Saturday, March 6, 2021

Friday Night Blights

I couldn’t sleep last night, which is no different than most nights except that instead of laying in the dark I perused the offerings of Stars On Demand and selected Good Will Hunting, the 1997 Ben Affleck/Matt Damon written movie that won wild acclaim at the time but I’d never seen. It was awful with a capital A. Good Will Hunting: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck,  Stellan Skarsgård, Minnie Driver, Casey Affleck, Cole Hauser, John Mighton,  Rachel Majorowski, Colleen McCauley, Matt Mercier, Ralph St. George, Gus  Van Sant,

Despite all the acclaim it is a schlocky piece of badly written, overacted tripe which nevertheless kept me company for an hour and half of wokeness. I can’t help but feel my time would have been better spent watching the Friday-up-all-night Diners, Drive-ins and Dives marathon.

Very early on in the movie we are exposed to the protagonist's (Will Hunting played by Matt Damon) genius and wisdom in this exchange with his therapist, played by Robin Williams:

Will: "A History of the United States, Volume I." If you want to read a real history book, read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." That book will knock you on your ass.

Sean: How about Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent?"

A People's History of the United States: 1492 to the Present: Zinn, Howard:  9780060194482: Books

“Historians may well view it as a step toward a coherent new version of American History.” That’s the ticket.

And with that one scene this ridiculously overrated 25 year old movie shows us how the fire of today’s woke culture was initially stoked by classroom indoctrination and then insidiously reinforced by cultural outlets like movies.

Interesting side note: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were neighbors with Howard Zinn before they wrote their Oscar winning script. So in a way the scene was simply product placement for Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. It represented a construct the naïve 20-something boys already firmly ascribed to: the alternate history of the U.S. relying on anti-American narratives, bereft of mitigating historical context and committed to presenting the story of America as an evil history of western-white-male-racism-paternalism-and-imperialism. The fact that it was written by a guy in the neighborhood who supported Mao, Castro and other mass-murdering commie thugs was just a bonus. And with their Oscar success that one throw-away line in the movie helped transform Zinn’s alternate history of America into a cultural icon. That’s the power and the glory of Hollywood.

Several years later David Chase worked Zinn’s American Manifesto into his hugely popular HBO show, The Sopranos, albeit from a rather different mindset. Keep in mind that Chase cast the rather dim Anthony Jr as “the clueless asshole of the family, an obvious unworthy future mob boss that was Tony's burden as a father to endure.” So you can interpret any of his dialogue as the expression of something Chase considers stupid.

This New York Post Obit of Zinn is rather fair and balanced:

Zinn ransacked the past to find alternative models for future struggles. That, of course, is not the job of the historian but of the propagandist.

  Like Zinn’s book Good Will Hunting is mind-numbingly superficial, naïve and sophomoric. Don’t waste your time.

cat and pigletThe next time I can’t sleep I’ll just look around to see if I can find a Piglet to snuggle.