We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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Fellow travellers

A couple of years ago, Oliver Stone made a pro-Chávez film, South of the Border. ‘I admire Hugo,’ Stone declared. ‘The pure energy of the man is intoxicating.’ Such condescension modernises the 18th-century myth of the Noble Savage. ‘I know President Chávez well,’ claimed an equally condescending Sean Penn, the actor. ‘He is a warm and friendly man with a robust sense of humour.’ After a sponsored trip by car around Venezuela with Chávez, Penn posted on the internet a diary of thousands of words recounting in soapy detail their time together. ‘El Presidente is really human, like a brother.’ ¡Mi Hermano! Without embarrassment Penn could boast, ‘Just Hugo and me in a convoy of black vehicles.’ And in the course of the drive the wonderstruck Penn caught sight through the car windows of poor people standing by the roadside and weeping with love.

David Pryce-Jones, eviscerating the sort of people who look up to thugs such as Chavez. There is nothing wrong with admiring a political leader, democratically elected, who respects the checks and balances of a genuine liberal order, and who has the necessarily humility to realise the limits of office. I can admire such a person, but I find the sort of worship for political leaders, both democratic and non-democratic, that we see still today, to be alarming.

On a related point, I can recommend a study by Gene Healy - of the CATO Institute – about the glorification of the role of president in the US in recent times. There has been some creepy behaviour around those who venerated Mr Obama, although perhaps some of the mockery of him suggests not all of this should be taken seriously.

21 comments to Fellow travellers

  • Dom

    Hero worship of the president is not recent.

    http://www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/murals/apotheosis-washington

    Hero worship of Obama is beyond parody.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Well, Washington has a special place in US history. He’s not being apotheosized as president, exactly.

  • Paul Marks

    I am not sure that even “Fellow Traveller” is correct in the case of Mr Oliver Stone.

    For example, his recent “hidden history of the United States” television series is straightforward Communist propaganda. I very much doubt that Mr Stone would pass a polygraph test if the simple question “are you a Marxist?” was asked him. Unless, of course, Mr Stone replied “yes I am a Marxist”.

    Glenn Beck predicted some time ago that the time would come when the Marxists were so confident of their power that they would drop the game that they were not Communists (stop using code language such as “Critical Theory” rather than “Marxism”, and so on). I suspect that time will soon be upon us.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Hollywood, aka ‘American Hanoi’ is already leading the way! It’s relentless search for the lowest common denominator, so as to maximize profits, means that it embraces populism. What will they think when they realise they’ve paved the way for a hard-left super-state?

  • Regional

    Hitler’s regime dramatically lowered unemployment and gave Germany a strong sense of self cofidence but the frogs were boiling.

  • There is nothing wrong with admiring a political leader, democratically elected, who respects the checks and balances of a genuine liberal order, and who has the necessarily humility to realise the limits of office.

    Let me know if you find any.

  • Oliver Stone is a film-maker of breathtaking skill, which is another reason it is such a shame he has devoted so much of his career to political crap. We have missed a lot of good, non-political films that he would have made otherwise.

  • Regional

    Obama’s soaring rhetoric is metaphors for morons, that’s why the Meeja love him.

  • Allan Ripley

    Michael has it exactly correct again. The theoretical notion of democratic government is a wonder to behold. The fact that human beings insert their own particular variations is the shame of it and what a pity it is. The reality of the current- and recent- administrations, is the natural outcome of a system that rewards the ordinary citizen for being ordinary- and ordinary we have aplenty.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Isn’t a ‘Chav’ some sort of British insult, or racial designation? Could ‘Chavez’ be the spanish equivalent?

  • Regional

    Nick,
    Council home and violent

  • Rich Rostrom

    Nick (nice-guy) Gray:
    [Hollywood]’s relentless search for the lowest common denominator, so as to maximize profits, means that it embraces populism.

    I guess you haven’t noticed that Hollywood has been more interested in left-wing messaging than profits. Really. Look at the long list of flop movies attacking the Iraq war.

    And Hollywood leftism is not populist. Politically incorrect sentiments that are popular with the majority (such as immigration control) are never heard from Hollywood.

    What will they think when they realise they’ve paved the way for a hard-left super-state?

    “Yay”. That’s what they want, or think they want.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Stupid, stupid, stupid. Not even trying to think things through. Because “it’s so much nicer to be In than Out.”

    Because “everybody says so” (at least in their circles of the mal-educated elite).

    Because being a Rebel is so exciting and glamorous, especially when you’re young enough to have the energy to go chop sugar cane (or pretend to). And when you’re doddering and successful, you can still pretend to be a Rebel (even though you’re archly conformist), as long as you don’t forget your lines. Which mostly you don’t, because (a) you’ve drilled yourself silly on them and (b) you remember the fate of Elia Kazan.

    Because our Era of Rebellion happened to be rebelling against our culture and civilization as a whole, and the leaders of the rebellion decided to take their cues from the Communists.

    Because our college administrators refused to act like grownups and require that we follow the rules or go home.

    Because Our Set will be the Commissars–er–Ministers of Culture.

    Because we get invited to the most divine parties.

    And quite a few of us are either Red Diaper babies or next door to it.

    –I guess.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Michael Jennings: George Washington?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Everyone: I’ve been curious about the origin of “chav” myself. ???

  • Paul Marks

    Julie – yes George Washington.

    Rich Rostrom – yes Hollywood has wasted a fortune on leftist films.

    Although there are some signs of hope that they are changing.

  • …it seems to be consistent with ‘yob’.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thanks, Alisa! Not only that, with “yob” thrown in as a bit of reward, but I also got to read up on “bogan,” which I think I’ve seen on Counting Cats. Very informative. ;>)

  • “Chav” or “chavvy/chavvie ” means “boy.”
    It’s an Anglicized Romany word.