“Citing Slow Summer Box Office, Hollywood Calls It Quits,” is a headline in the satire magazine The Onion.

Perhaps the reason the box office is slow is that most films nowadays reflect the values of a Hollywood set that exists in a cocoon, protected from the rabble who increasingly spurn their oeuvres. 

“Flightplan,” starring Jodie Foster, is the saga of a child who goes missing on a plane inflight’ it seems to be the latest offender. As historian and classicist farmer Victor Davis Hanson notes:

“The film portrays some of them as rude and dense, and others as playing around, while criminals divert their airplane under their noses. Two of the plotters are, in fact, a female flight attendant and an air marshal!

“The obvious touchstone for the movie is 9/11, a mass murder in which airline employees did all they could to stop one of the four hijacked planes from crashing into the U.S. Capitol. Some had their throats slits by murderous terrorists from the Middle East – the birthplace of airplane hijacking in the 1970s. But Hollywood reversed historical reality, making the flight staff in the film either clueless or culpable as innocent Middle Easterners on board are unfairly put under suspicion.”

Hanson also cites plans for the International Freedom Center projected to rise where the Twin Towers once stood and which was to focus on the sins of America, as an example of this elite mindset. (See Jim Pinkerton’s piece on the Art/Intellectual Complex, which also deals with the IFC, on yesterday’s Inkwell.)

Why are so many cultural artifacts–movies, movies, monuments, art shows–so unappealing?

Hanson explains: 

“Those on museum boards, in Hollywood studios and in the courtroom seek to fashion the intellectual landscape in which those who put out fires, arrest criminals, serve food and shoot terrorists are to operate. The latter fight back. They try to match elite influence with public outrage, and so appeal to their elected officials and unions, and to talk shows, the blogosphere and cable news.

“The issue is not just one of class division, but rather also concerns theory when it translates into actual practice. A privileged group speculates about abstract issues, and then others must concretely bear the consequences of this contemplation….

“In the worldview of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a backer of the International Freedom Center, or the ACLU, to be good, America must be nearly perfect – broadcasting past sins even at Ground Zero, where its citizens were murdered by fascists, or replaying ad nauseam to the world the crimes of a few rogue soldiers of a million-man military.”