The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition

By E. Christian Kopff | Go to book overview
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Chapter XXII
THINGS YOU SEE BETTER
IN THE DARK:
THE FATE OF AMERICAN CINEMA

The American Film Institute (AFI) presented its list of the 100 Best American Movies in 1998, just as The Modern Library published its list of 100 Best Novels in English. Although marketing lurked behind both maneuvers, the creation of these lists shows that even the liberal tradition of antitraditionalism feels the need for a canon, a list of approved texts that embodies and exemplifies what the liberal regime stands for. If the AFI had been truly loyal to liberalism's democratic ideals and plutocratic reality, it should have ranked the movies on the basis of the amount of money they earned in steady dollars. Everybody who had ever paid to see a movie would have had a vote. (The French count the number of seats sold, which is a more objective way of measuring a movie's popularity, because it eliminates the bias of inflation.) The thought of Gone With the Wind nudging past Citizen Kane and ET jostling ahead

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The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition
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