Libertarianism in Contemporary Pop Culture

Book Forum
June 14, 2005 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM EDT

1st floor/Wintergarden

Featuring Paul Cantor, Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English, University of Virginia, Author, Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization

Why are libertarian themes suddenly cropping up throughout American pop culture? The popular and irreverent cartoon series South Park has been pursuing a libertarian agenda since its inception in 1997, mercilessly skewering the forces of political correctness in our society. The animated feature The Incredibles — one of the most successful and critically acclaimed films of 2004 — celebrates the extraordinary individual in a way that called to mind Ayn Rand for many commentators. And Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator — a film biopic about Howard Hughes — dares to portray a businessman as a hero, a true visionary who risks his own money to build the world of the future while battling a corrupt government in the name of free competition. In these and other developments, Paul Cantor sees a new trend in American pop culture, and analyzes what it means for the future of libertarianism.