the product of our evil deeds (“V for Vendetta“).
Hollywood moviemakers, in other words, have been telling lies — loudly, constantly and almost always in support of a left-wing point of view. And these lies are most prolific and tenacious when the Hollywood left is lying about itself.
This seems over the top to me. “The Motorcyle Diaries” was about Che Guevara’s early, idealistic years, as though it was a prequel to “The Godfather” that just focused on the time between the night Michael enlisted and the wedding scene that begins the film. Unless Klavan wants to insist that Guevara was intentionally and inherently evil in his twenties, it seems to me part of what makes the movie so intriguing is our knowledge of what he became when the injustice that troubles him so deeply in this film persuades him that the ends justify the means and he loses his ability to resist the corruption of power. And “V for Vendetta” is an allegory that is intended to be open-ended so that it can be interpreted in several ways. The movie begins with a reference to Guy Fawkes, whose foiled 1605 attempt to bomb Parliament is still celebrated every year. And it specifically raises the questions about whether the main characters can be seen as terrorists or as revolutionaries — or both — and how to respond to fascism without becoming fascistic.
He does make some good points:
But Hollywood supports unions, a stalwart Democratic cause, right? Well, yeah, if you watch “Norma Rae” or “Hoffa.” But in real life, filmmakers routinely outsource their productions to places such as Vancouver and Budapest, where they can avoid paying union premiums. And when the Writers Guild struck last year, we saw studio liberals turn into corporate hard-guys in the blink of an eye.
I would not say that “Hoffa” is a valentine to unions, but Klavan’s accusation of hypocrisy is well-founded, especially when it comes to the writer’s strike, and I am delighted to see someone who is politically conservative speak out on behalf of unions.
However, he makes an enormous mistake by characterizing the new Oliver Stone movie about President Bush, “W.,” without having seen it, based only on the trailers and advance work. A screenwriter should know better.
And his accusation that liberals are not patriotic is hogwash. He says,
The meaning of the word patriotism is “love of country.” If you don’t love your country, you’re not a patriot.
Liberals love America every bit as much as conservatives do, and it is shameful of Klevan to suggest otherwise. Loving America means wanting it to live up to its ideals, ideal of democracy and freedom that transformed the world. The first principle of the founding fathers was their commitment to challenge, even revolution, to keep the country vibrant and constantly renewing itself. In a moment when opposing political candidates are both running on a platform of change, Klavan should realize that we can best show our love for our country by renewing its commitment to the values at its foundation, those same values of freedom of speech that gave him his space in a “liberal” newspaper.