David Brooks always brightens my day. Like his co-conservative at the Times, John Tierney; he just loves to make stuff up.
Today's piece opens with a description of the "sports movie." You know the ones: "over the last several years theaters have been inundated" by them. The ones where "stereotypical manly men"are coaches who push a team to work insanely hard and win the championship. He argues that the fact that they "continue to attract audiences time after time" proves that they affirm "certain values precious to the culture;" values "which amount to a brick by brick destruction of the values that were prevalent 30 years ago." These movies "take the therapeutic, progressive, New Age part of the 1960's and 1970's and they crush it dead."
His article is once again a crock. Attract an audience? No one goes to these movies. In the last decade, there has not been one year in which a movie fitting Brooks' definition made it to the top ten box office hits for that year. ( Adam Sandler's The Waterboy is not what Brooks means by a "sports movie".) The 50 top selling movies of all time? Nope - not one is the kind of film Brooks is talking about. And as far as theaters being inundated? Of the 20 movies playing nearest to my place - not a single movie is close to Brooks' ideal.
Brooks does like the "civil rights" part of the 60's and 70's, and admits to the significant progress that has been made on these fronts. It's "the therapeutic, progressive, new age" kinds of values he so gleefully declares dead and buried. So while no movie he refers to makes a top-ten list, two of the ten most prescribed drugs in the U.S. last year were therapies for mental problems. In 2004, a Harris poll found that 27% of U.S. adults, (about 59 million people) had received mental health treatment within the last two years. Vanderbilt talks of a pretty massive study which concluded that about 50% of all Americans have sought "complementary and alternative medicine."
For Brooks, the music festival of Woodstock was probably the epitome of the horrible values of that time. There, a lot of Americans watched the Yogi Swami Satchatanandra chant; the first time many had ever heard of such a thing. Of course about 19 million Americans now practice Yoga, and they spend 25 Billion dollars a year doing it.
I understand that some Republicans believe they can create any reality that they wish - I just wish the NY Times would stop paying and publishing them for doing it.
The right is very fond of declarations of victory. Remember Bush on the aircraft carrier spouting "Mission Accomplished?" Or Dick Cheney talking of the death throes of the insurgency? Or that Bush's victory in 2000 proved that the Democratic party was dead? (despite Al Gore's win in the popular vote) The Progressive movement is not dead. The world will continue to make progress - with or without the Republican party of the United States of America.