Is it Time for Conservatives to Create an Alternate Culture?

The culture leans sharply left, and in our current, highly-polarized political climate that means conservatives in the arts tend to be treated as outsiders at best and pariahs at worst. Listen to the personal experiences of conservatives in Hollywood, for example, whether “above the line” (the stars, producers and directors) or below it (the rest of the crew), and you will understand why most keep their politics in the closet to avoid bad vibes, ostracism, and/or outright hostility. The left, of course, dismisses complaints of blacklisting and bias as paranoid whining, but they are very real indeed.

The publishing world is not exempt from this state of affairs. When conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s new book The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left appeared at Number seven on The New York Times bestseller list, despite actually having outsold all fourteen of its competitors on the list, D’Souza called out the Times on Twitter: “In what alternative universe do Jeff Flake’s 7,383 book sales for this week (BookScan data) top mine at 11,651? Thanks @nytimes fake list!”

This was far from the first time conservative authors had called foul about their books’ rankings on the Times’ all-important bestseller list. Cortney O’Brien at Townhall pointed to another noteworthy recent example: Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer, by co-author couple Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney. A horrifying exposé of the dark(er) side of the abortion industry, the top-selling Amazon release was perceived by some as an attack on the left’s sacred cow of abortion rights. The New York Times did have the book at Number 13 on its “Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction” list, but did not place Gosnell at its deserved Number four slot among bestselling nonfiction titles.

“It’s not only an insult to the people who have bought this book,” McElhinney said “but an insult to the readers of the New York Times who buy the newspaper and think they are getting the truth about book sales across America but instead get false facts disguised as a neutral list.”

A Times spokesman insisted that the “political views of authors have no bearing on our rankings, and the notion that we would manipulate the lists to exclude books for political reasons is simply ludicrous.”

Ludicrous? The Times says its list is based on “surveys” of “a wide range of retailers who provide us with specific and confidential context of their sales each week. These standards are applied consistently, across the board in order to provide Times readers our best assessment of what books are the most broadly popular at that time.”

Confidential context? Best assessment? Broadly popular? This sounds suspiciously unscientific and non-transparent, and does not address the evidence of the sales figures themselves. The once highly-regarded “newspaper of record” is notoriously leftist and D’Souza is a lightning rod for Progressive animosity, so the idea that there might be some manipulation of the list is not only not ludicrous, it’s likely.

In response, Marji Ross, president of D’Souza’s conservative publisher Regnery, said in a letter to colleagues, “Increasingly, it appears that the Times has gathered book sale data in a manner which prioritizes liberal themed books over conservative books and authors.” Henceforth, she said, Regnery will ignore the NYT bestseller list and abide by the Nielsen BookScan and Publishers Weekly lists instead. As Ross put it in a letter to her authors, “We are often told it’s foolish to bite the hand that feeds you. I say it’s just as foolish to feed the hand that bites you.”

Good. It’s time for writers, musicians, and other artists on the right to quit being slavishly dependent on the left’s monopoly of media outlets and cultural institutions, and to launch their own. As conservative novelist and screenwriter Andrew Klavan has written, “The left uses its domination of the movie and book and art industries to keep conservatives out… We need an infra-structure welcoming to the arts.”

The left so dominates the culture that the right is not so much waging a culture war anymore as it is a culture insurgency. So right-leaning artists have two choices: one, continue swimming against the tide to try to transform the culture from within while facing ostracism and even blackballing; or two, consider resigning from someone else’s club and starting our own. Either way is valid and both are valuable.

The upshot is, it’s time for conservative artists to do more than complain about the culture bias; it’s time for us to—first and foremost—create great art (or none of the rest of it will matter), and secondly, create alternative distribution channels to disseminate it: magazines, networks, publishers, production companies, studios, awards shows, foundation grants, everything the left used to create the current infrastructure that favors its worldview.

The technology for this transformation is available. The funding is available (if only moneyed conservatives had the vision to use it effectively). All that’s necessary is the will.

Image: By Kevin Prichard Photography [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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  • mark1964

    I have been trying to produce a documentary on Whittaker Chambers for ten years, and, despite having a trailer and award-winning director, every conservative organization has turned us down vis funding. My filmmaking has been ignore day the right but praised by Alec Baldwin, and David Horowitz won’t answer my emails. Good luck.

    • Herb Suhl

      Change it to 1 man play. Buy a fedora, vintage overcoat, Paterno glasses and you be the star. Perform at Christian Higjh schools and in conservative suburbs. Video it and put tobYoutube.

      • SDN

        And then YouTube will make sure no one sees it.

    • Uncle Gus

      can you post a link to your trailer?

      • mark1964

    • boarwild

      My experience EXACTLY!!! They won’t pony up; they’d rather carp/complain/whine about “liberal bias” than do anything about it.

    • Sounds like a KickStarter / crowdfunding project. And Reps need to be aware of, and more supportive of, good, mediocre, and even lousy conservative art.

  • GladTidings

    EXCELLENT, Mark 10 stars!!!!!!!

  • “Is it time?” you ask. Good grief, man, where have you been? We’ve been creating our own culture for some years now, thanks to homeschooling and online education, on-demand and electronic publishing of books and music, and the declining difficulty and cost of making movies and videos.

    The conservative culture is already in progress. What’s still weak is our ability to draw unbiased attention to our creations. Homeschooling is everywhere under intense assault from the “educators’ unions.” Online universities are targeted for denigration by the left and their allies. Our books aren’t carried by major retailers and seldom appear in libraries. Our movies don’t often appear in theaters — The Red Pill is an example of the sort of campaign against them they must weather.

    The next stage in conservatives’ countercultural insurgency must be to develop friendly avenues for the promotion, distribution, and discussion of our cultural offerings. But the offerings are already available to those willing to seek them out.

  • AMEN!!! Conservatives need to pool their resources and efforts together. Create an artistic network of actors, producers, writers, directors, etc.–much like United Artists used to be. And most importantly, CREATE AN INFRASTRUCTURE of review venues, etc.

    We MUST do this. And yet we don’t. WHY DON’T WE?!?

    • Samuel Mazzuchelli

      HOW do we?! Even the beautiful museum across the river in a red state purchases leftist crap for their modern collection. Local artists are proud Kool-Aid drinkers. My art professor stepdaughter, raised in that red state and who in reality is uninterested in politics, spouts mindless winger talking points and riffs off those themes with her art in order to maintain relevance.

      Where’s the entry point?

    • boarwild

      They won’t do it. Been trying to get Cons interested for years. They have a mental block. I have some pretty high level contacts & they all beg off/won’t refer other investors. And I’ve got viable, unique projects you’re not seeing in the cineplexes, this is new,’original stuff.

  • If you ever need some music (BM Berklee, MM TSU)…

  • Herb Suhl

    It just occured to me that libs live in big cities and can support theater live art. Where we are more likely to live 6 miles up a dirt road that is 20 miles from nowhere. And this allows them to network politicallty and professionally.

    • A thousand upvotes on you and your ancestors. The Internet makes it easier, but still not the same as face to face.

      • Herb Suhl

        Here in LA we put on old clothes and meet under 6th street bridge over LA River. Women’s Auxillary have it slightly better. Meeting floats from Lesbian Bar to Lesbian Bar. Location texted out in code to keep Antifa away.

  • Thanks for this. One billionaire can change the world right now.

    > create great art

    Based on what esthetic? To the extent that non-Marxists make art now, it’s based in the same underlying premises the Marxists are working from. As with the GOP, the alternative to poison should not be poison.

    I have lots of ideas on changing culture with art. A good place to begin is here: “Sympathy for the underfathered: How the right art will cultivate better lives for our children.”
    http://selfadoration.com/sympathy-for-the-underfathered-how-the-right-art-will-cultivate-better-lives-for-our-children/7686

    Much more here: #MyKindOfBenedy.
    http://selfadoration.com/mykindofbenedy

  • Schmoozle

    How is setting up a new way of counting book sales ‘creating a culture’?

  • If I read the NYT, I’d quit reading the NYT.

  • Dusty Thompson

    This website perfectly exemplifies what the “right” does. They tell us they want “Their own culture” then censor me for using the word “he double l”.

    You aren’t going to win any culture Wars using those tactics, idiots…

    Either the ctrl-left or the religious right aren’t good choices and most of us choose neither.

    • Eric Ashley

      Libertarians….sowers of discord among those who should be brothers.

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    Glenn Reynolds has been recommending for years that some of these non-‘progressive’ bazillionaires buy up some of the cultural organs that come on the market (Bezos certainly pre-empted that idea with WaPo), and use them for the purposes recommended here. Glad the notion is spreading, and eagerly awaiting the emergence of such a production.

    Even more eagerly awaiting the holocaust of leftist panic and opprobrium on its emergence, and the hopefully articulate retorts in return.

  • boarwild

    Been working @ this for years. Know why the Left dominates Hlywd? BC Cons won’t pony up $$ for projects. They won’t get in the game. They see entertainment as wholly leftist & instead invest in other things, ceding the entire floor to the Left.

    Myopic & self defeating.

    • mark1964

  • Dave S.

    For years I’ve wondered why there are so few right-leaning media outlets. It’s not like there’s a hunger for them among the masses of ordinary Americans. Fox News has dominated the cable TV news business for years. Why doesn’t someone else with the funding start a competitor? Why not start magazines for women who lean right? At least half the population is right-leaning and it makes sense there is a demand. Look at the success of talk radio. How many attempts at lefty radio have failed. It’s like our side isn’t even trying. Kind of like Congress. We have the numbers buy not the vision.

    • dougloss

      One America News Network (http://www.oann.com)

      • Herb Suhl

        We scream at our kids if they want to study fine arts.

  • Jim O’Neil

    In so far as the Internet is policed, often slowed, trolled and controlled by the progressives, I suggest we need explore and develop alternatives such as Maidsafe, mesh networks, etc.

    It’s hard, if not impossible, to publish conservative content when the liberals own the paper mill.

  • There are two major cultural issues in America that are still discounted:
    –Our culture teaches us to hate Republicans.
    –The Democratic Party has become a Political-Religious Movement.
    Those two issues are defining us as a country, and we still don’t pay attention to them. This will not turn out well.

    • protorenaissance

      I hope it will not turn out well.The conflict has been real and growing and now the division is so dramatic and throbbing with fury on both sides,that we should grab our pitch forks and crawl from behind a couch.Enough SPLC!,Enough Tyrone Coates!

  • temmy9 .

    You conservatives are useless. Literally useless.

    There is an immensely energetic and growing right wing subculture out there looking for direction and patronage. But instead of using them as your vanguard, you denounce them. That is because you care more about your social status than winning. You dont want the SPLC or the Ta-Nehisi coates saying bad things about you on twitter. You are controlled opposition.

    So guess who is filling the void in leadership, taking this energy and directing it? The so-called alt right. The radicals and nihilists.

    • Mr B J Mann

      Reminds me of when some left wing “liberal” animal “rights” nutters in the UK started posting nail bombs to people like scientists in labs experimenting on animals, but to their home addresses, where children sometimes opened them.

      Even reputable animal charities and middle of the road columnists where saying things like, of course they deplore their actions, but they can understand the anger and frustration that drove them to it!?!?

    • Because the left is overjoyed to amplify voices that make us look crazy or evil. We need the right to amplify the voices that truly speak for conservative values.

  • Steve Wells

    People write about this but nobody mentions Castalia House or InfoGalactic.com or Gab

    Castalia House publishes great books – science fiction, fantasy, westerns, humor. They started as a direct response to pink/SJW rot in science fiction. And they are doing quite well financially.

    InfoGalactic was started in response to wikipedia’s repeated edits of conservative websites.

    Gab is a free-speech alternative to Twitter.

    This is already happening but the mainstream right does not want anything to do with it. They would rather send their money to think tanks and get invited to cocktail parties hosted by WaPo and NYT so they can be ‘respectable’. So the conservative ‘culture’ is winding up as a counter-culture to current right-wing groups as much as a counter to left-wing groups.

    The last line is correct: all that is necessary is the will. The past 40+ years are Exhibit ‘A’ that current conservatives lack the will.

    • Add to that Baen, which enthusiastically publishes a number of Conservative and libertarian authors like Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, Michael Williamson, and Tom Kratman.

  • martynW

    When was it decided that the mainstream culture of Western civilization had to be consigned to the “alternative” outskirts?

  • larry11

    It HAS to be the case…it CAN’T be because the drivel you’re publishing is just that…drivel. Pathetic.