I’m thinking of suing Iranian Dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. After all, he’s ripped off the word I coined for the underlying ideology of Hollywood’s dream machine: “Hollywoodism”. (Stung by ‘Argo,’ Iran Backs Conference Denouncing ‘Hollywoodism’)
I made up that term for my film “Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream” (1998). (http://apltd.ca/store/21). The film is based on Neal Gabler’s best selling book “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood”. (http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Their-Own-Invented-Hollywood/dp/0385265573). The thesis of the film and the book is that the Hollywood dream – Hollywood’s version of America – was born in the imaginations of a few Jewish immigrants, fleeing European persecution. Basically, the Hollywood dream – love conquers all, the little guy can make it to the top, the few can defeat the many etc. – was born in Jewish villages and became a Jewish assimilationist fantasy that first conquered America and then the world. Put differently, Hollywood’s version of America was born in the Jewish villages of Eastern Europe.
The film tracks the careers of the Hollywood moguls who basically invented American cinema. I coined the term “Hollywoodism” to denote an ideology. It’s basically a fantasy of reinventing oneself, forgetting who you are and becoming something new. This reinvention requires liberalism. Meaning, prejudice stands in the way of reinvention. Hollywood was for breaking down racial barriers, for example, way before the rest of America. During WWII Hollywood war movies depicted mixed racial combat units, while the American army was still segregated. Even “Love Conquers All” is an assimilationist fantasy. It comes from the desire of leaving your past and having the ability of marrying your boss’ daughter. In a stratified society, the little guy doesn’t get to marry the boss’ daughter. Tradition, not love, conquers all. In any respect, this ideology has its strengths and weaknesses but it’s certainly one that has appealed to all the little guys around the world.
But Ahmadinejad is a little guy who doesn’t like the theme of little guys making it to the top in a democratic society. He’s made it to the top by being a very bad guy in a very bad regime. While contemplating destroying Israel, denying the Holocaust, building nukes to threaten the West, putting down women and persecuting gays, he’s really upset with Hollywood. He sees it as a Jewish/Zionist conspiracy propagating bad ideas such as; terror is a bad thing and love is a good thing. He likes things the other way around. In his world, terror is a good thing and love is a bad thing. He was especially pissed at the movies “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty”, never mind that both films were made by non-Jews. He sees Jews lurking everywhere and he sees those movies as anti Iranian propaganda, preparing the way for a Western strike against his nuclear facilities. So what does he do? He has an anti America, anti Zionist, anti Hollywood conference. He gets a bunch of marginal Westerners to participate and he calls his conference… “HOLLYWOODISM”. Can you believe it? He steals my word invention and he doesn’t even pay royalties. Nor does he sell my DVD in the lobby. But here’s the irony, since he sees a Jew behind everything; an orthodox Jew, an Israeli/Canadian, has invented the very term which he’s using to define his own ideology. You see Mahmoud we ARE everywhere! You even resort to a Jewish invention when trying to define your anti Jewish conference. The joke’s on you!