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Hollywood's 'quirky business culture'

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Once upon a time, Hollywood was a cohesive community. Most of the top moguls were immigrant, or second generation, Jews who felt a great deal of love and patriotism for their new country, the United States of America. As we like to say, “It was a wonderful life.”

Today, however, the founders and their commitment to the Motion Picture Code are long gone. Now, several cliques have been vying for control of the seven major studios, which control more than 95 percent of the movies that are released to theaters. There are more Christians, nominal and otherwise, who are in important positions doing some pretty good films, but there are also other groups.

For years, one small group has successfully fended off any usurpers. Usually the usurpers try to participate in the Hollywood moneybag, get taken and driven off by one underhanded scheme or another. The Los Angeles Times wrote on Wednesday, July 3, “This is one of Hollywood’s most predictable scripts,” while it discussed the fall of Jean Marie Messier, the head of Vivandi, which bought Universal Studios.

After noting some other outsiders who came in and got burned, such as Matsushita and Seagram, the L.A. Times gave a coded and accurate appraisal of the problem that these outsiders face: “Hollywood’s quirky business culture.”

On page C3 of the same July 3 L.A. Times, there’s almost a definition of this enigmatic phrase. As the headline blared, “Ovitz Issues an Apology for Comment About ‘Gay Mafia.'”

Of course, Michael Ovitz, a famous producer and agent, was on to something, but since he has annoyed everyone, no one stood up for him as he went down in flames apologizing for what may have been an accurate appraisal of what happened to him. Thus, the fact remains that some of the current top 20 studio owners and executives who are well-known for their proclivities and liberal politics, wield an extraordinary amount of power. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the most powerful and influential leader in the entertainment industry during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s was so radically left that his politics and cultural values were almost indistinguishable from those of Karl Marx and Madelyn Murray O’Hair.

To paraphrase Susan Sontag, a famous culture writer, Marxism is just fascism with a smiling face. Thus, crypto-fascism sometimes seems to be the modus operandi of many leaders in the multinational, corporate, big-government culture of Hollywood.

Both Marxism and fascism are inherently atheist, even if they sometimes pretend to be Jewish or Christian. To quote one of my closest colleagues, “Atheism ultimately leads to nihilism.”

According to the 10th Edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (1995), nihilism is “the viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless.” Thus, nihilism is “a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths.” As such, it not only denies objective truth and moral absolutes, it also denies transcendent beauty, justice and our very being. Naturally, as both my colleague and I believe, nobody can truly, rationally, philosophically, theologically, practically, psychologically, culturally, economically, socially, politically or spiritually live out this belief. Or, to quote my colleague again, “This makes atheists the biggest hypocrites of all!”

On the outside, it’s hard to believe that there are cliques and groups, not to mention groups of leftists, Marxists, atheists and homosexuals, much less Christians or Jews, which vie for control of the entertainment industry. With a theater on almost every corner and television screens and video machines occupying almost every room in every home, the entertainment industry appears to be a gigantic operation.

Actually, however, it’s a very small place.

As I have pointed out before, it is not an industry that depends on producing excellence for its survival. In other industries, you have be able to make a better widget or mousetrap to prosper, but the entertainment industry is an industry of ideas. And, unlike mousetraps, who’s to say that one idea is better than another? (Except for God, who usually isn’t paid attention to in this insulated world.)

So, the cream does not always rise to the top in the entertainment industry. Genius is not always rewarded. And, the best dream doesn’t always win. In fact, in the Dream Factory that is Hollywood, quite often it’s one gang or another that protects its turf, not an open playing field where anyone gets a fair chance. Consequently, Vivandi crashed and burned because the owners didn’t understand the Hollywood culture. Ovitz understood it, of course, but he didn’t like what he found.

This cliquish situation must change. We need to pray for the people of faith and values in the industry, and we need to remove the glass ceilings and barriers to entry that have turned too many Hollywood dreams into nightmares.