Hollywood\'s Double Standards

Bridget Johnson wrote last week about the lack of Hollywood's attention to communism's record during the last century. She has an idea for a movie.

How about a film on the Soviet Union, beginning with Lenin and the 1917 revolution, droning on to Stalin's purges with hundreds of thousands executed by firing squad, and millions forced from their homes or carted off to labor camps? We'd see Soviet bloc countries strangled under communist rule, Berlin divided with concrete and snipers, Nicolae Ceausescu destroying historic Bucharest. We'd see Soviet terror exported with the scorched-earth policy in Afghanistan.

Red China would make a stellar film that lacks a happy ending--for now. Viewers would see Mao Tse-tung turn the colorful Chinese culture into a gray, bleak "worker's paradise" steeped in hunger and executions. We'd see the Great Leap Forward to devastating famine, murder and destruction in Tibet, women forced to abort their children, and the blood of student demonstrators spilled on Tiananmen Square. Complete the Asian film series with the "re-education" by terror in North Vietnam, the Maoist insurgency in Nepal that has killed thousands, and the hellish nightmare that is North Korea.

Some brilliant young director would have to tackle Africa's woes under communism, such as the starvation in Ethiopia under Mengistu Haile Mariam. And we can't forget the Latin American films, highlighting Peru's Maoist Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) terrorists. And, of course, add a stark motion picture on the fall of Cuba--to be directed by anyone but Oliver Stone--that, though bloody and tragic, can end on a slightly lighter note (and an ovation) with Fidel Castro's fall down the stairs last October.

One day when I'm rich and famous, I'll produce this movie. It'll have to be a trilogy, at the very least. And I'll get longtime Catallarchy reader Robert Brager to direct it.

link via Hispanic Pundit

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I'm constantly amazed by

I'm constantly amazed by producers or writers who make millions ,literally, from the present American capitalist system and yet philosophically produce movies with an overarching hatred of that system. Its confusing to me. They apparently cannot or refuse to see the hypocrysy in that. Oh well, as long as i get paid, haha.

Wild Pegasus, I'd like to

Wild Pegasus,

I'd like to see a film on Montesquieu, given his greater importance to the creation of the Constitution.

Maybe a movie about Algernon Sidney would also be cool; his forgotten influence, efforts, etc. should also be put before the public. Also, the Bill of Attainder that lost him his head is one of the reasons why we don't allow such processes in our form of government.

Sidney's very influential (in the 18th century at least) Discourses Concerning Government: http://www.constitution.org/as/dcg_000.htm

Maybe a movie about the life and ideas of Harrington would also be good.

Its really too bad there

Its really too bad there isn't a libertarian as nuts, rich, and motivated as say Mel Gibson in Hollywood, who does not give a shit and makes the movie HE wants, even if the audience doesn't 'get it' and critics hate it.
Hollywood is the wrong environment for that kind of libertarian person or movie. It'd have to come fron an outsider. It is funny how successful outside concepts like that can be, but it has to be the right time and place.

To cross-fertilize with the

To cross-fertilize with the other thread up right now, I think we need to think about consequentialist arguments for libertarianism vs. deontological arguments for it.

A consequentialist libertarian would be a market optimist, or at least feel the market was the least-bad way of organizing things. If the evidence turned out the other way, they would presumably abandon that position. This is J.S. Mill's libertarianism, followers of which gradually morphed from classical liberals to modern welfare-state liberals.

A deontological libertarian could be a market pessimist. But they might feel that the market (for films, say) produces inferior outcomes to what some other system might produce. But they might argue that it would be morally illegitimate to interfere.
This is the libertarianism of "Everyone should be free to make their own mistakes." They might sigh "There's no accounting for taste" or head-shakingly "It's a free country."

There's this idea out there that libertarianism requires such high levels of tolerance as to require the abandonment of all moral judgement. That is, many people equate libertarianism with libertinism, no doubt because libertarian drug-legalization positions are so shockingly out-of-the-mainstream. (Libertarian positions hostile to income-transfer have large mainstream positions.)

While there may be an empirical correlation between the radical tolerance/libertinism and libertarianism, there's no necessary logical link.

One project I've wanted to

One project I've wanted to see for some time is A Film of John Locke. The film would cover the difficulty he faced in trying to get his Two Treatises of Government published: his editor's decision to discard the second and third treatises, political intrigue surrounding his extended attack on the divine right of kings, musing with friends and associates on the fundamentals of liberty, etc.

- Josh

BTW, I consider Est-Ouest

BTW, I consider Est-Ouest the best Cold War movie ever.

The movie will have you tears by its end. :bigcry:

Johnathan White, Check out

Johnathan White,

Check out Est- Ouest: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181530/ Its a great French film about a doctor and his French wife confronting the horrors of the post-WWII Soviet system.

There have been a lot of generally anti-soviet films, though they just haven't been "historical." They were spy films, or films like Ice Station Zebra. Also try Jet Pilot (starring John Wayne), The Manchurian Candidate, Moonraker (Soviets working with super-villain to nuke London), Red Dawn, Rocky IV, The Hunt for Red October, etc.

There were also allusions to the Soviets in our entertainment, such as the Cylons in Battlestar Gallactica (or at least a heck of lot of folks read them as that series version of the Soviets).

:beatnik:

A good primer for this

A good primer for this discussion is the episode of the Simpsons where Marge and the town start an independent film festival. it encapsulates it all and is gut bustingly funny to boot. one of the best episodes ever.

If the portrayals of

If the portrayals of communism in movies aren’t bleak enough, maybe it’s because people don’t want to watch portrayals of misery unless there’s a happy ending or at least some insight to chew on.

Holocaust movies don't have very happy endings or much insight, and yet they are numerous and somewhat popular. We are starting to see a number of movies about the African genocides of the last few decades.

what’s in movies is what the movie watchers want.

Well, partly. Movies like Armageddon or Pearl Habor may be incredibly popular and satisfy the modal movie watcher, in the same way that Brittany Spears satisfies the modal consumer of pop. But that doesn't mean there isn't a huge market niche out there, or even that consumers might be even more satisfied with better stuff.

Assuming that the market has already spoken leads to the old joke about two economists who, while walking down the street, see a $20 bill, and decide against picking it up, because they assume that if it was really there, someone else would have already picked it up already.

Markets can provide a good indication of what people want, and the assumption that people are already satisfied by the status quo can be useful for some purposes, but obviously the assumption is completely false, else there would never be innovation, new products, or trade.

Who knew that reality tv game shows would be so popular until things like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and Survivor came out? Who knew that formulaic 5-person pop/dance ensembles would hit it big? Without people coming up with and offering new ideas to consumers every day, none of these things would exist.

We can't just assume that the status quo market knows best. The market as a mechanism may be the best way to aggregate and communicate tacit knowledge, but the market's genious is in its dynamism, not its stasism.

Unless someone wants to invent yet another definition of “rationality” the movies we see reflect popular taste, and unless we want to get all elitist that’s a good thing.

What's wrong with being elitist about artistic taste? Do you really want to defend the musical quality of the Backstreet Boys?

ok so lets say theres 20 or

ok so lets say theres 20 or 30 libertarians, out of say 50,000? people roughly employed in this industry. man we're rockin!There are more libertarians than there are in the whole other group who know what a libertarian is. Lots of nice people, i just don't agree with thier over-arching philosophical outpourings, thats all. i go in, do my job, nail the fucker, get my awards and take my ass home.:lol:

I agree with Darcy. But as

I agree with Darcy.

But as to: Aren’t we all supposed to accept that the market knows best?

I don't think anyone accepts that as anthing more than a strawman. Libertarians, from what I can tell, believe in great deference to the market, a sort of: "The market probably knows best" stance. But that doesn't mean an ingenious entrepreneur can't find a new and interesting way to make profit in that market.

Such is the Austrian argument, I believe, though I'm not that familiar with the Austrians.

This came up somewhere else

This came up somewhere else recently, and it seems that the same response applies: what's in movies is what the movie watchers want. If the portrayals of communism in movies aren't bleak enough, maybe it's because people don't want to watch portrayals of misery unless there's a happy ending or at least some insight to chew on. I'm sure Bush would love to hire some latter-day Riefenstahl to make anti-everything propaganda films, and there are some few who would enjoy watching them, but for the most part the market has already spoken. Aren't we all supposed to accept that the market knows best? Unless someone wants to invent yet another definition of "rationality" the movies we see reflect popular taste, and unless we want to get all elitist that's a good thing.

By the way, there seem to be a lot more than five or six libertarians in Hollywood. Even the Meetup.com group claims 15 members, and the California Libertarian Party lists a few more. I guess the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy isn't quite that all-encompassing after all.

IIRC, "Dr. Zhivago" wasn't

IIRC, "Dr. Zhivago" wasn't too bad for coverage of the Russian Revolution and Civil War. I don't remember if the nastiness is portrayed as a few rogue underlings or properly pinnned on Lenin and other bigwhigs.

I don't think they got up to the Stalinist period though.

Well, not completely. As I

Well, not completely. As I recall, the movie opened up with some of the Communist commanders shooting their own deserting troops.

Your right , they are

Your right , they are fixated on the 'just or unjust' ie the twin monsters Sarandon/Robbins, albiet thier idea of 'just or unjust'. i think his idea is far too simplistic but i do know people who think that way. However you want to couch it, and this is anecdotal, almost all of them 'feel sorry for the poor' and feel it is somehow the fault of the rich or 'corporations'. and its a negative feedback loop of self reinforcing philosophy mixed with just plain mal-education regarding facts.its almost exactly like the mob mentality surrounding the Twana Brawley case.BTW my favorite quote from JesseJackson when discussing the crime;
"i don't care 'bout no facts"

Good luck with

Good luck with that.:neutral: i've worked in television and film for years and the odds of you finding a sympathetic distributor, let alone a director are slim to none, and slim just left town. i'm probably one of the 5 or 6 people in this entire industry that would admit to being a libertarian, while most surveys find over 80% admit to being left of socialist, esentially communist's or some derivative(utilitarians). they love it, they admire it, they fantasize about it, and thats just the way it is. Even a movie like "Enemy at the Gate' which was a good book about Stalingrad, COMPLETELY ignored the grostesque scenario around them to focus on the bravery of a communist newspaper hack, and some other murderer/hero of the people. WHAT TOTAL BULLSHIT! the script was asswipe from the beginning and if i were the writer i'd have pissed in the face whomever fucked up my book. But thats' Hollywood. Socialist writers are a dime a dozen, the place is crawling with them. Ultimately you'll never get your movie made without some scumbags brother in law getting hold of your script and rewriting it so that "Ralph fucking Fiennes saves the world through........"

Qwest, My fiance had an

Qwest,
My fiance had an interesting take on why so many Hollywood types make so much money in the capitalist system and at the same time are so far to the left. He thinks its because film is a business where success can depend so heavily on just being lucky. Lots of really talented people don't make it at all, and those who do make it big may be talented or may be Keanu Reeves, but a substantial amount of luck went into their success. Knowing this, they think that everything in the world works that way, and that success is just happenstance, a matter of luck and chance as much as anything, which happens to fall on some people but not others. They feel that's unfair, and want to somehow even it out. Makes a lot of sense to me.