Attn, DC Reasonoids: Forum on "How Hollywood Portrays Capitalism," June 6

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The latest event in TCS Daily's "Hayek Series" will bring together Michael Medved, Jim Pinkerton, Lanny Davis and Dan Gainor. The subject is "The Creative Class vs. Capitalism: How Hollywood Portrays Business and Commerce." It all goes down at the National Press Club's Holeman Lounge on Tuesday, June 6, from 6 to 9 pm.

Who wants to ask Medved if this year's blockbuster summer box office sales, thanks in part to "The Da Vinci Code," have proven that moviegoers want Hollywood to make more slanderous action films about the Catholic Church?

NEXT: Levantine TV Turnoff Week

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  1. Only if Lanny Davis can be asked if Mel Gibson proved that moviegoers want more films that are antt-semitic

  2. Only if Lanny Davis can be asked if Mel Gibson proved that moviegoers want more films that are anti-semitic…

  3. Sounds interesting, if on the wrong coast. It does, however, serve as a good segue into asking: is anyone else here going to one of the IHS seminars this summer? I’m going to be at the “Liberty, Art, & Culture” one down in the O.C. at the end of the month, and I wouldn’t be too shocked to find out that some of the other attendees read this blog.

  4. You can count on one hand the number of pro-capitalist movies ever made.

    Setting asside The Fountainhead,
    I can think of
    Cash McCall
    Other People’s Money
    and uhhhh… any others?

  5. If I recall correctly, in the original version of “Sabrina”, Humphrey Bogart gives a speech about the value of his life’s work as the head of a big, capitalist corporation.

  6. I recently saw Other People’s Money again and I was favorably surprised at its treatment of the Devito character. The scene at the end where they have a battle of ideas before the shareholders is really quite good.

    Of course, Hollywood can hardly be singled out for painting a less than rosy picture of capitalism, even though the hackneyed “evil corporation” is a meme that’s been trite for some time now. The theory that money is the root of all evil hardly belongs to Hollywood alone.

    Although certainly featuring the above mentioned “evil corporation” and portraying it in a very negative way, “You’ve Got Mail” at least manages to provide some small balance to the argument and it ends with a happy note where both the little guy and big guy make out well.

  7. Medved is such a yutz.

  8. You can count on one hand the number of pro-capitalist movies ever made.

    I do remember some John Wayne movie where he was an engineer building a hydroelectric dam somewhere, where he gave an impassioned speech about how capitalism puts shoes on kids’ feet, something like that. This was from the late ’50s I’m guessing.

  9. “Tucker: The Man and his Dream” was basically pro-capitalist, if not pro status quo/big, existing corporations.

  10. The TV show Arrested Development portrays capitalism/work/commerce in a pretty favorable light, contrasted specifically against laziness and materialism (yes, capitalism contrasted against materialism — that’s nuance you don’t get from Hollywood all too often).

    Also, it seems to me that looking for movies that are not only expressly but centrally pro-capitalist is, in addition to a mostly lost cause, a dangerous impression to give off about your priorities. Property rights and economic freedom are an intrinsic aspect to broader individual liberty, but capitalism is not an ultimate end in our lives as humans and as such we should hardly expect it to be central to a lot of art. That would in a way be analogous to a movie that shows how cool shoelace tying is — sure, we need to tie our shoes (unless you have an alternative shoe design or those goofy curly-fries laces that self-tighten), but we don’t want to focus on that in our art. Similarly, we all have to work and be productive in society to maintain our material wellbeing, but it’s generally more interesting to focus art on love, grief, war, etc. One interesting exeption might be for a movie to feature the interesting aspects of entrepeneurship, in a way similar to what Iron Jawed Angels did with the suffragettes who were doing a lot of the same things entrepeneurs do, except for politics instead of profit. Also, it wasn’t central, but capitalism was (sort of) showcased as an intrinsic part of human freedom in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Unfortunately, both of those works are too obscure to probably be worth mentioning here.

  11. “V for Vendetta” might be considered pro-capitalist. At the very least, pro-individualist and those go hand in hand if we’re talking about pure capitalism that would provide room for many more small businesses than there are today.

  12. “V for Vendetta” might be considered pro-capitalist. At the very least, pro-individualist and those go hand in hand if we’re talking about pure capitalism that would provide room for many more small businesses than there are today.

    That doesn’t mean that V for Vendetta is pro-capitalist. Emphasising individualism is not found exclusively in Capitalist systems. Never once do economics come into play in the movie or the comic.

  13. Though not specifically pro-capitalism, I think the movie Traffic would qualify as a good example of the futility inherent in fighting the free market.

  14. midbrowcrisis-So what? The movie/comic never mentions capitalism, or any other economic system. The mere fact that capitalism supports individualism does not mean that individualism is always intended to support capitalism. Saying otherwise is like saying that because some rectangles have sides that are equal in length, every time you see a rectangle it’s fair to call it a square.

  15. Shem, you wrote: “Emphasising individualism is not found exclusively in Capitalist systems.”
    Yes, it is. Emphasizing individualism is not found in any other political economic system. At best it’s paid lip service in some forms of anarchism and so-called social democracies. In reality, anarchism (with the exception of anarcho-capitalism) would be antithetical to individualism; in social democracies individualism is allowed to a degree but definitely not emphasized. It is only emphasized in capitalism. Because the comic does not *explicitly* mention capitalism as the only political economic context viable for individualism to be emphasized is not important. What’s important is that the two go together like hand in glove. That cannot be said for any other economic system.

  16. You’re changing the point you’re trying to make. Show me someplace in the comic or the movie that’s intended to be supportive of capitalism. Otherwise you’re just making assumptions about the work based on your own biases.

  17. I vaguely remember Alfred Hitchcock’sSaboteur having a pro-capitalism speech in it.

  18. Well, good point Shem, but that might be as difficult as finding another political economic system that ’emphasizes’ individualism – the point you made.

    Bias doesn’t have anything to do with it; the facts of history do.

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