Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why Don't Conservatives Make Blockbuster Movies?

I think the conservative critics of Avatar are dead on correct. Even Jonah Golderberg, and while I don't anticipate his making another cogent point this decade he is spot on to observe that if the redemptive entity in the movie had been Jesus Christ rather than some pantheistic organic mainframe computer Avatar absolutely would not be raking in The Big Money. It is clearly an "apologia for pantheism" and a disappointingly simple minded one at that, and I say that as someone who generally agrees that corporations tend to fuck over the world and that our values are out of whack with our natural selves. Im just not entertained by watching severely dumbed down versions of ideas I agree with.

So score one for the other side in this culture war dust up.

But it has me thinking. Why aren't there more major blockbuster releases with conservative themes? Part of it is cultural sure, Hollywood is a liberal bastion populated with fewer conservatives, but why should that be so? On some level big business is big business so why wouldn't Big Hollywood attract conservatives in the same way Big Oil does? And why is it then that with all the complaining conservatives do ( often correctly) that our pop culture is deeply skewed with a liberal bias that conservatives are not able to offer popular alternatives that advance their biases? I mean if conservatives believe markets in all things, then its fair to ask why aren't people buying their product in the cultural marketplace.

Im thinking that perhaps it has to do with something intrinsic in the creative impulse.

Liberalism as a world view lends itself to spectacle and fantasy and I think packs a bigger creative punch than conservatism and is just more likely to produce a big fat popcorn movie hit. Furthermore I think almost any sort of creative endeavor that calls people to entertain the possibility of uplifting change on a grand scale is more likely to organize itself along liberal principles as change on a grand scale isn't generally a conservative theme except when associated with religious constrictions.

None of which is to say conservatives can't create very good movies. Say what you will but in my opinion The Passion Of The Christ is a masterpiece but having seen it once I can't imagine feeling the need to see it again. But I think there is something to the suggestion that the range of stories that are both conservative and likely to connect with a wide audience is severely limited.

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