He Who Writes The Cultural Textbook

I saw Argo a few months back.  As I noted at the time, it was an excellent movie; engrossing, well-acted, and good enough that I forgot I was watching Ben Affleck.

But as I watched it, it was pretty inevitable – something stuck in my craw.

The narrative – especially the narrated backstory, taking us back to the CIA-engineered topping of the last pre-Shah president, Mossadegh – was suspiciously heavy on anti-American cant, but light on the role Jimmy Carter’s pusillanimity played in installing the mullahs to begin with.

Andrew Klavan at PJM notes that this is part of a larger and more ominous trend; Democrat-friendly Hollywood rewriting history in the only textbook that matters, anytmore, pop culture:

This sort of Democrats-do-no-wrong and Republicans-do-no-right propaganda is subtle but pervasive in Hollywood historical movies. Consider Charlie Wilson’s War, a strong Tom Hanks film that celebrated a Democrat’s role in the Cold War. In both the film and the book, the right wingers who made Wilson’s efforts possible are denigrated. And just the fact that Hollywood found practically the only 80′s Democrat who did anything to help Reagan defeat the Soviets — whereas they’ve never made a tribute to Reagan himself — is telling.

And after that movie came out, do you remember how many leftybloggers suddenly became experts on the end of the Cold War – at least, Hollywood’s version of it?

This is precisely what Conservatives have to learn to counter. The newspapers and history books may get it right — may — but it’s the movies people will remember. I’ve quoted him before, but I’ll do it again. When former Ambassador Joseph Wilson had his questionable actions rewritten as heroism in the dishonest film Fair Game, he said, “For people who have short memories or don’t read, this is the only way they will remember the period.”

The imagination is the only nation where Democrats get it right. We need to conquer that country.

Put another way – low-information voters’ votes count the same as the rest of ours.  We can’t keep ceding them to the Dems in perpetuity either.

20 thoughts on “He Who Writes The Cultural Textbook

  1. When I’m talking with someone about something that actually happened, like JFK’s assassination for example, and they site Oliver Stone’s “JFK” as source information, I immediately determine that this is someone who really isn’t that well informed.
    Some are judging Anna Wintours potential as an ambassador based on Meryl Streeps performance in “The Devil Wears Prada”. Perhaps it’s better to determine her fitness based on her experience running a fashion magazine and being a determiner of what is fashionable and what is not. Britain has been out of fashion for roughly a eighty years, so it is probably just as well that a pampered clothes horse/Obama bundler gets the gig over someone who has the needed diplomatic skills to explain Obama foreign policy to some poor schmuck who’s routinely looking to the sky for the drone that signals Obama picked him from the kill list and his time is up.

  2. We need to find a conservative who plays a lot of video games, wears his pants around his knees, has multiple indecipherable tattoos and sleeps with anyone – and can defend himself with no excuses. Teach him to read a prompter and tie a tie around his forehead. “Mr. President!”

  3. A lot of our attitudes towards periods in the past are so ingrained that it is hard to shake them. When people think Medieval Europe they think of filth, disease, war, and religious obscurantism. When they think of the Attic Greeks, they think of a golden age of philosophy and myth-making.
    The Attic Greeks had no better science than the Medievals, they were no less war like, and, like the Romans, their society was built on slavery.

  4. Becoming an adult during the Carter administration formed the foundation for my political beliefs. I doubt Jimmy would be proud.

  5. Everyone is “low-information” about something, it can’t be helped. Curiousity helps, and people used to having things handed to them (of any ilk) are typically the most incurious. Lately I’ve been thinking, historically, about the exact steps and phases countries have gone through in becoming Communist. In doing so I happened to come across a reference to the new book by Anne Applebaum (author of “Gulag) entitled, “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956.” I downloaded it immediately from Amazon for $17. Through research, access to records that have recently become declassified, and interviews with the players and the survivors, Applebaum has reportedly brought forth a meticulous description of the descent of these countries and the demise of freedom.

    So far I’ve only made it to the first couple of pages: her dedication – This book is dedicated to those Eastern Europeans who refused to live within a lie. – and these two bone-chilling quotes:

    The loss of freedom, tyranny, abuse hunger would all have been easier to bear if not for the compulsion to call them freedom, justice, the good of the people…Lies, by their very nature partial and ephemeral, are revealed as lies when confronted with language’s striving for truth. But here all the means of disclosure had been permanently confiscated by the police.”
    - Aleksander Wat, “My Century”

    “Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as thought they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie.”
    - Vaclav Havel, “The Power of the Powerless”

    If you like movies, however, I also highly recommend the drama, “The Lives of Others” – the 2006 Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Film – about life in East Germany under the Stasi, written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

  6. Night Writer, according to liberals you have no rights, given to you by ‘nature’ or anything or anyone else. What you have are contingent liberties, granted you by the State, but only for so long as they serve the interests of the State.

  7. Yup! When I saw citizens of the former Soviet Bloc countries crying or with tears in their eyes after the Blamer in Chief was re-ordained, I knew that we were more screwed than I thought. These people are scared, because there is nowhere left to go.

  8. After a century of nearly every horror imaginable being inflicted on the people by the State — genocide, the obliteration of nations, the starvation of millions, labor camps and ‘re-education’ camps, wholesale censorship, torture, execution of political prisoners, and worse — the historical erasure that certain people ever existed — the left would like you to believe that the greatest enemy the people face today is the Tea Party and small-government conservatives.

  9. I’m going to interrupt DG’s latest parade of non-sequiturs and – let’s be honest – stuff she either made up as she went along or culled from whatever leftybot site she googled to ask her, politely, once again:

    I asked you a question. Please answer it.

    Thanks.

    ———-

    No. Wrong again.

    Serious history text books say you and conservatives have consistently been on the wrong side of history. Right wing culture wars get pretty much EVERYTHING wrong, on an appallingly basis, including real text books.

    Or did you forget all the efforts by conservatives, and especially Tea Partiers, to re-write text books to reflect grossly factually inaccurate history, biology, economics, and literature? There is even a factually grossly inaccurate conservapedia that is a joke, and the attempts to rewrite the Bible from a conservative bias.

    I don’t have tattoos, I don’t wear my pants around my knees and I’ve never seen a single Oliver Stone movie, much less relied on one for history facts of any kind, and I can speak publicly without a teleprompter better than right wing nuts like Dubya could WITH a teleprompter — and so can most of the people I know who are centrist on across the rest of the political spectrum to the left.

    Most of the incomprehensible tattoos I’ve come across belong on right wing extremists that include neo-nazis. Most of the signs I’ve seen with misspellings have come from tea party rallies.

    Carter is still widely regarded as a better president than Dubya, and among other things he did that counter any mistakes in Iran, he brokered a peace between Israel and Egypt that has lasted 30 years. I don’t see a single Republican that has accomplished something equivalent to that.

    You can keep doubling down on what has failed for your side; but insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different outcome. Wise up; go back to Eisenhower style Republican conservatism – this isn’t it. This is just more echo chamber propaganda, preaching to the deluded.

    You lost 2012, things are not looking good for you in 2014, and worse in 2016; 2010 was a fluke.

  10. the always intolerant and pointedly ignorant DG (who still hasn’t produced her homework – did the dog eat it?) asserts that “I’ve never seen a single Oliver Stone movie”. Well, of course not, she is high tech, reads Huffpo if she wants to find out whose leg she’s supposed to hump today.

    it was DG who whinged however:
    We seem to have had another ‘drive by’ commenting, where someone visits, makes an[sic] comment full of unsubstantiated accusations, and then runs away when they can’t provide facts to refute a substantive refutation of their accusations.

    Sad. But typical of the right wingreactionary/progressive ideology that puts what they want to believe in place of what is factual.

  11. Oh DG along with explaining why the Cornish bill was “crap” perhaps you could explain this recent assertion you made:

    “No religion should have precedence in our courts, ever — never mind that right wing bullshit about being a Christian nation subject to God ahead of human law. That is total crap.”

  12. oh on a personal note DG you shouldn’t be up drinking at 2 in the morning in the middle of the week – this would be the only rational explanation for the garbled non sequiturs you posted.

  13. DG said “Most of the signs I’ve seen with misspellings have come from tea party rallies.”

    this from someone whose fellow blogger penigma routinely write like this:
    “lehile I agree with your sentiment, I don’t think teh obscenity lends credence to your case adn in fact probably detracts from it. We then look as strident and intolerent as Mr. Paul. Perhaps the word “Scrrew” or even “Flock” would have sufffieced?”

    Yeah DG that looks like a college degree at work.

  14. ““Most of the signs I’ve seen with misspellings have come from tea party rallies.””

    Projecting much?

    Further proof that your sole source of “fact” is other lefty sites on Google.

  15. DG,

    Among your other non-sequiturs, you seem to think that:

    a) “Textbooks” are the source of revealed truth on all matters
    b) “Texbooks” have no bias today.
    c) Rewriting “textbooks” is heresy
    d) Any “attempt” to “rewrite a textbook” by anyone, no matter how fringe-y they may be, is an indictment of all conservatives.

    I’d also ask you to show me the “Tea Party” attempt to rewrite textbooks – but we all know you never actually answer questions.

    These are all signs of a serious lack of logical acuity.

  16. I remember several years ago, after Penigma/several other nicknames wrote a particularly incoherent comment on here, Mitch asked (paraphrasing) “Pen, are you alright? Seriously. Do you need professional help?”

    I have noticed that DG’s comments used to be pretty well tempered and rational, but over the last several months have become more and more laden with ad hominems.

    Oh, and let me respond to one point:

    Carter is still widely regarded as a better president than Dubya, and among other things he did that counter any mistakes in Iran, he brokered a peace between Israel and Egypt that has lasted 30 years. I don’t see a single Republican that has accomplished something equivalent to that.

    Carter also presided over/fumbled the whole Iran hostage debacle, and ushered in the worst economy this country had seen since the great depression.

    The very next guy not only turned around that economy IN LESS THAN ONE TERM (and did not utter one single time that he “inherited a mess”), but set the stage for the longest period of peace time economic growth and prosperity in our history. Oh, and he along with PM Thatcher and the Pope, ended the cold war.

    These are all signs of a serious lack of logical acuity.

    I’d say a lack of something more serious than “logical acuity”…

  17. Mitch Berg wrote:
    I’d also ask you to show me the “Tea Party” attempt to rewrite textbooks – but we all know you never actually answer questions.

    Earlier this year all the lefty alt media providers were on a tear about this. I’m talking about Salon, TPM, and Huffpo. The source was a ‘Tea Party leader’ in VA who commented that the public schools used appallingly bad social study textbooks that taught that the founders were evil slave owners and Indian killers w/o mentioning that they had created also created a nation of free men.

  18. The source was a ‘Tea Party leader’ in VA who commented that the public schools used appallingly bad social study textbooks

    If they’re like the ones in St. Paul, then he was accurate.

    DG, not sure if you’ve had kids in school lately, but social studies textbooks ARE a travesty.

    DG? DG? Are you out there?

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