Medved Assesses Former Liberal Mindset in 'Right Turns'
- Tuesday, April 12, 2005
SEATTLE – An outspoken voice for conservative issues, family rights and the need for godly reverence, Michael Medved is one of the few famed examiners of pop culture and the political scene whose perspective is distinctly Right-minded. But that was not always the case.
A self-proclaimed liberal activist at Yale during the turbulent ’60s, Medved once pictured the Left as the sole protectorate of mankind.
Endorsed nowadays by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, William Bennett and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, his college friendships included Hillary Rodham and others who went on to affect the liberal climate of the political scene.
As Ann Coulter proclaims on the dust jacket of Medved’s new book, “Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons From a Controversial Life,” the cultural analyst/film critic has sat at the dinner tables of forthcoming leftist politicos. Being an accepted member of their group at the time, Medved was afforded an opportunity to gather insight into their thinking, unknowingly gathering future ammunition for dissecting their arguments.
Medved writes in Right Turns that his once-liberal perspective, though nurtured in his youth by those who revered any progressive outgrown of the New Deal, was not formulated by the discontent associated with the Flower Power generation. In “The Wild One,” Marlon Brando played a leather-jacketed rebel without a cause, so anti-establishment that when asked what he’s rebelling against, responded, “What have you got?” This was never Michael Medved’s attitude.
It becomes evident in his book, published by Crown Forum, that Medved’s ideals were not based on rebellion for rebellion’s sake, but on what he thought would bring justice to the common man. His interest in the rights of others, once prodded by liberal causes, underwent a decidedly conservative revolution when he began to doubt the effectiveness of a liberal bias in bringing change. Anti-God, anti-America thinking are destructive and disastrous building blocks for solid social reforms, he now believes.
Devoid of tell-all antics used to exploit, "Right Turns" contains a tapestry of thoughtful anecdotes that reveal a life searching for truth and civility. That said, Medved doesn’t take himself too seriously. With an affable writing style, he conveys an incisive rendering of his social and religious development.
“I didn’t shape my biography to fit my conclusions,” Medved writes, “but I have shaped my conclusions in response to my biography.”
Through wit, humor, self-revelation and an intellectualism tempered with humility and gentleness, Medved has penned a well-reasoned exposé of members of the Left as well as a thoughtful argument for conservatism. But this isn’t just a look at politics. Medved also is forthright about his devotion to his Jewish faith and reminds readers that we were created by God, not the other way around.
During a recent phone interview, Medved was candid and thoughtful concerning liberalism in Hollywood.
Q: John Wayne was a staunch Republican, yet liberals such as Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall respected him. Nowadays, does it seem like there’s more of a polarization between conservatives and liberals in the motion picture industry?
Medved: There is, and partially because conservatives have become so rare. It used to be that a number of the biggest stars were outspokenly conservative. Not just John Wayne, but Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper and many other huge stars were openly Republican. Today, it’s extremely rare for major stars to identify themselves as Republicans or conservatives. And about half of them who do become governor of California.
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