Hollywood, Propaganda and the American Culture of Division

January 11, 2017 Film/TV , MUSIC/FILM/TV , OPINION/NEWS

Don Emert/AFP

 

By

Valda Organ

Donald Trump and Meryl Streep. After Streep’s phony acid tongued diatribe at the Golden Globes and Donald Trump’s continuous stream of vitriol on twitter, you would be hard pressed to discern the difference between politician and actor. To understand how the water became so muddy, it must be said that the most subversive act anyone can commit is to write a story. The most effective and immediate way to deliver the subversive message is to film the story, release it to vast numbers of people, disguised as harmless entertainment.

 

Photo- Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

 

Politicians and Actors, Washington DC and Hollywood, are an incestuous pair, monstrous siblings born of the same wretched womb; A violent and divided America. A symbiotic relationship between the two had already been formed and nourished in the fertile soil of distorted perception, by the time the original Hollywood epic was released to the public.

The Birth of a Nation’, a cinematic first, was originally titled ‘The Clansman’, and although over one hundred years have passed, this film is as relevant today as it was when it made its debut on February 8, 1915. The creation and financial investment in this movie was no minor event and to say that it was calculated would be more than an understatement. Ultimately this movie was to be a testimonial to the sort of America it was in 1915, a true account from the white perspective and the sort of America it was always going to be: whites on one side and everyone else on the other.

The pageantry and shameless allegiance to the patriotism rooted in bigotry in ‘The Birth of a Nation’ is nothing short of disgraceful. The three hour dramatic celebration of slavery, abuse and murder was precisely how the movie makers intended it to be: a moving picture monument to a well scripted history. Not one vile reference was absent; every stereotype relating to African Americans was used to full effect, replete with white actors in blackface. This was the American public’s movie baptism, full immersion for mesmerized believers. It goes without saying that the intended audience was white, hammering home the white supremacy point of view. Consequently it isn’t a shock that this was all very acceptable to the viewing public at the time, without one word of complaint or protest. It was sadly, a given.

Of course, many other movies followed, using the same formula: all African Americans are inferior and violent, all Native Americans are drunk and crazy, Japanese people are evil murderers, all women are baby machines and all whites are superior and in charge. These spectacles were regularly churned out, one after the other. Actors and actresses became veritable clones of one another. Stripped of their visual uniqueness and identities, all were given new names, creatures invented by and belonging to the studio system. They were controlled or destroyed at the whim of the studio mogul. Intimidation was practiced as a matter of course and as a steady stream of naïve youth made their way to Hollywood, brainwashed and lusting after adulation and fame. There was never a shortage of replacements for the treadmill.

 

 

 

Those who didn’t take their place under the thumb of studio heads were punished by Washington. Denounced by the United States Senate for having an extramarital affair, Ingrid Bergman suffered public humiliation, although this was probably retribution for her press conference in DC demanding desegregation the year before. The same can be said of the Hollywood blacklist, where careers and lives were ruined by Washington and Hollywood, using the accusation of communist links, but if you look at the names of those on the list, many like Bergman, were rebels against the propaganda they were paid to create.

However, after the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, the uprising of youth during that same decade threw a monkey wrench into the system, the ruling class tinkered with the propaganda machine and Hollywood reinvented itself with a new image and the cult of personality was born. The studio system was dissolved, actors took control of their careers and oppressed minorities began to appear in film. African Americans in particular finally blazed some trails, but not without a struggle and an uphill climb that would expose the flimsy claim that all are equal under the red white and blue of Tinsel Town. Beneath the pretense of solidarity among artists you will find anti Semitism, bigotry, sexism, child exploitation and abuse and of course, Washington’s fingerprint on every contract signed and project funded. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens there that is not sanctioned by the DC elite.

Over time it became difficult to differentiate the politician from the actor, such was the continuous and overt and now very public back and forth commiseration and dalliances between Washington and Hollywood beginning with Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and the JFK administration, the election of actor Ronald Reagan as President and ending with a continuous procession of White House dinners specifically designed to promote actors and singers as public figures rather than the entertainers they really are. Presidential appearances on talk shows, the elevation of a reality show host to the presidency of the United States as well as Democratic and Republican nomination celebrations that looked more like the Oscars than campaigns to elect the leader of a country, show the sham for what it is. Presidential medals of freedom handed out like breath mints to talk show hosts, actors, comedians and their ilk, securing the link by pandering to ego and the need for lauding. Not one of them actually did anything honorable or particularly noble, all wealthy and completely out of touch with the populace, yet they are paraded out for public viewing, imprinting their importance politically in the minds of each individual watching in what is a diabolical yet overt mental conditioning.

 

Photo – Mandel Ngan/AFP

 

Hollywood, alongside its equally corrupt twin in Washington, took bread and circuses to a higher more refined level in 2016. The propaganda machine had evolved through infiltration of other movements that, with the help of celebrities, had become part of the Hollywood consciousness. The Occupy Movement and Environmentalism finally connected the dots in the minds of the public that actors weren’t just entertainers, they were activists, regular people who were now accessible on social media and anything they said was important. The voting public has not only devoured this feast of lies, they are insatiable, hanging on every word that even hints at what they want to hear. The ruling classes in both Washington and Hollywood have become adept at this game and with that expertise, has come self-righteous arrogance, displayed recently by both Clinton, Streep, Trump, De Niro and others.

Those at the top who make the decisions, the corporations that own Washington, are finally in a position that places them above reproach. A new tool of misinformation and spin with the power to manipulate the thoughts, beliefs and judgements of the American people is now at their disposal as they don ‘average citizen clothes’ disguised as a democratic government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is said that the crucial element of a successful lie is that it is built on a fundamental truth. The fact that Americans have willingly traded their free thinking for a few dazzling moments of suspended reality in a theater or on the internet, lends this theory credence.

As the decades rolled by, the Hollywood propaganda machine perfected its output, eventually creating the movie star and later the celebrity, both invented to divert attention and to occupy the thoughts of people who may be inclined to notice that all is not as it seems and that their rights are vanishing, replaced by twenty four hour stimulation via the internet, movies, games, twitter, facebook and texting, anything that has nothing to do with the physical world.

Actors are paid to convince the audience that a lie is truth; therefore it is second nature for them to portray a false image flawlessly. It is disheartening to see American voters flocking to candidates based on what an actor says. It is disturbing and predatory for politicians using this as bait to attract and capture voters. During the recent campaign, the constant theme was the issue of lying on both sides and the unwillingness of the public to hold either Trump or Clinton accountable. Lying is now referred to as misspeaking, as we blindly fumble around fearful of each other in the politically correct darkness where it is dangerous to call it what it is.

Objects of both adulation and disgust, depending on the mood of the people, (a mood that is directed by those in power in the White House), actors have now openly become the accepted mouthpieces for politicians, using their considerable fame to influence policy by promoting sweeping changes to the economic and social fabric of the United States of America by swaying a gullible public. This is a citizenry that no longer has a grasp on reality, the line between what is authentic and what is fake has been blurred out of existence. But if you dig beneath the mountain of glitter, Botox, veneers and tack, the truth can be found, lying there, dormant but very much alive, all the American people have to do is look for it and actually prefer it over an attractive lie designed to destroy their human and civil rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valda-Organ

Valda Organ

Valda Organ is the founder of Tuck Magazine and an accomplished writer, poet, editor and activist on behalf of children, the abused and the poor.

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