March 6th, 2012

And yet another changer: Daniel Knauf

I love love love to read changers’ stories about their political conversions. They’re all a little bit alike and yet different. I get the urge to write to them and say “Hey, visit my blog; you’ll find a lot there that speaks to what you’re going through!”

But alas; quite a few (like for instance the latest person to “come out,” Daniel Knauf) seem to lack publicly available email addresses. Anybody have any idea how to reach him?

Knauf is a particular subset of political changer that’s surprisingly common: the Hollywood variety. And, Hollywood being what it is, he was also a silent changer till very very recently, when sorrow at Andrew Breitbart’s death and the nastiness of the left’s reaction to it caused him to burst his mental chains and say his piece.

Knauf’s original political turning point was also a very common one: 9/11. But I’ll let him describe what happened to him:

I remember watching the collapse of the first tower and feeling–literally feeling the breath just leave my lungs, my chest filling with a terrible, ghastly void; a sense of distant screams in a windswept wasteland and loss loss loss oh my God all those people all those people they murdered all those thousands of people

Like every American, I was approached [the next day] by a number of colleagues who wished to vent and commiserate.

But unlike every American, my coworkers expressed little or no anger toward the terrorists who had committed this atrocity. Rather, they directed their vitriol towards American Imperialism, American foreign policy, American arrogance, American warmongering, American racism and, most of all, our American President, the evil, unfathomably stupid, idiot-Christian, bumbling Texan oaf, George W. Bush.

It’s hard to underestimate the profound shock this sort of thing can engender in a person who’d previously been oblivious to some of the worst excesses of the left. If Knauf was anything like me, he really hadn’t previously talked politics to most of his friends, and therefore didn’t even know their views in many cases. It just hadn’t come up, or if it had, he hadn’t paid much attention; it was just so much background blah-blah-blah.

But the drama of 9/11 made talking about these things impossible to avoid, and the emotion focused the attention quite sharply, and the resultant disclosures were enough to make a lot of people’s worlds turn upside down. I know whereof I speak.

Knauf’s reaction was not so unusual either, especially for those who earn their livelihood in professions where being on the right is a no-no and can lead to loss of income or fear of such:

And what did I say?


Not a damn thing.

I was just shocked silent. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…

Over the ensuing years, I continued to remain silent whenever confronted by the toxic, batshit-crazy, knee-jerk, anti-intellectual, when-in-doubt-blame-America Leftism that pervades Hollywood. I saw what happened to others if they spoke up or disagreed with the party line. I actually witnessed one writer, who foolishly expressed his support for the war in Iraq, set-upon and viciously berated by no less than six crew-members for almost 20 minutes straight.

That night, he found his car had been keyed in our secure lot.

Hmm… must’ve been a random vandal.

Incidentally, though he had a storied career, an amazing list of credits and is one of the most versatile, talented writer-producers I know, the jobs gradually dried up for him and now he can’t, as they say, get arrested in this town.

So now Knauf’s cat is finally out of the bag. I bet it’s a relief. It will be interesting to see what happens to him.

19 Responses to “And yet another changer: Daniel Knauf”

  1. Hong Says:

    “So now Knauf’s cat is finally out of the bag. I bet it’s a relief. It will be interesting to see what happens to him. ”

    Nothing good I predict. The liberal fascists are probably why he doesn’t have public email anymore. I don’t think it’s too far to say that Congressional hearings on the subject of a anti-consrvative blacklist is warranted.

  2. E.M.H. Says:

    His blog’s got a comments section. I can’t guarantee that he’ll pay attention to a citation from you or any of us here, but it might be worth a shot.

  3. E.M.H. Says:

    Oh, another thought: Hollywood’s a big, huge place and industry, and I wouldn’t *expect* this other blogger to know Knauf when I myself can’t name everybody within sight on my floor at work. That said, maybe there’s a 1:10,000,000 chance that Roger L. Simon knows the guy? Maybe? Possibly? It’s a sliver of faint hope. And needles can be found in haystacks by dumb luck. You never know. :)

  4. Steve Says:

    I loved reading his story too. It’s really not about joining the right but leaving the left. It says something doesn’t it that the left is so ugly and deceitful that people cannot in good conscience stay silent even when it is in their personal interest to do so.

  5. Bob from Virginia Says:

    We all can wonder how more of Knaufs there are on the left coast and on the upper west side. We’ll see in November.

  6. Commenter formerly known as roc scssrs Says:

    It’s good we’re reminded of 9/11 every so often. When he said he had to go into the bedroom so he wouldn’t be sobbing in front of his kids…I went to Shanksville in 2005. Cried like a schoolgirl. Couldn’t stop.

  7. F Says:


    IIRC, he replied to a public comment on his blog. Post a note for him. Maybe he’ll get back to you.

  8. davisbr Says:

    I left him an open invitation to come visit. Hope that’s okay, and not too forward.

    …another of my many failings …I’m not very shy …and have no polished social skills at all. Whatever works!

  9. George Pal Says:

    Catastrophe (9/11) is an attention getter, and some will never see until forced to do so by such events. Even then some will value the comfort and familiarity of family and friends and the status quo – staying silent – to going out on a limb for the sake of something so cold as reality. Persistent disillusionment is probably not enough to get one to pull the trigger. For that, I think, one must feel some anger.

  10. SteveH Says:

    Great read!

    An eye opener on how the fashionable thought mechanism that has advanced liberalism the past 20 years is morphing into a horribly destructive movement.

  11. rickl Says:

    I left a comment there last night, and I thought about inviting him here, but I decided it would be presumptuous on my part. I hope he responds to davisbr’s invitation.

    He “came out” on Saturday night via Twitter, and his feed was linked at Ace of Spades on Sunday, where I read it. Very cool. He just finally snapped and let fly.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    I read his blog post coming out the closet of the Leftist dominion, and it was quite interesting. His attempt at getting Hollywood and TV networks (big corporations allied with totalitarian government power), is also interesting in a sort of insider Hollywood viewpoint.

    If you ever wondered why Hollywood and cable tv doesn’t have anything interesting… you might want to read his post about his own travails.

    Andrew Breitbart, stronger in death than in life? The martyr the Left always kept telling us we were the ones making?

  13. rickl Says:

    E.M.H. Says:
    March 6th, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    That said, maybe there’s a 1:10,000,000 chance that Roger L. Simon knows the guy?

    I don’t know about that, but as his story is already filtering through the internet, I’ll bet that the Hollywood conservative underground is sending out feelers as we speak. Clandestine meetings in deserted alleys, passing around samizdat, that sort of thing.

    If Bill Whittle hasn’t already gotten in touch with him, I’d be surprised.

    I just left another comment seconding davisbr’s invitation.

  14. Gringo Says:

    I loved reading his story too. It’s really not about joining the right but leaving the left.

    That’s what it was for me, and I suppose it is true for a lot of people who frequent this site.

    In looking back, I can see some stepping away from the left even when I was on the left. When I was in college I attended some SDS meetings, as I was against the Vietnam war. In some conversation on the quad, I heard an SDS honcho say that all university students should study Lenin. This was not said in the sense that one should know one’s enemy, but in the sense that one should get to know the works of a great intellect, like Plato or Dante. The SDS honcho was gushing about Lenin.

    Courtesy of a Politics course in high school and also having grown up with a number of people who fled the Iron Curtain, I knew enough about Lenin and his ilk to view the SDS honcho’s statement with distaste even then. For over a decade, I still was on the left, but that encounter was a seed that grew.

    The SDS honcho who gushed about Lenin did not go the Weatherman route, and has spent some years as a state legislator in a tax-and-spend and get your photo taken with as many political bigwigs as possible mode- the Zelig of state legislators. But still a “progressive.”

    Assistant Village Idiot, who also left the left, has coined a good term to describe those who left the left: Post Liberal.

  15. Jan of MN Says:

    Post Liberal — I like that. I was intrigued reading Andrew Breitbart’s account of leaving the left: that it started with the Clarence Thomas hearings, same as with me. Then he happened upon Rush Limbaugh on the radio, who kept nudging him toward the right — same as with me. At first I would often switch off Limbaugh in disgust, but a few days later would be listening again. Finally I understood his humor and appreciated hearing a more realistic point of view in the media. Now I wonder how many others followed this same path.

  16. texexec Says:

    “Act of Valor” is doing extremely well at the box office. Think Hollywood will take note of that?

    Nawwwww…they are too brain dead.

  17. Daniel Says:

    It’s not necessarily about leaving the people on the left, and can also just be an ideological awakening.

    My grandfather was a precinct captain for the original Mayor Daley, and my whole family is rabid Democrat and somewhat leftist as well. Just because someone votes Democrat doesn’t mean they actually understand what their party is all about. I voted for Jimmy Carter and went off to college where I was exposed to an incredible barrage of leftist thought and anti-Americanism from Americans. It wasn’t long before I took my first political science course and had a guest lecture from a perennnial presidential candidate, some guy named Stansfield.

    It was during Stansfield’s lecture that I suddenly realized that there is an actual ideology behind the parties, even if they don’t always abide by their ideology. I looked around at what I was seeing on campus, where I wanted to go with my life, and then had the blinding flash of the perfectly obvious.

    I’ve been moderately conservative and libertarian ever since, which makes for very interesting Thanksgiving dinners with the family.

  18. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Leftist alliance, which includes Democrats, the homosexual lobby, feminists on the war path against human nature, as well as Planned Parenthood, racists, and eugenicists. Not to mention the Global Warming Cult, criminals corrupt murderers like Ted Kennedy, and so on and so forth.

    There is no way in Hades that the Leftist alliance could hold itself together if it was a “bottom up organization”. So the people at the bottom, the cannon fodder like OWS, have no idea who is using them or for what. Bernadine Dohr and her ilk are what controls OWS. The Democrats like Jesse Jackson and Sharpton are the New Slavemasters of the black community in America, and the blacks have no effing clue who their real masters are. Cause if they did… they wouldn’t make very good slave cannonfodder. They wouldn’t vote 95 or 98% Democrat, when even Saddam had troubles getting 99% of the vote.

    Know your enemy. For it matters, greatly.

  19. BurkeanBadger Says:

    My political drift came years after 9/11. However, I do remember a couple of reactions which unnerved me more than a little that morning. I was in my last semester of college (on the five year plan. :-)). I heard snippets of news about the attack on the radio as I drove to campus. When I got to school, one of my closest friends approached me and said:

    “What a great day this is!”. (No, that’s not paraphrasing).

    Now he was being a little tongue in cheek. And of course he did not mean that people being murdered was, in and of itself, a great thing. He meant the standard lefty claptrap: At long last, disgusting American imperialism is taking a hit, at long last the oppressed innocent victims of the amoral, rapacious military industrial complex had struck back. Finally, some “justice” in the world. And if innocent people died, well, that’s just collateral damage.

    To be fair, I should note he pulled back a bit by the end of the day. Although I do remember both of us being interviewed by a local reporter who was getting reactions from people on the street that night: We both agreed that any military action would be completely immoral and counterproductive. Rather, this should be handled by the International Court of Justice.

    The second unnerving comment came later that morning, when both towers had fallen and Bush was on t.v. A bunch of us were watching it in our department’s seminar room. One of the professors walked in, actually a fellow who was my adviser, who I respect greatly and still keep in touch with. His reaction:

    “I can’t imagine this jackass will have anything constructive to say…” (Also not a paraphrase)

    Now of course, I detested Bush as much as any leftist back then. But at that moment, I was more than willing to give him the benefit of any doubt. Those two reactions really struck a chord with me. They were part of many, many little ripples over the years which very slowly nudged me to the right.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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