The following video is a snippet from a 1977 BBC interview of Sylvester Stallone about why he wrote Rocky. It’s both surprising and, to those who doubted his intellect, revealing:
Stallone’s diagnosis of the cultural trends is dead on – and even more important for our time. Americans wanted entertainment that would resonate with their values: their faith, their morals and ethics, their patriotism, and their vision of what a hero should be. They weren’t getting very much of that, back then. They get even less of it today.
Note how, when Star Wars made its debut, the rush of excitement and approbation was immediate and very nearly unanimous. It wasn’t because of the movie’s overly hyped special effects, but because it was a story about the emergence of heroes in a noble cause at a dark time. Traditionally, American entertainment had emphasized such tales. Yet Hollywood had largely abandoned them in favor of anti-heroic movies. Even the best of them leaned more dark-toned than light; consider Ordinary People — a movie about a death, a suicide attempt, and an unloving mother — and Kramer vs. Kramer — a movie about divorce, a threatened career, and a custody struggle between former spouses — as examples. It was a trend that was paralleled by the trend in written fiction.
This also goes a long way toward explaining the excitement engendered by the rise of the superhero movies. Note that the Left has done its damnedest to corrupt that trend in moviemaking, as well. The Left’s strategists know that to kill the American spirit, it’s necessary to knock out its mythological props: its history; its heroes; its perennial values; and optimistic, heroic themes in all forms of entertainment. Patriotism, optimism, and a general spirit of good will must be displaced in favor of disdain for America, a forward vision of darkness, and a sense of division and conflict.
If we are to save our heritage of freedom and optimism, entertainment must be regarded as a major battlefront. Perhaps it’s even the critical one, without a victory in which no enduring progress is possible. Under no circumstances can we abandon it to the enemy. If we can’t counter-infiltrate the existing bastions of entertainment, we must erect, fund, and pursue our own.
Sylvester Stallone knew that Americans needed heroes and the light of optimism already in 1977. Americans today need those things more than ever before. Let’s give them some.
If Breitbart’s analysis, “Politics is downstream from culture” is correct, and IMHO it is, then very often culture is downstream from those who create and curate the entertainment and information flows.
Always liked the ‘every man’ vibe to his early movies. Say what you will, he did have a clear vision of what interested average people. And, to be fair, he works hard – even now, when he’s doing The Expendables, he puts his best effort into it. He brings in moneymakers in the other parts, and doesn’t try to hog all the good lines for himself.
A lot smarter than he acts. Except for his wives – mostly, he has bad taste.