Ed Driscoll

Bad Company

The Media Research Center has just released a report on why Hollywood invariably portrays businessmen as heavies in its movies and TV shows–despite the fact that Hollywood is one of the largest, most financially successful industries on the planet. While the obvious and cliched answer is “because the writers, directors and actors are all lefties who hate capitalism, even as it allows them to purchase another Porsche Prius to park in front of their mansion”, there’s much more to it than that, of course.

This past December, we looked at “The Ever-Shrinking Cinematic Storytelling Complex“, in which political correctness and special interest groups have severely limited Hollywood’s choices for bad guys, lest they risk an assault of negative press releases, bad PR and violate the politically correct Prime Directive. Or as Edward Jay Epstein wrote at the time:

Why don’t the movies have plausible, real-world villains anymore? One reason is that a plethora of stereotype-sensitive advocacy groups, representing everyone from hyphenated ethnic minorities and the physically handicapped to Army and CIA veterans, now maintain liaisons in Hollywood to protect their images. The studios themselves often have “outreach programs” in which executives review scripts and characters with representatives from these groups, evaluate their complaints, and attempt to avoid potential brouhahas.

Finding evil villains is not as easy as it was in the days when a director could choose among Nazis, Communists, KGB, and Mafiosi. Still, in a pinch, these old enemies will serve. For example, the 2002 apocalyptic thriller Sum of All Fears, based on the Tom Clancy novel, originally had Muslim extremists exploding a nuclear bomb in Baltimore. Paramount decided, however, to change the villains to Nazis residing in South Africa to avoid offending Arab-American and Islamic groups. Yet, even if aging Nazis lack any credible “outreach program” in Hollywood, they can no longer be credibly fit into many contemporary movies. “The list [of non-offensive villains] narrows quickly once you get past the tired clich