Well, I see Roger Simon already took the paddle to Gregg Easterbrook for the latter’s odd (and arguably anti-Semitic) comments about “Jewish movie executives” Michael Eisner and Harvey Weinstein and their willingness to promote violent film fare, such as Quentin Tarantino’s new Kill Bill.
After describing Tarantino’s work as “pure junk” and “shabby depictions of slaughter as a form of pleasure,” Easterbrook wrote:
Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney’s CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice. But history is hardly the only concern. Films made in Hollywood are now shown all over the world, to audiences that may not understand the dialogue or even look at the subtitles, but can’t possibly miss the message–now Disney’s message–that hearing the screams of the innocent is a really fun way to express yourself.
I find this reasoning incomprehensible and indefensible. It is inappropriate to single out these two gentlemen – solely on the basis of their religious faith – and to suggest that they should somehow “know better.” After all, this year has seen the video game violence of Matrix Reloaded, which become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. Another film, the recently released Once Upon a Time in Mexico, also featured a number of scenes of stylized violence. What exempts these films, and their filmmakers, from Easterbrook’s broad brush?
I can understand (even if I don’t necessarily agree with) thinking that Tarantino’s films are like raw sewage; I can also understand criticising those who offer (or produce) such fare. Though, to be honest, the resulting box office indicates it’s something of a chicken or the egg situation – does Hollywood simply make violent films for the heck of it, or does the audience demand them? Anyway, what I cannot understand is why Easterbrook took the time to deliberately single out a couple of Hollywood executives solely because they are Jewish. As Mr. Knightly says to Emma, “That was badly done. Badly done indeed!”
Note: The author wastes a fair amount of time blogging about a variety of subjects at Walloworld, where this post originally appeared.