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Symbolism in the Red Convertible.

The red convertible essay

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Symbolism in the Red Convertible.

Exploitation Fare--The ever present push to squeeze more and more dollars out of the system results in more exploitation films, (i.e., feature films that contain obligatory or gratuitous sex, violence, horror, catastrophic events or a combination of any or all of such themes and that have little socially redeeming value). The exploitation film blatantly advertises and uses these themes to attract

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Finally, Medved claims that the " . . . overall lack of religious identification . . . " of the people who run Hollywood, " . . . points out the incomparable insanity in suggesting that Hollywood's Jews are following some supersecret script for world domination laid out for them in the Talmud some fifteen hundred years ago." The first part of this Medved statement (i.e., that a high percentage of the people who control Hollywood are not very religious) has been confirmed by other observers of the Hollywood community, and is consistent with my own experience in the industry. It is also consistent with the anti-religious bias observed in so many Hollywood films (noted by Medved and others; for further discussion of the bias issue see). Also, as Medved points out, the Hollywood control group's lack of support for mainstream religious beliefs is reflected in the kinds of movies they make. However, the rest of his statement appears to be just another Medved straw man argument. Notice that he does not identify who has actually made this rather extreme "ancient religious conspiracy" argument. That is not to say that someone in the history of man has not made such an argument, but it is not really fair for Medved to pull such an absurd argument out of thin air and place into the center of a contemporary debate about the control of Hollywood. This Medved statement again is merely another attempt to divert attention from other more moderate and plausible positions, that is, it is not necessary for a conspiracy to be involved for reasonable people to conclude that there is something amiss in Hollywood (see "The Conspiracy Dodge" in .

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Medved appears here to be offering his own version of the Jack Valenti patented "straw man" debating tactic by exaggerating the position of contemporary movie industry critics. Few, if any, responsible contemporary film industry critics are claiming Hollywood is a "Jewish empire" today and we can all agree with the rather safe Medved statement that the major studio/distributors are no longer "Jewish family businesses in the way they once were . . . " But we also should resist being mislead by Michael Medved's sly and careful choice of words into thinking that control of the film business (i.e., control as to which films are made, who gets to work on movies and what is the content of those films) actually follows ownership of the vast corporate conglomerates who own the studios. On this one issue, Medved has raised a multi-layered smokescreen designed to obscure discussion of the more important issues relating to "Who controls Hollywood?" (i.e., what single racial, ethnic, cultural and/or religious group is the most powerful in the American film industry today and how much greater is their power than any of the other groups who seek to exercise power in the film industry?) The answer, as stated above and notwithstanding Medved's extraordinary efforts to confuse the issue is: a small group of white males of European Jewish heritage who are politically liberal (generally) and not very religious. This Jewish sub-group gained its control over the U.S. film industry in and around 1915 (as Gabler states) and has not relinquished that control through the writing of this book in 1995. Furthermore, this narrowly-defined group still has far greater control over the film industry than any other readily identifiable group.

It would again have been more honest and straightforward of O'Donnell and McDougal to say that the industry appears to be controlled by a small group (the actual number is irrelevant and appears to be just another attempt by O'Donnell and McDougal to make an outrageous statement that will be quoted in the press) of mostly Jewish males of European heritage, who to be sure, from a racial point of view are considered to be white, but who are considered to be "insider's" in the film industry precisely because they have a common cultural heritage with the other Jewish males who control the film industry, and not because they are white. The term "mostly" was added to allow for the real world fact that a few non-Jewish white males are likely to appear in anyone's list of the top fifty or so most powerful people in Hollywood at any given time. So it is fair to say that men control Hollywood at the highest levels to the exclusion of women. And it is fair to say that a small group of mostly Jewish men control Hollywood to the exclusion of Jewish women, Jews whose backgrounds are other than European and non-Jewish men, although a few of these most powerful men who share control in Hollywood, may at any given time be non-Jewish. This loosely defined group, however, primarily made up of men who share an European Jewish heritage, (i.e., the one common thread that helps bind them together or give them a common background is that they hold themselves out as being Jewish, sometimes in the religious sense, but more commonly in the cultural sense). Thus, again, the O'Donnell/McDougal attempt to make a flat statement about "white males" appears to be misleading, racist demagoguery and potentially offensive to those non-Jewish white males struggling in the film industry in non-leadership positions.

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The Hollywood Insider Phenomenon--Still another level of analysis relating to the question of "Who controls Hollywood?" and the one that goes to the heart of the issue, is to examine the so-called Hollywood insider versus outsider phenomenon, and how such individuals (i.e., the insiders) are precisely defined. Hollywood has been regularly characterized in film industry literature (and pretty much appears to be) an insider's game, that is, a competitive industry viewed as a contest between rival factions and run by a restricted inner circle of people, admission into which is limited by arbitrary considerations. The dean of modern American journalism, Walter Lippmann, talked and wrote about insiders in his more general teachings about democracy, in which he warned about "insiders" who "serve the interest of private power . . . " These so-called "insiders" in the film industry are also sometimes referred to as being "members of the club". Although different people may use varying criteria for defining who or how many people are actually "members of the club", in a general sense these "club members" are the top level owner/executives of the major studio/distributors, along with a small group of the top producers, directors, agents and attorneys, along with a few actors and actresses.

This book (and the series of companion volumes) initially assumes that if a variety of intelligent people such as those who authored the above quoted statements criticize an industry, the questions they raise ought to at least be further explored in good faith. Presuming for the moment, however, that the problems observed by the above cited commentators do exist, (a topic explored in other chapters of this book and in the companion volumes making up this series on Hollywood), then one of the important threshold questions becomes, and the one question addressed in this chapter is: "Who is responsible?" Thus, that is the focus of this chapter, restated in the form of the slightly reworded question: "Who really controls Hollywood?". This question has been raised before many times, but in the opinion of this author, it has never been answered honestly and accurately, with specificity. It seems that most people confronted with the question are afraid to deal with the truth.

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The 20's and '30s--The negative or stereotypical Hollywood portrayals of the South also started early. Of the 13 Southern film portrayals in the 20's and 30's reported in the movie review publications utilized for this study the most prominent themes in order of appearance included kids in the South (4), life on the river (4), and Southern Belles (2). In addition, the following four themes were offered in one film each during this period: family life, poor sharecropper, Southern prison, hillbillies (family feud) and wandering printer.

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The 1960s--As the '60s decade began, racism became the new favorite Hollywood theme for films about the South. At least 5 films of the decade featured this issue. Next in order, Hollywood films about the South focused on Texans (portrayed as dim witted, small town, cowboys or millionaires), Confederate soldiers and related topics (4), hick and hillbillies (4), Cajun troublemakers (2) and tyrannical landowners.

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Again, this book does not argue that anti-Nazi films should not have been made. Nor does this book argue that Nazis should not be portrayed as villains. Anyone who makes such a suggestion, either has not read this book (and/or the underlying research), or is merely trying to discredit the book by spreading malicious untruths. This book, instead, argues that the proliferation of anti-Nazi and other themes of particular interest to that small group of politically liberal, not very religious Jewish males with a European heritage who control Hollywood, has crowded out other movie themes that relate important stories, just as important to other racial, cultural, religious, ethnic or regional groups in America, who ought to have an equal opportunity to tell their stories to the rest of the world. In other words, that small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are (generally speaking) politically liberal and not very religious, should not be allowed to foreclose the opportunities of other interest groups like African-Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish women, Hispanic and Latinos, Asian-Americans, Arab-Americans, White Southerners, Christians, Muslims, political conservatives, etc. in our diverse society from portraying their villains in motion pictures that are seen by mainstream America and the rest of the world.

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