Libertarianism in Contemporary Pop Culture

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