When I read Glenn Reynolds’s quip last night on intellectuals, for some reason, a certain type of film snob that you encounter in this neck of the woods came to mind. First the quip:
Intellectualism, in today’s society, isn’t about intellect. It’s just a pose, like hipsterism or faux-redneckism. Most of those people who self-identify as intellectuals aren’t especially bright, they’ve just adopted a lifestyle that’s littered with what they think are markers of intelligence.
These folks pretend they are real film connoisseurs with a taste in cinema elevated from that of the common bourgeois. They ramble on and on (and on and on) about how superior foreign and independent films are to the commercial fare the studios peddle. But, when youou ask them what makes such films better, they just tell you that they’re not the products of the studio system or some such. Or they say, they deal with real emotions in a non-Hollywood way. (Whatever that means.)
Among their “markers of intelligence” is a (pretended) preference for foreign and independent film largely because such films are not those the average American watches.* Their markers of intelligence are not ideas they have embraced after study, conversation and reflection or arguments they have shaped after much thought and soul-searching, but notions and passions they find other (supposedly) smart people preferring.
To be sure, this does not hold true for all film lovers in Los Angeles or even all liberal intellectuals, many of whom have developed their ideas through study and reflection, but a certain sort of film snob and professed intellectual who embraces a leftist worldview and harbor intense animus against conservatives.
*Now, to be sure, there are many fine foreign and independent films, but they’re not good because they’re foreign or independent, they’re good because, well, they’re good. Just as the Hollywood studios do, from time to time, produce good movies. (And sometimes more often than just from time to time.)