When Irish documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer came to this country legally over a decade ago, he had some assumptions about what he’d hate about the country based on what his European brethren had told him.
He thought he would find conservative neo-fascists. What he ended up finding was the same thing on the left — particularly when he wanted to help put on plays that were critical of the media narrative on the Michael Brown shooting and the environmentalist movement.
“When I first came to America about 12 years ago I found out that so much we ‘know’ about the country and its people is just not true,” McAleer said in a piece published Friday on Townhall.com. “In Europe everyone is told and we all believed that there are these weird American conservatives, who want to tell you what to do — particularly in the bedroom.”
“I got here and all I saw were so called ‘progressives’ who want to interfere with you in every other room in your house and garden and holiday and travel and grocery store, you name it they’re everywhere, controlling. They want to tell you what kind of car you can drive, what kind of house you can live in, what kind of fertilizer you can use in you garden, how long you stay in the shower, even how you flush the toilet. They want to ban your light bulbs. I never thought coming to America would involve Standing Up and shouting Get Out Of My Light bulbs but it’s a cry for freedom and it is actually a cry for progress.”
While McAleer had plenty of issues with so-called progressives — who he noted “don’t much believe in progress” — he had a special scorn for the entertainment industry.
“We’ve been told for decades that Hollywood actors and producers are so so brave,” McAleer wrote. “They have told us that. The media has told us that. And they give themselves loads of awards for being oh so so very brave.”
However, when McAleer wrote a play called “Ferguson” — which used only actual grand jury testimony in the case of Officer Darren Wilson in a technique called “verbatim theater” — he learned just how brave these men and women really were.
“Nine members of the cast walked out during rehearsals. Why? Simply because the truth didn’t match the ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ Ferguson lie they’d been sold by the media,” McAleer wrote.
“The irony was that most of the eyewitnesses who gave evidence to the grand jury were minorities. The actors were not willing to give minorities a voice on stage, because they didn’t much like the truth of what had actually happened in Ferguson.”
And it happened again when McAleer turned his gaze on environmentalism.
“I’ve just had a new play premiere in San Francisco, ‘The $18 Billion Prize,'” McAleer wrote.
“The play exposes Steven Donziger, an ‘environmental lawyer’ who sued the Chevron Oil company for allegedly polluting the Ecuadorian rainforest. He attracted international media and Hollywood support and won a massive $18 billion award. However, the case was later exposed as a fraud. Mr. Donziger was found guilty of a criminal conspiracy in a New York court after secret documents showed he bribed the judge and court officials and ghostwrote his own $18 billion judgment. ‘The $18 Billion Prize’ is based mostly on court transcripts from the New York Court case.”
So, what happened when he tried to put it on in San Francisco? Did liberals stand up for the freedom of speech? Unfortunately, you can probably guess where this is headed with more certainty than a show on The Disney Channel.
“It’s a great story, a funny story, an important story and a story that turns the traditional leftist narrative on its head. And it’s all true,” McAleer wrote.
“So of course, actors who like to tell the rest of us that they are so brave ran a mile. They refused to come to auditions. They were clear that they wanted nothing to do with the story. And the San Francisco theater establishment was equally intolerant. It was almost impossible to find a venue. No publicist or lighting designer in the whole of San Francisco would work on the project. Eventually we managed to get a team together or at least I thought we did. After the second rehearsal the actor playing Donziger walked out. He couldn’t handle the truth.”
When they finally got the production on, they even managed to get a reviewer sent out from a San Francisco theater site, but the site declined to run it because the editor was afraid of any praise involving a play that didn’t treat environmentalism with unqualified fealty.
“In a few months we will enter ‘awards season‘ in Hollywood,” McAleer wrote. “Popular movies will be overlooked. Awards will go to those movies that the community think are brave. Don’t believe it. They only produce content that their friends like — they would never dream of producing anything that goes against their groupthink. In fact they will do their best to shut these productions down.
“That’s not bravery. That’s cowardice.”
Of course, the idea that the Hollywood set (and those who hope to go to Hollywood) have embodied anything resembling bravery is prima facie absurd, and the ratings for the Oscars seem to bear that out. Nevertheless, it would do to remember that in the wider world, these are the people who are setting the agenda.
Hollywood is very much a global product, and it’s a product with a very particular message: America is horrible when it’s conservative and patriotic and only great when it’s liberal and self-flagellating. That’s usually squeezed between a helpful dollop of prurience and Michael Bay-style explosions.
Anything that diverges from this is pretty much run out of town. I’m frankly amazed that McAleer managed to put on a play at all, much less two of them, considering his methods and his message. However, when his message is shut down like this, it should surprise no one that the world looks at us the way they do.
We’re often told that culture is upstream from politics. In much of the world, they don’t even get anything more than our culture — which is why it’s crucially important to have voices like McAleer’s countering the liberal narrative. Without them, the conservative message will never reach escape velocity from our national politics, and that has major consequences for us all.
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