Who is Hollywood’s audience?


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 8 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… Read more »

Seth Gordon
9 years 8 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.… Read more »

9 years 8 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 8 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:


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:


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… Read more »

Ori Pomerantz
9 years 8 months ago


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… Read more »

9 years 8 months ago

“Walk away from your marriage if someone sexier comes along” is a message that is really really popular especially in the Blue States

Your view of the blue states is twisted.

The state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is Massachusetts. At latest count it had a divorce rate of 2.4 per 1,000 population, while the rate for Texas was 4.1.

Massachusetts also leads in per capita and family income (in part, because they invest so much more in education) while births by teenagers, as a percent of total births, was 7.4 for Massachusetts and 16.1 for Texas

For all… Read more »

Eliezer Barzilai
9 years 8 months ago

Let me fill you in on what’s going on in Chicago. This is an article from the Chicago Sun Times, with a verbatim quote from Farrakhan which I appended to the article.

Gov. Blagojevich’s anti-discrimination panel seethed with acrimony Thursday as two leading Jewish members resigned, refusing to serve alongside a Nation of Islam official who was unwilling to condemn controversial remarks by Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Lonnie Nasatir, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, and Richard Hirschhaut, director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, stepped down from the governor’s Discrimination and Hate Crimes Commission after Blagojevich refused… Read more »

Steve Brizel
9 years 8 months ago

Anyone with a sense of history should be aware that Hollywood has always had a liberal-left cultural agenda that is directed primarily at the chattering classes of the Boston/NY/beltway classes. Hollywood has had some filmmakers who eschewed this PC thinking over the years such as John Ford. However, anyone who is seen as too patriotic, anti Communist, has a conventional
home life and is known as a Republican finds it hard to make films there. Anyone who testified and “named names” re Communist
influence in Hollywood ( yes Virginia, there were Communits in America-despite George Clooney’s spin to the contrary) is viewed
as… Read more »

9 years 8 months ago

Michael Medved is a professional film reviewer for PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). He has his own show called “Sneak Previews.” Presumably, he knows the inside story of what goes-on in Hollywood.

He has written, in his columns, many times that Hollywood would rather make a decadent film that loses money than a decent family-oriented fim that makes money. The Hollwood crowd are immoral, low-life people, fro the most part, and it is a characteristic of such people that they feel compelled to drag other, more moral, people down to their low level.

Ben Stein, a professional Hollywood writer, has written a book… Read more »

Ori Pomerantz
9 years 8 months ago

1. Why shouldn’t Jews make movies? If movies are effective in teaching bad ethics, wouldn’t they be good at teaching good ethics?

2. Are there enough Jews who normally go to movies who would stay away from immoral movies to make a difference?

9 years 8 months ago

Toby thanks for your comments
When I was single I was not sure of my feelings I felt mixed up, my homosexual feelings got much stonger after I got married.
Before I got married which was 16 years ago I told a doctor that I believe I am homosexual even though I had not acted out with any one his answer was “go and get married and it will all go away”
So thats what I done I got married to a very pretty girl and the feelings did subside until we started to have marriage probblems,the normal things.
My SSA (same sex attraction)… Read more »

Ori Pomerantz
9 years 8 months ago

Toby Katz: we have a responsibility—as Jews who have benefited enormously from the goodness and generosity and decency of this amazing country—to bring down G-d’s blessings on this country that has given us shelter.

True. However, saying that Hollywood is wrong and evil is unlikely to change anything. Anything you say will either be ignored, or have all the effect of expounding religious doctrine to the temple singers (= preaching to the choir). The only effective way to fight something like Hollywood is to compete in the market for entertainment.

Making a movie is not as expensive as it used to be,… Read more »

Eliezer Barzilai
9 years 8 months ago

I don’t mind finding myself a fellow with people who have different beliefs when it comes to school vouchers, or religious rights, or open housing. But it really might be a good idea to temper your line about the Jews of Hollywood when “during Farrakhan’s speech Sunday, he said “the Hollywood Jews” are responsible for promoting homosexuality and other “filth of Hollywood.” (Chicago Tribune). I’m sure that if the post stays up, it’s going to be in the newspaper tomorrow, and will lend comfort to people who wish us harm.
And Daniel is not paying attention. The ghost occupies Whoopie Goldberg,… Read more »

9 years 8 months ago

In “Ghost,” the spouse who returns as a ghost (Patrick Swayze) is male, and the bereaved (Demi Moore) is female. The movie does not advocate homosexuality.

Jewish Observer
9 years 8 months ago

“You don’t have to be a Torah scholar to see the evil in Hollywood’s offerings”

Yes! But adding a dollop of Torah’dik attitude to the mix might help soften wording! … good one, eh?

Jewish Observer
9 years 8 months ago

“When Jews, as a group, refuse to criticize wrong-doing and take an ostrich approach (“It’s not for me to judge others, let me worry about myself”) which results in grave harm to the nation, a) we are creating a terrible chillul Hashem”

I am not talking about the fact that you are protesting. I am talking about the level of harshness and the vigor with which you protest. If your end-game objective is truly to effect change, I don’t think your level of rhetoric will get you there. While you are advocating a “hawkish” tone, I am advocating a “dovish” tone,… Read more »

Jewish Observer
9 years 8 months ago

“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.”

Ouch! I find it in poor taste (and contrary to the spirit of ahavas yisroel) to speculate about others’ day of judgment. How do we know that it is not we who will be held responsible for our negligience in:

1. not having a more loving and open attitide toward our bretheren
2. not doing a better job about our own morals and ethics
3. not doing a better job at our davening and learning
4.… Read more »

9 years 8 months ago

I saw the film and I would see it again. I am married with children, modern orthodox and have SSA (same sex attraction) I was not born this way no “gay” person is.
Ennis and Jack discovered there homosexual feelings in the 1960’s the world was different then, one thought you were born that way.
Now in 2006 we know different, that there are a host of reasons for one to have homosexual feelings for more information go to http://www.jonahweb.org JONAH, Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality.