Monday, September 26, 2005

Like a Fish in Water

A.O. Scott of The New York Times wants to prove that the myth of a liberal movie industry is dead. How? By citing two current box-office hits, Just Like Heaven and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and a few other recent films that are putatively conservative or libertarian in outlook. In "Reading Hollywood, from Left to Right" (Sept. 25, 2005), Scott asserts that
the studios themselves, especially after the stunning success of Mel Gibson's independently financed "The Passion of the Christ," have tried to strengthen their connection with religious and social conservatives, who represent not only a political constituency but a large and powerful segment of the market.
All this tells me is that Hollywood is interested in making money, which is fair enough. (Unlike Hollywood hypocrites who make big money with movies that criticize making big money, I don't begrudge the money Hollywood makes.) But Scott's assertion says nothing about the determinedly Leftish politics of most Hollywood stars and big-wigs.

Scott's evidence for the demise of Leftism in Hollywood is the supposed pro-life stance of Just Like Heaven, which apparently has a slapstick finale; an appeal to open-mindedness about religion, which is evidently the message to be taken from The Exorcism. . . ; Mel Gibson's surprisingly successful The Passion of the Christ, which I recall being anathema to Hollywood before it became a hit; and a rather dumb action-hero animation known as The Incredibles, which I found to be an inferior version of Superman, Captain Marvel, and Batman comic books. And that's about it, out of the hundreds of movies churned out by Hollywood and the so-called independent studios in the past few years.

Scott's problem is that, like most liberals, he can't see the liberalism that surrounds him because it's his natural milieu. He's like a fish in water who has been shocked by a small infusion of additional oxygen. It's not enough to affect his environment significantly, but it causes a brief spasm of alarm.