A really good post by Andrew Klavan.
I am not a religious person, however I do still believe in God. In my honest opinion, atheists have not convinced me why we should not believe in God because if we do not believe in God, then we must by definition believe in Man, and we have centuries of history to tell us that that is not a winning proposition. In fact, many of cultural elites have no use for God and instead seek to propagandize us with their sermons about a lack of belief in God. Andrew Klavan, however, is having none of it:
Now, I’m careful not to preach in these novels. I merely allow my narrator, Charlie West, to act and think as he would in life. For instance, in the book’s opening, Charlie takes 200 dollars off an assassin who tried to kill him. “Yes, I know the Ten Commandments,” Charlie tells us, “and yes, I know you’re not supposed to steal. But this didn’t feel like stealing.” The Brits wanted to cut the reference to the Ten Commandments.
I refused to allow these changes. I felt they were bigoted and absurd. As a result, my British editor says, Waterstone’s did indeed order far fewer copies of this book than they had ordered of its prequel, despite that earlier book’s success.
The last part is especially interesting. The publisher knows that Mr. Klavan’s books will sell, however, because of their bigoted views towards religion they are willing to sacrifice more sales than to compromise on their preconceived views. There is a great body of economic work that explores the economics of actual discrimination, not discrimination based on price. The conclusion is pretty clear: if a firm is a profit maximizing firm, then they won’t discriminate based on some external feature such as race, ethnicity, even religion. To do so is to essentially shoot yourself in the foot: if you discriminate, you automatically cut your business by refusing to deal with people you don’t like. In the long run, because of your prejudices, you are more than likely to go out of business. The only way a business can survive is if it can weather the loss in profits that would have been generated by the discriminated class of individuals. It sounds as though Mr. Klavan’s Briton publisher arrived at that conclusion, but how does that explain a lot of what Hollywood is doing?
During the Bush Administration, Hollywood made several anti-war films to purposely try to influence American opinion about the war. They ranged from the especially despicable (Redacted) to the mostly benign (Rendition). None made any serious money. Indeed, Matt Damon’s recent film, The Green Zone cost more than a $100 million to make, but only grossed $30 million. No movie studio can survive on that, but being anti-war (and anti-American) is more valuable to Hollywood than making money (even though they will say that making money is more important).
There is money in making Christian movies, as evidenced by low-budget films Fireproof and The Passion of the Christ but the bigotry towards religion is profound. After all, as Mr. Klavan said, “When religion does take a central place in a story, it’s usually as a sign of hypocrisy, bigotry, fanaticism or fraud.”
Indeed, as it turns out, making sure that people are reminded that religion is evil is more profitable than making money.