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READER REQUEST: Rightists as Cheap Dates

Rob Henderson and I review Zulu (1964) and They Live (1988)

A reader offered to pay Rob and I to review two movies: Zulu (1964), and They Live (1988), and here we take him up on it. Apparently, both of these films have cult followings among far-right types.

I happened to like Zulu. I’ve always enjoyed reading military history, and seeing how a siege works in practice, or at least a portrayal of it, is always a satisfying experience. The film was based on the Battle of Rorke's Drift, which was fought in 1879 as part of the Anglo-Zulu war. There, around 150 British and colonial soldiers held off 3,000-4,000 Africans.

The British soldiers are portrayed quite romantically, and there is little in the way of politics. You simply appreciate the heroism for its own sake, which is inherently conservative. Rob and I nonetheless have a bit of a disagreement about how justified we should see the right-wing affection for this movie.

They Live, in contrast, we agree has a standard leftist message. The lesson is that white people, capitalism, and western civilization are bad, and the multiracial poor are heroes. Rob and I talk about why antisemites seem to like the film. I argue it’s because their worldview is fundamentally not that different from that of leftists, in that there’s a rich elite conspiring to hold everyone down. So they see a movie with a conventional anti-white narrative, and decide it’s actually antisemitic, even though there isn’t a hint of anyone being Jewish anywhere in the film and the director explicitly disavows any such interpretation.

We touch on topics like the move towards more grittiness in art and culture, how attitudes have changed regarding how women should respond to sexual assault, how leftists have reacted to different Republican presidents, why you never hear about people “selling out” today, and much more.

Referencing our review of Blackboard Jungle, we once again go back to the idea that modern anti-racism has been there in art since at least the 1950s. If there are prominent counterexamples of works that have actually been “racist” in a way that term would be understood by a normal American, rather than someone who is a committed leftist, please let us know and we may check them out.

Since we’re getting paid for this review, we’re making it available for free. If other readers want to pay for us to watch and discuss any other movies or TV shows, reach out through Substack DMs and we’ll be open to your suggestions.

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The H&H Podcast
Connected to the Richard Hanania Substack. Discussions with Chris Nicholson on war, Rob Henderson on movies, TV shows, and culture, and more.