"Ghost Busters As Rightwing Agitprop"
Reihan Salam has the goods:
Then there is my favorite example, and possibly my favorite movie of all time, Ghostbusters. (In this life, you are either a Chevy Chase man or a Bill Murray man. I am a Bill Murray man.) From start to finish, Ghostbusters is a powerful brief against the “reality-based community.” The academic establishment and the municipal powers-that-be have failed to tackle a grave threat, namely the menace posed by ancient Sumerian deities summoned by effete post-Christian necromancers who flourished amidst the moral turpitude of Art Deco New York. Only a small, nimble, private-sector cadre of “Ghostbusters” can meet the gathering storm – if only Walter Peck of the Environmental Protection Agency wouldn’t get in the way! I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost, and I ain’t ‘fraid of no bien-pensant anti-Ghostbusting bureaucrats either.
Quite true. Mass market comedy, as seen in Hollywood films, strikes me as a pretty good partner for post-Goldwater conservatism. Comedy, to be funny, usually requires the skewering of the powerful in some sense. But the mass culture marketing demands that your product not actually do much to challenge prevailing ideas in the world. It’s a bit of a paradoxical situation, but it nicely mirrors the efforts of a political ideology designed to further entrench the privileges of the country’s wealthy elite and its white Christian majority and somehow do so in the name of anti-elitism.