Church of the Masses
I resonated with so much of this piece by Joseph Schaeffer. Especially loved this:
“Those of us who don’t see a need to redefine the family or male and female sex roles and the like can easily view a classic film and enjoy it for what it is. We don’t feel a burning need to judge the past by the standards of today, since we largely reject those new standards. The modern liberal is absolutely incapable of this. Liberal individualists achingly search for their personal message in older films and demand it in new films. Thus they are utterly incapable of enjoying the Golden Era of Filmmaking and at the same time are actively contributing to the flat-out mediocrity of contemporary movies.”
I remember back in my film school years at Northwestern constantly being subjected to the same kind of weird skewed lens with which so many of my nostalgic-Marxist professors filtered every movie. In the exhausting and ridiculous way in which everything for the Boomer generation was about politics, for the geriatric hippies teaching us, every movie was a political entity that either had masked references to queerness or else was suffused with institutionalized poisons of patriarchy, theocracy (liberal “coding” for Christianity) or capitalist swine-ness….
Schaeffer’s article had me musing once again about the difference between ideology and philosophy. Philosophy, is the love of wisdom. It is the humble desire to receive reality and to penetrate its meaning. Ideology is the love of a particular idea. The central idea imposes itself on reality and makes all perception conform to itself. Leftist liberalism is an ideology. It sees what it wants to see regardless of whether the thing it is seeing is really there or not. Liberalism decides that Zimmerman is a racist and blocks out that Zimmerman’s business partner is black, and the girl he tok to the high school prom was black, and that Zimmerman himself is a person of color. Ideology insists that everything that doesn’t fit the narrative must be blocked out. I was perpetually frustrated by this attitude in film school because it stifled all debate. The professors started with the notion that every movie made by a man – except, you know, the Soviet-era filmmakers! – was infected with patriarchy. It was there for them because IT HAD to be there.
Ideology was the stuff of the murderous French Revolution mobs. Philosophy was the stuff of the liberty-seeking drivers of the American Revolution.