3. Turning Right at Hollywood and Vine: The Perils of Coming Out Conservative in Tinseltown by Roger L. Simon
Republication Date: February 8, 2011 (First published in 2008 as Blacklisting Myself)
An Academy Award–nominated screenwriter and a mystery novelist, Roger L. Simon is the only American writer to pull off the amazing trick of being profiled positively in both Mother Jones and National Review in one lifetime. The stunning story of his political odyssey is told in this memoir, where Simon recounts his migration from financier of the Black Panther Breakfast Program to pioneer blogosphere mogul beloved by the right as a 9/11 Democrat. But Simon is beholden to neither right nor left in this tale of Hollywood chic run a muck, as he talks out of school about his adventures with, among many others, Richard Pryor, Warren Beatty, Timothy Leary, Richard Dreyfuss, Woody Allen, and Julian Semyonov, the Soviet Union’s version of Robert Ludlum and also a KGB colonel who tempted Simon to join the KGB himself. Among the topics covered along the way:Is there a new blacklist in Hollywood, this one targeting conservatives?
Simon’s red-carpet tours of the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, and the Soviet Union with Hollywood screenwriters and famous mystery novelists.
Why Al Gore’s documentary on global warming didn’t deserve the Oscar on artistic grounds alone; and why the Academy’s voting system is so corrupt.And, as they say, there is much, much more besides.
Why Counterculture Conservatives Should Read It:
When I reviewed Roger L. Simon’s memoir for Big Hollywood in July of 2011 I emphasized this quote as my favorite. It serves as another definition of “Counterculture Conservative”:
What I am left with is a collection of ideas with which I have dabbled throughout my life, never fully discarding any of them, even though some are completely contradictory of others. I regard Marxism, Freudianism, libertarianism, laissez-faire capitalism, Zen Buddhism, Quaker pacifism, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, that whole galaxy of isms, as arrows in a quiver to be drawn at will, depending on the adversary or the necessities of the situation. That may sound dangerously close to yet another ism—cultural relativism—but I assure you it is not. I do think there is almost always a good and evil, a right and wrong—although often you have to look closely—and the relativist view of the world is at best lazy and at worst a stalking horse for fascism. Those arrows in my quiver are no more than an arsenal for helping me find that elusive truth. And perhaps for taking action. Sometimes one is not enough. Sometimes I don’t need or want any of them.
“I do think there is almost always a good and evil” = the single most important idea a human being needs to have in their head in order to survive in the real world.
Roger continues to challenge himself religiously and intellectually, as this must-read recent post shows: Why I Fasted on Yom Kippur for the First Time in Twenty… or Is It Thirty… Years
Why Capitalist Wizards Should Read It:
In September I celebrated my one year anniversary of editing full time for PJ Media. Since starting I’ve tried to learn as much as possible from my wiser, more experienced editorial colleagues, especially Roger. Questions on my mind as I pondered my primary task of expanding and growing our readership: What already made PJM successful? What formula did Roger concoct up in his writing office up in the Hollywood Hills that had drawn me and so many others to the publication in the first place? Because it seemed that all that needed to be done was unlock this formula, pinpoint the aspects of PJM that worked and bring them out more to new audiences. But what was the spell?
The answer stares out on every page of Turning Right at Hollywood and Vine. From writing award-winning novels to Oscar-nominated screenplays on to leading PJM to popularity and influence in the blogosphere today, Roger accomplished it all through diligently developing his mastery of the Writer’s Craft. The secret to creating wealth, value, and a life of happiness: dedicate yourself to becoming great at something and then practice it every day. Then just continue to grow and evolve your skill for a continually changing world.
In future editions of this list I’ll include a section discussing some of the books and techniques Roger recommends for improving as a writer.
Having considered three histories of individuals we now turn to the broader historical narrative of the development of Western Civilization…