The American Ruling Class, the worlds first dramatic-documentary-musical, explores our countrys most taboo topic: class, power and privilege in our nominally democratic republic. This feature-length satire stars Lewis ...展开Lapham, the renowned essayist and author, and a heavy-weight ensemble cast that includes former cabinet secretaries, corporate mandarins, media magnates, and at least one journalist working as a waitress. The film follows Lapham and two recent Yale graduates as they make the rounds of Pentagon briefings, the World Economic Forum, philanthropic foundations, law firms, corporations banks, and New York society dinners as they attempt to answer the question, Who rules America?
The narrative portion of the film, interwoven throughout, tells the story of two representative graduates, one rich and one poor as they seek direction in their lives. Does America have a ruling class? If so, of what is it made, and how does it co-exist with our democracy? How does one join it: should one even want to? The real life luminaries become characters in a story about power and its responsibilities, and by the films end, the young men must decide: do they wish to rule the worldor save it?
Appearing in the film are a range of leaders from across the political spectrum, among them: Robert B. Altman, James A. Baker III, Bill Bradley, Harold Brown, Hodding Carter III, William T. Coleman, Jr., Walter Cronkite, Barbara Ehrenreich, Martin Garbus, Vartan Gregorian, Mike Medavoy, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Samuel Peabody, Peter G. Peterson, Pete Seeger, Lawrence H. Summers, Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., William Howard Taft IV and Kurt Vonnegut.
As we watch these two real-life graduates wend their way through what is only a slight fictionalizing of their actual lives and choices, as we meet former Secretaries of State and Defense, directors of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, the publisher of The New York Times, and a host of others, we must ask (along with Mr. Lapham): "To what end, the genius of the Wall Street banks and the force of the Pentagon's colossal weapons? Where does America discover the wisdom to play with its wonderful toys?" The possible answers move beyond the hollow category of party affiliation and into the heart of American Oligarchy itself.