Exhortation and Megalomania

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Anomalies like American Sniper drive the liberal press crazy with fear that they are losing control of the media, Steve Sailer suggests:

One possibility is that artists and entertainers are less monolithically on the left than you might think, but are kept in line in public by stifling peer pressure.

For example, by now Spielberg ought to have earned himself a fair amount of deference from his fellow liberal Democrats for being a credit to his political persuasion. But even he doesn’t seem able to admit that his upbringing in the red state of Arizona saddled him with a lifelong love for guns.


A more subversive theory is that art is inherently anti-egalitarian, that the entertainment industry thrives by elevating individuals to levels of mass adoration that Belshazzar of Babylon would have found excessive. In turn, the entertainment industry adopts a bogus ideology of promoting equality to cover up its essential tendency toward Caesarism.

For example, this combination of exhortation and megalomania has been apparent for 99 of the 100 years that Hollywood has been making epic films.

Early March will mark the 100th anniversary of the original box office smash, D.W. Griffith’s denunciation of the rape culture of the Reconstruction Era, The Birth of a Nation. Stung by criticism from the NAACP, Griffith released in 1916 a more politically correct and even more ambitious blockbuster, Intolerance. It retold four stories of bigotry and oppression, from ancient Babylon down to the present day.

I’m sure that everybody has taken Griffith’s sermon against intolerance deeply to heart, but, honestly, the only thing anybody remembers from the movie is the Babylonian set that Griffith spent his Birth of a Nation profits constructing.


  1. Handle says:

    Why not just the ‘Fox News’ explanation?

    So, the news media is incredibly concentrated with progressives and channels that are, openly or otherwise, committed to putting a liberal spin on everything.

    It’s funny, because progressives in academia and media are always use the accusing code phrase, “Unnrepresentative and doesn’t look like the country”, but of course the output of their own professions don’t resonate with 50% of the country. Remember Haidt’s gimmick where he couldn’t get a percent of people in a crowd of Social Psychologists to raise their hand and admit they were ‘conservatives’?

    For media and entertainment, that’s leaving money on the table but only so long as everyone agrees not to touch it and stay on message. One defection and the game breaks down and, yeah, that means ‘losing control’.

    So, when Fox News comes out, it’s immediately got a monopoly on a potential 50% market share, and the other stations are scrambling for the other 50% instead of the whole. So it goes to first place and stays there. Compared to the level of control in the pre-Fox days, yeah, that’s over.

    A similar thing applies to movies, of which American Sniper is an element of a breed that seem to have the largest profits. Remember Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ? Panned by the usual suspects. Budget: $30M. Box Office: $610M!

    That’s not an anomaly. That’s capitalism when a whole market segment typically goes unserviced, and I think Eastwood and Gibson understand that. It’s be interesting to make a list of all the other progressive-hated film ‘anomalies’ and see how successful they really were.

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