"I'm an intellectual to an extent, so I read things through, but I didn't think things through," Hollywood apostate Roger L. Simon tells City Journal Editor Brian C. Anderson re the self-described "fast and loose politics" of his youth:
Part of my leftism … was a sales pitch, not in the most crass sense, but in the sense that Hollywood is a very competitive place, as I'm sure everybody knows, and you have to distinguish yourself in some way, like the kid who raises his hand in school and says "Pick me, pick me." I was trying to be, if not the most left kid on the block, one of the more left kids on the block because I realized that the executive class there sort of envied that …
I went to China in 1979, which fits in with the previous question because when I went to China, very few had gone, and it gave me a tremendous panache. So although I realized when I was there that I was in this massive jail, and I was anxious to leave at the end for sure, when I came back I soft-pedaled that. I even soft-pedaled that in a novel I wrote, Peking Duck — which I believe is still an interesting book because it gives a sense of what it was like there at the time — but I soft-pedaled it because I knew in Hollywood it would be cool for me to have been to China … because very few people had gone at that point …
In Roger's salad days an aspiring screenwriter signaled membership in the tribe of cool by cultivating commie creds, just as today's A-list wannabes in Hollywood, academia and the mainstream media [Do they still have that? --ed] signal membership in the tribe by — in Karl Rove's razor-sharp words describing "Obama's Straw Men" in today's WSJ — "continually characterizing those who disagree with you in a fundamentally dishonest way." Our Gramsci-sodden cultural institutions' recent bout of BDS comes to mind, as we blogged recently:
"To trash Bush was to belong," writes Debra J. Saunders, putting her finger on the primal tribal imperative that underlies the relentless scapegoating of our 43rd president by his political adversaries gadding the corridors of power these last eight years, together with their allies in the media, here and abroad.
It looks like Roger and we ourselves are on the same page. Googling a suitable image for our blogpost, we stumbled upon this RLS quotation from a National Review Radio interview we'd missed a couple of weeks back:
During the Bush era, Bush-bashing was like discussing the weather. And the assumption was that you hated Bush. And if it was otherwise, you wouldn't necessarily lose the job, but your chances went down 80%.
Back to that City Journal interview for one more important insight. "You talk about how every Hollywood star has a kind of 'Mini-Me' inside," prompts Anderson, "the public face that espouses liberal platitudes; they live differently or think differently in their private lives":
Well, it's one of my theories, and I think it holds true, that because Hollywood is so ruthlessly competitive — I think people can guess that it is because lots of people wanna be stars, wanna be writers, fame and fortune is there — people have to fight like Hell to get their positions, and they don't always do nice things, and they become like that, they become callous, and they become tough. They feel bad about that a little bit because people don't like to be that way so they create this "Mini-Me," like the Austin Powers Mini-Me, [who] goes around saying "I'm the most progressive person in town. I'm for the people. I love you," and then they shut the gate on their estate in Bel Air and tell their assistant to go get the dry cleaning.
"Democrat 'compassion' was never about the have-nots — however defined — anyway. It's always been all about 'feeling good about themselves,'" we wrote back in September of 2007 in another RLS-related post, "Simon says OJ dunnit":
"In a riveting narrative [apparently no longer available online], Roger puts his finger on exactly what's wrong with the liberal project":
Aid given to people — no matter who they are — when it is not earned carries with it a level of insult and denigration. It comes from on high to down low and carries with it an implicit message of lowness.
"Reader RJH … sums it up nicely in the comments," we concluded:
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously said, explaining "What I mean by that, it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do." Translation: Take the money and run when people are preoccupied, and you can get away with spending it in ways they would never agree to were they paying attention.
Unfortunately, now that our "compassionate" betters have seized control of the reins of power, they have no intention of letting "a serious crisis go to waste":
Yes we CAN "posture and bicker and resort to the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place."
Update: Speaking of doing "things that you think you could not do," look, Ma, we're featured in City Journal's "CJ in the News," sandwiched between The Australian's "Grammar falls victim to the cult of Obama" and The Weekly Standard's "Lessons of Katrina."
Update II: "Just about everything [comedian Jim] Carrey poked fun at is now conventional wisdom for the far left," writes Ed Driscoll, who links in "Gore Almighty," a chilling revelation of how "a whole host of hairshirt envirowacko shibboleths" transmogrified in the short span of 15 years into politically correct orthodoxy.