This interview, from Politichicks, starts off a bit awkwardly – the interviewer can’t hold back her admiration for Klavan and it’s a bit much – but once Klavan gets started talking about culture, and where the opportunities are for conservatives to engage successfully in the culture, it’s well worth watching. Our regular readers will recognize much of what he’s been talking about…
The major takeaway? Patronage is key.
It’s no longer possible for left-wing studio heads to keep movies from being made, or left-wing publishing houses to keep conservative books off the market. Those institutions are breaking due to the internet and the democratization of media. Klavan says, for example, that he’s working on a movie that will be produced as an app – that’s groundbreaking stuff, and if it’s a successful delivery means for a film to audiences, it could greatly damage the film distribution business in a way not dissimilar to what Napster, Rhapsody and iTunes have done to record labels.
But for conservative artists to fully enter the marketplace will take patronage. Somebody has to stake these efforts. And that’s been the problem with the culture war from the start.
The Left does a terrific job funding their culture. Leftist academics get their professorships endowed with relative ease, and there is no shortage of grants – public and private – from left-wing foundations to do research with socialistic assumptions behind it. In the entertainment media, there are investment dollars galore to support even commercial longshots based on left-wing ideology; Matt Damon’s Promised Land was a good example, even though the funding for it came from Arabs who want to keep America from accessing its domestic energy, and this The Company You Keep disaster that Robert Redford comes out with today, are perfect examples.
And one of the most irritating aspects of operating in the New Media as a conservative blogger is that the Left seems to have lots of money available to fund even lousy left-wing players, while on our side of the aisle it’s advertising revenue and that’s about it.
The Patronage Gap Klavan talks about is the biggest reason the Right isn’t competing successfully in the culture. It’s one of the easiest things to fix, and yet there isn’t a lot of movement perceptible on that front right now. If that ever changes, the breakdown in the old institutions could make for some terrific opportunities to change the culture.