The Power of Myth-Negation: A Tale of Four Movies

“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”–Attributed to Josef Stalin

Sometime around 1991, my freshman year in college, I came across Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail; the first cinematic effort of the brilliant British comedy troupe, having just finished the last season of their immensely popular Flying Circus series on BBC. At one point during this movie, King Arthur and his knights try to explain the concept of Divine Right to an anachronistic Communist named Dennis:

An incomplete transcript of the conversation from wikiquote:

King Arthur: I am your king.
Peasant Woman: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
King Arthur: You don’t vote for kings.
Peasant Woman: Well, how’d you become king, then?
[Angelic music plays... ]
King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine [sic] providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king.
Dennis the Peasant: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
Arthur: Be quiet!
Dennis the Peasant: You can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
Arthur: [grabs Dennis] Shut up! Will you shut up?!
Dennis: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system!
Arthur: [shakes Dennis] Shut up!
Dennis: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I’m being repressed!
Arthur: Bloody Peasant!
Dennis: Ooh, what a giveaway!

It is difficult to describe just how deep this bit is—while it may seem like nearly slap-stick level comedy while being performed, it is really a very intelligently-drafted examination of the conflicts between traditional European monarchy and the Communist reactionism, and some of the deficiencies of each system.

In 1993, Kaige Chen released his classic Farewell My Concubine, which also highlights the conflict between Communism and traditional culture—but in this case, traditional culture is destroyed, and it is most definitely not a comedy. I saw it soon thereafter, probably in 1994–I was a member of the Chinese Cultural Club at Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University), and dating a Taiwanese girl, so I had lots of access to Chinese cinema. Concubine depicts a love triangle between two actors in the Chinese Opera, one of whom is homosexual and the other of whom eventually starts seeing a woman on the side. The backdrop of this is the Communist Revolution; the discipline and rigor of the old opera replaced by entitlement and bullying in the new “opera”; the stories of gods, monsters and heroes replaced with stories of contented Communist laborers going about everyday activities.
Why did the Communists do this? Don’t grand stories of ancient legends seem more entertaining than the banal day-in-the-life-of-everybody stories that replaced them? Certainly—but the goal of the Communist government was not to entertain its subjects. The goal was to program them. Take away the inspiration to achieve, to be something greater, and your serfs become much easier to pacify. If they see themselves as the heroes of the stories they are told, why would they aspire to something else?

I was reminded of this movie ten years later, with the 2004 release of the movie Dodgeball. This ‘comedy’ portrays the build-up to, and execution of, a dodgeball tournament between two gyms for the right to exist. One gym is frequented exclusively by people who work hard to remake themselves into what they want to be; the other gym is frequented exclusively by incompetent losers who accomplish absolutely nothing. In the fashion of true Communist indoctrination, the hard-working achievers are portrayed as mean, petty and narcissistic; this forces the audience to identify with the lazy and uninspired ‘underdogs’. See, you have already achieved—perhaps even exceeded—what the heroes of this movie have. You don’t really want to improve yourself, like the villains, do you?

When I saw Dodgeball, I thought to myself, “We are living in Farewell, My Concubine”.

Then, a few nights ago at a Redbox, I came across the 2013 release The Employer. The Hollywood Communists are now so firmly entrenched, so confident in their ability to program, that they are actually making employers the villains in movies now. This, as the American economy continues to collapse under the burden of the Administration’s march into Progressivist socialism, with the Federal sequestration and programs like Obamacare forcing business to continually cut employees or reduce full-time positions to part-time. Hollywood is working very hard to play up class warfare and entitlement, to encourage people to associate evil and greed with gainful productivity—rather than with the socialist oligarchs who are destroying the American economy to keep themselves in power.

Not so long ago, the American people modeled themselves after George Washington: strong, educated, independent, pious warriors. Today, Americans model themselves after Dennis from The Quest for the Holy Grail: trying to sound important and intelligent by ridiculing traditional values, then screaming “Help! Help! I’m being repressed” when those values are defended. But it is those values which enable us to be great, and inspire us to be greater. Ridiculing them does not demonstrate your cleverness; it makes you a ‘useful idiot’. You are better than that.
You can be more.

2 responses to “The Power of Myth-Negation: A Tale of Four Movies

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