Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cultural Imperialism.

From Milos Stehnlik at Facets:

"Over-simplified characters and cartoonish plot-resolution lead to an eye-for-an-eye philosophy where conflict is resolved by the gratuitous use of excessive force. In the tried and true good-guy versus bad-guy morality tales of American Westerns, good and evil may have been overt, but they were governed by a code of honor: may the guy with the surest aim and the fastest trigger win. Today, this code has been put on steroids. Conflict resolution plays out with entire buildings, planes, boats, cities or planets destroyed in battles to the death between good and evil characters.
Sweetheart deals gave Hollywood special access to European markets after World War II. Exporting American films overseas was part of the Marshall Plan that reconstructed post-war Europe. American films were viewed as a way to oppose Communism by promoting the “American way of life.” U.S. films were dumped at cut-rate prices onto war-torn Europe, whose film industries were in ruins, under the guise of promoting the “free market.”

This scheme gave American films world-wide dominance. Today, entertainment is America’s largest export, with sales higher than any other industry, accounting for over 60 billion dollars annually. English-language films account for about 65% of the worldwide box office gross."

And just think: Its ONLY entertainment folks, right? Hooray for Hollywood? I think its time we the artists and the audience raise our voice in challenge to a system that is corrupt at its core. Too long has this medium of cinema been misused and abused. And yet we continue to pay for the spreading of this cultural imperialism with our ticket stubs, and our popcorn, and our soda. We have been blinded by the light of the silvery screen.


  1. My dear, Chocolate box art and its counterpart in film is hardly the reason why people are jerks. If you think that you have too little read Dostoevski.

    OK, some films are harder than that too. But that is arguably true for Bergman too.

  2. Of course it is not the reason WHY people are jerks. I know what you mean, and I would concur with much of Dostoevski.

    But, I think you miss the point of my post, and my attempt at getting us to take a scrutinizing look at the issue of cultural imperialism in American (Hollywood) cinema.

  3. Films by Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, film noir directors, the Coen brothers, and many on your film list have come out of Hollywood.
    Should we not go to museums because they are shrines to cultural imperialism?
    With a few exceptions, there has to be a base industry churning out average cultural works for a few gems to rise up.
    Cultural currents and influences, and culture in general, are extremely complex phenomena that defy simple categories.
    The US can be criticized for a lot of things, but its contribution to world culture in the 20th century is immeasurable.

    Zev Robinson

  4. I'm not saying we shouldn't go to museums because they are shrines to cultural imperialism, Zev. I'm simply saying there is a better way of doing things than the way the American film industry does them. So, we should figure out "how", and then do it. Chaplin, Welles, et al, all recognized that the system they were a part of was not "how" it should be done, and ultimately wanted to do it differently. They spent their days trying to change it. Or, when given the opportunity, they did their own thing outside the studio box.

    I'm not against industry. I'm against the way the American film industry handles it's business.