Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Andrew Klavan, a contributing editor at City Journal , examines the differences between culture and reality in America :

Culture in America is an enchanted place where the conservative facts of life are magically transformed into liberal fantasies. In movies, TV shows, novels, even comedy routines, our intellectuals, entertainers, and other fools are busily reshaping reality into works of art through their piercing insights into what will get them good reviews and awards, and through their rich and varied experience of the café in the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.

To illustrate, I’ll give you some examples. See if you can spot the difference between reality and American culture. In reality, President John F. Kennedy was a fierce Cold Warrior who twice tripled America’s military presence in the Vietnam War to try to stop the spread of Communism and risked nuclear disaster by standing up to the Soviet Union in Cuba. He was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, an America-hating leftist who had once defected to the USSR.

Now, the culture: in Oliver Stone’s film JFK—nominated for Best Picture Oscar in 1991—Kennedy is a peaceful lefty contemplating a withdrawal from Vietnam. He’s assassinated by a vast right-wing cabal that includes every single person in America except for Oliver Stone. Reality, culture. Can you spot the difference?

Here’s another: in reality, Terri Schiavo was a severely brain-damaged woman who was judicially starved to death in 2005 at the request of her husband, while evangelical Christian right-to-life groups unsuccessfully petitioned to keep her alive. In the culture, a 2005 episode of Law and Order entitled “Age of Innocence” depicted a severely brain-damaged woman whose husband tried to euthanize her—until he was murdered at the instigation of an evangelical Christian right-to-lifer. In reality, evangelical Christians try to keep people alive. In the culture, they murder people. That’s a subtle one, I know—but can you spot the difference?

Read more . . .

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles