erik lundegaard

The State of the Union ... Contains 'A Deep Seated Dislike for Most Things America Stands For'

Three days ago The New York Times offered us this headline: “Obama Pursuing Modest Agenda in State of the Union,” which, since the address is tonight, shows us once again that the news isn't what's happened but what's about to happen. Shame. The news should be so five minutes ago.

Today, the Times is offering us ... well, us: user-generated content. How Would You Describe the State of the Union?: “Please share your opinion with us on Twitter by adding the hashtag #TellNYT to your tweet.” Friends on Facebook are doing the same. “The state of the union is ___________” one asks. Since he lives in Georgia, he's getting all kinds of answers.

Here's my answer. I came across it last night reading on the planeride home from New York:

Seems to be a deep seated dislike for most things America is and stands for.

That's not the current state of the union; that's FBI analysis of the movie “State of the Union,” as reported in John Sbardellati's book, “J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies: The FBI and the Origins of Hollywood's Cold War.” The movie stars Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn and was directed by Frank Capra.

Of course, to the FBI, Capra, a Norman Rockwellseque figure today, who made movies steeped in Americana and schmaltz, was suspect. Among other FBI reviews of Capra movies:

  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town: “Gary Cooper sides with the underprivileged.”
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: “First Hollywood movie to show tie-up between Congressmen and Big Business.”
  • It's a Wonderful Life: “The picture represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers.”

Plus ca change. You can still be suspect by siding with the underprivileged, showing the tie-up between Congress and Business, and attempting to discredit bankers. And now more people are taking notes.

State of the Union, starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn

Un-American activities.


Posted at 06:38 AM on Tue. Jan 28, 2014 in category Culture  
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