Monday, January 04, 2010

Say goodbye to Hollywood

"Strange,' mused the Director, as they turned away, 'strange to think that even in Our Ford's day most games were played without more apparatus than a ball or two and a few sticks and perhaps a bit of netting. Imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It's madness. Nowadays the Controllers won't approve of any new game unless it can be shown that it requires at least as much apparatus as the most complicated of existing games.'

- Brave New World, written in 1932 by Aldous Huxley. pg 26.

Joseph Goebbels was a master at reading and writing the public mood in Nazi Germany. While the Soviet politburo was pushing out dire propaganda films such as Tractor Farmers, Goebbels was commissioning Triumph of the Will. Say what you will about the Nazis as an ethos, but their spinner knew how to stroke the public psyche.

The list of German films commissioned between 1933 and 1945 describes an arc of the Nazi psyche. The early films flaunt the fulfilled destiny of Hitler personally as the successor to Frederick the Great, as well as the Volk's common destiny as the master race. In 1926, they even experimented with 3D films.

Sherlock Holmes was also a popular subject. In 1936, there was Hound of the Baskervilles. 1937 featured The Man Who Was Sherlock Holmes and Shadow of the Gray Lady. In between such fictions, atrocities were also being promoted. 1937 was the year of The Jews Unmasked and Victims of the Past (euthanasia agitprop).

Fast forward through nationalistic zeal, romcoms and genocidal anti-Jewish rationalisations of WWII and have a squizz at the output after D-Day. The Nazis are losing the war. Desperation has set in. Frosty the Snowman and Wedding in the Coral Sea sum up the fantastical, distract the masses at all costs productions. Frankly, no-one wanted to cope with reality.

So I'm not rushing off to see Avatar, the $300 million allegedly anti-establishment environmental movie financed by a conglomeration of corporations. Or Robert Downey Jnr's Bam Kapow drug-free Sherlock Holmes. Hollywood has long since given up on any idea of source loyalty or lack of irony. The nadir for me was Wall-E merchandise.

And if anyone sees me with a Kindle, an iPhone or an X-box, please thump me.