I tend to like Hollywood righties on a personality/character level, and Ben Stein is basically correct in saying at a right-wing fundraiser last Thursday that Hollywood films would do better in the hinterlands if they weren’t so contemptuous towards mainstream American values. “Stop spitting in the face of Americans and maybe we will go to the movies,” Stein said. Copy that, but what a lame and simplistic way of looking at things. Los Angeles and New York creatives live in their own spiritual-philosphical realm, of course…an international blue world, really, that encompasses London, Paris, Prague, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, et. al. And the hard fact is that from the hip international perspective, American heartlanders are seen as sexually uptight retrograde conservatives with naive political perceptions (that’s putting it kindly) and almost laughably primitive religious convictions. It’s a cliche, but you really have to travel to Europe and meet the cultivated people over there to realize how much of a joke American yahoos seem to the older and more mature cultures. As much as some creative types would like to hang back and get down with the reds and try to capture that rural dignity thing (like Jim Mangold did when he directed Walk the Line or Lamont Johnson did with 1973’s The Last American Hero), it’s hard to just snap your fingers and do this.