Roger L. Simon
Who is he: Los Angeles-based Roger L. Simon is co-founder of the well-known conservative news site Pajamas Media. Simon is the author of ten novels, including the prize-winning Moses Wine detective series, and six screenplays, including "Enemies: A Love Story," for which he was nominated for an Academy Award.
Simon served as president of the West Coast branch of PEN and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America. Simon was on the faculty of the American Film Institute and the Sundance Institute. Simon is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Yale School of Drama. In February 2009, he published his first non-fiction book – Blacklisting Myself: Memoir of a Hollywood Apostate in the Age of Terror.
Pajamas Media, which began in 2005 as an affiliation of some of the most influential weblogs on the Internet, has significantly expanded its reach over the years. The PJM Portal now provides exclusive news and opinion 24/7 with correspondents in over 40 countries. Its distinguished line-up of XpressBloggers is widely respected for their punditry. Pajamas Media also has its own weekly show on Sirius satellite radio, PJM Political. In September 2008, Pajamas Media debuted its own online television network – PJTV – that broadcasts daily from studios in Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, Denver, Knoxville and Tel Aviv.
Hollywood actually loves the free market, Simon claims. Hollywood's top people just PRETEND they don't like it. It's a shell game. Who's a bigger capitalist than Barbra Streisand?, he asks in a recent DB interview. Hollywood Liberalism isn't real. It's a charade; for public consumption, not for private living. You're making zillions, so you want others to think you're a "good guy" lest they look under the hood and see the greedy, ambitious bastard you really are.
Background: Since early childhood, Roger Simon has always made up stories, and will "go to my grave doing that." From college on, he also had Marxist leanings, but was never orthodox about them. That started to change in the nineties and by 9/11, they had vanished. Simon arrived in Hollywood as the result of a novel he wrote when he was 21 called Heir. A Hollywood studio bought it and was impressed with his knack for dialogue.
Simon received jobs writing screenplays almost immediately and hastens to point out that the entrée into the Hollywood world was easier in the 1970s. Finding success in Hollywood is a mixture of talent, luck and hard work, Simon says, and it really is hard work, no matter what your politics. Conservatives who feel discriminated against in the movie industry should stop feeling sorry for themselves and get down to it.
Simon started Pajamas Media to promote a novel of his but later on got together with some other writers to try to leverage the site. It was not ideological to begin with but became a "conservative" site over time, though Simon claims he does not like labels or to be ideologically typecast. He sees the strength of the site as its evolution into video as well as text.
In addition to disliking labels, Simon will not characterize the site as libertarian rather than conservative because of the issue of the military's role. Simon favors a strong defense and believes militant Islam is as much a threat to the US as Nazism or Stalinism was. Simon also believes that the Patriot Act and other "war on terror" legislation has not adversely affected American freedoms. Where are these people with restricted freedoms?, Simon asks. "Produce them, then we'll talk."
|01/31/10||Roger Simon on American Freedom, the Success of Pajamas Media and Blacklisting Himself|