The Politically Incorrect Truths Old Movies Teach About America and Racism
The director of The Human Comedy was Clarence Brown, a great director of Hollywood’s golden age who has been unfairly forgotten. He was, as far as I can see, pretty apolitical but he did quit the film business to become a very successful businessman.
It is possible to accumulate scores of such points about all aspects of American life and culture that have been buried in the creation of a left-wing narrative that it was almost exclusively about imperialism, racism, and capitalism.
And inasmuch as correction was needed on various points or aspects of the story, this didn’t happen yesterday. It is startling to recall that Little Big Man and Tell Them Willie Boy is Here, two of the most powerful pro-Native American Westerns, were made more than forty years ago.
Incidentally, how often have you heard about a high-ranking U.S. Cavalry officer who courageously protested mistreatment of Native Americans and how they were being robbed by corrupt government officials? He even risked his career to prepare anonymous articles published in newspapers showing that the secretary of war was taking kickbacks from the scoundrels.
His name? George Armstrong Custer.
PS: Two case studies.
1. Not long ago I read a terrible biography of Ulysses S. Grant which had nonetheless won a major national award. Much of it was ripped off with few changes from Grant’s terrific two-volume autobiography. Anyway, the author claimed that the reason the Grant Administration was accused of so much corruption by later historians was because they were racists who opposed his policy on Reconstruction. This was nonsense — a typically fashionable distortion of U.S. history — since Grant’s administration, despite his greatness as a soldier, was possibly the most corrupt in U.S. history.
2. During a time when my son was attending school in America, one of the books used in class, Sitting Bull, depicted him as being liked by everyone because he was very nice. See here for my more detailed discussion of the role of tribal conflict in these historical events.