The Weirdness of Right-Wing Radio

The Weirdness of Right-Wing Radio


So driving home from writing a musical (who would have thought this would have started that way) I got bored with NPR and switched to the crazy right-wing station. And they were discussing, of all things, comic books. There concerns (to put it mildly) were as follows.

1) The Captain America movie is being called "The First Avenger" in European markets. This is evidence that Hollywood is liberal and hates America. The fact that they called it Captain America in America is irrelevant.

2) Spider Man is going to be a gay black man. This of course infuriated the host because white people are the only people that could possibly qualify as super. Changing Spider Man was seen as evidence as some kind of left-wing attempt to do something – I'm not sure what. Rewrite comic book history?

Some lady did call and reported that Transformers III, which I actually tried to watch, made it 45 minutes, fell asleep once, then walked out, was actually about our support for Isreal and was hence a great Hollywood movie. (Sidenote: my choice was between this and Larry Crowne. I might have chose poorly, but my choices weren't so hot.)

So here's what's weird. Why is Hollywood the one business that the right doesn't assume is out to make money? What the right seems to miss is something they tend to usually take for granted – profit comes before people. I think there's actually an interesting comparison here that the right spends long hours bitching about: the university.

The classic argument is that left-wing teachers are indoctrinating poor kids into believing all kinds of crazy things inside of weirdly-named classes like black-studies and political ideologies like queer theory and postmodernism. This is led by people like David Horiwitz – a figure I have no desire to say much about mostly because he's simply not that interesting.

Now to be fair there appears to be evidence for this argument. I imagine most academics don't vote for Republicans, outside of the business school. This is the same argument that the right uses to criticize what used to be called "media": journalists tend to vote for Democrats.

However, there are two major problems with this argument. 1) Democrats are not what most left-wing people would call "left." The left that I know, filled with people like Camus, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Christopher Hedges, and let's not forget Eugene Debs have nothing in common with the democratic party. The democratic party is another wing of the only party we have in America that serves the business class. We have recently discovered there is an even-nutier extreme of this party called The Tea Party. But there is no equivalent to them on the left – there is no party that remotely resembles a Howard Zinn.

The other problem, which is less debatable is that while teachers or journalists may be left to some degree, they don't run the show. The University itself is built on a corporate model and anybody that has spent time in a University has seen this build and has seen the rise of presidents coming out of business departments. I can't think of the last time a president came out of any field associated with the humanties, though I'm sure there are notable exceptions and I'd love to hear about them.

Further, and this is the greatest argument, if the left was producing bomb-throwing radicals, a lot of libertarian socialists (a term that's actually an oxymoran in America) believing that capitilism must be defeated would be on television. If most people who run the world go to college and college produces left-wing radicals, it would logically follow that the people who run the world would be left-wing. And well, they aint.

Now just a quick note: left and right are value terms and there's all kinds of room for argument about what makes someone left or right or middle, but I think it's obvious that one set of business values, whatever you want to call them are ruling the world. And I doubt the people running the world really give a damn whether Spider Man is gay or black. However, the listeners to this show seemed to care, a lot – and they vote. 

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