No that isn’t a typo, I meant to say ‘conservative’ rather than ‘liberal’. The reason I ask such a counterintuitive question is that I have long suspected that there are far more conservatives in Hollywood than meet the eye, choosing to go stealth to avoid the fate of out-in-the-open conservatives John Milius and Mel Gibson.
Milius is the talented but underutilized scriptwriter of Apocalypse Now and Dirty Harry. As Steve Sailer pointed out:
"When I was in college, Apocalypse Now was being sold as the ultimate antiwar film. Yet it was actually beloved by the jocks and ROTC cadets in my dorm, who came back from it humming Wagner and shouting, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!” Meanwhile, my more cultured friends seemed perturbed by it.
When I finally saw Apocalypse Now, I realized why: It was a based on a far-right script by Milius (who went on to direct Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn) about how the US could have won in Vietnam if we only had the guts to unleash Kurtz. (Apocalypse Now was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who won his first Oscar for writing Patton.)"
Other that being the creator of the excellent Rome miniseries in 2005 (one of the best shows to ever appear on TV, at least in my opinion), his work schedule has been pretty light. A writer and director as talented as him should have had three times the output.
When it comes to Mel Gibson, in spite of the fact that has a track record of producing blockbusters as well as one inarguably brilliant film (The Passion of Christ), his latest film Get the Gringo (which was good enough to get an 80% approval rating by critics on Rotten Tomatoes), never got wide theatrical release in the US. You ever heard of it before now?
Rather, conservatives who are more adept at office politics covertly insert conservative themes into their work, thereby avoiding the liberal blacklist.
For instance, Soprano’s creator, David Chase said of himself, “I am very, very, very traditional.” Hmm. I wonder what he meant by that? (This quote used to be found in the Wikipedia page for The Sopranos but has since been removed.)
Or take Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, who described his philosophy of life thus:
"If religion is a reaction of man, and nothing more, it seems to me that it represents a human desire for wrongdoers to be punished. I hate the idea of Idi Amin living in Saudi Arabia for the last 25 years of his life. That galls me to no end. I feel some sort of need for Biblical atonement, or justice, or something. I like to believe there is some comeuppance, that karma kicks in at some point, even if it takes years or decades to happen. My girlfriend says this great thing that’s become my philosophy as well. 'I want to believe there's a heaven. But I can't not believe there's a hell.'"
Yup. Sounds like a conservative to me.
An example of an almost-out-in-the-open crypto-conservative, who practically spells out his themes in countless interviews, is Neill Blomkamp. He nevertheless still manages to deceive critics of his true intentions. The left-wing critics hear what they want to hear, and his right-wing critics, who never bother to read the interviews, can’t see past the liberal smokescreen in his films. For instance, conservatives widely denounced his latest film, Elysium, for being ‘left-wing’, even though it was a critique of America’s open border policy with Mexico, as he eludes here:
"And then the third thing is painting this realistic image of a future Earth that is my realistic version of a future Earth, which meant the borders being erased entirely and having this fluid population group that basically moves from Chile all the way up to Canada. … I just wanted that to feel real, like, as real as possible, and the numbers of people that are Latin are going to overwhelm the numbers of people that aren’t. And if you, again, hold true to the metaphor, the wealth would have gone to the station."
And here (where he describes his first experience in Mexico):
“We were walking through these totally impoverished, insane areas with feral dogs and crying babies and people making fires, and on the horizon I could see the floodlights from the U.S. shining into Mexico, and there were multiple Black Hawks flying the perimeter, and it was like science fiction on Earth,” he says. “Nothing has changed, but now you’re on the other side of the border.” His goal with Elysium, he says, was to put all of us there."
About his career prospects he says:
"The next film I want to make is far lower budget than this and is f**king mental. And the next film after that, I think it may end my career. It’s like a, it’s a comedy that may — I don’t even know what will happen. And I like that I don’t know what will happen, you know? If it’s like too volatile, and people just hate it, and I get booted out of Hollywood."
Notice how he uses 60’s language to cloak conservative intentions.
Christopher Nolan, the director of the spectacularly successful Batman movies is another almost-out-of-the-conservative closet, especially with his last of his trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, which an explicit attack on Occupy Wall Street. But I guess his conservative themed films make too much money for Hollywood to blacklist him…for now.
But perhaps I am being too optimistic here. Could it be that many of the filmmakers I supect as being conservative are really not so much deliberate crypto-cons but rather unreflective liberals harbouring an inner conservative id? This ideological schizophrenia may simply be a product of a conditioned reflex response. If one has to hold liberal politics in order to get by at work, but if, at the same time, your marketplace rewards work that is at least nominally conservative, then an unexamined duality is perhaps the path of least psychological resistance.
I had always suspected that Martin Scorsese was a closet conservative, as most of his films depict humanity as Hobbesian savages, where life is ‘nasty, brutish and short’. Not too many of his movies show people to be the Rousseauian noble savages (“man is born free but everywhere he is in chains”) that utopian socialists think we must be. But perhaps Scorsese just hasn’t examined the contradiction within himself, enjoying enough worldly success and acclaim that he doesn’t feel the need for much introspection.