How Hollywood has Trained us to be Bad People

Hollywood sells drama. They do not give it away and they are not a charity. They sell a product in the form of movies and TV shows that can either get direct payment in a theater or indirect payment through advertising or subscription. They are a business, plain and simple. So to maximize their profit, they need to sell product that hits at our emotion core. They need to use their tradecraft to compete with each other to win. Here are some examples of how that turns us into bad citizens and people.

Smoking

Hollywood constantly has people smoking. It helps the director to show nervousness, confidence or a characters counter-culture views. It’s a terrific prop. You can see the characters breath as a cloud of smoke. It helps in numerous ways to elaborate on a story or character without words. Best example: When Michael Corleone, in the Godfather, calmly lit his cigarette outside the hospital, but Enzo the Baker was nervous and shaking. Side effect: Smoking in movies increases the rate of children picking up smoking. It shows smoking to be cool. We then get cancer and bad health effects.

Using a cigarette to further plot and character development

Political Leaders

What we actually need are boring policy wonks who figure out the best way to structure the rules and regulations of our society. Hollywood trains us to desire cool leaders who we “want to have a beer with”. The Hollywood political leader is either a spineless coward or Harrison Ford on Air Force One. Hollywood turning our leaders into unrealistic action stars has the direct result of us losing faith in our elected representatives. Either they have to be angry or they are weak. This is leading us to more and more heated debate trying to live up to an unrealistic and harmful standard.

The President of the USA going Rambo on an evildoer.

Paranoia

You ever watch 24? Literally if you turn your back on your child for 30 seconds they will be captured by terrorists and thrown into a van. Hollywood loves to stoke fear that some bad guy is going to get you. Hollywood sells drama and they love to make you think that every “worst case scenario” is the most likely outcome, when in reality, it is quite the opposite. This extends to every conspiracy theory ever mentioned. Hollywood is making movies that tell us “ALL CONSPIRACY THEORIES ARE TRUE!” There are aliens and illuminati and whatever else trying to kill us. So when we see a conspiracy theory by some shady news source, we all jump up and down and assume it must be true. Hollywood is making us dumber by making us paranoid about what is true and false. If you see a movie where the NSA doctored photos to frame someone, then you assume that they do that in the real world. We lose faith in facts.

Xenophobia

Brown people are not bad people. Just because someone looks differently than me, doesn’t make them a terrorist or criminal. However, ask an actor of foreign descent what kind of roles they get. It’s all stereotyped nonsense. There are some shows that challenge these stereotypes (Like Master of None with Aziz Ansari), but super popular action movies have not gotten the message. There is no reason we can’t represent different cultures without dumbing them down to simple tropes. Being of middle eastern descent doesn’t make you a terrorist. This has a direct effect of making Americans more xenophobic and uncaring when it comes to people to who differently.

A great video on the kinds of roles brown actors get

Misogyny

I just watched On the Basis of Sex. I need to do a quick review of the movie to underscore the point. This movie can’t decide what it is. Some options:

  1. A mother-daughter coming of age movie against the backdrop of the early days of feminism
  2. A biopic on Ruth Bader Ginsberg
  3. A romance where the woman is in charge
  4. A “I found my mojo” movie
  5. A history of women’s rights in the 70’s.

Besides not figuring out what kind of movie it was, there was a very serious problem. The movie made Ruth Bader Ginsberg seem weak when in reality she was not. They did this to create drama.

Right in the beginning, they had Ruth having sex with her husband and raising their children. I think they were trying to “humanize” her. I don’t know why that was needed. She is a human. Of course she was brilliant, but only spent a few minutes on her legal acumen. Like about 1 scene. When it came time to argue in front of judges, she lost her nerve and panicked. Then in a moment of glory, she found her mojo and won the battle. Yay? No, it’s bullshit. She never panicked in real life. She never lost her nerve. She was smart and articulate and persuasive from start to finish. Why did she have to falter in the movie? Answer: Because she was a woman. Unfortunately, it undercut the entire point of the film. By contrast, watch Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men.

How Hollywood portrays a masculine court drama

Tom Cruise is losing the court battle, but he never falters. He is never weak. He stands up to power and gets angry. This NEVER happens in a court, by the way. People are pretty calm. When Ruth Bader Ginsberg is pressured, she falls apart! This is teaching young boys and girls the wrong message. Now look at Legally Blonde with a similar courtroom moment.

How Hollywood portrays a feminine courtroom drama

Women are fumbling and weak and find their inner spirit as a surprise. Men are strong and confident and overcome adversity with anger.

Summary

Why does Hollywood always do this? There are lots of examples where Hollywood portrays people in the worst light. I thought Hollywood was a “liberal” place. I thought Hollywood elites were high-minded. I didn’t even bring up the backroom casting couch ridiculousness of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and others.

I don’t think Hollywood is actually a liberal place at all. I think it’s a business that focuses on making money and doesn’t care how it portrays people and what the side-effects are.

Hollywood is bad for our national health and no one is talking about it.

%d bloggers like this: