Scholars, who pride themselves on speaking their minds, often engage in a form of self-censorship which is called "realism." To be "realistic" in dealing with a problem is to work only among the alternatives which the most powerful in society put forth. It is as if we are all confined to a, b, c, or d in the multiple choice test, when we know there is another possible answer. American society, although it has more freedom of expression than most societies in the world, thus sets limits beyond which respectable people are not supposed to think or speak.
American society is now remarkably atomized. Political organizations have collapsed. In fact, it seems like even bowling leagues are collapsing. The left has a lot to answer for here. There's been a drift toward very fragmenting tendencies among left groups, toward this sort of identity politics.
In every aspect and among almost every demographic, how American society digested and processed the long, dark chapter between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the civil rights movement has been delusion.
I was making films about American society, and it is true that I never felt at home there, except perhaps when my wife and I lived on a farm in the San Fernando Valley. But I always wanted my characters to be more than cyphers for the failings of their world. And I never had to look too hard to find a part of myself in them
Concentration of wealth and power has been built upon other people's money, other people's business, other people's labor. Under this concentration, independent business has been a menace to American society.
Unfortunately, the cyber threat to 'the grid' is only one means of eviscerating the soft underbelly of American society. Another which has been getting increasing attention could be delivered via the kind of nuclear-armed ballistic missile that Iran and North Korea have been developing: a strategic electro-magnetic pulse attack.
I am always talking about the human condition and about American society in particular: what it is like to be human, what makes us weep, what makes us fall and stumble and somehow rise and go on from darkness into darkness and that darkness carpeted.