I am BARRY HESS > Blog

Hollywood: Liberal or Capitalistic?

Andrew Sullivan recently linked to a Michael Siegel blog response to one of Sullivan’s own posts in which he wondered aloud how often Hollywood has chosen to recognize the brutilization of women in Islamic countries, an idea that seems right in the liberal wheelhouse. I think Siegel makes some interesting points.

Siegel specifically mentions communism and Cuba in his post. And it is true, Hollywood has by-in-large ignored the numerous negative points of the U.S.S.R. and Cuba. One comment mentions that Americans tend to make movies about America. This is true and America is tied very closely to the U.S.S.R. and Cuba in terms of 20th century history. So in a sense it really surprises me that no major motion pictures have been developed to depict and educate Americans about the truth in Cuba and the severe oppression and violence in the formation and sustentation of the U.S.S.R.

Yet on the other hand as I reflect on the resurgence of more liberal-minded studio pictures I can’t help but think money is at the core of the issue. My initial response to these movies was if Hollywood felt Americans would flock to a movie about an oppressed maiden in Saudi Arabia Hollywood would make the movie in a heartbeat. If the swell of American pride was such that it would support a movie depicting the atrocious regime of Stalin (and as follows prop up our American ideals), then California would spit out a movie as quickly as possible. But in reality Americans are more negative to the Bush wars than ever and Hollywood stepped in to make some cash on the change of tide. I lean toward the idea that Hollywood doesn’t make ideologies but reflects the ideologies of its consumers. To me a conservative should be applauding the markets at work.

While I think it would be supremely interesting to see some more films about the reality of Russian communism and the reality of Castro’s regime, I’d also like to see some major Hollywood movies about the atrocities committed by the Japanese against the Koreans and Chinese during World War II. If one believes in a liberal-or-bust Hollywood, then one would have to wonder why we don’t see a movie on this subject every year. After all, it’d turn the communist Chinese into very sympathetic characters since I believe those events indirectly spurred the communist parties success in China. Strangely we’ve seen more movies about the Dali Lama and Tibet than the Rape of Nanking.

Another case in point. Major distributors were very stand-offish with “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Disney didn’t want to distribute it under their own umbrella (Miramax). Even when they realized it was going to make substantial money, Disney backed off. Where’s the liberal bias there. “Fahrenheit 9/11” is actually an example of a business acting against its own self interest. It’s certainly not a looney liberal example.

I think Siegel’s parting thought is the major key, more so than the “liberals in Hollywood” argument. As is plainly obvious in the mainstream media’s reluctance to print the Mohammed cartoons, fear keeps Hollywood from greenlighting a clearly anti-Islamist movie. If there were no concerns about Islamist retaliation then perhaps Hollywood would step out of its box. Does this make the elite of Hollywood cowards? Maybe, but are they any more cowardly than you or I?