Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Conservative flops and more

  • Takimag: How and why Hollywood's conservatives have failed. The minute you put any political adjective before “entertainment,” you’ve doomed yourself. Successful “conservative-friendly” films are most likely to come from popular source material with a huge following (the Bible, Narnia), from A-listers with the clout to bring pet projects to the screen (Eastwood, Gibson, Parker & Stone), or from inspiring real-life stories (“Soul Surfer,” “The Blind Side”). In all cases, the idea is the same: start with a compelling story, and let the “message” emanate organically. So whenever conservatives go on a tangent about “we need to make some balls-out conservative films,” the lessons of the Abes should be remembered. Never start with your message and work backwards. Also, it seems alliances with the anti-religious don't work. An American Carol sounds bad: A leftist Michael Moore-type anti-American filmmaker is given the “Scrooge” treatment when patriotic ghosts like JFK and General Patton show him the true meaning of something-or-another.
  • Another part of the golden era passes into eternity: RIP Stan Freberg. My favorite is the commercial that parodies several others (can't find a copy online anymore): "Get out of my house!"
  • Glad I could help. A reader: Wanted to say thanks. I've learned quite a bit from your blog. Long story, short: Raised Byzantine Catholic. When I was in high school my dad took a job offer in a place that didn't have a Byzantine Catholic parish, so we became Eastern Orthodox. Something has always felt like it was "missing," for lack of a better word. A friend, who reads your blog, showed me an essay which discussed Eastern Orthodoxy. Ever since then I've tried to read your writings as often as possible. Such switches by born Greek Catholics are now extremely rare and have been so at least since I first got to know them 30 years ago; then again the first Greek Catholics I knew were refugees from the western Ukraine who chose exile over schism. Another reader wasn't Catholic until recently but, a Westerner born Protestant, trying to be Orthodox for over 10 years left this person turned off by what the late Gerard Bugge called its "anti" spirit. (He tried Orthodoxy for a few years and later ran "A Catholic Page for Lovers," one of the first Web apostolates.)
  • Anime and decadence. Japan is decadent and is committing suicide with impressive grace and style. This is intentional Cathedral and MacArthur policy. Mark Bonocore, whom I think speaks Japanese, explained the country to me once: a medieval society punished (MacArthur) for World War II so it was dragged into modernity (before the war it was medieval but with modern technology: the planes and ships that attacked Pearl Harbor); understandably the Japanese can't handle it.

7 comments:

  1. "An American Carol sounds bad: A leftist Michael Moore-type anti-American filmmaker is given the “Scrooge” treatment when patriotic ghosts like JFK and General Patton show him the true meaning of something-or-another."

    Yes, it's awful, though a couple of funny jokes deserved to be surgically removed from that mess and grafted onto a better movie (it's not worth sitting through the whole thing to see them, though). The protagonist goes from mindlessly and reflexively anti-war to mindlessly and reflexively pro-war, with no indication that there is any kind of rational position in between. Apparently the actors and writers wanted to do more comedy and less preaching, but the executives who put up the money insisted on staying "on-message", with predictably dire results. The suits should have listened to the creative types- it might have turned out merely mediocre, rather than horrible.

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    1. Not only preachily bad but wrong, as this blog's name hints.

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  2. Art for art's sake. It's OK to be a moralist, but keep it subtle! Otherwise it's insufferable didacticism. Saki wrote a rather viciously funny short story on this theme.

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    1. I understand that's partly why Ayn Rand's novels are bad.

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    2. OK, this is my third attempt at posting that Saki story. Hope it works this time. It's a hoot.

      http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/Storyteller.html

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  3. Yes, Gerard's page was really good. I especially liked his collection of traditional Redemptorist materials. Hard to find now, of course. I have the sense that even Papa Stronsay does not have up all the stuff Gerard had.

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  4. John, really I wouldn't expect any of the Trad Trogs to know beans about Japanese anything, but picking two obscure shows out of a pretty obscure corner of a genre that is about as big as, well, several times bigger than all of western animation put together, is a pathetic basis for social commentary. It's a bit on the order of Calling Geo. Washington a pansy on the basis of the wig. But I suppose one cannot expect much better from the kind of person who claims that "[a]ll recent Hugo award winners have been boring tedious lectures spitting on their audience as racist and sexist[.]" Actual reading of the list of winners and nominees would disabuse any literate person of that, but then he probably thinks Lois McMaster Bujold writes boudoir SF 'cause she's just a girl.

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