So you know what I’m commenting on, I urge you to read this article about the “mystery” surrounding the double-taking success of “The Bible” produced by husband-and-wife team (and devout Christians) Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for the History Channel. I was going to respond on The Washington Times webpage, but I just couldn’t bring myself to bury my comments where they will fall on deaf (& literally dumb) ears.
I welcome a response by Mr. Wattenberg and I promise here & now that I’ll publish his response even if he takes me apart with precision. Here – unlike the ‘Hollywood’ culture – we are not afraid of diverging opinions and free speech. Further, I can only learn from the experience…liberals reveal so much of their method when they react which is why they are AFRAID to on most occasions. Well, Mr. Wattenberg?
Mr. Wattenberg: I usually don’t comment on opinion pieces but wow…you are so far off from reality I couldn’t help myself:
Statements you made in that article:
- “the entertainment industry today is an intellectually demanding environment”
- Talented, I would agree but intelligent? There is an incredible amount of talent in ‘Hollywood’. I have had to resign myself to the fact that Tom Hanks (for example) is an incredible actor but doesn’t appear to be able to think his way out of a paper bag. I don’t know Mr. Hanks, of course…I’m just basing that on his backing of Barack Obama. I wish to interject that IMHO the REAL talent in ‘Hollywood’ comes from the writers, editors and blue-collar craftspeople who actually apply true talent and craft with the blood, sweat and tears that all entails. However, real intelligence – as a result of gaining basic knowledge through a classically liberal education – does NOT appear to be concentrated in the culture of ‘Hollywood’.
- “If there was a market for biblical epics, then Hollywood wouldn’t have long ago abandoned the genre…”
- I think that what you may be referring to is the complete saturation that Hollywood made of biblical stories in post WWII United States. It may be more an abandonment of “The Blockbuster” & subject saturation that accounts for ‘Hollywood’s’ retreat from religious programming. However, as my favorite statistician would say, “Where is the data?”. I honestly admit that I’m guessing at that as I’m sure you are with your conclusions.
- “Now and then a right-wing critic will come out of the woodwork to fantasize about some imaginary silent majority of viewers hungry for inspiring, all-ages popular entertainment.”
- Was this a statement designed to address what you see as a facile argument against your proposition or a more cleverly veiled attempt at short-circuiting what you believe is the actual cause for the success of “The Bible”? I’ll leave my readers to decide. I don’t know how old you are, sir but in the course of my life it has become increasingly apparent that all human beings hunger for inspiration for the entire span of their lives. Have you not come to this conclusion as well?
- “After all, the entertainment business is a business, run by unsentimental capitalists, single-focused on their bottom lines. Capitalists don’t have ideological agendas”
- How ignorant of ‘Hollywood’ and mainstream American culture can someone be and STILL get paid for writing about it? The Southern California movie culture is a Utopian Socialistic & Frankfurt School band of blacklisting bastards that make McCarthy look like a saint. Which explains why I roll my eyes every time I hear them bitch about the blacklisting back in the 50’s! They inject their beliefs into movies and hide those messages in carefully-veiled screenplays that use traditional American values as facade. IMHO, it is only because of the dumbing-down of the people of the U.S. through government schools and universities that ‘Hollywood’ even HAS an income-sustaining audience. I’m constantly bombarded with movie quotes when I discuss history and politics here in Northern California. That speaks VOLUMES, does it not?
- “Capitalists don’t have ideological agendas, save, perhaps, for some minor few exceptions, like Big Oil … and Coal … the fossil fuel industry, let’s say. And Wall Street, of course. Yah, and the Health Care Lobby. Agribusiness and Big Pharma and the junk-food industry. Oh, and firearms manufacturers, along with other merchants of death — defense contractors and such. The objectively racist prison construction industry might have to be included. And — a biggie — the Corporate Media Structure. “
- And HERE is where you reveal the basis for your incredibly empty comments. Only someone steeped in the Left-n-Right Coast/DC Beltway culture would make such an ignorant and uninformed comment while trying to shore up their flimsy opinions. You couldn’t help yourself, could you, sir? You have just exposed the intellectual “Achille’s Heel” of the mainstream liberal. Thank you for not letting me down. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
- And finally, after all of that bloviating, you eek out the one, TRUE statement in your entire piece: “Some capitalists do remain unencumbered by any ideological baggage that might deflect them from their undeviating course of profit-maximization.”
- Absolutely correct, sir! And now you know one reason why – as an industry, mainstream media are seeing a decline economically and culturally. Other factors are the de-linking of studios with movie theaters, independent producers (the REAL Capitalists!) and external forces from media centers outside of the United States whose product is very much becoming better than ‘Hollywood’s”. IMHO perhaps the single biggest factor is a vector away from traditional American values that ‘Hollywood’ has taken. In other words, people are not believing the message, en masse.
So why is “The Bible” doing so well? Here’s my theory and I think it’s based on way more ‘hard reality’ than Mr. Wattenberg’s piece was written upon:
The people outside of the left/right coasts, urban wastelands & ‘Hollywood’ base their lives on the Judeo-Christian ethic and Austrian-School-Style economics that has sustained our people since the 16th century. Even non-Christians like myself follow that ethic because it is the teachings of those cultures that have created the greatest nation that has ever been and will probably ever be. “The Bible” just might be successful because those that are familiar with the Bible’s stories and message want to enjoy it. Those unfamiliar with the Bible but who understand at some level the teachings of the Bible are watching to learn the true origins of truth, justice and yes…the American way. It may also be that there a good many that know Mark Burnett produces a quality product and are just tuning in to see Jesus get voted off the island just to come back to eventually win the game. (My apologies…I simply could NOT help myself.)
Epilog: This was not an attack on Mr. Wattenberg; it was an attack on his article and the liberal lunacy it was based upon. Anyone that takes this as a personal attack on anything but liberal culture needs to go back to school and redo the Critical Thinking portion of their curriculum. When I make a personal attack, you won’t have to GUESS about it as many of my readers already know. (smile)
I can’t wait for the granular demographics to come out on who exactly is watching this series. I won’t hold my breath but wouldn’t it be just excellent commentary if we found that the majority of viewers are morally-bankrupt liberals just STARVING for something substantial to believe in to replace the vacuum they have created in their own pathetic lives?