RUSH: We watched a movie over the weekend: Secretariat. I was surprised, it’s a good movie. I saw a review of this movie, and if there’s anything that indicates the cultural divide that we’re in, I mean, Secretariat, it’s a Disney movie and it’s about never quitting, never giving up. I was 22 years old when Secretariat won the Triple Crown. That was 1973, and I had just left home and I was starting on my radio career. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the details. I just knew the horse won the Triple Crown. I had forgotten how phenomenal the horse was, and I did not know any of the backstory of the horse’s ownership or syndicate which is what the movie is really all about. A woman who didn’t know anything about the horse business, inherits it, and everybody in her family and outside says, ‘You gotta sell it.’ She’s offered eight million for the horse while she owes six million to stay afloat. She turns it down because she believes the horse can win the Triple Crown and be worth three times that. She turns out to be right, but everybody tells her she can’t do it.
I mean, the values here are superb, and there’s this review in Salon.com of this movie that slams Secretariat as a Tea Party fantasy. I mean, here’s a movie about standard good old-fashioned ‘you can do it if you put your mind to it’ values and it gets slammed. When you first read this review you think it’s a satire. As you keep going you find out that this guy is dead serious. ‘In its totality ‘Secretariat’ is a work of creepy, half-hilarious master-race propaganda almost worthy of Leni Riefenstahl –‘ which was Hitler’s videographer, ‘– and all the more effective because it presents as a family-friendly yarn about a nice lady and her horse.’ Nothing in the movie is not true, and this is said to be a half-hilarious master-race propaganda, almost worthy of Leni Riefenstahl. ”Secretariat’ actually goes much further, presenting a honey-dipped fantasy vision of the American past as the Tea Party would like to imagine it, loaded with uplift and glory and scrubbed clean of multiculturalism and social discord.’
Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s 1973. Her own kids are hippies. They’re going to Woodstock. They’re blowing weed. They’re having doobies. The woman’s out there trying to save her father’s horse farm, happens to be she wins a coin toss and gets the foal that produces Secretariat and the rest is history. It really is fascinating. I tell people that here we are in 2010, and the media always hated Ronald Reagan, the media hated Richard Nixon, we’ve always had a partisan political divide, but the abject hatred that is aimed at decent, middle of the road Americans by the mainstream cultural left is something like I’ve never seen before. There is nothing in this movie to hate. There’s nothing in this movie to dislike. It’s a harmless movie. In fact it’s uplifting. Even I, ladies and gentlemen, El Rushbo, and Kathryn, we’re watching it together, I got a little misty-eyed at the end of this movie. I wouldn’t normally admit that to you people. I’m supposed to be Mr. Tough and gruff and so forth. I got misty-eyed. When I start crying I actually suppress it, try not to, so I clear my throat. I was stunned.
I saw Seabiscuit. I’ve seen horse movies, but I didn’t know the backstory to this. I wasn’t even gonna spend that much time talking about it, you know me, ’til I read this review at Salon.com. Again, ‘In its totality ‘Secretariat’ is a work of creepy, half-hilarious master-race propaganda almost worthy of [Hitler’s videographer], and all the more effective because it presents as a family-friendly yarn about a nice lady and her horse. … ‘Secretariat’ actually goes much further, presenting a honey-dipped fantasy vision of the American past as the Tea Party would like to imagine it, loaded with uplift and glory and scrubbed clean of multiculturalism and social discord.’ I mean there was all kinds of multiculturalism. The groom is black, the trainer is French Canadian portrayed by a Jewish guy, Diane Lane, she’s no conservative, plays the lead role here, Penny Chenery. I mean her kids, a couple of them, little maggot infested longhaired rock ‘n’ roller type blowing doobies, and this guy says that there’s no multiculturalism in it? In fact, this woman’s husband — I mean you could reverse the roles — this woman’s husband gets mad because she’s never home. She’s off running the family business in 1973. The feminazis should love this! The feminazis should latch on to this and say, ‘This is what we were talking about,’ except she didn’t have an abortion. Ah, maybe the feminazies couldn’t launch into her for that.
But, regardless, to say this thing is milquetoast and pure fantasy and hunky-dory, so sweet that you could get an insulin shot from it is ridiculous. What’s this guy’s name? Andrew O’Hehir, probably pronounced O’Hare, and the guy obviously feels threatened by the movie. It opened this weekend. I have no idea how it did. This is from the review: ‘The year Secretariat won the Triple Crown was the year the Vietnam War ended and the Watergate hearings began. You could hardly pick a period in post-Civil War American history more plagued by chaos and division and general insanity (well, OK — you could pick right now). Wallace references that social context in the most glancing and dismissive manner possible — Penny’s eldest daughter is depicted as a teen antiwar activist … but our heroine’s double life as a Denver housewife and Virginia horse-farm owner proceeds pretty much as if the 1950s had gone on forever. (The words ‘Vietnam’ and ‘Nixon’ are never uttered.)’
Well, I don’t know what Nixon and Vietnam had to do with Secretariat. I don’t know that Secretariat ever knew ’em. Secretariat was a horse. Sports — you have to call horse racing a sport — sports has always been an escape from the daily humdrum. Sports has always been Fantasy Island for people. It’s what most of us wish we could do, wish we had the talent to do, wish we had the ability. That’s the beauty of spectator sports. It’s the one thing I always say in which you can totally invest passion without consequence. You can’t do that in any other area of life. You’re always guarded, your team, you’ll give them everything you got. The only thing they’ll do, they’ll disappoint you and lose. Of course, my team did kick me out of the stadium once, but normally that doesn’t happen. It happened to me, but I was able to take it, rebounded well from it as is evidenced by the fact that I’m still here.
It’s a fun movie and this horse won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. I had forgotten that. I don’t know that I ever knew it at the time. And the theory was this horse couldn’t last that long in the Belmont Stakes. You know, the horse’s history was to start last in the pack and then accelerate for the whole race and win. The same thing happened at Belmont. Only five horses in the final, it never trailed, and 31 lengths, it’s never been done since. Not even close. There’s nothing in this movie to feel threatened by, there’s nothing in this movie to dislike. The only thing in this movie is to be informed, educated, enlightened, and inspired. (interruption) What part made me cry? Just the ending when everything came together. The movie, it kind of starts slow and the one thing for me that saved it was I knew what was going to happen. I knew the horse won the Triple Crown. So you sit for that. Same like when I watched The Stoning of Soraya M. I knew what was going to happen. Sort of like when I watched The Stoning of Soraya M. The title: The Stoning of Soraya M. I knew Soraya M’s gonna get stoned, so you wait in the movie for that to happen. This thing starts a little slow, but if you don’t know the backstory it’s fascinating, which I didn’t, I had no clue about the backstory.
I was 22. I was on the pathway to stardom. I was totally absorbed in me. I didn’t know the backstory here. So this was a wonderful — it’s two hours and two minutes, and Kathryn and I didn’t start watching ’til ten o’clock on Friday night. We had other things to do and then watched the movie, did some other things after that, it’s a great way to spend a Friday night. (interruption) No, we’re not gonna watch The Bachelorette. The Bachelorette’s not on, Snerdley. The season has ended. What’s on is Dancing with the Stars. No, we’re going to be watching the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets tonight. That’s what we’re going to be doing.
RUSH: You know, if the owner of the horse Secretariat had married the horse at the end of the movie perhaps the left and the reviewer at Salon.com might have seen fit to enjoy the movie. Really, folks, that’s the last I’m going to say about it, but it’s absurd to see anything in this. What really strikes me is, I guess, the struggle and the problem the country has. There nothing in Secretariat that’s nothing but just wholesome decency, and for people to be threatened by that, to want to take comfort in the fact that that no longer is what defines America, that’s a problem to me. That’s an indication of where we find ourselves, not just politically, but culturally as well.