This may sound a bit strange but bear with me, or more precisely with Adam McKay. In a 4.12 N.Y. Times Sunday Magazine interview with David Marchese, the director of The Big Short and the forthcoming Don’t Look Up breaks down some differences between today’s lunatic righties, all-but-extinct classic Republicans, moderate liberals and serious lefties like McKay.
McKay does so by way of a comparison between himself and The Trial of the Chicago 7‘s Aaron Sorkin.
McKay: “For all intents and purposes the Republican Party is no longer a functioning political party with actual policies and ideas” — true. “It’s motivated by pure power, reactionary beliefs. So I would say the real right wing in our country is the moderates” — not true. Left-center moderates like myself are left leaning within reasonable, fair-minded restraints. We’re not righties — we’re sensible lefties (i.e., in favor of $15 an hour minimum wage) minus your woke totalitarian Khmer Rouge cancel-culture mentality.
In other words, McKay is claiming that moderates (center-left or center-right) are the new classic Republicans. Sorry but there’s nothing “Republican” about this horse — I swear by the theology of kindness and humanitarianism, I love who Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are deep down, I’ve taken LSD and mescaline, I don’t relate to people who play golf or visit Dubai, I occasionally ride a rumblehog, I’ll cross the street to avoid babbling homeless people, I was once immersed in the Bhagavad Gita, I’ve been to Prague for hair treatments, I wear Italian suede lace-ups and high-thread-count T-shirts…don’t call me even vaguely Republican!
McKay: “The right-wing version of me — maybe this isn’t the best example — is an Aaron Sorkin. You’ve got to remember, we just saw seven Democrats vote against raising a minimum wage that is $7.25 an hour. That’s extremely right-wing. Bill Clinton, the policies he pushed through, are right-wing” — what Sorkin means is that policy-wise Clinton was a moderate Eisenhower Republican.
McKay: “The whole definition of right and left in our country is shattered because of this Republican Party that is almost a Ponzi scheme of meaning.
“A lot of Republicans nowadays will admit that the Vietnam War was a misadventure. So that’s hardly a liberal perspective. I’m not calling Sorkin a Republican. I’m not calling him a raging right-winger. But I would say Sorkin is slightly right of center. I think that’s fair. His interpretation of that trial was one of supporting the system. There’s a lot of dialogue in that movie about belief in our institutions.
“It’s true that his film’s sympathies are ultimately with Tom Hayden” — wrong. Sorkin’s sympathies are split between Hayden, Abbie Hoffman and William Kuntsler. “I like Sorkin. I get along with him. I’ve had many conversations with him. He’s an institutionalist. That’s what I would say about him.
“It does sound on the face of it like an insane statement, but I was thinking that ideally Aaron Sorkin would be the right-wing version of me. Aaron Sorkin’s not a right-winger, but our right wing is so crazy…it’s like if Aaron Sorkin, I and a member of the Taliban are in a room together, of course both Aaron Sorkin and I are left-wingers. But in a dream world Sorkin and I would have constructive, interesting arguments, and he would be slightly more right and I would be slightly more left.
“And I’m not in any way comparing my career to Aaron Sorkin’s. He’s a brilliant, wildly accomplished writer. We’re very different animals.”