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This week, Telly Davidson and I wrap up our conversation on Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane–the tyrannic soul who wants to be loved by everyone, erotic longings that slip the bounds of nature, and the failure of friendship to limit madness. We talk about the problems of love and friendship, but also about politics and media, or how tyranny shows up in the age of Progress.
For the two-year anniversary of the podcast, here’s Citizen Kane. We talk media moguls and politics; radio, TV, and Trump; democratic reform and the tyrannic soul; Progress and Eros. Here’s, for once, a defense of Orson Welles’s political wit, not movie magic! I talk to Telly Davidson, another of the few conservatives in Hollywood– a critic, author, and man toiling away in production. His most recent book is Culture War about, you guessed it, the ’90s, when the seeds were planted of the whirlwind keeping things interesting now. We’ll talk about it on our next podcast!
Paul Cantor and I give you a long discussion on War of the Worlds. We start with H.G. Wells, his imaginations of great power, which were impressively prescient, and his fascination with scientific tyranny. We then move on to Orson Welles, the radio broadcast, and the myth of the great panic. Lastly, we discuss the movies from the ’50s to now: the George Pall and Steven Spielberg versions, the flying saucers variation, culminating with the great Mars Attacks! by Tim Burton.
The ideal American type is perfectly expressed by the Protestant, individualist, anti-conformist, and this is the type that is in the process of disappearing. In reality there are few left.—Orson Welles Preview Open
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