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Did the Boomers ruin America? An interview with Helen Andrews

“The Boomers were institution destroyers; they saw institution as constraining individual choice, which they do, but consequently they crashed through institutions like a wrecking ball.”

Helen Andrews is an Eastern Orthodox writer who serves as senior editor at The American Conservative and author of the new book Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster (January 2021). Holding a B.A. in religious studies from Yale University, she previously served as managing editor of the Washington Examiner magazine, as an associate editor at National Review, and as a Robert Novak Journalism Fellow in 2017-2018. From 2012 to 2017, she lived in Sydney, Australia, working as a think tank researcher for the Centre for Independent Studies.

I recently interviewed Mrs. Andrews by phone about her new book. The following transcript of our interview has been edited for style and length.

CWR: Let’s begin with the positive. In one sentence, what do you value about the legacy of American Baby Boomers?

Helen Andrews: I don’t even need a complete sentence: the music. That’s really about it.

CWR: Any music in particular?

Helen Andrews: The folk revival; the thing I hate most about the Boomers is their destruction of both high culture and folk culture, but they did revive folk music in a way that was of service to America.

CWR: Pew identifies Boomers as people born between 1946 and 1964. In one sentence, what do you believe to be the worst aspect of the Boomer legacy?

Helen Andrews: The Boomers were institution destroyers; they saw institution as constraining individual choice, which they do, but consequently they crashed through institutions like a wrecking ball.

CWR: Your book critiques six famous American Boomers. By what criteria did you pick these six?

Helen Andrews: I picked the six Baby Boomers who were most influential, but also who I most admired. I didn’t want to write about anyone I hated because I didn’t want to write a hateful book. I picked people who mix both good and bad.

CWR: What are the best and worst things we inherit from Steve Jobs?

Helen Andrews: The best thing is beautiful products; he was a capitalist of genius. The worst thing is our addiction to those products; screens enslave people in a way previous forms of communication simply do not.

CWR: I was surprised you included Aaron Sorkin, whose “West Wing” seems today an overrated and forgotten television show for many people, albeit one that catered deftly to the vanity of future politicians twenty years ago. What do you see as Sorkin’s legacy for our current political culture?

Helen Andrews: It may be forgotten by the rest of the country, but “The West Wing” is a very well-remembered show here in Washington, D.C., and the people of a certain age staffing the federal government from the Biden White House on down went into politics because of “The West Wing”—and they still see “The West Wing” as a guide to how policy should be. So that’s an enormous legacy for what was at the end of the day a Wednesday night, one-hour primetime drama.

CWR: What’s your one-sentence assessment of Jeffrey Sachs?

Helen Andrews: Jeffrey Sachs, like a lot of great men, was born with enormous gifts and used them to good effect, but was then overtaken by hubris. He is a man who has claimed that if we only listen to him, we can eradicate extreme poverty. Not alleviate—eliminate—and that’s contradicting a higher authority than the Harvard economics department to say we need not always have the poor with us.

CWR: Camille Paglia, a once-trendy gender theorist who identified herself to me an interview as a “Catholic pagan,” gets some of the harshest treatment in your book for her influence on rape culture. Why do people of your own Millennial generation, some of whom have tried to have Paglia fired from her teaching job, react with particular vehemence to her?

Helen Andrews: She is a polarizing figure; that’s one of the things I love about her. She’s clearly brilliant and, in an age when most academics are mealy-mouthed, hedging mediocrities, she dares to say what she thinks. So I don’t think she’d be at all offended by my strong reaction, positive and negative, to her work and her public persona. I think she would see that as evidence that she’s doing something right.

CWR: In one sentence, what do you hope readers will take away from your Al Sharpton chapter?

Helen Andrews: That as repulsive as he may be personally, Al Sharpton is doing something that needs doing, fulfilling a function that any multicultural society needs someone to do—and if we think he’s doing it in a scoundrelly way, we should replace him and his message with something better rather than just rail against his questionable methods.

CWR: You finally critique U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Catholic who dissents from church teaching on life issues. What’s wrong with Sotomayor’s position as a role model for younger Catholic women?

Helen Andrews: She wants to be the people’s justice and to bring her life experience to the Supreme Court, which is fine and maybe even laudable. But the most important thing about her life experience as a “wise Latina” seems to be, in her opinion, all the ways she’s a victim. I don’t think victimhood is something that should be put at the center of someone’s personality and judging. It’s not healthy and it’s not very Catholic.

CWR: You conclude your book with a chapter noting how Millennials have ironically begun to repeat the mistakes of the Boomers. What do you believe to be the most egregious of these mistakes that you see Millennials repeating?

Helen Andrews: That it’s cool to burn stuff down! Millennials had Boomers not just as their parents, but as their teachers, and we were taught that the 1960s were the pinnacle of American politics. Nothing is higher or greater than to take it to the streets or stick it to the man. Maybe they could get away with it back then, when society was more stable, but I think America is a lot less stable now, due in large part to six decades of Boomer rule. So acting out in 1960s fashion today, as we saw in the summer of 2020, is going to be a lot more dangerous and have more consequences this time around.

CWR: What are your hopes for the future?

Helen Andrews: That the Boomers will finally make a graceful exit, having clung to power for so long, and realize that it’s time for younger generations to have their day in the sun and for the country to move on from the Boomers and their preoccupation.

CWR: Any final thoughts?

Helen Andrews: This is not a Boomer-hating book. My hope for it is not just that it will help Millennials understand how we got here, but also help Boomers understand why the rest of us are so angry with them. I just want for the generations to understand each other better.


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About Sean Salai, S.J. 10 Articles
Rev. Sean M. Salai, S.J., writes as a special contributor for America Media. He is a doctoral candidate in evangelization and media at The Catholic University of America, an author of multiple books on Pope Francis and Ignatian spirituality, and a former newspaper metro reporter.

46 Comments

  1. Don’t we already have more than enough hatred, bitter invective, and identity-politics division in this country without adding to it with this sort of cheap, petty, and facile pop sociology? And of course this worthless screed would have to be delivered by a Jesuit with no discernible professional credentials in the subject beyond being a former newspaper reporter. Is this what his doctoral studies in “evangelization and media” have taught him?

      • It should be evident that the Jesuit interviewer is promoting the schismatic author’s book because both of them share the same groundless and mindless views. Why the need to split hairs about it?

        • Why specifically are you assuming that the author’s assertions are groundless and mindless views? Is what she is saying false and unsupported by the facts, or is her diagnosis hitting too close to home for you?

    • Or maybe we are realizing the profound harm that boomers have inflicted on the country and are finally holding them accountable for what they have done. It’s long overdue.

    • Did you even read the article you attack so vociferously? Take a breath brother. The Jesuit is the interviewer not the author and labeling someone a baby boomer is hardly new, it’s been a common term for that generation for over half a century. Identity politics is being taken to the extreme through the tribalization that has become so easy due to technology, and none have adopted both technology and tribalization more readily and wholeheartedly than the millennials. I hope the author addresses this in her book because that is the true issue.

      • Of course I read the article but not the book. It appears that your own reading of the interview is as facile and superficial as both the book and the article. As I have already noted above, it should be evident that the Jesuit interviewer is promoting the schismatic author’s book because both of them share the same groundless and mindless views. Why the need to split hairs about it? Reckless and puerile allegations unsupported by any evidence or research are flung forth in the interview to titillate and provoke interest in the book. The interview is shoddy propaganda journalism, and the book appears to be shoddy sociological research and analysis.

        • Everything you criticized both the author and the interviewer of, you put on full display in your criticism of them. There were no specifics to your criticism or concrete examples of where they went wrong. You just threw bombs at them.

  2. Very interesting. P.S. Some of us boomers have come to recognize the errors of our generation and may even have some small contribution to setting things right.

  3. As a member of the boomer generation, I did not realize the extent of the wrong direction we took in the 60s until I had my son. The damage we initiated on our culture was and is painful. I would like to say that I did not take part but that would be a lie. I married young, divorced without any thought to my commitment. Then my career became my devotion. My Son had to go up with part-time parents who gave him things instead of attention. I was an agnostic for much of this time which led my son to become a non-believer. He does believe, he believes in global warming and that this country was founded by evil white men. Now that I found my way back to GOD, all I can offer my son and his family are my prayers and I pray every day for his generation and their impact on my grandchildren. The interesting thing about my life now is that when I am with my sister and brothers we only talk about the wonderful parents we had and how good our lives were before the 60s.

    • S – I don’t know you or your son, but would it help at all for you to tell him, “I want to say that I am sorry for devoting myself to my career rather than you, so that you didn’t have the experiences that my sister and brothers and I had with our wonderful parents?”

      My dad, especially, who had more siblings and cousins and connections, most of them real characters, than my mom, would tell us stories about what they did growing up, and when they got together it was fascinating to hear them reminisce.

  4. I am fascinated by the opening line: “Helen Andrews is an Eastern Orthodox laywoman…”
    All Orthodox women, just like all Catholic women, are laywomen. What a strange thing to write.

  5. Good grief, this sounds like an exceedingly shallow book. I was hoping for some profound observations, such as the fact that the “Greatest Generation” – with its abject, post-war “pursuit of happiness” and material comfort above family relationships – helped create the Boomers. The Greatest Generation was the first generation of Americans fully comfortable with contraception and divorce. That their offspring embraced “free love” and abortion is no coincidence. This is one book I will not waste time reading.

  6. Age of Aquarius and Baby Boomer are putatively synonymous. Wealth, leisure, marijuana with a heavy dose of rhythm and blues San Fran and Woodstock, moral chaos marked the experience of years 1946-and further into the early seventies. Many who survived Haight Ashbury came back to colleges, Madison Ave, and academia. Jeffrey Sachs son of a Jewish labor lawyer had a more staid than most baby boomer experience quickly advancing his education. Academia by the late seventies when he began accumulating degrees was by now Leftist in orientation. As it was when others mentioned in this informative article received their degrees. Sachs now Director Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia and associated with the Earth Institute. Of all those mentioned by Helen Andrews Sachs has had the more influential capacity in world affairs, and with the Catholic Church. He can’t be identified with Saul Alinsky who also had remarkable socialist influence on the Church, since Sachs doesn’t overtly identify with Marxism or its tactics. He is sufficiently learned and Renaissance like in his competence to advise Solidarity 1989, and former Communist nations transitioning to democracy. And of course his invitation by Pope Francis to be an active participant for the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Development and the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. Of all the Boomers Sachs poses the greatest danger to Catholicism because of his rational arguments for population control and use of contraception, abortifacients, and abortion as a means of control. His influence is enormous being personally involved in New Age like doctrinal watershed Amazonia. “In February, CNA asked Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, why the academy had featured Sachs with such frequency at Vatican conferences. Because he integrates the magisterium of the Church and of Pope Francis into economics by putting the human person and the common good at the center” (CNA). Bishop Sorondo is noted for his praise of Communist China as a living example of the teaching of Laudato Si. And finally Sachs is an official Advocate [a title] of the UN Sustainable Development forum. That fits in perfectly with Laudato Si and basis for Pope Francis’ avocation of the Church to identify with UN sustainable goals. These events are reason why the Church has lost its missionary fire. Either a miracle of graceful intervention occurs and soon, or the Church, arguably a schismatic large part permanently drifts away from Christ.

    • I already entered a comment prior to reading your usual incisive remarks Father and could not hold back with another.
      Yes, our Church seems not only to have lost its missionary zeal, but has fully embraced a civilization that has essentially perfected the institutional crimes against humanity that Hitler and his associates dreamed about, the continuing extermination of all inconvenient human life. And today’s Vatican remains oblivious while providing admiration for China on an influential global stage.
      Whenever we contemplate Our Lord’s words that the gates of hell will not prevail, we are forced to consider that He must have been referring to a time when they would come close. We are forced by simple rationality to consider that we may be living in that time.
      However much Scripture, informed by knowledge of the imperfectability of the human condition, warns God’s people to resist rather than accommodate the principalities of this world, our current pontificate acts as though Scripture has had it backwards for millennia and it’s Francis’ mission to “correct” the warnings of thousands of years of prophesy.
      I grow weary of trying to explain to Catholic friends why I am beyond just not being enthusiastic about Pope Francis. I confine my remarks to what many consider a slander, but I consider restrained and accurate and not the slightest bit uncharitable by calling him a utopian, which clearly is not a proper Christian frame of mind. Not only does this implicitly deny original sin, but it extols the organizational powers of man, dependent on an elitist class to make it happen, beyond what even a sensible non-believer would find tolerable.
      The hysterical hatred for anti-elitist Donald Trump, from numerous sources, can only be explained in terms of a secular religious zeal, a form of self-worship, the world’s oldest and most popular religion. How dare anyone question the specialness of the better educated classes, which would include people like me? The world has always functioned on a caste system even when cultures are formed to pretend otherwise, even when castes are voluntary. The origin of this discussion overlooks how many penniless 60s hippies, hitchhiking and begging for bread (money), thought of themselves as a superior class of human beings for rejecting “materialism,” which of course they never did. Dealing drugs soon afforded lavish gas-guzzling, accessory-loaded vans to replace hitchhiking with luxury.
      The Church’s God-given mission to save souls inches closer to abandonment to the approaching gates of hell whenever our good prelates refuse to rebuke our bad prelates who are echoing a kind of sixties renaissance within Vatican walls, not to mention syncretistic sympathies in religion. Time is running out. Rebukes need to be done forcefully, on a global stage. It’s time to toss that silly adage of agree to disagree but not be disagreeable considering the stakes those who have aided and abetted mass murder. The lives of the slaughtered matter more than the egos of the entitled.

      • Edward an enjoyable informed response. “The Church’s God-given mission to save souls inches closer to abandonment to the approaching gates of hell whenever our good prelates refuse to rebuke our bad prelates who are echoing a kind of sixties renaissance within Vatican walls, not to mention syncretistic sympathies in religion” is pointedly put. I apologize for the obviously narrow remark on baby boomers. You and others commentators show that.

  7. Did baby boomers ruin America? Yes, unfortunately. Another author called them a generation of sociopaths. A strong but accurate diagnosis. I wonder if the damage can be undone. If so, I wonder how.

  8. Having been born into situational poverty, doing 18 months in Viet-Nam, working the night shift to put myself through a Catholic university, paying off all my loans, and only recently retiring from teaching at a nifty little community college, I repudiate all stereotyping.

    “Boomer,” my ***. I don’t call you a privileged chick and you don’t call me names either, okay?

  9. Thanks for the reference to the Liddle review and a delightful one it is. Just a word of caution. Not all us boomers were born into a life of ease (speaking from experience). And I’m not planning my exit just yet, thank you very much.

  10. The emotion of hate is not morally evil and is a justified and appropriate response to evil actions. But for believers in the false religion of “niceness” is there any greater sin than “hate”?

  11. As a baby boomer, for whatever the reason, the two images from my 60s youth that has always galled me the most occurred when first, there was that scene of the two nuns wearing their updated habits while appearing briefly in the Woodstock movie and flashing the ban-the-bomb V sign, which came to be known as the “peace” symbol. It still irritates me when I see it at Mass. The second occurred when I watched a news story showing a pair of Jesuits attending an informal garden party with the stoned out, barely comprehensible, mumbling Rolling Stones, who entertained the Jesuits, who were there “seeking to understand youth culture,” and sitting in bug-eyed fascination like they were beholding an oracle of human wisdom.
    Capitulating to the hippie culture in that era caused me a continuous state of disgust for what was always so self-evidently a movement of moral nihilism, which the prevailing cultural insanity of the time characterized as “idealism.” My generation betrayed itself but was also betrayed by those who should have known better.
    Were it not for those two images seared in my mind the long process of my eventual conversion from youthful atheism to Catholicism might not have been as delayed. But maybe the good Lord needed me to observe and learn some lessons about human fragileness and phoniness to be better prepared to be a staunchly pro-life Catholic once entering the Church, understanding more about the temptations of human vanity, including my own.

  12. So I’m not alone in finding the peace sign at Mass annoying. Athanasius above – yes, I think the damage can be at least partly undone and I think that process is underway. P.S. Some of us Boomers don’t really fit the negative stereotypes or maybe held on through the influence of struggling, “old-fashioned”, in my case immigrant, parents.

    • This book is a superficial, confused and angry rant, as useless as the author’s home base at The American Thinker, which is home to folks too scared and sanctimonious to become Roman Catholic, also allowed to vent their anti-Trump spleens. We don’t need them to tell us that Some Boomers Did Some Things. And we certainly can laugh at apostates moralizing to us from the muck of their nonexistent culture.

    • Thanks for the response. I hope that we come to our senses soon. That appeared to have happened in the early 1970’s when average people grew weary of the chaos and excesses of the more radicalized boomers. And it’s also good to remember that plenty of decent people did not go down that road.

  13. Having been born in ’57, I guess I fit that category, although I’m too young to have been a Hippie.Some people, especially the old hippies, wear it like a badge of honor and have said to me, “Oh, you’re really not, they just stuck you there”…well that’s fine with me. In response I say I’m really in “Generation Zero”. I don’t want to be associated with the Long haired free love drug swilling Woodstock people, thank you very much!

    • Then don’t call yourself a hippy, even remotely. I am not impressed by Helen Andrews’ view from her narrow lens.
      As a boomer born in NYC in 46 we saw the real beginnings of the resurgence of the hardcore Left that we thought were defeated in the 40s. But they had gone underground and, usually covertly, began positioning themselves into careers of influence and eventually complete control which we see today. This happened through organized, (American) communist cells.
      The great fault of us boomers was to think their influence could never reach this level though we were warned by Bella Dodd and even Khrushchev.
      I would be more interested in a book that showed us the way out.

      • Thank you all for reading. In fairness to Mrs. Andrews, I think she does believe her book shows Baby Boomers the way out of the current plight she describes: She believes the way out is retirement and/or death, i.e. a “graceful exit.” That means letting go of the levers of power over social institutions, landof the idea that only they can right the wrongs. I don’t necessarily agree with her perspectives in this interview; I do think she raises some good issues worth thinking about.

  14. I am not a Boomer, being born in 1940. But I have been observing the changes in society that have occurred since the 1960’s. That period brought the Sexual Revolution, which has caused so much unhappiness. I have seen first hand the misery that arose from promiscuity, broken relationships, divorces, abortion and STD’s. I have seen the breaking down of institutions including the family and our Church. I can see that despite feminism, women are much unhappier than before.I have not found any of it to be appealing and it is getting worse. I am glad that I am in the final years of my life and not a young woman today.
    I have not liked any of it.

  15. A suitable reply to the farcical Andrews-Salai anti-Boomer screed might be found here:

    https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2021/02/12/nolte-gloriously-inappropriate-problematic-blues-brothers-1980/

    Nolte: The Gloriously Inappropriate and Problematic ‘Blues Brothers’ (1980)
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    Dan Aykroyd listens as Ray Charles plays piano next to John Belushi in a scene from the film ‘The Blues Brothers’, 1980. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Getty Images)Universal Pictures/Getty Images
    JOHN NOLTE12 Feb 2021204
    9:50
    Under the belief it was the movie that would most offend today’s Woketards, last week I wrote about the gloriously inappropriate and problematic Animal House (1978). Finding myself in a Belushi mood, a few days later, I watched his next hit, 1980’s The Blues Brothers, and quickly realized today’s Hitler Youth would hate this one even more — a whole lot more.

    You have no idea how blessed I was to come of age in the 70s and 80s, two of the freest decades, not only in our country’s history but in world history. By 1970, Hollywood’s self-censoring Production Code had been dismantled, the great Norman Lear had pushed the boundaries of television with his masterpiece All in the Family, and suddenly nothing and no one was off-limits. There were no more sacred cows. No limits on satire. No protected groups.

    And do you want to know the best part? Almost all the satire was good-natured. When a Carlin, Pryor, Lear, and Saturday Night Live took a shot at you, you couldn’t help but laugh at yourself — which is the healthiest of medicines for the human spirit.

    We were truly free then. So free… And like young people do, I took it all for granted — just assumed it would always be that way.

    Well, look at us now… We live in a literal Woke Police State run by Big Corporations. Ironically, this was something Hollywood frequently warned us about — and now Hollywood is one of our most fascist enforcers. McCarthyism and blacklists have returned with a vengeance.

    Well, as the (soon-to-be-blacklisted) Python boys famously suggested, you should “always look at the bright side of life.”

    So, yes, there are some benefits to Woke McCarthyism… First off, it’s kind of fun to feel like an outlaw just for daring to enjoy a movie. Secondly, we certainly live in interesting times. Finally, now that movies like Animal House and The Blues Brothers have become the forbidden, like all things forbidden, you cherish and enjoy them all the more.

    The Blues Brothers was always a terrific movie, a legitimately great musical-comedy. It’s aged into something even more beautiful, though, and not just because of Woketardism.

    You see, in the 41 years since its release, we’ve lost all the legends the movie paid such affectionate tribute to: Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, James Brown, and John Lee Hooker. They’re all gone now, and what a treat it is to watch them up on the screen strutting their magic. Each of their numbers, most especially Aretha’s “Think” and Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” is a total show-stopper. You can’t help but sit with a big grin on your face mixed with an ache in your heart.

    Yes, Giants once walked the earth … including John Belushi.

    Best of all, you can sense the reverence John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd (who co-wrote the script with director John Landis) have for these giants. Not only are they eager to introduce their idols to a new audience, but during their respective musical numbers, Aykroyd and Belushi stay almost entirely out of the way. They generously (and appropriately) allow their musical heroes to shine alone in the spotlight.

    Both the movie and musical history are better for it.

    Before we get to listing all the woke sins, a quick rundown of the plot…

    The Blues Brothers are Jake Blues (Belushi) and Elwood Blues (Aykroyd), two brothers who believe in only one thing: honoring, playing, and keeping the blues alive. Offstage and on, they wear the blues uniform of a black suit, black tie, black fedora, white shirt, and sunglasses.

    Elwood: There’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark out, and we’re wearing sunglasses.

    Jake: Hit it.

    After Jake’s release from prison, Elwood picks him up in the Bluesmobile (an old police car) and they pay a visit to “the penguin,” a Roman Catholic nun (Kathleen Freeman) who runs the orphanage the brothers were raised in. She needs $5,000 to pay the taxes or the city of Chicago (where the movie is set) will close her down.

    Now that they’re on a mission from God, Jake and Elwood decide to get the band back together and put on a show to raise the money. Along the way, they’re hunted by the police, Nazis, rednecks, a crazed ex-girlfriend (Carrie Fisher), and their parole officer (John Candy).

    Jake: We’re putting the band back together.
    Mr. Fabulous: Forget it. No way.
    Elwood: We’re on a mission from God.

    Let me explain the rest of the plot this way… For nearly 20 years, The Blues Brothers held the record for the most cars crashed in a single movie (the record was broken by the uninspired 1998 sequel, Blues Brothers 2000).

    Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don’t fail me now!

    This plot might sound simple, but the heresies committed herein against the Religion of Woke are almost too many to count…

    I’ll do my best.

    A movie based entirely on cultural appropriation…
    Jake and Elwood Blues are walking, talking, living, breathing sins of cultural appropriation — white guys who sing the blues. Woke heads would explode 20 minutes into this thing. But allow me to say this…

    Cultural appropriation is, by any objective and moral measure, a good thing — a very good thing. The whole idea of America is culture appropriation or “out of many one” — which is our national motto (e pluribus unum). We should all be grabbing hold of the best from everyone else’s culture. On top of laughing at ourselves, cultural appropriation bridges differences and bring us together…

    To keep us divided, however, the Hitler Youth of Woke have turned a moral and unifying thing into a sin.

    Faith in God and America…
    There’s no irony or anything tongue-in-cheek about Jake and Elwood’s mission. While Aykroyd’s dry recitation of “We’re on a mission from God” is hilarious, the brothers truly believe this and, most importantly, so does the movie. Belushi is literally hit with the Holy Spirit in a Christian church (how could he not with James Brown preaching?).

    Yes. Yes. Jesus H. tap-dancing Christ… I have seen the light!

    And it is also during this moment where Elwood — and again without irony — expresses his love for America.

    Reverend Cleophus James [Brown]: Praise God!

    Elwood: And God bless the United States of America.

    Government is the villain…
    Our heroes are out to save a Christian institution from being closed down by the government over property taxes.

    The glory of “insensitivity” reigns supreme…
    There are fat jokes, sex slave jokes, and at one point, Jake impersonates an Arab trader. Ray Charles repeatedly fires a gun at a kid, Carrie Fisher looks sexy as hell posing with an assault rifle, women run around in bikinis, and people look cool smoking cigarettes.

    So much glorious “sexism”…
    Carrie Fisher plays a crazed stalker, Aretha Franklin is a nagging wife, Twiggy is left outside a cheap motel waiting for Elwood…

    That’s it. That’s all the women are allowed to do.

    Nazis played for laughs…
    The Nazis, or to be more precise, the “Illinois Nazis” (led by the great Henry Gibson), are played entirely for laughs. This, of course, is the smartest and most effective way to marginalize Nazis — you turn them into a joke. But if this were done today, the cries of That’s not funny! would never cease.

    Oh, and there’s even a gay Nazi.

    I’ve always loved you.

    And now we come to the movie’s most unforgivable act of Woke Heresy….

    Race is never mentioned… Not even once.
    Although this is a movie populated with black and white characters and premised on the blues, never once is race raised as an issue. The Nazis aren’t even motivated by race. They’re just angry at the Blues Brothers for driving them off a bridge. The “rednecks” aren’t motivated by race. They’re angry over having their gig stolen. A centerpiece scene takes place in a honkytonk. Race is never mentioned.

    Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?

    Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western.

    Throughout, we see blacks and whites sing, dance, argue, joke, travel, and perform together, all in a spirit of brotherhood.

    This is deliberate, one of the overriding themes of the movie, one Elwood dares to speak out loud when he tells a massive crowd of people from all walks of life:

    We do sincerely hope that you all enjoy the show and please remember people, that no matter who you are and what you do to live, thrive, and survive, there are still some things that make us all the same: You, me, them! Everybody! Everybody!

    Like Animal House, and despite its R-rating (only for the occasional F-word), The Blues Brothers is ultimately a very moral movie. This is a story about redemption, brotherhood, recognizing our shared humanity, ignoring skin color, thumbing your nose at authority, accepting responsibility, the futility of grudges, and pursuing a cause greater than self.

    And because of all that, because of all that goodness and good humor and colorblindness and ennobling of the human spirit, The Blues Brothers could never get made today — at least not without everyone involved getting blacklisted by today’s Woke Nazis.

    Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

  16. It’s all the Boomers fault isn’t supported by the facts and needs to be challenged! There were no Boomers on the Supreme Court when Roe v Wade and Griswold were decided creating the new perverse Right to Privacy. The Boomers are indicted for the rebellious Anti-War, anti-authority movement but who led that movement? Not a single Boomer! Here are the birth years of the Chicago 7 defendants. Abbie Hoffman (1936); Bobby Seale (1936) Tom Hayden (1938) Jerry Rubin (1939) Lee Weiner (1939) Rennie Davis (1940) Dave Dellinger (1915)

    • It’s the boomers’ fault, no mistake about it. Your post is just an attempt to transfer responsibility for the consequences of your actions onto someone else. That’s typical Boomer behavior.

  17. We boomers taught the Pentagon a lesson: BRING OUR SOLDIERS HOME FROM A PATHETIC MILITARY ADVENTURE. How quickly the next generations forgot. WE are still in the Balkans, still in the mideast…dying by the thousands, without one single attempt by congress to restore its sole power to declare war.

  18. I came upon this website by tracing comments about Hellen’s book. Then I proceeded to read the comments about the above interview. I appreciate and I am upbeat about the manner and the insight of this very intellectual discussion, some very intelligent and critical pro and con posts. Will have to revisit this website more frequently. P.S. Born in 1949 communist Poland, U.S naturalized and low abiding citizen.

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