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The Villains You Choose

Oscar Wilde once said that “you can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies.”

What holds true for men holds true for nations and cultures as well.

An America confident in its values and place in the world watched the villainy of Nazis and Soviets on the big screen and later television. After cultural revolution wracked America in the '60s and '70s, the new bad guys were Big Business and old white men in the alphabet soup of intelligence agencies.

By seeing how Hollywood wanted to wear (hey, trigger warning) a black hat, America, and the world, saw what the cultural revolutionaries wanted them to see. Since their enemy was traditional America, we knew the quality of the progressives to be low.

But Wilde only got it half right. It’s not just who you stand against. How you make that decision gives insight into quality. Sony’s decision to pull The Interview in light of cyber-warfare and terror threats highlights this truth.

The Wall Street Journal explains how in future films North Korea is going to get the kid-glove treatment in terms of being a big screen bad guy:

[t]he calculus involving North Korea appeared to be changing quickly following the Sony hack and its aftermath, and many studios were reconsidering even minor references to the Communist nation.

However, the reason for putting the Hermit State off limits has nothing to do with political correctness. It’s not sympathy for the regime’s Juche political philosophy, the way Sean Penn pals around with Latin American Marxists. In its own way, one might admire, or at least comprehend, political solidarity.

Nope. We’re witnessing abject fear.