Good Noonan today, here she is on our movies’ influence on our standing in the world:
We are at a point in our culture when we actually have to pull for grown-up movies, when we must try to encourage them and laud them when they come by. David Lean wouldn’t be allowed to make movies today, John Ford would be forced to turn John Wayne into a 30-something failure-to-launch hipster whose big moment is missing the toilet in the vomit scene in Hangover Ten. Our movie culture has descended into immaturity, deep and inhuman violence, a pervasive and flattened sexuality. It is an embarrassment.
In Iraq this year I asked an Iraqi military officer doing joint training at an American base what was the big thing he’d come to believe about Americans in the years they’d been there. He thought. “You are a better people than your movies say.” He had judged us by our exports. He had seen the low slag heap of our culture and assumed it was a true expression of who we are.
And so he’d assumed we were disgusting.