live at snubbs: looking at kings without crowns

Meet the Fockers. Jewish? Hardly. The idea that Hollywood is Jewish can be seen as somewhat tenuous. That it is the entertainment complex, the mouthpiece of the industrial/financial complex is evident.Its secular, universal aspiring, atheistic or a best gnostic, and its Judaism as it exists is nominal, incidental, and an unfortunate birth defect for those who feel cursed. Ultimately, as Jewish as Goldman-Sachs. All facade. Its role of neutralizing and sentimentalizing critical content means no stooping too low to assimilate anything remotely threatening into a Society of the Spectacle. The art of trivializing into a consciousness controlling product that deflects anything reminding itself of flaws and absurdity; and to say Hollywood is a Torah based or Talmud conspiracy is pure fantasy. If anything, Hollywood is sublimely anti-semitic and anti-Judaic,unable to accept a split off side of itself it cannot, or is afraid to fathom. So, we end up with projections, fairy tales we can’t possibly live.

As in all moral systems, Judaism has a contradictory and seemingly incompatible relation between universal values and specific religious ones. Ideally, mutually complementary, they live in an uneasy contrapuntal dynamic as wary neighbors. And Hollywood is definitely in the universal camp, a significant chasm with any religious values.

---The seeds of the corruption of Shabbatai Zevi went underground and were resurrected again as Christian Cabalah, Islamic Qabalah and variations of Jewish Kabbalah that were anti-Torah. These included the promotion of sexual rites, mores (strongly held norms or customs) and values that were against the commands of the God of Israel. The greatest impact today are the international schools of Kabbalah that have affected the lives of Hollywood stars like Madonna, that promote a lifestyle little akin to the life of Torah observant Jews in their covenant relationship with their God. --- Read More:

The tendency then, is always one of assimilation, the tension of the melting pot; a normalization of behavior into commodity packages. There is something threatening in this power of cultural hegemony; it undemocratic nature, its condescending values, the tokenism, and ultimately the seeds of its own nihilism through a rejection of cultural tradition. Ingenious the way propaganda and information become weaved into a narrative in which truth is totally obscured; the old model of Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays still plying the Mississippi…

( see link at end) … Citizen Kane , widely considered the greatest movie ever made. Although it has been studied for decades, one of the film´s major characters, Mr. Bernstein, Charles Foster Kane´s Jewish business manager (and the first of several characters in the film given the opportunity to tell their version of Kane´s story), remains largely overlooked….

---For Bogdanovich, it´s not a wonder that a non-Jew proved to be such a pioneer in exploring Jewish themes and characters onscreen. “The anti-Semitism that existed then,’ he said, “was largely from the Jews themselves.’---Read More: image:

…The creation of Hollywood by Jewish studio moguls has been amply documented by film historians, but Jewish characters were rarely portrayed onscreen when Welles started his career. Intentionally or otherwise, the inclusion of Mr. Bernstein in Citizen Kane was a political act….

…Bernstein is the most sympathetic character in the film. Expertly played by Everett Sloane , Bernstein (whose first name is never mentioned) remains loyal to his boss despite Kane´s deep character flaws and through his tragic fall. Bernstein is, at times, playful, avuncular, philosophical, rabbinical (without ever becoming stereotypical), and romantic. He is also accorded some of the best lines in film history. (“It´s no trick to make an awful lot of money if all you want is to make a lot of money.’) His famously nostalgic speech about seeing a girl in a white dress on the Jersey Ferry for a moment in 1896—“I´ll bet a month hasn´t gone by since that I haven´t thought of that girl’—encapsulates the film´s major theme of loss and longing. He´s a one-man Greek chorus and Horatio to Kane´s Hamlet, the trusted friend whose loyalty spans, as he says, from “before the beginning’ to “after the end,’ and who lives on to tell the tale….

---Everett Sloane, Joe Cotten, and Orson Welles cook up a plot in Citizen Kane. Didja notice Orson's fake schoz? He wore them often, because he thought his own nose was too small and demure---Read More:

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( see link at end) …Bogdanovich is not surprised that Welles was moved to include a sympathetic Jewish character in his first film: “Orson was very fascinated and crazy about all things Jewish,’ he said. “He was a big fan of the Yiddish art theater.’ When asked where Welles´ empathy for Jewish culture originated, he talked about Maurice Bernstein, a doctor who was a close friend of the Welles family: “Bernstein, who was [Orson´s] legal guardian after his father died, was a very, very important figure in his life. He named Bernstein in the movie as a gesture toward his guardian … because he loved him dearly. Don´t forget, he lost his mother when he was  and his father when he was 15, so Dr. Bernstein was a huge influence in his life.’ Asked if he thought Welles was moved to create a sympathetic Jewish character in Citizen Kane because Europe´s Jews were under fire, Bogdanovich said, “it was very much on his mind.’…

…Despite the collaborative writing of Citizen Kane, there´s evidence that Mankiewicz was considerably less comfortable than Welles in having a major Jewish character in the film. Bogdanovich has unearthed an August 1940 memo written by Mankiewicz after he´d seen Bernstein´s first major scene in the film: “In Bernstein´s office with Bill Alland  [the actor who played the reporter Thompson]: Everett Sloane is an unsympathetic looking man, and anyways you shouldn´t have two Jews in one scene.’ Mankiewicz was clearly uneasy about transgressing unspoken Hollywood rules concerning Jews on screen (whether as characters or actors), and Welles would have been well aware of this resistance. Asked if Welles, a Hollywood neophyte at the time, may have been unaware of such rules when he developed the Bernstein character, Bogdanovich replied that Welles “knew what he was doing there.’

Mankiewicz may not have been the only participant in the Citizen Kane project concerned about whether Sloane´s appearance was sufficiently sympathetic. As Mankiewicz knew, Sloane was a Jewish actor and a veteran of Welles´ theater company. In the years following the filming of Citizen Kane, Sloane embarked on a series of plastic surgeries to reduce the size of his nose and thereby, he imagined, broaden the range of acting roles available to him. Welles later said that Sloane “must have had twenty operations before he killed himself. He must have thought, ‘If I could ever bob my nose right, then I´ll be a leading man.´ ’

The evolution of the Bernstein character has long been misunderstood. In her 1971 essay “Raising Kane,’ film critic Pauline Kael writes  that the use of the name Bernstein “was Mankiewicz´s way of giving Hearst points … because, whatever else Hearst was, he was not a snob or an anti-Semite.’ Kael also argues that Mankiewicz was giving Hearst points in the film´s famous breakfast montage (where the history of Kane´s marriage to his first wife, Emily, is condensed to a short series of breakfast scenes), when Kane stands up to Emily after she is, according to Kael, “snobbish about Bernstein.’

But Kael is wrong on a number of levels. The identifiably Jewish name Bernstein, as Bogdanovich reminds us, was not Mankiewicz´s. And she´s wrong about Hearst´s attitude toward Jews. In his efforts to have every copy of Citizen Kane destroyed prior to its release, Hearst threatened to use his newspapers to expose the dominance of Jews and Jewish refugees working in the film industry. Also, Emily isn´t just “snobbish’ about Bernstein in the breakfast montage; she´s chillingly anti-Semitic. And Mankiewicz didn´t write the breakfast montage; Welles wrote and inserted it during production….Read More:

On the 13th of November 1939, former ambassador and lay Catholic Joseph Kennedy addressed a gathering of Hollywood executives at the Warner Brothers’ studio. ‘Stop making anti-Nazi pictures or using the film medium to promote or show sympathy to the cause of the “democracies” versus the “dictators”’, Kennedy told his audience. Hitler liked Hollywood movies, he explained, and wanted the US to keep making them but the studio heads were ‘going to have to get those Jewish names off the screen.’[1] Producers obeyed without argument. Indeed, as Steven Carr points out, ‘By the late 1930s, the overt representations of the Jew in mainstream American film had all but evaporated.’[2] Evidence for this can be found in the archives of the motion picture censorship organ the Production Code Administration. In the file for the film Scarface, the censors told producers that, ‘the lawyer, Epstein, should not be so pronouncedly Jewish, if at all’.[3] Moreover, the 1937 film, The Life of Emile Zola features a depiction of the Dreyfus affair and yet the word ‘Jew’ was not uttered once.[4] Read More:
ADorno:the culture industry is pornographic and prudish. Love is downgraded to romance. And, after the descent, much is permitted; even license as a marketable speciality has its quota bearing the trade description “daring.” The mass production of the sexual automatically achieves its repression. Because of his ubiquity, the film star with whom one is meant to fall in love is from the outset a copy of himself. Every tenor voice comes to sound like a Caruso record, and the “natural” faces of Texas girls are like the successful models by whom Hollywood has typecast them. The mechanical reproduction of beauty, which reactionary cultural fanaticism wholeheartedly serves in its methodical idolization of individuality, leaves no room for that unconscious idolatry which was once essential to beauty. The triumph over beauty is celebrated by humor–the Schadenfreude that every successful deprivation calls forth. There is laughter because there is nothing to laugh at. Laughter, whether conciliatory or terrible, always occurs when some fear passes. It indicates liberation either from physical danger or from the grip of logic. Read More:

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