A Hollywood Version of History

Posted: Jan 24, 2008 8:43 AM
A Hollywood Version of History

As lovers of history, we are always first in line to see a good period movie or biographical film. But over the years the liberals in Hollywood have moved further toward the fringes of loony-left scholarship in the field of historic cinema.

In this latest twist, Matt Damon aka Jason Bourne has launched a project that makes Warren Beatty’s epic "Reds" look conservative. Damon has decided to spend his accumulated millions on a new documentary revising America’s history.

Like Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth," this new documentary will quickly cycle from the theater to the school classroom. Stylistically the film will take the form of actors doing readings in packed theaters. The actors, who apparently loath the United States, will be reading from the radical book titled "A People’s History of the United States."

The author, extreme left-wing Boston University Professor Howard Zinn, says his narrative of the country’s history was written "to awaken a greater consciousness of class conflict, racial injustice, sexual inequality and national arrogance." The book is filled with letters, speeches and last words of radicals, revolutionaries and activists, some famous and others unknown.

The controversial tome, over 700 pages long, has become a cult favorite embraced by Hollywood liberals, one being Matt Damon. Damon grew up next door to the author in Cambridge, Mass. He has long been a fan of the book and is one of the major screen stars behind turning the book into a film.

Damon also starred in and wrote the screenplay for the movie, "Good Will Hunting" along with fellow actor and friend Ben Affleck. Damon’s character extols the book in that movie’s dialogue saying, "You want to read a real history book read Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the United States,’ that book will F***-in knock you on your ass."

"A People’s History" leaves the reader believing America is an evil empire, and the film will have the same effect. The film is likely to be able to reach down into a younger aged audience than the book does. Movie goers tend to be children, teenagers and young adults. Damon and company are trying to reach a whole new generation and make it a history for the YouTube generation. Two-thirds of regular movie goers are in the age bracket of 12 to 39 years old, prime ages to influence viewers. The lower end of this group is especially susceptible to being influenced by movie stars. Executive producer of the film Chris Moore, who also produced "Good Will Hunting," acknowledges and is conscious of the fact that these actors, "give us the opportunity to be able to make something that people will go see." He is also adding archival footage along with fast-paced editing and contemporary music to help sell this movie. The working title of the film is "The People Speak."

The line-up of actors reading from the book for the film looks like an All-Star Liberal Team: Danny Glover, Viggo Mortensen, Ben Affleck, Kerry Washington, Josh Brolin (step-son of Barbra Streisand), Marissa Tomei, and of course Matt Damon, to name a few.

One of the criticisms of the book is that Zinn fails to cite adequately his sources by using endnotes or footnotes. When Zinn does cite evidence of some horrible atrocity done to a fellow human being, he neglects to indicate whether the incident is a single aberrant episode or a common occurrence, thus leaving the reader to draw an inference and believe this was par for the course.

Zinn says he is ready for the film to receive the same criticism that his book got nearly thirty years ago when it was published in 1980. "Sure," he says with a laugh, "because the film is going to be in your face. The film is gonna be unabashed in what it says about war about our class system about the treatment of women about the treatment of black people and native Americans in this country, some people will be outraged by the point of view. They’ll say this is not objective, this is biased. Well, of course, it’s not objective; it’s biased, like all history."

Those involved with the film hope to release it before the presidential election in November (probably with the goal of influencing voters). Now a new generation is about to be subjected to this anti-American diatribe.

Who knows where Zinn’s harsh criticism of America comes from, but he has certainly benefited from the free enterprise system with his book selling more than a million copies over the last twenty-eight years.

If you are looking for a history book to read about America, may we suggest Paul Johnson’s "A History of the American People." You won’t end up with such a bitter taste in your mouth after reading it.