What Liberal Hollywood? postsWednesday January 08, 2014
Breen on the Dam [Sic] Jews
“But the fact is that these dam [sic] Jews are a dirty, filthy lot. Their only standard is the standard of the box-office. To attempt to talk ethical values to them is time worse than wasted.”
-- Joseph Breen, film censor, and head of the Production Code Administration (PCA) from the 1930s to the 1950s, in a letter to Martin Quigley, publisher of the Motion Picture Herald, as reported in John Sbardellati's “J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies: The FBI and the Origins of Hollywood's Cold War.” At the same time Breen was complaining about the unquenchable capitalism of the Jews, he also worked to ban “communist propaganda” (generally any left-wing sentiment) from the movie screen. Not sure if he realized the irony.
What Liberal Hollywood? A.O. Scott on Guns and Movies
“After the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mr. LaPierre declared that 'the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,' as pure a distillation of traditional Hollywood morality as you could want. ...
”When mass killings happen in the real world, the mark of the killer’s pathology is often described as an inability to distinguish fantasy from reality. But that is not a syndrome that afflicts only individuals. We gravitate, collectively, toward a simplified world where might makes right and good guys and bad guys are easy to tell apart.“
--A.O. Scott, from his article, ”Finding Comfort in Easy Distinctions,“ which is part of a section on movies and violence in today's New York Times.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California, in ”The Last Stand" (2013).
The Dangers of PBS Programming
Maybe Mitt was right about the dangers of PBS programming after all. From Steven J. Ross' “Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics,” pg. 378:
Schwarzenegger may have kept his personal politics quiet during his rise to stardom, but that did not mean he lacked a well-conceived ideology. Schooled in free market thought during his youth, his economic philosophy crystalized in January 1980 after watching Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman's Free to Choose television series on PBS. “It expressed, validated and explained everything I ever thought or observed about the way the economy works,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
On the other hand, maybe Mitt's beef ultimately has less to do with Big Bird than Big Arnold (from pg. 387):
Party loyalists were less than thrilled when [Schwarzenegger] bypassed Mitt Romney to support Ted Kennedy's reelection bid in 1994 in Massachusetts.
Early GOP Brass
“[George] Murphy and [Ronald] Reagan's electoral success was directly tied to Southern California's emergence as the center of a plethora of socially and religiously conservative groups that preached, as one historian notes, an ideology of 'staunch individualism, Protestant piety, and resentment against Washington ”collectivists'.' Ironically, this hotbed of antifederal activism owed much of its wealth and growth to Washington's largesse. In 1957, defense-related jobs accounted for 70 percent and 59 percent, respectively, of all employment in San Diego and Los Angeles counties. By the early 1960s, defense was the nation's largest business, accounting for 62 percent of the federal budget, and Southern California received the majority of those funds.“
--Steven J. Ross in ”Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics," pg. 164. In Clintonian terms, it takes some brass to come to power by attacking what has created and nurtured you.
Being Fair to Hitler
“Making a film attacking Hitler ['The Great Dictator'] proved far more controversial than Chaplin anticipated.
”Producers who wished to turn out starkly anti-Nazi movies—such as Walter Wanger, and Harry and Jack Warner—were repeatedly constrained by Hollywood's self-censorship board, the Production Code Administration (PCA), and its anti-semitic head, Joseph Breen. Created in 1934 to forestall federal censorship of motion pictures, PCA rules prohibited filmmakers from attacking or mocking foreign governments and their leaders. When Hitler and Mussolini promised to ban the films of any studio that offended them, and all Hollywood films if necessary, Breen stepped up his efforts to stop producers from endangering the industry's highly profitable foreign revenues.
“Indeed, not everyone thought Hitler was so evil. As late as January 1939, PCA censors attempted to halt production of Warner Bros.' Confessions of a Nazi Spy, the nation's first explicitly anti-Nazi film, explaining that to 'reperesent Hitler only as a screaming madman and a bloodthirsty persecutor, and nothing else, is manifestly unfair, considering his phenomenal public career, his unchallenged political and social achievements, and his position as head of the most important continental European power.'”
--from “Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics,” by Steven J. Ross
According to Hollywood's PCA, Hitler had “unchallenged political and social achievements.” Why pick on him? According the HUAC 10 years later, the star of the movie was a red, too.
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