Transcript from Klavan’s presentation in Danville


L= Linda

L: We’re so glad you are here today; our family, our dearest friends, perhaps some of you we haven’t met quite yet; this we know, we are aligned on the most basic beliefs. I’m Linda, this is my husband Michael Rudy, our family foundation, RudyRudy, is most delighted to bring you Andrew Klavan. What a powerhouse. Andrew’s resume alone would add another hour to tonight’s event; True Crimeby Clint Eastwood, Don’t Say A Word starring Michael Douglas, screenplays like A Shock to the System, One Missed Call and of course, my personal favorite, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer. Andrew’s recent piece in the City Journal entitled Can We Believe?is another brilliant, well-written proof on today’s conflicted pseudo-intellectual culture and the obsessive battle to decouple faith from knowledge. We are all warriors in this battle for our nation’s soul, we may all play different parts, but we see changes and those with any knowledge of history know that the present trajectory does not end well. And so, we fight the good fight. And voices such as Andrew Klavan remind us that we must be happy warriors and the Socratic method can be down-right funny. And it reminds us to love what we do, and that love is the root of what we do. Sit back, relax, it’s going to be an awesome night. It was either this or have my husband sing and he has declined. Thank you.

A: Thank you. Thank you so much. And thank you to Linda and Mike for inviting me, I cannot tell you how encouraging it is to talk to people who actually care about the culture. I have spent years making speeches to Christian and conservative groups about the need to care about the culture. And I used to go home and tell my wife that it was like trying to explain to her when you buy something on sale it still cost money. And whenever I’d do that, she’d look at me like, “You’re really cute, but I have no idea what you’re talking about”. And so it’s nice to be among people who do understand it. But I’m going to challenge some of your ideas. A couple of weeks ago, I went into a rant on my podcast, in which I compared Christian movies to pornography. And it made Christian people so upset and so offended and so insulted, that I thought I’d repeat it here tonight.

I was talking, I had gotten a letter in my mailbag asking me how I felt about street evangelists, people coming up to you on the street and preaching. And I said, “You know, they never really impress me very much.” That when I was a young man, I used to walk around, especially on the campus at Berkeley where I went to college, and I… {applause}


Sardonicism, that really touches my heart. And young Christian people, these very sweet faced people come up to me and they would say, in these kind of idealistic voices, “have you heard about the Jewish carpenter who was born of a virgin and walked on water and was crucified and then rose from the dead and ascended into heaven?” And I would be like, “wait a minute… a Jewish carpenter? That’s just not plausible, you know….” {laughter}

And as implausible as I frequently found those people is nothing compared to the way I feel about Christian movies. Now I know I was dining with someone who enjoys Christian movies, and I enjoy some of them myself as well. But they do bare a relationship to pornography. Pornography is about sex, and sex is great. Everybody loves sex, I mean if I had to make a list of my one favorite thing, it would be sex. But pornography is better. Pornography is better; in pornography the girl looks like whatever you want, she has no personality so she’s not going to bother you about anything. She’ll do anything you want. You could be a serial killer, you could tell her ‘what I really like is cutting women to pieces’ and she would be like ‘okay’, you know. And of course, she’s never going to show up with a child. Which is disconcerting, when all you want to do is think about sex.


And Christian movies are about God. Now I didn’t really find God until I was in my forties and it was transformative. It transformed my life, I mean, it provided whole new levels of depth, meaning, purpose, consolation. I would say that God is the best thing that ever happened to me. But Christian movies are better, you know. In Christian movies, God solves every problem. You know, a kid falls into a lake and drowns, God brings him back. Which you know, it great. It’s like, your husband is going to cheat on you, you pray and he gets nauseous just as he’s about to go up…this is a real scene… just as he’s about to go up to the hotel room with his mistress, he throws up. Right, it’s like he doesn’t even need a moral compass, you know, you just pray, and he gets sick and that’s the end of that. And my favorite scene in all Christian movies is the one with the grumpy professor who doesn’t believe in God, and then he gets hit by a car. And just before he dies, he accepts Jesus and then he dies. And everybody is thrilled, you know, it’s like ‘Hallelujah! He’s been saved.’ And I was just like, ‘he’s dead… I mean the guy is dead. Someone needs to go home to his kids, you know, and tell them dad’s not coming home.’

But God solves everything.


In Christian movies. And so why, why do I say this, when I know it bothers people and gets under their skin, because I know people love the movies. And again, I have no beef with them. They are kind of just like romantic comedies. They are peaceful to watch, and I get it. But there’s one more connection between Christian movies and pornography. With the advent of pornography, people have stopped having sex. People have a lot less sex now that there’s pornography. And I fear, when I look at the success of Christian movies and the proliferation of Christian movies, and when I look at the fact that more and more people have stopped defining themselves as Christian and stopped associating with any church whatsoever. I wonder if there’s the same kind of connection. I feel like we are in a culture war, and the question of whether there is a God, whether we are spiritual creatures or whether we are physical creatures is at the heart of that war. You cannot… you cannot have things like socialism without ceasing to believe in the internal reality of the human being. I mean, Marx knew that, right, he was a materialist. But I feel like we’re in a war, in which only one side is armed, and that side are the unbelievers and the left. I want to tell you a little bit about my experiences in Hollywood, what my life in Hollywood was like, and to some degree, is still like.


I am almost unique among American writers, especially novelists, in that I never wanted to work in Hollywood. It never interested me, all I ever wanted to do was to write novels. But I wrote mystery novels, suspense novels and so they made good movies, and they started to get bought for the movies. One day a producer actually called me up and invited me to her office in New York and said, “I will pay you to write any movie you want.” And I actually said “I don’t really want to be in the movies… I don’t want to be in the movies.” I may be the only human being who has ever said that to somebody offering them money to write a movie. But she asked me if there was anything that I would do and I said yes, I read this novel called The Shock to the System, it’s a wonderful novel but nobody’s ever going to make it. But I would make it if somebody bought it. So, she went out and she optioned the novel and I felt obligated to turn up and write it. And it became a Michael Kane movie, which by the way didn’t do much business, but actually is quite a good movie and holds up today.

So, I got into the movies, kind of, I backed into it. And all I wanted to do was write novels and so I left the country. I went to England and I was writing books over there, and every now and again I would write a movie, but I wasn’t that into it. But eventually, I had a book full of shelves. I felt I had succeeded at what I wanted to do. They were making my books into movies and I thought, well let’s go west and see if I can do something in the movie business. So, around the turn of the century, around 2000, we moved, my wife and I moved to Santa Barbara and I would commute down to LA and I started working in the movie business. And I really did quite well. Right around the year 2002/2003 a movie called The Ringcame out, which was a ghost story. I’m a ghost story fanatic, I’ve read every ghost story ever written and I love ghost stories. And the minute I saw this I thought ‘this is a great ghost story, this movie’. And a lot of times what I would do after a movie I hang out in the lobby to hear what people were saying about it, so I could gauge the audience’s reaction. And I noticed that everybody coming out of this movie was a thirteen-year-old girl, and they were all saying the same thing, they all were saying, “That’s the scariest movie I’ve ever seen.”


And I realized why was because The Ringwas very cleverly cut to leave out all of the gore. And so it got a PG-13 rating and all of these girls had never seen a scary movie before. Well that’s what I love! I love non-gory, suggestive, ghost stories. So, for the next few years, they were coming out of my computer and I was just selling them one after another. That’s a very good living, by the way. I mean, that is making a lot of money. Now it’s important to understand this okay… But something else had also happened around the same time. In 2001, obviously in September, there was 9/11, the attack on our country by Islamists. And my movie, Don’t Say A Word,which was based on my novel, I didn’t write it, it was based on my novel with Michael Douglas, was about to come out. And it was a big deal because I had seen the movie and it was good, and I knew it was going to be a hit. And I had never had a hit movie before, and of course it sells books and it such a good thing to have. And it was about, maybe three days before it came out, the attacks took place. And as I was sitting on my sofa, as we all were, watching this nightmare… and New York is my home town, well I was watching these buildings collapse, I mean, I was talking on the phone with my father who was sobbing… if you’ve never heard your father sob, put that off indefinitely, I mean it’s a really unpleasant situation. Just a terrible thing. And through the smoke and the murk and the screaming people, I could see the subway cars for Don’t Say a Word, I could see them and I turned to my wife and I said “I guess there’s some things more important than having your movie open.” ButDon’t Say a Wordcame out and it was the first hit after 9/11, it was the first movie to be a hit, after 9/11. And it was a good thing for me, but I was traumatized, I won’t kid you. I drove up into the hills after 9/11 and I yelled at God because I was too old to join the military.


And I was in no position to join the military, I mean I was as furious as I’d ever been. But a very strange thing happened in Hollywood after this, okay, people started to side with, sympathize with the people who had attacked us. And it wasn’t like the people who had attacked us were Freedom Fighters, I mean it wasn’t like they were representing anything that any of us could believe in. They were… it was a low, mean, awful creed with a small angry god that was oppressive to every single person who came under its sway. I’m talking about the radicals, you know, I am. But still. I remember about two nights, three nights, a week? I can’t remember, after 9/11, David Letterman came on T.V. and he was the big late-night comedian of the time and he said “Why do they hate us? I have to know why they hate us.” And it reminded me, you know I’ve worked on suicide hotlines and sometimes you’ll get a call from a wife who’s being beaten, and she’ll say, “why is he so angry at me?” And my thought was ‘who cares?’ you know. Try shooting them, see if that’ll help, you know. And you know, I did. I felt the same way about the Islamists. Who cares why they hate us? You know? It’s like, they don’t believe in anything we can support, let’s try killing them and see if they go away.


But I found this in Hollywood too, okay, in Hollywood they began to make movie after movie after movie in which our soldiers were depicted, our soldierswere depicted as rapists, as criminals, and as fools who were being manipulated by evil Republicans sent into a war they shouldn’t be fighting and killed, sent to their death for no reason whatsoever. And this had never happened before, okay, none of these movies made money by the way, but that didn’t seem to bother anybody, they just wanted to get this out there. But it never happened before, the great anti-war films that came out of Vietnam were all made after our soldiers came home. And this was my big objection. My big objection was not that people disagreed with the war, that’s an American right, right?… you don’t have to agree with everything your government does. My big objection was that they were making propaganda vehicles against our soldiers. Making them look like rapists and killers, I can name these pictures, I mean in Valley of Elahthey’re killers, in Redacted they’re rapists, in Lions for Lambsthey’re fools who are sent off by the evil Republican Tom Cruise to be killed. It never happened that they made these pictures while our soldiers were in the field, while our neighbors’ sons were being shot at in the field. They were making propaganda that showed them to be terrible, terrible people.


Okay, and their excuse was always the same by the way, it’s always ‘well this is a true story’. But of course, a city’s worth of soldiers had gone into these battles, so there was going to be some bad guys in there. But that’s not the representative story. And the other thing that was different was that in Vietnam, a lot of the people like Oliver Stone who made anti-war films, were in the war. These people had never gotten closer to the middle east than the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard, you know, they were sitting around in the café drinking cappuccino latte, half-caff cappuccinos, you know. Saying, you know, this idiot George W. Bush…You know, so I started to write about it, I started to say this is wrong. We’re doing something wrong, our industry is doing something that is not right. I even had myself embedded with the troops, just for a few days in Afghanistan, for the magazine City Journal. Just by way of…. Just so I could communicate, and say this is what they’re like, this is what they are doing, this is what’s happening. And of course, the phones stopped ringing. My work dried up. I was selling two and three scripts a year, which as I say is good money, but the work dried up. So, was I blacklisted? Let me tell you how Hollywood works, how the business works, okay. Now you have to understand, I am an anomaly in that I never wanted to work in Hollywood. Most people who work in Hollywood, and almost everyone who succeeds in Hollywood as far as I succeeded, would kill their mothers to be in the business. If you’re not an artist, you don’t know. You do not know what it’s like to have this thing inside you that you have to get out, that you have to sell, you have to get approval for. It is, people who work in the arts risk everything. I risked everything to do what I do. I’m a smart guy, I could’ve gone to law school, I could’ve been in business, I could have gone to med school. I had to…. I HAD to this thing. When young people ask me what my advice is to young writers, it always is if you don’t have to do it then don’t do it, because you’re risking your life. Okay. So, the people who come in here are bringing every dream they’ve had since they were ten years old. And they are desperate, desperate to succeed. And the way the business works is you walk into a room and you pitch your story. You tell them what story you want to tell and if they like it, they hire you to write it.


Or you walk in and they tell you what story they want told. And they ask you how you would write it and then you pitch them their story back to them. So, you walk in with your dreams in your arms, right, every daydream you’ve had since you were a kid. You walk in and these are the people who can say yes or no to you. And before you start, you have a conversation, how was the traffic on the 405, it’s another lovely day in southern California, isn’t Donald Trump the biggest idiot you’ve ever met in your life, ever seen in your life. Back in my time it was George W. Bush, same thing, believe me, believe me they think they hate Trump more, they hated George W. Bush just as much, okay. So, you’re going in there with your dreams, with your one shot with the one person who can say yes to you and what he says to you is, “Is that George W. Bush? Are we murdering these poor Iraqis or not? It’s murder, it’s mass murder, we are killing these people.” Okay, and you have a choice. You either put a grin on your face and say “Yes, it sure is true,” and maybe, maybe your dreams come true. Or…you do what I do. If you have a big mouth and as Linda explained to me, if you’re a smart aleck, that’s not what she said, but that’s close to what she said. If you’re… if you can’t keep your mouth shut, if you feel you don’t want to be owned, if you feel the price of your dream should not be your soul, you say very politely, “I actually am on the other side of this issue.” And the meeting is over.


The meeting is over. How bad does this get? The worst it ever got, a famous director loved one of my scripts called me in, it was during the Mitt Romney/Barack Obama election, within 90 seconds of entering the room he said to me, “The Republicans don’t care about Mitt Romney, all they want is this n-word out of the White House.” So, he’s telling me that that’s who I am, right. If I want him to buy my script I’ve got to say, “Boy, oh boy, is that right?” Instead I said, “You know, I think it’s a little more complicated than that.” Hit the bricks, hit the bricks. You’re gone, alright. So, they don’t have to blacklist you. Right? They don’t have to blacklist you, there’s no note that goes around, they don’t know… for a long time before I started doing these podcasts they didn’t know me from Adam, except as a writer, except as a mystery writer, they would… it was just those meetings. You couldn’t get through to those meetings. So, what are the effects of a culture that is all on one side, and it is all on one side, okay. This is the thing that’s so hard to explain to conservatives, conservatives are, you know, conservatives by nature are pessimists. I’m kind of the odd man out in this regard because I am an optimistic person. But conservatives can see the change…any change, the path from any change to utter disaster.


Right. I mean, you change your address and they say, ‘that means that society is going to collapse and then we all die’. You know. And so, they’re always, conservatives are always in a panic, and it’s always, you know, you hear them. You hear the way they talk about an election. If we don’t save the 145th District in Ohio, the country is toast. You know. So, it’s hard to explain something that takes so long, something that takes so long to have its effect. You know, I was talking about the way that leftists act in Hollywood, let me tell you for a minute about the way right wingers act in Hollywood, okay. This is absolutely true. I don’t know how many of you remember or know Andrew Breitbart, but he was a mover and shaker and he believed in the culture and he brought all of us together, Ben Shapiro and Steve Crowder and me and Alfonso Rachel. All the people who are now spokesmen for the right in California, Breitbart brought us together. And I met Breitbart because he heard that I cared about the culture and he called me up on a show that he was hosting. And he was filling in and he started to interview me about David Mammoth, which I had been talking about, the playwright. And I’m very focused when I’m doing an interview, that’s all I can pay attention to, but Breitbart was nuts. And so, Breitbart was always paying attention to five things at once, so while he’s interviewing me, he starts texting me.


And so I’m talking to him and he’s saying “You know, you’ve got to join this group, Friends of Abe.” What was Friends of Abe? Friends of Abe was a secret society of Hollywood conservatives, okay. It was a secret society. The first rule about Friends of Abe was that you didn’t talk about Friends of Abe. And I would have to kill you after telling you this, except that it’s been disbanded, okay. It was called Friends of Abe because back in the day when it was bad to be gay, gay people were called friends of Dorothy, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. So they would say Rock Hudson, is he a friend of Dorothy? Oh yeah, he’s a big friend of Dorothy. So, so we were friends of Abe Lincoln, right. We were friends of Abe Lincoln because it was that bad to be a Republican. And if you go to a Friends of Abe meeting, it was like an AA meeting. It was… You’d stand up, there’d be a lunch and you’d stand up and say, “My name is Andrew, I’m a conservative.” And they go, “Hi Andrew!”


So that’s what you’re dealing with. I mean, that’s the world you’re dealing with. A place where in a meeting, in a business meeting, one guy will tell you, you hate black people because you’re voting for Mitt Romney. And the other side is meeting in secret, confessing their secret sins, okay. So what… the reason it was so hard to explain this because of the panic the conservatives get into… Culture is like standing on the beach, you stand on the beach the waves come in under your feet and they go out again and you’re still standing there, but you can feel the ground is being eaten away. And that’s the way culture works, okay. People get upset with the wrong things in movies, they get upset with nudity, they get upset with cursing…that’s the world. Somebody once asked the great critic Pauline Kael how she felt about sex and violence in movies and she said, “Sex and violence are what the movies are about.” That’s right, that’s true, okay. They get upset with the wrong things, what they should get upset about is the underlying assumptions in the movies, okay. Every housewife is desperate, you watch T.V. every housewife is desperate, there’s no such thing as a woman who is raising children, making a home, the center of the universe as far as I’m concerned, who is actually content and happy to be doing that. If you are a religious person you are either a bigot or a child molester, okay. If you are a businessman, you’re evil and if you’re a soldier, an American soldier, you’re a killer. If you ever go back and watch, you want to see what I’m talking about watch the movie The Bourne Identity movies. The first one is pretty good, but the rest of them are just… every time you see an American flag, it’s a danger signal. Listen to the music when they show you an American flag.


They are sending you this… I mean Bourne is a guy who loses his memory and wakes up and finds he’s a super assassin for the Americans. If that happened to me, I’d be like ‘cool!’, you know. But he’s depressed because the Americans are evil and that’s what they sell you every day. There was a movie, I was sitting in a hotel room with my wife once and I was lying on the bed doing that thing with the remote, right, changing channels. And I came upon a movie with Bruce Willis and Halle Barry called Perfect Strangers, a movie nobody saw, but it was a thriller, so I started watching it. Opening…the movie was just starting, the opening scene, Halle Barry is a crusading newspaper reporter, she walks into the office of, I think it’s a Senator, may have been a Congressman but let’s say it’s a Senator. And, this is the opening scene, door swings shut, and you see the name of the Senator and R in parentheses. And I turn to my wife and I said, “He’s against gay marriage but he’s screwing boys.” Two minutes later, right, Halle Barry says, “Here are the pictures of you with these young boys.” And my wife turns to me and says, “How did you know that?!” I said, “I’m psychic,” you know. The assumptions are so baked in, they’re so baked in that you don’t even feel what’s being sold to you. And the thing about stories, okay, is that every story that moves you is true. Every story that moves you is true. But that doesn’t mean it’s being used for a true purpose. I’ll give you an example, right.


A soldier comes home from the war, his child is playing on the front path and looks up, Daddy’s home, runs into her father’s arms. Mom is in the kitchen, she looks out of the window, there’s the man she loves. He’s back, he’s safe, he’s home. Runs outside. We’re crying now, right? The tears are streaming down our face because this is true. There is truth to this. Then they all go out to McDonald’s, okay, and it’s a T.V. commercial. With a good story you can use the truth to sell anything. Nothing against McDonalds. But it could be socialism, it could be atheism, it could be all kinds of things. If you watch the picture V is for Vendetta, right, it looks like it’s a picture against fascism, but who are the fascists? The Christians are the fascists. The gay man, the wonderful gay man in V is for Vendetta says “I love the Koran. I don’t have to agree with it, but I love its beauty.” You know, I thought ‘yeah is it the part where they push you off the roof that you like… what part, what part is so beautiful that it overcomes him?’ There are studies that have been done, these studies are not conclusive, yet, but there are studies that have been done that show that people who have not been exposed to T.V., to movies and then are exposed to them become more worldly. Umm… more liberal, sometimes in the good sense and sometimes in the not so good sense. Umm… there’s a deep conviction, certainly among gay people, that the sympathetic gay characters who are on T.V. and in movies helped people come to accept gay people. I have nothing against gay people, by the way. I’m not just telling you this, I’m simply saying that these are the things that changed people’s minds. So, what do you think it does to people if again and again every priest who comes on is a child molester or a bigot, every Christian is a homophobe or bigot, every single one? What do you think it does to people over time, if every single woman who keeps a home or raises her kids, is cheated on, is humiliated, is made fun of? You know. What do you think that does over time?


The second thing, the second effect of these, and that’s probably the most important one of these underlying assumptions, the second effect is the divisiveness that’s in the country right now, which I think we all feel. Which by the way, it’s an unfair divisiveness. It’s true that the leaders of the parties are separated like this, but I believe that about 70% of the people agree on 70% of the stuff, I think when you actually sit and talk to people it’s amazing how reasonable they are, if you don’t talk to them about Trump and Obama but you talk about principals they almost all agree on so much, you know. That division though, is being created by Hollywood, it’s being created by the news industry too. When every night the comedians who come on T.V. attack one side, they make jokes about one side, every single one. There must be seven late night comedians, right, on networks, on the cable shows, do any of them make jokes about Nancy Pelosi? No, it’s like Trump, Trump, Trump, you’re an idiot if you voted for Trump, he’s corrupt, he’s awful, he’s evil, so are you, you know. Now if I watch a comedian and he’s making jokes about Trump and he’s making jokes about Pelosi, I’ll laugh at both of them. Politicians are funny, you know, politicians are corrupt and stupid and funny, that’s you know, good comedy. If you’re making jokes about both sides I will laugh at my own side and at the other side. And that is a good thing, right? That teaches me to laugh at myself and not take my positions too seriously and listen to the other guy. But if every day, I’m being attacked, right, all I hear is that, I turn off the T.V. And this is something I hear from conservatives all the time, which by the way breaks my heart because I don’t have to go to the movies. I can watch Turner Classics and get some good entertainment, I don’t have to watch the new movies. That leaves me with nobody, I mean now I’ve got nobody on my side, okay. So, it’s divisive. And the third thing and this is huge, is the rewriting of history, okay. And if you don’t think… I’m going to prove to you how important this is to the left, okay. I will prove it to you. Let’s just take a couple of examples. JFK, John F. Kennedy was a Cold War, anti-communist president killed by a communist. Full stop. Lee Harvey Oswald, a communist, tried to shoot another guy before he shot Kennedy, then went out and shot Kennedy because he hated his attitudes toward Cuba. The day he was arrested, the day he was arrested, the New York Times ran a front-page editorial by James Reston saying Kennedy was killed by hate. What did they mean? They meant that there were bigots in the South who hated Kennedy because of his civil rights program. There were bigots. They did hate Kennedy because of the civil rights program. They didn’t kill him. They had nothing to do with it. They were bad people, they were wrong. They didn’t kill Kennedy. He was killed by a communist.


Because he was an anti-communist and they didn’t want to talk about it because the press was communist. The press was left-wing. So, they created this incredible conspiracy. Why did the bullet dance around? Why did this happen? Why did that happen? It went on and on and on until Oliver Stone, the king of conspiracies, made this beautiful movie, it’s an incredible movie with Kevin Costner putting forward this conspiracy theory that in real life was thrown out of court in about forty-five minutes. I mean the jury went in and said, “That’s nuts!” Threw it out. But it’s conspiracy of evil conservatives killing Kennedy. That’s the only history some kids know, okay. Argo, I don’t know if you saw the movie Argo, won the Academy Award, right, with Ben Affleck. Conservatives love that picture. They love the picture because it has an American hero fighting the Iranians, right? They loved it. But if you watch it closely, what it is telling you is Jimmy Carter was a good president. Jimmy Carter was an incompetent buffoon and he screwed that situation up no end. Go back and watch the movie, that’s the message of the movie. They are rewriting history, they’re telling you a great story, and they all go to McDonalds at the end. And McDonalds is that Jimmy Carter is a good president, okay. If you don’t think this is important to them, let me tell you, my pal Cyrus Nowrasteh, terrific writer, he wrote a mini-series called The Path to 9/11. In The Path to 9/11, it’s a true story, all true, it’s condensed in places for drama but it’s all true. It shows Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama Bin Laden when he had a chance because he was distracted by the Monica Lewinski scandal, okay. Bill Clinton did everything to kill this movie. Everything he could to kill this movie. He couldn’t kill it. It made it on the air, with some cuts. They cut out some of these scenes, but they left in some of them. It aired one time, it was one of the most successful mini-series ever aired on television. It has never been released on DVD. Why? Because the head of Disney who owns the property, Bob Iger I think it is, won’t release it. Never will release it, okay. I can’t think of another movie that hasn’t been released on DVD, okay. If you don’t think they care about this, they care. The Kennedy mini-series was kicked off ABC and put on some small cable station. Again and again this stuff is going on. So, they rewrite history.


So, let me finish… And I hope you’ll stay and talk to me and tell me, ask me your questions and tell me your concerns because I’m actually much more interested in what you’re saying than what I’m saying, but I just want to tell you what I’ve seen with my own eyes, alright. What are we supposed to do? Why did I start out by attacking Christian movies? Christianity created the greatest culture mankind has ever seen. I mean, there’s been nothing to touch it, maybe the Greeks, for 100 years. But there’s been nothing to touch it. When you talk about Bach, when you talk about Michelangelo, when you talk about Shakespeare, when you talk about Dickens and Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and you talk about the greatest art ever made and the greatest freedom ever given to people and the greatest wealth. All of it is generated by the Christian idea of the human person, every… all of it. The philosopher Schopenhauer said that Christianity has now devolved to banal optimism. That’s my problem with Christian movies, okay. Life is tragic, life is hard, life is hilarious, okay. Life is sexy, it’s dirty, it’s filled with people doing stupid stuff, chasing each other in and out of bedrooms. That’s what art is made of. If you can’t find God in that world, you can’t find God, okay. Because God is God of the real world. He’s God of the real world. He’s God of children who die and don’t come back. He’s God of people who have affairs and have a good time. He’s God of people who do the wrong thing and get away with it. That’s our God, okay. I frequently… and I’ve been thrown out of places for this, I won’t mention them, but there’s this one place they want to talk about the good and the true and the beautiful, so do I, okay. But the good, the true and the beautiful, you know John Keats said “Beauty is truth and truth is beauty…” telling the truth is what an artist does. Let me tell you one of my favorite and one of the most moral shows that has been on T.V. in the last twenty years is The Sopranos, okay. The Sopranosis filled with filthy language, so filthy that when they put it on the normal channels and they had to edit it out and I couldn’t understand what anybody was saying. They had to edit out the curse words and I couldn’t figure out what anybody was talking about. It’s filled with nudity, it’s filled with violence. It’s also a deeply, deeply moral show. It has one of…two of the best scenes on T.V. I’ve ever seen. One when the wife of the gangster goes to the Jewish psychiatrist and he says, “Your problem is your husband is evil. And until you get away from that evil you will never be happy.” And she says “Oh, I can’t do that. I can’t do that.” And the other is a famous episode that I just think is one of the best pieces of television writing I’ve ever seen called From Where to Eternity, I think it’s called, in which one of the gangsters get shot and he’s lying in bed and somebody prays to God, ‘If you will save him, I will do the right thing from now on.’ And God saves him. And she doesn’t change at all. And throughout the entire show God is present. The people who’ve killed people suddenly start having dreams about the people they’ve killed. Their conscience starts to come out and at the end they just forget about it all, they go back to being mobsters. That was so real. That was so real that if I hadn’t converted by then I would have converted on the spot, okay. Because you can’t believe if you can’t believe. You can’t believe if you can’t believe in what you’re seeing right in front of you. So, let me finish with this, you know one of the questions I always get asked is “What can we do? We’re not artists. You know, what can we do?” And there are a million things that we need. I mean look, the big thing we need, is we need a big pool of money to help us start making movies and get distribution for them and T.V. shows. Okay, I understand, I’m not pitching for that, I’m just telling you. But there’s an entire infrastructure of artistic appreciation that does not exist for Christian art and for conservative art. There are no awards, there are no grants, there are no reviews. If I want to find out about the arts I have to listen to NPR and get socialism with my arts, okay. There’s nothing like this. You can watch Fox until you die, and they will not mention the arts in any real way, okay. So, we need that. We need some appreciation. And the final thing is that, you know, if it seems like I’m too hard on G-rated, happy talk Christian movies I just want to remind you that my generation, the people of the 60’s who tore this culture apart, who tore our culture apart, we grew up watching John Wayne movies and Doris Day movies. The people who made this country, the founders grew up reading Greek tragedy with murder and death and Shakespeare with all the sex and the, you know, that’s what they grew up… why? Because it taught them what people are like, it taught them what people are like and it taught them what kind of government you have to build to keep them in check, okay. So, the final thing is this, as of now, because of social media, all of us are part of the culture. This is always true, but it’s more true now. If you don’t think it’s true, then why do they cut me off YouTube every chance they get? Why do they throw every conservative voice off Twitter and Facebook? Deeming them hateful because they believe in the Constitution, you know. Every single one of you has a piece of the culture in his hand. If you don’t live out the meaning of your beliefs, that’s what you’re teaching the culture. If you don’t stand up for your beliefs, that’s what you’re teaching the culture. If when they threaten to de-platform you or lower your grades or call you down to HR because you said that a man is not a woman or whatever the hell they call you down for now, if you cave in, that’s what you’re teaching the culture. I’ve lived my life in the arts and I’m proud of it and I’ve loved every minute of it, I’ve had the greatest time on Earth. But artists are not alone in creating the culture, we all do it and I think it’s something you’ve got to remember every day and every minute of every day. And I thank you so much for caring and for listening and I would love it if you would ask questions and we could talk some more. Thank you.