It is no secret that the media is swamped with grievance-based narratives that reflect the liberal worldviews of much of Hollywood. Turn on Netflix: the preferred plotline is an “innocent” prisoner, an evil corporation shilling poison to the public, or an ex-first lady listing out her complaints about how unfairly she’s had it.
Which is why Hulu’s recent series, Mrs. America, caught my attention. It covers the rise of Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative firebrand who may have single-handedly defeated the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, halting a movement in its tracks and confounding her critics along the way.
Perhaps you, like me, roll your eyes at the endless progressive litany of complaints-packaged-as-entertainment. Perhaps you are worried about indoctrination targeted toward your children or are just a free-thinking individual who likes a new perspective now and again. Conservative characters sometimes — unwittingly or not — slip through the cracks. Here are five such characters you can stream at home right now.
Phyllis Schlafly, played by Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America (Hulu)
The series encapsulates Schlafly in her various contradictions — notably the rise of a deeply ambitious woman championing a traditional role for her sex. The show is not perfect — it seems at times to be carried away by the scope of events it attempts to portray. And it is not a paean to Schlafly, but a fascinating depiction nonetheless. And isn’t that what conservative audiences should demand: not blind praise, but fair and humanizing depictions?
Bertram Cooper, played by Robert Alan Morse, Mad Men (Netflix)
“It’s kill or be killed, eat or be eaten — that’s how I was raised,” or so declares Bertram Cooper, scion of advertising agency Sterling Cooper. Zany and entertaining like so much of Mad Men, Cooper is the encapsulation of the American capitalist, a man who has made it good and has no apologies for his success. Everything about the series, from its period clothing to its handling of key historic events from the Bay of Pigs to the death of Marilyn, is a pleasure to take in.
Batman, played by Christian Bale, The Dark Knight (Amazon Prime rental)
There is no better encapsulation of America’s impossible position as post-Cold War hegemon as the “this city needs a villain” monologue which closes the best of the modern Batman films. In order to maintain order and prevent his city from sinking into chaos, Bale will fight crime and be branded a villain for it; so, too, must our country serve as a beacon of order and control for a dangerous world — only to be resented, hounded out, and burned in effigy across the world. I’ll still take American superiority over China, Iran, or Russia.
Dash Parr, voiced by Spencer Fox, The Incredibles (Disney+)
This superb Disney animated film, highlighting the plight of the “Supers” after their shine has caused envy and backlash, is ultimately a protest against forced conformity and collectivism. “Everybody is special,” says Mrs. Parr, urging her son to keep his head down and not run ahead of the pack — “Which means nobody is,” replies Dash. If it sounds soviet, just visit a local elementary school class and see if that’s the message our kids are hearing.
Capt. Steven Hiller, played by Will Smith, Independence Day (Amazon Prime rental)