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Hollywood vs. America by Michael Medved

Hollywood vs. America

by Michael Medved

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This book was recommended to me by a friend who let me borrow it. When I actually sat down to start reading it, I knew I was in trouble seeing the ringing endorsement of Rush Limbaugh emblazoned on the cover.

Written in 1991, Michael Medved examines what he calls Hollywood's "assault" on traditional family values. While at times he tries to sound fair and balanced, his use of language shows his strong bias against any film, television show, or music that he perceives as damaging or wrong-minded by calling it "filth" and "disgusting." He's welcome to his opinion, and as a film critic and an American has the professional right to express that opinion, but his goal in this book is to convince others that Hollywood is on the attack, and they're coming for your family life, which according to Medved is fragile enough to be warped by film and television.

In order to save "traditional" values inherit in Christian and Jewish life, one suggestion made in this book includes promoting the return of the stigma towards unwed mothers, because that sounds like a good, Christian value. Medved lauds the days of the Hays Office and the Production Code, claiming that instead of censorship and the ludicrous image of married couples sleeping in twin beds, these standards helped protect the American public from "sin and depravity."

While I agree that the period Medved was writing about was not exactly a high point in film and television, it certainly had nothing to do with the "assault" on traditional family values and religion. As with most books written on subjects like this, Medved is less interested in finding solutions to the problems he states, but finding someone to lay the blame on. Typically, this is the "Hollywood elite" and the studio bosses who kowtow to their every whim, regardless of how offensive the public might find it.

If Mr. Medved was actually interested in reclaiming popular culture from the unscrupulous Hollywood rabble, then he should get more proactive and suggest that anyone who shared his values start writing, directing, and producing content that focuses on them. In the words of Lloyd Kaufman, who I'm sure Mr. Medved is not a fan of in the least, "Make Your Own Damn Movie." (and yes, Medved does mention a few groups who are doing just that, but the message is ambivalent amongst all his claims of the "celebration" of "ugliness" in film, television, and music) ( )
  regularguy5mb | Jun 9, 2014 |
Still relevant after all these years, this was the first book to argue that Hollywood is so ideologically driven that it is willing to push its destructive cultural agenda through the movie industry even when doing so comes at the expense of profits. ( )
  Eagleduck86 | Aug 21, 2011 |
not reviewed
  davidloertscher | Apr 2, 2011 |
NO OF PAGES: 0 SUB CAT I: Judeo-Christian Values SUB CAT II: SUB CAT III: DESCRIPTION: Medved portrays a Hollywood that is pushing violence, brutality, and selfishness in spite of a less than enthusiastic response from the general public.NOTES: SUBTITLE: Popular Culture and the War on Traditional Values
  BeitHallel | Feb 18, 2011 |
Medved's surveys Hollywood's systematic trashing of traditional American values starting in the mid-1960s. He demonstrates persuasively that this movement has nothing to do with making money; indeed, he shows how deeply counterproductive it has been for the studios, as their audiences and profits have plummeted.

Although the book is now a decade and half old, it's still highly relevant. Little has changes over those years. Even though films such as The Passion of the Christ and the Pixar family movies have cleaned up at the box office, there's been only a minimal shift toward more family fare.

The one area in which Medved may have to re-examine his thesis is TV; the spate of recent excellent series that are really only for adults is not fully explained by his premises.

Still, this was an excellent read and I highly recommend it. ( )
  mrtall | Oct 19, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060924357, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:38 -0400)

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