Radio Interview With Seraphic Secret About Hollywood and Liberal Propaganda

From the very beginning, Hollywood movies have exerted a powerful influence over popular cilture, form fashion, to make-up, and now to radical leftist politics.

Hollywood has always exerted a powerful influence over popular culture, from fashion, to make-up, and now to radical leftist politics.

Hollywood movies are the most powerful tools of social and political propaganda the world has ever known. Think about it: America wins wars only when Hollywood believes in them and puts itself squarely behind America’s war effort. During World War II, every studio in Hollywood backed the Allied effort against the Axis. Hollywood’s stars raised money for war bonds, and studios produced films that went all out for freedom and liberty against the tyranny of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Hollywood played a huge role in America’s victory.

Contrast Vietnam. Hollywood, which was overwhelmingly anti-war, produced a series of movies that undermined the American effort against the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. America lost Vietnam. Hollywood knew that with a few clever, glossy films (such as “Coming Home” (’78), starring Jane Fonda) and their carefully-manufactured imagery, it could undermine American foreign policy and turn heroic GIs into psychotic baby-killers.

In our times, Hollywood has made about a dozen movies that argue against America’s military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not one of them was profitable, but the damage was done. America withdrew from both fronts. Islamic tyrannies will fill the vacuum — and Hollywood will never take notice or assume any responsibility.

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Jewish Action, the magazine of the  Orthodox Union.“Confessions of a Sabbath Observant Hollywood Screenwriter” will be published in their next issue, a few weeks from now. I will provide a link when it’s up and live.

As a companion to my article, I did a 20 minute Podcast interview with Steve Savitsky for the OU website. I talk about being a Torah observant Jew in fanatically secular Hollywood. But the focus of the interview is Hollywood’s powerful influence on popular culture, and how leftist ideology is the subtext in an enormous number of Hollywood production.

Karen listened to the interview and said it should be called: “Hey, There’s a Culture War… And  We’re Losing.”

Here’s the link.

Casa Avrech Succah

Casa Avrech Succah

Tonight begins the holiday of Succos. Seraphic Secret will be offline until Monday.

We wish all our friends and relatives a joyous Succos, and a lovely Shabbat.


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  1. dahozho
    Posted September 23, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I find that I have really disconnected from any recent “mainstream” visual and even audio ‘culture.’  At first this withdrawal had to do with the violence and coarseness of the material being hyped.  I have found this has given me the distance and clarity to further discover that the abhorrent political agenda of Hollywood or other ‘celebrities’ plays a more prominent role these days. 
    It is worrying that the MSM and ‘Hollywood’ seem to be merged in only presenting one agenda, with some occasional exceptions.  The breath-taking hypocrisy of these people only serves to underscore the empty rhetoric of the Left and the true basis for their fortunes.  (It ain’t socialism, kids!)  How did we get here?  I admit to being left of center in high school, but denouncing “deconstructualism” in both undergrad and graduate school (and yes, my grades did suffer as an undergrad for arguing, apparently persuasively, with the professors).  Things have just gotten worse since.  On the bright side, cable tv subscriptions are taking a dive, as well as some dedicated lefty actors’ films due to way over the top beating movie-goers about the head with hard Left memes (the latest Lone Ranger movie springs to mind as the most recent of these).  The more actors and some directors open their mouths to comment on current events/politics, the more reasons I find to just not go to movies any more.  (I haven’t gone to a movie since 2007, and don’t miss it.) 
    So I have chosen disengagement as my response to the Left’s war on culture.  Is it the correct choice?  If enough people just stop feeding the hands that are on the side of people who want to kill us, will that bring people to their senses?  Are there enough people who are *thinking* these days?  Ok, its Sukkot, and maybe I’ll think about this later….
    Chag Sukkot sameach!!

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  2. DavidP
    Posted September 23, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Fascinating interview; good questions, good answers. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it was my understanding that Hollywood’s highest levels of political correctness (and even occasional collaboration with CAIR) started after 9/11. Correct? I ask because I can in fact recall a few films, pre-9/11, that dealt with Muslim terrorism. My favorite is “Frantic,” and there also was “Air Force One” and “True Lies.” And in “The English Patient,” a Muslim nurse who seems to be well-versed in Sharia has no problem cutting off a man’s thumbs at the behest of his Nazi interrogator.

    However, I’m sensing that you are saying that it would be hard to get these films made now, post-9/11, because of the atmosphere of political correctness we have. All of which suggests that the 9/11 terror attacks had a positive outcome (for the terrorists), because we in effect have lost an important part of the PR war in the fight against Muslim terrorism, or what have described as World War 4.

    Regarding your remark that Hollywood is the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever known: I couldn’t help but recall that Nazi Germany regarded propaganda as an important weapon. Case in point: a Nazi film about the sinking of the Titanic, which portrayed the maritime disaster as a reflection of Britain’s corrupt culture (in contrast to National Socialism’s noble culture). Not long ago, the History Channel had a great documentary about the making of that film (never released). You can find the documentary on YouTube as well as the complete film.  Propaganda can be used to promote good or evil; or to paraphrase a line from “Shane”: a gun is only a tool — as good or bad as the man who uses it.

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  3. Barry
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Re Exodus: The first part or half is pretty good, but from the time Ari and Kitty arrive at the “ancestral” family home and see a pair of flatulent actors  playing bourgeois faux New Yorkers as Ari’s parents I was lost. And, the film never recovered. As strong as Richardson, Lawford, Alexandra Stewart and Michael Wager are, that is how weak the elements dealing with Derek, Mineo and the second half seem. Otto Preminger, heartfelt though his may motivation may have been had lost control of the narrative. And, yes it was pro-Israeli — but surely Israel deserved and deserves a better picture. There is an Australian Blu-Ray available and I am thinking about a purchase — but then I would have to see this picture again. I have what I have been  told is a first edition of Leon Uris’ book. Not at all sure that is true but at some point will have another read.

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    • Barry
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Further Thought: A far better picture on similar subject matter is Sword In The Desert. Directed by George Sherman with Dana Andrews, Marta Toren and Jeff Chandler in the leads, all the points are made without the “groan” factor.

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  4. Bill Brandt
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Interesting talk Robert on the Hollywood culture and working there.
    1. How did Taken get made?
    2. On the power of Hollywood – it wasn’t until Obama came in that we vacated Iraq. Do you believe Hollywood is a tremendous influence on foreign policy? I view Vietnam as not so much pushed by Hollywood as a bunch of Washington politicians dictating how the war should be fought to the point it was unwinnable.
    I think there is a huge disconnect with mainstream America and Hollywood – certainly Hollywood has influence but is it the determinate factor?

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    • Barry
      Posted September 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Bill, I think your premise pretty well on target. The Vietnam era is the place to begin and the Johnson administration at fault. Hollywood just went with what was out there. Now, probably too late for a turn around.

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  5. Barry
    Posted September 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Really good. I like everything you said…I had never thought of Exodus as anything more than long. I will look, and listen,  again.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink


      Thanks so much. I was hoping to plug my eBook “How I Married Karen”, but I became so involved in the conversation that I completely forgot. Pathetic.

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