Monday, March 13, 2006

Peggy Noonan, Hollywood and the French Revolution

In my last post I took Peggy Noonan out behind the barn and gave her a right good thumping for having been morose. I would like to remedy any hard feelings by saying that her recent article on Hollywood was excellent. Here’s a sample.
George Clooney has a canny respect for the Hollywood establishment, for its executives and agents, and treats his audience as if it were composed of his intellectual and artistic inferiors…
And because they are his inferiors, he must teach them. He must teach them about racial tolerance and speaking truth to power, etc. He must teach them to be brave. And so in his acceptance speech for best supporting actor the other night he instructed the audience about Hollywood's courage in making movies about AIDS, and recognizing the work of Hattie McDaniel with an Oscar.
Here’s the money quote for me:

Most Americans aren't leading media, they're leading lives. It would be nice to see a new respect in Hollywood for the lives they live.
Peggy, you rock! That gets you a big bowl of tuna from K T Cat. However, there’s a historical parallel that you need to follow up on. It’s the French Revolution. Here’s a key quote from my 1959 World Book Encyclopedia entry on the subject.

…in the 1700’s…the country was still in the Middle Ages so far as its forms of government and social organization were concerned. The king ruled by “divine right.” Nobles lived lives of great luxury, and the peasants did not have enough to eat…At the same time, new ideas about freedom and government were spreading from the men of learning to the people, who had come to think that government was not a divine right of kings, but an agreement shared by an entire nation.
Let’s alter that quote to match today.

…in the 2000’s…the country was still in the 1960’s so far as its forms of news media and entertainment were concerned. The broadcast media felt they ruled by “divine right.” Actors and reporters spoke from positions of great importance, and the people were not given respect…At the same time, new ideas about freedom and government were spreading to the people, who had come to think that sharing information was not a divine right of the media, but an ability shared by an entire nation.
The French Revolution turned violent in part because the French aristocracy had the army and personal guards to defend them.

The news media and Hollywood have George Clooney.

It's time to storm the Bastille, dudes.


4given said...

IMPRESSIVE requote... so sad, so true.

MT said...

Noonan did redeem herself with this recent effort...I'm so sick of George...he's on Huffington Post blogging now, as if we all need more of his "it's our duty to criticize" routine. He fails to realize the difference between logical, well-thought out, based in reality criticism vs. someone-told-me-so-it-must-be-true, condecending hollywood is smarter than everyone else criticism. Ughhh.