Communism's "Utopian Vision"?

Deborah Solomon takes on Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola from the left: "No, Communism was rooted in a utopian vision..." as opposed to Italian fascism.

Deborah Solomon, the "Questions For..." writer for the Times Sunday Magazine (recentlychastisted by the Times Public Editor for truncating and otherwise molding her interviews in a misleading manner) made a typically liberal historical observation in her interview with legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, who has just made his first movie in a decade.

Solomon used a familiar liberal double standard in judging the evils of communism and fascism, stating that Communism (even in the days of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin) was "rooted in a utopian vision." As if Vladimir Lenin wasn't persecuting the kulaks and the "bourgeoisie" within months after taking power.

Solomon: "Your new film is based on a philosophical novella of the same name by Mircea Eliade, the great Romanian scholar who believed archaic religions created a kind of time-outside-of-time."

Coppola: That's his big book, 'The Myth of the Eternal Return.' What I understand of it is that all things come back in some sort of cycle that is regenerative. Or, in the words of the Lion King, it's the circle of life."

Solomon: "How are you going to be an indie director if you compare your work with 'The Lion King'?"

Coppola: "God, I think you're right. I am sure the Eliade notion was more subtle. They said about Eliade that he never had a thought he didn't publish, so there are about 400 books he wrote."

Solomon: "His reputation has been tainted by his politics. He was one of several well-known Romanian intellectuals who reportedly had fascist leanings and supported the Iron Guard in the '30s. Does that make you uncomfortable?"

Coppola: "It's sort of like saying my grandfather was an Italian fascist. In those days, in 1937, or even earlier, all the Italians were fascists. It might have been like the Communist thing in this country. If you were young in the '30s, and very humanistic, you might have flirted with Communism, and then it came to haunt you.

Solomon: "No, Communism was rooted in a utopian vision, the Iron Guard was rooted in hatred."

Coppola raised the Stalin point: "Well, there were people who felt that the Communist effort in the '20s and '30s among our writers was orchestrated by Stalin, but the people who got into it I'm sure got into it for idealistic reasons."