“The Power of the Dog” has been described as a “tense, slow-burn western,” based on a 1967 novel, set in 1920s Montana. The movie is filled with questions about toxic masculinity and homosexual attraction according to a CNN reviewer. This is all this writer can say about the film without actually viewing it. This column is not about the movie or the excellent actors involved, or the motivations of the director, or the sensibilities of the producers.
Rather, this column is about a fatal trend in our society that is bringing this country to the brink of oblivion driven by the power of illusion.
Sam Elliott, a longstanding icon of the west and cowboy culture, an excellent actor who has done more to preserve the old west than most, sometime back, on a podcast, shared strident opinions about “The Power of the Dog.” As you might guess, he perceived the movie as a full frontal attack on traditional masculinity and a celebration of homosexuality. He used strong language.
Did the screenwriter, the producers, the director and the actors have every right to make the movie? Of course. Did Sam Elliott have every right to criticize the picture? Apparently not. In the wake of his criticisms, the machine started chewing him up. He was condemned a homophobe, a knuckle-dragging misogynist. If you believe woke cancel culture you believe Elliott hates homosexuals and women, an illusion of course, but a useful one when whipping up the mob to lynch the opposition.
It is likely Elliott stood against the film because it misrepresents the heart and soul of the wild west, where people from every race and creed bashed about for 300 years trying to determine their present and their future. If art is the pursuit of truth and beauty, why can’t Elliott as an artist speak up when, in his opinion, truth and beauty are trampled?
The oblivion we all face is the death of freedom in the name of conformity enforced with a dangerous and vicious intolerance. Anyone on the far left can use the power of media to whip up frenzy over controversial topics and demand only one side enjoy free expression. Anyone on the right becomes a target of the frenzy if he speaks his mind, subject to hounding 24/7 until an apology is forthcoming accompanied by the required levels of humiliation and grief for having hurt someone’s feelings. Then, forevermore, the apology is carved into the offender’s tombstone.
The real tragedy lies in the fact that all things good are trashed, and all things destructive are revered to the point no one learns or grows in healthy directions. The intellectual and moral mosh pit simply churns out condemnations and black eyes, leaving all in isolation, chewing on broken hearts.
A culture that cancels anything “ unwoke” is a culture committing slow motion suicide, calling freedom bondage, and bondage, freedom. For if Sam Elliott cannot honestly share an opinion, sooner rather than later, no one will have that freedom.
Rather than the power of the dog, we need the power of God.