July 15, 2012
Joss the Political Slayer
As good a writer as he is, apparently the concept of irony is completely lost on Joss Whedon. Consider his remarks at San Diego's Comic-Con:
Toward the end of the session, one woman noted the anti-corporate themes in many of his movies and asked him to give his economic philosophy in 30 seconds or less.
"We are watching capitalism destroy itself right now,” he told the audience.
He added that America is “turning into Tsarist Russia” and that “we’re creating a country of serfs.”
Whedon was raised on the Upper Westside neighborhood of Manhattan in the 1970s, an area associated with left-leaning intellectuals. He said he was raised by people who thought socialism was a ''beautiful concept."
Sigh. A beautiful concept that has led to the deaths of over 100 million people and counting. Aside from the astounding historical ignorance contained in that statement (Tsarist Russia was a monarchy, and whatever you think of Barack Obama, he was still democratically elected), you really have to marvel at a man who has grown fabulously wealthy because of the capitalist system raging against the machine as if he weren't part of it himself.
Whedon went on to say:
We have people trying to create structures and preserve the structures that will help the middle and working class, and people calling them socialists. It’s not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal […] it’s some people with some sense of dignity and people who have gone off the reservation.
What we have here is a fundamental failure to understand economics. If by "structures" Whedon means the ability to go out and earn a decent living, how does he expect crushing regulations, confiscatory taxes and the heavy hand of government (all aspects of socialism) will accomplish that objective?
If, on the other hand, he really means "welfare," then his observation about American becoming a nation of serfs really is true -- except that he's the one advocating our arrival there. Does Whedon ever stop to consider that the surest way to slavery is to make everyone dependent on government largesse? Apparently not.
It's also obvious that he's never made the connection between big government and the corporatism that enrages him so. Did it ever occur to him that big business wouldn't need to peddle influence nearly as much under a smaller government that didn't saddle them with so many regulations? Or that maybe Washington wants it that way, so as to keep the corporate campaign money flowing?
All of this is really surprising to me, given some of the anti-authoritarian themes that have appeared in Whedon's work (Firefly was one of the most libertarian shows I've ever seen). I just hope that living in the Hollywood bubble doesn't corrupt the quality of his writing in the future. I'd hate to see that happen to one of my favorite genre guys.
Hatched by Korso on this day, July 15, 2012, at the time of 7:24 AM
The following hissed in response by: seePea
Since Whedon did not complain about Pres Barak getting rid of work rules for obtaining welfare checks, the presumption must be he means welfare.
I wonder what his tax return looks like. Did he just take the standard deductions ?
The following hissed in response by: Karl
I have a hunch that Hollywood writers write better than they know. They understand economics as defined by Friedman (= "the organized study of how people respond to incentives") and use it in their scripts and stories, even though they don't quite get around to applying it to their own lives or the lives of people around them.
The above hissed in response by: Karl at July 15, 2012 4:01 PM
The following hissed in response by: mdgiles
The problem with the people that work in Hollyweird, is that there the businessmen really are a bunch of backstabbing thieves, who would kill for a percentage. When Hollyweird writes about the corporate world they aren't writing about that actual corporate world, but about the Hollywood world.
The following hissed in response by: seePea
I think you make an excellent point , mdgiles.
At least it fits with articles and books that have been put out about the Business of Hollywood.
The following hissed in response by: Wizard
Actually, I think you have it exactly backwards, Karl. Plenty of Hollywood types seem to have no problem applying sound capitalist principles in their own lives. They produce something people want, and they make sure they get the best payoff for their work that they can. (As far as that goes, I say more power to 'em. I don't work for free, and I don't expect others to.) It's their writing (and often speaking, as here) that suggests an ignorance of, if not outright hostility to, those same principles. They condemn business and the free market even as they prosper because of that same free market. Or more accurately, they attack a twisted, straw-man caricature of business and the free market. (Have you ever seen a fictional corporation that, upon close analysis, didn't seem to have borrowed its business plan from the Underpants Gnomes? Killing your customers is not usually a sound business model.)
I find it deeply ironic that they seem to believe a more socialist society would provide more rewards to "creative" types such as themselves. The more socialist a society, the more stagnant and less productive its economy, so only a (relatively) free economy can produce the surplus wealth needed to buy luxury goods. Luxuries such as, say, big-budget Hollywood movies...
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