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John Hughes: Pants-down Republican

Via the inimitable Tim Blair comes a link to this classic Slate article, deconstructing John Hughes, his inherent Republicanism and the class-warfare he raged through his cycle of 80s teen comedies.

P.J. O’Rourke could have said it better himself, and did in fact when he co-edited the National Lampoon with Hughes in the mid-’70s. They were the two Midwestern conservatives, or “Pants-Down Republicans,” on a masthead otherwise mostly comprised of vestigial Harvard hippies slouching their way out of the Me Decade. In O’Rourke’s book, Republican Party Reptile, this GOP schismatic was eventually updated and defined for the ’80s as a “disco Hobbes” into sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll as much as guns, SDI, and the flat tax: Ted Nugent fused with Tom Wolfe, in other words. Enemies on the right included the stuffed shirts and old-money bores—parents of the Steffs and Hardys of the world—while the new and improved Reaganite gentry was seen as something to aspire to.

Like many Republicans, Hughes left Hollywood. Not out of some purge, but for his family. Hughes was terrified of the impact the town and culture would have on his son. Thinking of how the John Fords and John Hughes have now become Greengrass’ and Soderberghs, maybe it was a purge.

6 comments to John Hughes: Pants-down Republican

  • Jake Was Here

    It’s been a long time since I read anything that condescending.

  • I didn’t realize Hughes was a Republican. Is there any…uhm…verification on this?

  • JohnFN

    Ben Stein said Hughes was a Republican on Fox Business channel. The two often shared politically charged e-mails, many of which were hilarious, according to Stein. And this article was written three years prior to his death, and considering the “condescending” nature of the story (as Jake so noted), it’s a charge not made in wish fulfillment.

    The real condescension doesn’t hit until the end paragraph, but after all, this is Slate, where the most conservative writers are Mickey Kaus and Trotsyite Christopher Hitchens.

  • Thanks, John. I wasn’t aware of that.

  • Magnus Caseus Formatis

    If you haven’t clicked through the link to the article concerning Hughes fear for his sons, by all means, do. It’s well worth the time it takes to read it.

  • +JMJ+

    Magnus (Magne?), I have to thank you for reminding me to click on the second link. I had completely forgotten it after reading the first, but it’s the better story, by far! =)

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