Roger L. Simon

Andrew Klavan vs. Hollywood

In a LAT oped, thriller writer Andrew Klavan takes on Hollywood negativity:

As early as 1947, we had “Crossfire,” about an American GI who commits an anti-Semitic murder. In 1949, “Home of the Brave” depicted a heroic African American soldier dealing with prejudice. And by 1955, there was the classic “Bad Day at Black Rock,” in which a veteran uncovers homicidal anti-Japanese bigotry when he tries to deliver a medal to the father of a Japanese American killed on the battlefields of Italy.

Such self-examination and reform are part of the measure of our greatness. But there’s a difference between a humble nation confessing its sins and a country of flagellants whipping themselves for every impure thought. Since the ’60s, we have had, it seems, an endless string of war movies, from “Dr. Strangelove” to “Syriana,” in which the United States is depicted as wildly aggressive and endlessly corrupt ‚Äî which, in fact, it’s not; which, in fact, it never has been.

In taking our self-examining ethos to these extremes, we have lost a kind of wisdom, wisdom that acknowledges the complexity of human life but can move through it to find the simple truth again. While assessing the intricate failings of our moral history, many of us have lost sight of the simple truth that the system that shapes us is, in fact, a great one, that it has moved us inexorably to do better and that it’s well worth defending against every aggressor and certainly against as shabby and vicious an aggressor as we face today.

Read it all. Klavan takes a dimmer view than I do about the inevitability of war – but, I have to admit, the facts, so far, are on his side. On the general issue of Hollywood, however, opponents of the Dream Factory should take pleasure in its continued downward spiral. The weekend’s sputter of Mission Imp 3 is another indication that the importance of Hollywood is declining – and not just because of the puerile political opinions of movie stars or the ditzy lifestyle of Tom Cruise. There are simply too many other things to do. Klavan should check out the video games and see how many of them are critical of America. Far fewer, I would think. (Klavan’s personal website is here.)