October 24, 2004


Left Good. Right Bad. It's Called Art.: A conservative hero in a movie? That'll be the day. (Andrew Klavan, October 18, 2004, LA Times)

Here's my new idea for a thriller. An ordinary guy wakes up one morning and his wife — who has joyfully devoted her life to him — has disappeared. His neighbor — a kind and intellectual Christian conservative — has become invisible. And his best friend — a peaceful man who supports the war in Iraq — has lost the power to speak. It's scary stuff, all right. I'm going to call it: "The Arts in America."

I don't like to make sweeping statements about the arts because there are always many exceptions. But I have a solid observational berth — I'm a novelist and screenwriter; I'm well read; I go to the movies often — and I can't help noticing that, in the last 25 years or so, large segments of the American population have practically vanished from our fictional landscape.

When was the last time you saw a conservative politician who was the hero of a movie — as opposed to the slavering villains of "The Manchurian Candidate," "The Contender" or "The American President"?

When was the last time you read a serious novel in which a full-time wife — not just a mother, but a wife — was happy with her life choice as opposed to being a Stepford robot or a trapped bird a la "The Hours"?

When was the last time — outside of pabulum like "Left Behind" or "Seventh Heaven" — you saw an intelligent Christian who wasn't a priest or a milquetoast or Mel Gibson?

It's not that I don't enjoy the stories being told by American artists — I do. And I'm not suggesting that the arts should be traditionalist in intent. I just think they should be more — pardon the word — inclusive.

To the contrary, all movie heroes are conservative--if the plots of their films weren't moralistic we wouldn't accept them as heroes. A case in point: watched XXX this weekend, in which the hero is a libertarian extreme sports type guy who becomes a secret agent. What's his mission?: to stop an anarchist group that is trying to destabilize the worlds governments and unleash complete "freedom." It was like a buff Bill Bennett vs. the Cato Institute.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 24, 2004 8:46 AM

I liked XXX for the same reason. But I think my kids like the action scenes better.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at October 24, 2004 3:34 PM

I can't believe you guys sat through XXX.
I bailed after the first third of the movie, and I like Vin Diesel.

I think they rounded up the rejects from a community theatre casting call to make that one.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 24, 2004 4:42 PM

Even Asia Argento?

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at October 25, 2004 6:07 AM

Asia Argento is a righteous babe, but she wasn't making Jodi Foster sweat.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 26, 2004 11:50 AM

Asia Argento is a righteous babe, but she wasn't making Jodi Foster sweat.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 26, 2004 11:51 AM
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