Interview: Eugene Jarecki on ‘Reagan’ (HBO documentary premier tonight)
HBO is running a documentary on Ronald Reagan. (HBO has this special webpage for the movie.)
Paste Magazine did an interview with the movie’s creator:
One of America’s top documentarians takes on one of America’s most iconic figures in Eugene Jarecki’s Reagan, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last week and hits HBO tonight. Paste sat down with Jarecki at the Caledonian Hotel in Park City.
Jarecki: Bush was a classic in this, when he would call everybody “folks.” It got to the point where I thought he was going to start referring to Al Qaeda as “folks,” “these folks who bombed us on 9/11.” The word stops having any meaning if you’re not using it from your heart. Remember when John Kerry was running for president? There was this great joke that they went into McDonald’s and his wife ordered the pheasant, that they were a little out of touch with everyday people. Well, Kerry decides he’s not going to be perceived as a rich guy, notwithstanding reality. So he goes out and buys a Carharrt jacket. And he’s out crossing the country in this thing, and I want to say to him, “Get some mud on it. Or at least take the damn label off of it.” You know?
And this fake folksiness is a real poison, a real toxin in our time. And it finds its most haunting and effective expression in the trillion dollar industry that has emerged in the misappropriation of Ronald Reagan for contemporary political agendas that are privately held by an elite few. That’s what has to stop. Reagan himself, for much of his life, was devoted against the elites. His antagonism to the Soviet Union is antagonism against oppression by the elites of the many. And I think that, properly seen, he would see the elites’ oppression in this system as it is happening through information and other forms of oppression by government and by the private sector, and I think he would want to see that cleaned up as much as anyone else. And I think his legacy being brought to bear against that is consistent with the best of him.