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Hollywood vs. America [Paperback]

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Why does our popular culture seem so consistently hostile to the values that most Americans hold dear? Why does the entertainment industry attack religion, glorify brutality, undermine the family, and deride patriotism?

In this explosive book, one of the nation's best known film critics examines how Hollywood has broken faith with its public, creating movies, television, and popular music that exacerbate every serious social problem we face, from teenage pregnancies to violence in the streets.

Michael Medved powerfully argues that the entertainment business follows its own dark obsessions, rather than giving the public what it wants: In fact, the audience for feature films and network television has demonstrated its profound disillusionment in recent years, with disastrous consequences for many entertainment companies. Meanwhile, overwhelming numbers of our fellow citizens complain about the wretched quality of our popular culture--describing the offerings of the mass media as the worst ever. Medved asserts that Hollywood ignores--and assaults--the values of ordinary American families, pursuing a self-destructive and alienated ideological agenda that is harmful to the nation at large and to the industry's own interests.

In hard-hitting chapters on "The Attack on Religion," "The Addiction to Violence," "Promoting Promiscuity," "The Infatuation with Foul Language," "Kids Know Best," "Motivations for Madness," and other subjects, Medved outlines the underlying themes that turn up again and again in our popular culture. He also offers conclusive evidence of the frightening real-world impact of these messages on our society and our children.

Finally, Medved shows where and how Hollywood took a disastrous wrong turn toward its current crisis, and he outlines promising efforts both in and outside the industry to restore a measure of sanity and restraint to our media of mass entertainment.

Sure to elicit strong response, whether it takes the form of cheers of support or howls of enraged dissent, Hollywood vs. America confronts head-on one of the most significant issues of our times.

Item Specifications...

Pages   416
Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.38" Height: 1.09"
Weight:   0.81 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 4, 1993
Publisher   Harper Paperbacks
ISBN  0060924357  
EAN  9780060924355  
UPC  099455012003  


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More About Michael Medved
Michael Medved Michael Medved is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, best-selling author and veteran film critic. His daily three-hour program, emphasizing the intersection of politics and pop culture, reaches close to 5 million listeners. For twelve consecutive years, he's been listed by Talkers Magazine as one of their "Heavy Hundred" most important American talk show hosts. Born in Philadelphia, raised in San Diego, Mr. Medved graduated Yale where his classmates included Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Medved is the author of twelve non-fiction books, including the national bestseller What Really Happened to the Class of '65 (the basis for a popular TV series on NBC), as well as the definitive history of the White House chiefs of staff, The Shadow Presidents. His most influential-and controversial-work was a best-selling indictment of the entertainment industry, Hollywood vs. America. Guardian newspaper wrote: "Just Occasionally, a book changes the way the world thinks. Michael Medved's Hollywood Vs. America is such a book." Most recently, (2008-2009), Michael's book The 10 Big Lies About America: Combating Destructive Distortions About Our Nation spent twelve weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. The follow-up volume ---The 5 Big Lies About American Business: Combating Smears Against the Free-Market Economy has proved equally popular and impacting.
Mr. Medved has been a frequent guest on major TV talk shows, including Larry King Live, Oprah, David Letterman, Good Morning America, CNN's Reliable Sources. His columns on media and society appear regularly in USA Today, where he serves as a member of the Board of Contributors.
The Medveds live in the Seattle area where they've raised their three children. Their oldest daughter is currently in graduate school, their middle daughter is a senior at University, and their youngest, Danny, is a senior in High School.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Oh Now I have heard everything.....  Jun 16, 2007
If Michael Medved (and other conservatives) had their way. We would be watching the 700 Club on all Tv stations. The Sound of Music would be made into all these new versions, and almost all so-called "Family Films" would be rated by the smallest number of people who said that they have our best intentions at heart.

Where in the world do these people get these ideas? I have no idea. But I will tell you this. There is much to complain about Hollywood, but at the end of the day, I prefer the world of the movie studios and film making, rather then the world of dumb politics that this book is full of. Then again, this is what Washington DC is also.
 
still the best book on what the media is doing to the American mind  Apr 15, 2007
"Although the quality of craftsmanship in today's motion pictures is hugely variable, their underlying attitudes are not." (p. xx). The year this book was published, movie attendance had plunged to "its lowest level ever in terms of percentage of our population." (p. xviii). Similar results applied for movie rentals.

Thus Medved sets the stage for his detailed presentation of the relentlessly anti-American attitudes of movies and TV, and the fact that these products are not selling, and the fact that the producers of them don't care! Foreign sales of American movies are increasing, where these movies feed the anti-American sentiment being fostered by so many other elements around the world. Hollywood now gets over half its income from foreign sales.

A friend warned Medved that if he published this book, "you're going to become the most hated man in Hollywood." (p. 17). Luckily for us, Medved refused to be intimidated.

Movies have not gotten any better in the years since this book was published. Medved claims that the movies are out of touch with Americans, but there are a great many Americans whom the movies are not out of touch with: the academics, the news industry people, the schoolteachers, the Islamists, the Reconquistadores, and the like. The movies are part of the attempt to "transform" America into something very different. If you want to know what this transformation is and how it works, read While America Sleeps: How Islam, Immigration and Indoctrination Are Destroying America From Within. It will keep you awake at night, but you need to know it.
 
It's not science, but it's good criticism!  Mar 2, 2007
Having done my own research on film content, which just happened to include a survey of 1991 releases (which constitute many of the examples used in this book), it was perhaps inevitable that I would eventually read this book.
As a social scientist, I noted numerous parts of the book that contained inaccuracies, exaggerations, and reasoning that was far from air-tight. However, at the same time, I was impressed that, although these elements could (and should) be tightened and corrected, I find most of Medved's arguments to be laudable and generally defensible. Certainly there are many persons who should read this book and evaluate their media consumption habits!
Some of the biggest shortcomings of the book include:
1. Frequent presumptions that general box-office patterns are to be attributed primarily to specific elements of film content (even though other parts of the book are more careful and sophisticated about such things), [**NOTE** new passage added a month after original review:] Since I originally posted my 4 star rating, I have discovered evidence that flatly contradicts one of Medved's claims!!! The nature of this error is so serious that it would cause me to lower my rating from 4 stars down to 3 stars, but this site provides no option to allow me to do that. The flaw is Medved's claim that box office dropped dramatically between 1965 and 1966, due to the new permissiveness that was allowed in film with the Valenti-revisions of the the production code and the addition of the SMA ("suggested for mature audience") label. Having looked at the box office figures, I now see no basis whatsoever for Medved's claim! There was a decline, yes, just as there had been and would continue to be for many years before and afterward. There is no way to attribute one year out of that to a shift in the production code, as Medved does. Therefore, this must be considered another case where his claims are exaggerated and overstated, despite my aesthetic and moral basis for agreeing with many of his arguments, and my general support for the kind of criticism that Medved attempts (and the industry's need to consider it). [end of added passage]
2. Poor proofreading, some errors, and a number of passages that are exaggerated. (The proofreading suggests that the book used an early word processor to produce, the errors that I caught are generally minor and don't tend to negate the points he's trying to make, the exaggerations tend to occur when Medved is clearly exhibiting an emotional involvement in the topic.)
These are perhaps regrettable weaknesses, but can be overlooked.
3. Some errors of reasoning can be found in various parts of the book, but again, while these are regrettable in that they will cause some readers to be unconvinced, Medved's failure to make all his arguments logically air-tight doesn't mean that most of the core ideas he relates are unsound. On the contrary, having come to his book years after doing my own research and arrived at *some* very similar conclusions, I know where he's coming from and the kinds of patterns and relationships he's trying to describe, in language that is accessible and convincing to general readers.

Now, for some of the positive features of the book:
1. Medved succeeds in refuting the claim that Hollywood product is simply "giving the public what it wants and demands."
2. Medved succeeds in pointing to some of the patterns in which questionable content has come to pervade most mass media products, even when unnecessary for the effectiveness of the work and when it offends some or most of its potential audience.
3. Medved demonstrates an understanding of some of the debates in aesthetics and criticism, and does a very good job questioning the nature of contemporary criticism, and pointing to some ways in which it (and film critics) falls short and risks becoming totally irrelevant.
4. Medved's exploration of the motivations underlying contemporary standards for film production, film criticisms, and industry awards is probably one of the better ones that has appeared in a widely-available forum in recent years.
5. Medved's introduction and conclusion sections should probably be required reading for anyone who wishes to judge the nature of this book. He is careful to draw a distinction between judgements about artistic merits and a moral evaluation of film content. He also tends to avoid simplistic fallacies that so often pervade this sort of writing, and he also concisely addresses the topic of film censorship that is frequently brought in to cloud the issue of film content. His discussion at no time can be simplified to the advocacy of censorship (as all industry defenders and apologists keep trying to do) and he insightfully cuts through many of the fallacies used by industry apologists in their public statements on these issues.
6. Medved's understanding of the harmful effects of violent (and immoral) media is adequate, and I was impressed that he actually hired a consultant to interpret data at at least one point during the writing of the book, rather than claim expertise of his own in data analysis. I believe that Medved did as capable a job as he could, but he is no social scientist. The results, however, hold up surprisingly well to scrutiny, despite various fallacies that creep into some of his more elaborate efforts to explore and evaluate patterns and trends.
7. Medved's suggestions for filmmakers are good ones! He describes well such issues as the different perceptions of critics when compared to general audiences, includes useful information to suggest differences between the artistic/industry communities and the broader public at large, examines various motivations (historical, political, artistic/personal etc.) that shape film products in ways that are often unappreciated by industry outsiders.

All in all, this book was surprisingly good. It isn't flawless, and there are times when Medved's emotions are not held completely in check, but he usually manages to avoid the sorts of errors that are otherwise pervasive about this sort of subject, and even when he makes mistakes in reasoning and in reporting the data/observations about the media, these mistakes fortunately tend not to contradict the merit of most of his arguments. While most popular authors on this subject may may one or more bold claims and then run with them, Medved is fortunately much more careful. Therefore, when he does stumble, not much of the load he was carrying gets spilled. Unfortunately, the current edition has a Rush Limbaugh blurb on its front cover. This should be removed, even though Medved is apparently not a conservative commentator, because Medved is also correct when he states in this book that the issue of media content is not simply a conservative/liberal political issue. It instead concerns anyone who has a sense of ethics that shouldn't be needlessly contradicted by questionable filmmaking choices and the sort poor aesthetic standards that are common today.
 
liberals vs. real america  May 5, 2005

Michael Medved is a great man. He almost gets it right in this
book, but he doesn't go quite far enough. He is far too easy
on the liberals who took over the entertainment industry and
have used it ever since as a weapon against normal america.

There is no question that the american entertainment industry
(film and television) is out to destroy, religion, the family,
patrotism, trust in our leaders and support for our troops.
While at the same time, the industry promotes socialism, crime,
secular humanism, sexual deveintism and drug use.

There is also no question about the number of people that the
film industry has destroyed. Medved is very good at chronicaling
the destroyed lives they have caused. And how they turned the
country against our troops during the vietnam war. He is also
good at showing cause and effect. Liberals teach children to
have sex which causes them to get pregenant which the liberals
then solve by getting them to murder babies. Those involved are
so tramatized by the experience that they fall into the trap
of illegal drugs prepared for them by the liberals. Its all
part of one larger effort to destroy america.

Medved misunderstand how this situation came to be. He misses
how criminal gangs (so-called labour unions) run by communists
used violence to intimidate the hollywood studios into hiring
degenerate criminals and firing anyone with morality who stood
in their way. Louis Mayer made good family films at MGM that
were very popular. Yet he was fired at the peak of his
popularity and MGM started to turn out endless hate america
movies by communists like Stanley Kramer. Popular stars were
let go and replaced with moral degenerates and drug addicts.
Great moral epics like the Sands of Iwo Jima and Hondo were
replaced by films about drug dealers or bikers or human rats
infesting our cities.

This was not done for profit. The movies long ago lost their
mass audience and it didn't bother these people a bit. They
need only to reach people one or twice over a few years to
spread the disease of communist ideas.

Michael Medved also doesn't go far enough in seeking a cure
to the problem. I think the start is for communities to stop
putting up with immorality. We need laws and judges that will
shut those making obsene works down. Where we should start is
by reforming the academy awards. Membership in the acadamy
should require good moral character and love of America and
freedom. The Academy also needs to start to look like America.
It wasn't America that gave the top award last year to a film
about sending poor women out to fight for the amusement of
others and then murdering her because she was sick. The people
who cast those votes need to be sent to france or somewhere else
outside america.

Medved has always been on the side of right. No better example
can be seen than in how he treated "the last temptation" and
"the passion". In the case of "the last temptation", all
hollywood was cheering for anti-christian hate film that nobody
wanted to see anyway. Then in the case of "the passion" all
the same hollywood liberals were angry and disguested that
such a film could be made or released. Medved was on the
side of right in both cases against the liberals.

The side of good is winning back America and the day will come
when the criminals are brought to justice. A day when we will
have entertainment for America again rather than filth and
disease for a handful of liberals. First it was the presidency
and the congress, next it will be the courts, after that comes
education and entertainment. America will be redeemed and
its institutions will begin to serve it again rather than a
bunch of weak liberal intellectuals.

 
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!  Apr 15, 2005
Let me sum up this 350-page rant in a few sentences.
1. There's a lot of crappy movies, television, and music getting made. (He's right about this. I actually agree with most of his opinions about specific films, shows, records, etc.)
2. Because of this, our jobs, our lives, our very civilization is in dire peril!
3. Therefore, we must put an end to all this making of bad movies, tv shows, and music!
Michael, I really do like your reviews. But grow up for heaven's sake! It's just entertainment.
 

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