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Jewish World Review March 26, 1999 /9 Nissan 5759


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Hollywood’s Horror Show

MUGGER is on vacation. Filling in for him is TAKI, who edits NY Press' Top Drawer section

(JWR) ---- (
HAVING SPENT THE LAST FIVE WEEKS IN EUROPE, I was not sitting at home on Oscar night like millions of other boobs, glued to the idiot box. In good old Helvetia, as Papa Hemingway called Switzerland, it is nine hours later than in El Lay, nine hours too little as far as I’m concerned. It is not just that I could not care less who won, though I could not. More important, I hate the films that win all the prizes.

They are all overlong, tendentious, boring, puerile and mawkish. In fact, I haven’t been to a movie theater since the 80s, catching up with today’s Hollywood culture instead on prime-time television, with L.A.’s operative F-word deleted.

But before I go on about why I hate Hollywood, a few thoughts on Elia Kazan, the world’s greatest director ever. His lifetime achievement award should have come 30 years earlier. Be that as it may, it was a disgrace that non-talented lefty brown-nosers had the gall to protest. I met Kazan once, at Norman Mailer’s house over in Brooklyn. I was a bit down, about to be divorced and all that, until my fellow Greek put his hands on my shoulders and said: "All you have to do is be nice, and she’ll come around. And stop bragging about other women."

Old Elia sure knows human nature, especially Greek male human nature. He of course turned out to be right.

The irony of the Hollywood blacklist was that the Communists who were themselves eventually blacklisted had done the same to others who opposed Communism when the Reds wielded power in Hollywood. The Big Lie is that Joe McCarthy and his goons invaded Hollywood in 1947 and persecuted the 10 most important figures in the industry. McCarthy’s maiden speech on Communism was not until 1950, three years after the House Committee’s first hearings on Hollywood. It is difficult to exaggerate the intensity of the hatred film people—along with most Americans—felt for the Commies in 1947. For years, the Reds, through the unions, had been manipulating the system ensuring only their fellow pinkos got work. It was not just great actors and great Americans like John Wayne, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper, Ronald Reagan and Ginger Rogers who welcomed the HUAC hearings. They remembered that from 1939 to 1941, during the Nazi-Soviet alliance, the Hollywood Reds agitated against aid to embattled Britain, then finally facing the Nazis alone, except for tiny Greece.

Details of how between 85 million and 100 million people came to die in the hands of Communist regimes have now been confirmed. Back in 1947 the other blacklist, one drawn up by Commies in Hollywood, on Broadway, in book publishing and in journalism, made patriotic Americans like Kazan take notice. The best thing that ever happened to Hollywood—forgetting the pseudo-memoirs and revisionist tricks by professional liars like Lillian Hellman—was when the Red Shmucks who supported the most vicious regime in history were exposed. Bravo Elia!

But back to why I loathe Hollywood; modern Hollywood, that is. Those old monsters Adolph Zukor, Harry Cohn, Jack Warner, Sam Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer and Darryl F. Zanuck who once ran the place kept everyone in line.

Their films reflected what was best about America; they gave the Commies the boot, and to actors who were lousy role models to the young they gave a pink slip. A moron like Alec Baldwin who incites people to lynch Henry Hyde and his family would have been back waiting on tables in no time. That Charlie Sheen chappie, who while high on crack cocaine beat up a girl, ditto. Not to mention Robert Downey Jr.

Listing my grievances against Hollywood would require a War and Peace-like opus. Lack of space obliges me to narrow them down to one, which in itself is extremely hard. Just think of it. It’s a bit like trying to list what’s wrong with the Clintons. What I hate most about Hollywood is the way it fell into line with the kind of anti-Americanism practiced by the media during the 60s—a line that the studios continue to toe well into the end of the century, while remaining oblivious to mainstream American thinking.

With the exception of a few recent war pictures—and lousy pictures at that, and yes, I do mean Private Ryan—when was the last time you saw a film that did not portray American fighting men as bloodthirsty killers, priests as charlatans and sexual perverts, small-town dwellers as rednecked bigots and businessmen as total crooks? The same line that, on the other hand, portrays most Latino illegals, black drug dealers and Oriental gangsters as sensitive souls who have gone wrong because of a non-caring society.

Mind you, the Sammy Glicks who make today’s movies are no fools. Profits are the end-all and be-all of their existence. The military, the priesthood, small-town dwellers do not sue, nor do they picket outside the cinemas. Gays, ethnic groups, feminists and others do sue and picket.

Ergo, why I hate Hollywood: It is the most cowardly place in the world, and that includes the Oval Office.

JWR contributor "Mugger" is the editor-in-chief and publisher of New York Press. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


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02/26/99: Springsteen Ain’t No Chopped Liver; Vanity Press Musings
03/05/99: This Must Be the New World: The Mainstream Is Left Behind
02/26/99: Hillary, Juanita & Rudy Kazootie; First Baker, then Rich and Soon Lewis
02/24/99: The New Yorker Takes the Local: Mister Hertzberg Strikes Out; A Search for the Clemens Upside
02/19/99: The Howell Raines Conspiracy
02/17/99: History Lessons: An Immigrant’s Advice
02/12/99:The Man Who Owns the World
02/10/99:The Impeachment Trial Splatters: Lindsey Graham Emerges a Hero
02/05/99: A Slight Stumble for Bush
01/29/99: Rich Is Back in the Tank
01/29/99: Not So Fast, Mr. & Mrs. Pundit
01/27/99:This Is Not America: Clinton’s Set to Walk and Party On, Suckers
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01/20/99: Whole Lott(a) Waffling Goin' On
01/14/99: Senator Hillary Rodham in 2000: The First Step Back to the Oval Office
01/08/99: Drudge Is the Hero
01/06/99 : MUGGER & the Martians
12/30/98 : Last Licks of ’98: Some Heroes, Several Villains & Many Idiots
12/17/98 : Boy Mugger's obsession
12/11/98: Irving’s the King Wolf
12/09/98: What do Matt Drudge and Tom Hanks have in common?
11/26/98: Starr’s Magnificent Moment
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11/11/98: Send Dowd Down to the Minors
11/05/98: Feeding Gore to a shark named Bush
10/30/98: "Pope" Jann and his rappers speak ---it's time for fun again
10/28/98: Lowered expectations, but the GOP holds the cards
10/23/98: Speaking from Zabar’s: Michael Moore!
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10/16/98: Gore for President: The Bread Lines Are Starting to Form

©1999, Russ Smith