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Ed Driscoll

The Sundance Kultursmog

January 31st, 2010 - 2:17 pm

Kyle Smith writes:

Variety’s Todd McCarthy says the same things I said in my post on this subject a few days ago:

I must hasten to point out that, given the dogmatic leftism/tree-hugging/granola-chewing/global warming alarmism, et al., the festival has always embraced, the only real act of rebellion within a Sundance context would be to present a smart film that questioned any of these positions. I honestly cannot remember ever seeing what could remotely be described as a conservative documentary at Sundance. Granted, not many are made, and I would frankly be amazed if any would be accepted if submitted. But I, for one, would love to see a genuinely critical examination of the many blunders and chicken-hearted actions of the United Nations; a documentary holding up for scrutiny the many wild prophecies of the esteemed Paul Ehrlich, whose doom-ridden predictions about population growth were the first words I heard out of any professor’s mouth as a university freshman, or a film that looked with unbiased clear eyes into the extent of Soviet communist infiltration and financing of American unions, academia, social organizations and other institutions from the 1930s onward.

McCarthy goes on to praise Davis Guggenheim’s so-called “An Inconvenient Truth for Republicans,” the anti teacher-union documentary “Waiting for Superman.”

I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised that something like Sundance is one-sided. It’s a safe, plush venue for Hollywood to launch what it thinks of as “edgy” movies about about topics its peers have long since stopped debating in the legacy media. Or as Mark Steyn wrote in 2006:

Say what you like about those Hollywood guys in the Thirties but they were serious about their leftism. Say what you like about those Hollywood guys in the Seventies but they were serious about their outrage at what was done to the lefties in the McCarthy era — though they might have been better directing their anger at the movie-industry muscle that enforced the blacklist. By comparison, [George Clooney via his film Good Night and Good Luck] is no more than a pose — he’s acting at activism, new Hollywood mimicking old Hollywood’s robust defense of even older Hollywood. He’s more taken by the idea of “speaking truth to power” than by the footling question of whether the truth he’s speaking to power is actually true.That’s why Hollywood prefers to make “controversial” films about controversies that are settled, rousing itself to fight battles long won. Go back to USA Today’s approving list of Hollywood’s willingness to “broach the tough issues”: “Brokeback and Capote for their portrayal of gay characters; Crash for its examination of racial tension . . .” That might have been “bold” “courageous” movie-making half-a-century ago. Ever seen the Dirk Bogarde film Victim? He plays a respectable married barrister whose latest case threatens to expose his homosexuality. That was 1961, when homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom and Bogarde was the British movie industry’s matinee idol and every schoolgirl’s pinup: That’s brave. Doing it at a time when your typical conservative politician gets denounced as “homophobic” because he’s only in favor of civil unions is just an exercise in moral self-congratulation. And, unlike the media, most of the American people are savvy enough to conclude that by definition that doesn’t require their participation.

Emmett Tyrell of the American Spectator once described what he called the Kultursmog – a mass media that eventually closed most of its doors to conservatives and libertarians, something that Hollywood effectively did in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Why would its film festivals change such sclerotic practices, especially since the people who founded them are in their dotage?

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