Who is Hollywood’s audience?

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Responding to Yitzchok Adlerstein’s post about a movie that’s much in the news, Eliezer Barzilai wrote:

“there are movies in which a spouse comes back as a child (Birth), or as a person of the same gender as the surviving spouse (Ghost) in which physical intimacy with the reincarnated spirit is presented as a thing of beauty. The Greeks also liked the idea, as we find Zeus taking the form of a swan or a bull, and having his way with various maidens. These stories, I believe, implant the idea that one loves the essence of the person, and the physical form is irrelevant. But then you step back and realize, with a feeling of nausea, that they are advocating pedophilia and bestiality.”

…and homosexuality

The beloved spouse coming back as a person of the same sex as the bereaved is obviously Hollywood’s way of pushing the idea that it doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t matter, what sex your spouse is. Everyone — not just gays — should choose mates without regard to the sex of the partner. We should all be people, not men or women. That’s part of the feminist agenda, too. Which may go some way to explaining why Hollywood is making so many movies that prima facie would only appeal to the 1% of the population that is gay — not much of a demographic there. But feminists — now you’re talking about a lot of people.

There’s another even bigger demographic than women-who-want-to-be-people and that is, people who want to commit adultery or to have multiple affairs with no marriage. In “Brokeback Mountain” when the characters realize that their marriage vows are keeping them from true sexual fulfillment, they discard those vows — and are considered noble heroes for doing so (I’m indebted to Michael Medved for this insight). The message isn’t so much “Be true to yourself” or “Follow your dream” as it is “Be true to your loins” and “Follow your lust” — and that’s a message a whole LOT of people want to hear.

How else could Hollywood have imagined a movie like Brokeback Mountain would have broad appeal? “Watch two men make love” isn’t much of a draw but “Walk away from your marriage if someone sexier comes along” is a message that is really really popular especially in the Blue States which BTW if there were any sense in the world would be called “Red” and Republican states would be called “blue.”

There are many homosexuals who heroically fight their natural inclinations in order to remain true to the Torah. That is true heroism and nobility, not leaving your wife and children to satisfy your own selfish desires.

By making the homosexual life seem so seductive, alluring and glamorous, Hollywood is making it exponentially more difficult than it ever was before for people with homosexual tendencies to remain chaste. Having led so many people to sin who would not have sinned in the past, Hollywood has a lot to answer for. The Jews of Hollywood, in particular, who seem the most bent on pushing immorality of every kind, will face a Judgment Day that I would not want to see.

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Steve Brizel
9 years 5 months ago

Forget about red and blue. Hollywood will always market envelope-pushing “indie” films or produce films that may be just a tad too controversial for an Oscar. That’s part of the process of producing a movie and advancing an idea at the same time. On the other hand, Hollywood has always been one off the refuges for the development and pushing of liberal-left mass thinking. Look at the strange career of Lillian Hellman, an apologist for Stalin and the placement of the brilliant Elia Kazan in the Hollywood equivalent of no-man’s land because he named names during the late 40s and early 50s when there was a substantial Communist presence and its fellow travellers in Hollywood and elsewhere.

Seth Gordon
9 years 5 months ago

How else could Hollywood have imagined a movie like Brokeback Mountain would have broad appeal? “Watch two men make love” isn’t much of a draw but “Walk away from your marriage if someone sexier comes along” is a message that is really really popular…

The main character in Atlas Shrugged walked away from his marriage for another woman who, in turn, walked away from him when she found an even sexier man. This novel was published in 1957 and is still widely read and adored today.

Artists that pander to the baser impulses of their audiences are hardly a 21st-century innovation. Indeed, I would say that they are a by-product of the modern economic system; we live in a market economy, and there’s always a market for sex.

…especially in the Blue States

DovBear has already pointed out that “Blue” Massachusetts has a lower divorce rate and a lower teenage pregnancy rate than “Red” Texas, and I thank him for defending the honor of my home Commonwealth. I would also add, apropos Ori Pomerantz’s follow-up question, that in 1996, at least, Massachusetts and Texas had the same rate of abortions. Note, too, this New York Times article, describing the drastic rise in cohabitation in “the buckle of the Bible Belt”.

4jkb4ia
9 years 5 months ago

Hi Toby, I didn’t see the movie either, but the message that the NYT critics, for whom you have profound respect I am sure, got from it was that these two men had no business being married at all, precisely because they destroyed their families.

Charles B. Hall
9 years 5 months ago

The higher divorce rates in the so-called bible belt are real and have attracted the attention of some political leaders there. Here is an example:

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPrint.asp?Page=\Culture\archive\CUL20000721a.html

Teen pregnancy (not birth) rates are highest in Nevada, Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas, lowest in North Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Maine:

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/state_pregnancy_trends.pdf

Maybe it is climate that is associated with lax morals? Another reason to fight global warming!

Seriously, the nationwide trend is downward, as it has been for almost 50 years. And I disagree with Ori that there is nothing wrong with a lot of married teenagers having babies.

Also, I don’t think “Jews in Hollywood” had anything to do with Brokeback Mountain. I don’t think the writers, directors, or producers were Jewish. And it was released through Focus Features, a division of NBC Universal, which is owned by General Electric, a publicly held company that has been well known for its support of conservative causes since Ronald Reagan was its spokesperson. Why do we complain about some vague “Hollywood” rather than the media coglomerates that are really in charge?

Ori Pomerantz
9 years 5 months ago

DovBear,

By themselves, your statistics are not sufficient evidence. They can be caused by other factors.

Are teenage births higher in Texas because married teenage pregnancies are higher (in many small towns in Texas 19 is considered old enough to have children)? Because there are more unmarried teenage pregnancies? Or because an unmarried teenage pregnancy in Texas is more likely to result in a birth, rather than an abortion?

I’m willing to bet that the teenage birth rate in Bney Brak, a chareidi city in Israel, is a lot higher than in Tel Aviv, a chiloni (= non religious) city, too.

Same thing for the divorce rate. Do people who get married and then get a divorce embody family values any less than people who just live together and don’t get married?