Monday, January 20, 2014

Paul Krugman vs. Murray Rothbard as Film Critics

This is what Krugman wrote yesterday:
We finally saw American Hustle last night; it was a lot of fun, although heavy-handed in parts (I would have lost the microwave scene). But if this story on the arrest of the man accused of being Dread Pirate Roberts is any indication, being in the FBI these days is a lot more fun (unless you’re really into Amy Adams’s cleavage, which I can understand) than it was in the Abscam days.
Here's a 1984 Rothbard review of the original version of the film Red Dawn:
It’s not only the Supreme Court that follows the election returns. Hollywood, too, does its bit, and movie theatres have been increasingly filled with right-wingy patriotism, like the rest of the media this endless summer. I went to see Red Dawn expecting a bout of anti-Soviet warmongering, but instead was pleasantly surprised. This is hardly a great picture, and is indeed flawed. But Red Dawn is an enjoyable teen-age saga, and, apart from right-wingy pro-NATO credits at the beginning of the film, it is not so much pro-war as it is anti-State. The warfare it celebrates is not interstate strife, but guerrilla conflict that the great radical libertarian military analyst, General Charles Lee, labeled "people’s war" two centuries before Mao and Che.

The beginning of the picture is exciting, if idiotic. Cuban, Nicaraguan, Mexican and other Commie Hispanic troops, headed by Soviet advisors, parachute into and successfully conquer the entire prairie Mid West, from the Rockies to the Mississippi. In the opening sequence, the Red paratroops swiftly invade and, for some reason, annihilate a high school in the mythical town of "Culver City," Colorado, presumably somewhere in the East Slope foothills of the Rockies. In a neat touch, gun control has made it easy for the Commie occupiers to round up all the registered guns in the area. But a half-dozen high school kids escape and set up a guerrilla camp in the Rockies. Jed, the older leader and a former school quarterback, whips the other reluctant lads into shape, and soon the tiny guerrilla band, using light arms, mobile tactics, and superior knowledge of the terrain, strike terror into the Red occupying forces while brandishing the rallying name of "Wolverines." There are some revoltingly macho touches at the beginning, especially when one of the young lads receives his mystical baptism into the guerrilla rites by drinking the blood of his first kill – fortunately a deer rather than a Commie. These touches subside after a while, although they are hardly softened by the appearance of two young lady guerrillas who are fierce and androgynous enough to pose for a Viet Cong or Algerian guerrilla poster.

One of the best parts of the picture is the graphic portrayal of how the Red response to the Wolverines runs the gamut of the U. S. counter-revolutionary responses to the Vietnamese. That is, at first the Russian commander decides to hole up in the cities and military bases, into the "safe zones," whereupon the Wolverines boldly demonstrate that in guerrilla war there are no safe zones, and that the "front is everywhere." At that point, another crackerjack Russian commander takes over, and replicates the "search and destroy" counter-guerrilla response of the Green Berets. This is more punishing, but still does not succeed.

One big problem with the picture is that there is no sense that successful guerrilla war feeds on itself; in real life the ranks of the guerrillas would start to swell, and this would defeat the search-and-destroy concept. In Red Dawn, on the other hand, there are only the same half-dozen teenagers, and the inevitable attrition makes the struggle seem hopeless when it need not be.

Read the rest of Rothbard's review here.

Notice Rothbard's insightful comments about guerrilla war in his review, while Krugman doesn't come close to touching on any of the many themes in American Hustle, instead  he cnocludes with juvenile comments about  Amy Adams’s cleavage.


  1. Boobs for boobs. That's why they put them in movies.

  2. I can't comment on "American Hustle," but I saw "2 Guns" this weekend, and I would recommend it. Lets just say the CIA and military brass are portrayed accurately.

  3. From Wikipedia... "In the film, Irving Rosenfeld begins a life of criminality when he smashes storefront windows as a child in order to provide more work for his father's glass-installation business."

    Hmm... seems like someone Krugman would admire.