Thursday, April 19, 2018

Oh, Yes. The Whole World Knows How Much I Trust Hollywood Movies


From the guy who got his knowledge of Ancient Egypt apparently from 60's hollywood bible epics...
When Westerners are presented with a complex issue in a country with a long and complex culture they know little more of than they'll get from watching movies, they aren't likely to really understand enough of it to get the nuances.

Freki must be jealous of me answering Simps and ignoring her, that's only because she's either too chicken or smart enough to know that I'd only kick her ass again if she posted her dumb bunny comments here.   Apparently the dim Brit transplant doesn't bother to read what I've said about "60's Hollywood bible epics," which anyone who does read me would know I think are crap.   As recently as February 21, in a footnote to a bit of snark  about Charlton Heston coming to believe he was  the "hunky Moses" he played in one, I wrote:

The Ten Commandments has to count as one of the most irreligious movies ever made.  In the Bible Moses was 80 years old when he confronted Pharaoh and 120 when he died.   Hollywood almost never gets religion right, and only then when they tangentially touch on it.  Considering what [Billy] Graham's act consisted of, bringing that up is totally relevant.

I could have added that among other things that make Hollywood historical epics dangerous that they never get anthropology right, replacing accurate knowledge and nuance with generally racist stereotypes with racism, stupid and offensive stereotypes for any substantial knowledge of the People, the cultures, the nuances of cultures, etc.

They replace historical fact with make believe that the writers, directors, producers, lawyers, and when they are powerful enough in the Hollywood sense, actors prefer or think will make more money.  They do it just about every time they deal with anything alleged to represent real people and real events.

And that's even before we get to any philosophical or theological-religious or political or anything comes into informed criticism.   Hollywood doesn't much deal with complexity and nuance very well, I knew that as I was watching the brave try in the post-war "idea movies" that I was watching in the 1960s.   By the way, I know enough about the history of movies to know almost all of those "Bible epics" were produced in the 50s, not the 60s.   All of them are junk*, all of them with one goal, to make money. 

For her to accuse me of mistaking Hollywood movies (or even PBS documentary movies) as history only shows that she's a casually habitual liar.  I certainly didn't when I answered some trash talk from her last August 12 in which I slammed

Birth of a Nation (which rebirthed the KKK after it had pretty much died out), Gone With The Wind,  The Littlest Rebel,  Song of the South, .... Geesh, really, practically the entire history of Hollywood, almost every movie and most TV shows depicting Black people,  The original inhabitants of the Americas, the Islands, Asians, etc.  Right up to this week. 

I can point out that she exposes her own shallow, stereotypical thinking about India, only the second largest nation on Earth, when she made her comment about "60s Hollywood Bible epics" quoting this part of what I wrote yesterday:

When Westerners are presented with a complex issue in a country with a long and complex culture they know little more of than they'll get from watching movies, they aren't likely to really understand enough of it to get the nuances.

She apparently doesn't even get up to the 20th century in thinking about India, probably knowing little more than was shown in the movie epic Gandhi, which could serve as an example of how wrong-headed it is to mistake a Hollywood movie as history, even one made with the greatest of good will and an attempt to get its subject right.  The history of India during the lifetime of Gandhi and that crucial phase of its independence struggle is so complicated and so nuanced that I think that movie has to count as not particularly helpful.  At the time of its release I recall reading Muslims were especially resentful of the presentation of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the movie.   A two hour movie or even a four hour movie, which might constitute the total of what even a college-credentialed PhD will mistakenly believe they know about a person, an historical event or, Lord help us, even an entire vast and complex nation, is not going to be helpful in reality.  A point which I mentioned in the very article the bigoted Brit cherry picked to lie about.

Considering how many words I spent slamming Broadway's phonied up history lessons this week, for that pretentious Brit to accuse me of getting my knowledge of anything from Hollywood, which I don't think I've ever said a good word about and my criticism of biography and history in the hands of show-biz, . . . well, I did say she was a casually habitual liar.  It's my experience that that's one of the tactics atheists use because they don't much care about the truth.  I would guess that you might look at the Hollywood handling of history, biography, etc. when the writers were atheists and find out something like that.  Not all of them were Marxists, Ayn Rand's presentation of reality would fall into that category. 

I am allergic to all show-biz that deals in real people and real events because they always, inevitably lie about the people and events they allege to present. It was what even bugged me when E. L. Doctorow used real people in his novels.  I don't have time to look up the exact quote but in one of his fine essays, Richard Lewontin pointed out that even, perhaps especially autobiography was an especially suspect form because people have so often fudged the real events of their lives.  That might be unfair in some cases, you can't lump them all together.   But I've never trusted anyone without corroborating evidence.   Movies aren't evidence.

* I think that it was when I watched David and Bathsheba, I think it was sometime in the 70s, that I realized I didn't much like Gregory Peck's wooden, stolid, talking monument acting.  Great looking guy, reportedly a nice guy, block of wood actor.  I still loved the scene in The Big Country where he beats the crap out of Charlton Heston, but only because of Heston's fascist politics, by the time I saw it.   Now I don't think I'd bother to watch.  I always hated Westerns. 


  1. Is Big Blue just a troll nest now? Is it the bridge all the trolls gather under?

    Sure seems like it.

    1. Just about all of them pretty much are. If two or three of them didn't troll me I'd probably think about it as often as I did the blogs that ended twelve years ago. Duncan reminds me of those sad figures in the early years of TV who were really big in the 50s and who spent the rest of their lives still trying to convince themselves they're still big. Simels apparently spends most of his time dropping names and reliving his glory days as a c-list music reviewer. Between pushing the releases of his garage band.