The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture …

(1991), The Culture Industry: Selected essays on mass culture, Routledge, London

The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture by Theodor W

Another of the books in this series, takes a serious look at various approaches to instigating significant and long-term reform in the way the motion picture industry operates. It specifically promotes a policy designed to insure equal and fair opportunities for persons of all races, religions, ethnicity, cultures, nations or regions of origin, sexual preferences and so forth to tell their cultural stories through this important communications medium, the feature-length motion picture. The research underlying this work ultimately occupied 2,222 pages of text. The material was originally divided into nine books (, , , , , , , and ). However, this current title () provides an overview of five of those books by excerpting the summaries and conclusions of those works, while omitting the detailed notes relating to specific films. Anyone interested in reviewing any of the original nine titles with the more complete presentation of the basic research may obtain copies through the author/publisher.

PATTERNS OF BIAS: MOVIES MIRROR THEIR MAKERSGeorge CustenPatterns of bias similar to those revealed in the previous chapter appear in Hollywood movie presentations of historical figures. The results of the study reported in this chapter provides followup to an earlier review of movie biopics conducted by Professor George Custen. Whereas his study of biopics ended with films in the '60s, this more comprehensive study carries the topic through into the mid '90s.Analysis of this body of films, the Hollywood biopics, considers the geographic setting for such films, the occupations portrayed, time and sex biases, ideology, historical accuracy and the race, culture and ethnicity of the biopic subjects. In some instances, the conclusions of the author of the earlier work in this area (George Custen's) are compared with those of the more contemporary study. In other instances, this later study places an emphasis on different issues which are critical in gaining an understanding of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry.

The culture industry selected essays on mass culture london routledge 1991

Culture Industry Selected Essays on Mass Culture: …

As the 100th year anniversary of the film industry comes and goes, it is time that this privately controlled culture-promotion machine be dismantled, so that all segments of this nation's multi-cultural society have an equal opportunity to tell their important cultural stories through this significant medium for the communication of ideas. After all, it is also clear that regardless of who controls Hollywood and with what results, it is absolutely inappropriate in our multi-cultural society for any readily identifiable interest group (whether the group identity is based on ethnicity, culture, religion, race, class or otherwise) to be allowed to dominate or control this, or any other important communications medium. Diversity is the key.

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It would again have been more honest and straightforward of O'Donnell and McDougal to say that the industry appears to be controlled by a small group (the actual number is irrelevant and appears to be just another attempt by O'Donnell and McDougal to make an outrageous statement that will be quoted in the press) of mostly Jewish males of European heritage, who to be sure, from a racial point of view are considered to be white, but who are considered to be "insider's" in the film industry precisely because they have a common cultural heritage with the other Jewish males who control the film industry, and not because they are white. The term "mostly" was added to allow for the real world fact that a few non-Jewish white males are likely to appear in anyone's list of the top fifty or so most powerful people in Hollywood at any given time. So it is fair to say that men control Hollywood at the highest levels to the exclusion of women. And it is fair to say that a small group of mostly Jewish men control Hollywood to the exclusion of Jewish women, Jews whose backgrounds are other than European and non-Jewish men, although a few of these most powerful men who share control in Hollywood, may at any given time be non-Jewish. This loosely defined group, however, primarily made up of men who share an European Jewish heritage, (i.e., the one common thread that helps bind them together or give them a common background is that they hold themselves out as being Jewish, sometimes in the religious sense, but more commonly in the cultural sense). Thus, again, the O'Donnell/McDougal attempt to make a flat statement about "white males" appears to be misleading, racist demagoguery and potentially offensive to those non-Jewish white males struggling in the film industry in non-leadership positions.

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Actual conduct is more important than motivation, in any case. Thus, the fact that Hollywood is controlled by a narrowly defined interest group, to the general exclusion of all others, is more important than why such a phenomenon has occurred. The natural results of the concentration of power in the hands of a few is also of more concern than who the Hollywood control group actually is. It is simply not acceptable in a free, democratic and diverse society which values the free flow of information and the competition of ideas in an open marketplace, for the government of the people, to stand idly by and allow any narrowly defined interest group (regardless of whether such group is defined in terms of its race, religion, cultural background, ethnicity or otherwise) to control or dominate any important communications medium, including feature film. Once again, diversity is the key, and not just diversity at the lower levels of the industry, but at all levels.

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The truth is that there is prejudice among most all of the racial, cultural, ethnic or religious groups on earth. Our first obligation has been to try to eliminate discrimination which is based on prejudice and the removal of prejudice is often seen as a means toward the end of stopping discrimination. Unfortunately, whatever we are doing as a nation does not seem to be working. And certainly, the Hollywood-based U.S. motion picture industry cannot claim to be taking the high road with respect to either the elimination of prejudice or discrimination, regardless of whether we are considering the portrayals contained in the films released by Hollywood, or that film community's employment practices.