(CNSNews.com) - Best-selling author and screenwriter Andrew Klavan is doing something he thinks fellow conservatives should emulate: try to change popular culture by creating art that reflects the traditional values of most Americans.
"All I try to do is change the rules," Klavan told CNSNews.com. "Eighty five percent of Americans say they are Christians. Then why are only one percent of the heroes in movies and novels Christian?
"All I did is make my hero what most people are," Klavan said.
The hero he speaks of is Charlie West, a "straight arrow and patriotic" young man who finds himself targeted by terrorists and law enforcement for a murder he did not commit. West is the protagonist in Klavan's new series of books for young adults, The Homelanders. The second book in that series, The Long Way Home, was released this month.
Klavan is an insider when it comes to understanding liberalism in popular culture, especially when it comes to Hollywood. Two of his crime novels have been made into films -- "True Crime," filmed by Clint Eastwood, and "Don’t Say A Word," starring Michael Douglas. He wrote the screenplay for two other films, "A Shock to the System" in 1990, which starred Michael Caine, and "One Missed Call" in 2008.
He said the Hollywood that was once run by businessmen who hired stars to make movies, which in turn made money, is now increasingly controlled by celebrity ideologues who use the medium to promote their political views. In post-9/11 Hollywood, this was evidenced by a string of anti-war films popping up in theaters across the country.
Included in those films is James Cameron's mega-hit "Avatar," which is predicted to win the Oscar for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards. And another film nominated for the honor, "The Hurt Locker," focuses on the army unit in charge of disabling roadside explosives and suicide bombers in 2004 war-torn Iraq. These accolades belie the truth about both films, Klavan said.
"First of all, 'The Hurt Locker' is not a hit," Klavan said. "It's a box office failure."
But even if the film has some subtle criticism about the war in Iraq, at least the central theme of the film, directed by Cameron's ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, is honest.
"It shows the moral world of warfare as it is," Klavan said.
On the other hand, “Avatar” is blatantly critical of the United States and the military, he said. And even if Cameron has changed from touting his film as being one that reflects how America is waging the war on terror to one about environmentalism, the message is clear.
"Of course, it's anti-American and anti-military," Klavan said. "(The U.S. military) are sadists and killers. They are happy to march over the indigenous, native people to get their resources."
Ironically, Klavan says, the natural world inhabited by the peaceful blue creatures on the planet Pandora in "Avatar" is really filled with the technology and democracy that has made the world a better place: even if aviation is in the form of flying dragons, it is the trees that light up and have Internet-like connections to power and wisdom, and the female species are treated as equals to males.
In other words, Cameron has successfully blended fantasy with his ideological message.
"He hit the sweet spot of environmental irrationality," Klavan said.
Klavan said he does not blame Cameron or other left-leaning Hollywood types for the lack of films or books reflecting conservative values. He said it is up to people with those values -- and the money to back projects -- to promote them, not just politically but culturally.
And, Klavan said, there is evidence the tide may be turning in that direction, including the nomination of another film for Best Picture, "The Blind Side," which tells the true story of a Christian family taking in a homeless teenager who goes on to graduate from college and sign with the Baltimore Ravens’ football team.
"I think we are slowly making a difference," Klavan said. "We just have to keep the pressure on."
Included in that pressure, he said, is speaking out about the not-so-hidden agenda of liberals in Hollywood and the purveyors of popular culture.
"The leftists are like vampires," Klavan said. "If you shine the light on them and what they are doing, they do retreat."