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Hollywood’s Reach — and Limits

Richard Hoste 

September 12, 2009

When a set of beliefs becomes a society’s accepted morality, portrayals of good and evil often take stock forms. I’m younger than the majority of people who will read this, but even I am shocked with how much multiculturalism has replaced the old Ten Commandments morality as the basis of what it’s necessary to believe to be a civilized human. Anti-racism has largely filled the moral vacuum created by secularism and denationalization. Even American “patriots” have adopted a “more multi-cultural than thou” attitude to justifying their allegiances to the nation and traditional symbols like the flag. (just read any George Bush speech defending his Middle East policy). 

Today, youths get their values from TV and movies. The reach of the American media truly is global. Tomislav Sunic writes in Homo Americanus that “the belated version of Homo americanus appears often unnerving to American visitors in Europe in search of an elusive ‘true’ Frenchman, German, or a Dutchman.” Recently while in Russia I became one of those Americans unnerved. I went to the theater hoping to get a sample of Russian cinema. All the movies playing were dubbed American films.  

When non-Americans do produce their own movies, too often the themes they take come straight from the discourse of American race relations. The crimes and poverty of an oppressed minority are blamed on an indifferent or even malevolent majority. To take an example, there’s the Australian film Aussie Park Boyz (2003). The movie opens with a gang of racially ambiguous men (we later find out that they are Italians) walking around an urban environment.  The APB fight other gangs for money. The main character tells us that his life is filled with “Gangsters, riots, robbery, revenge and death, which all are a result of discrimination, prejudice and racism.” 

 In case we don’t get it, the back cover of the DVD tells use that the movie is a “realistic view of the trials and tribulations of a gang growing up in a society that alienates ethnic minorities.” Besides getting called “wogs” by other gangsters, there are no actual instances of racism. There’s barely even a plot — just a series of fight scenes. Two of the Italians kill an Irishman who pulls a gun on them. They have to go to jail where they fight Maoris. The “racist” criminal justice system lets the Italians out in a year. The Irish rape a girl affiliated with the Maori gang and frame the Italians for it. The Maoris come after them.  

Just like with porn, the story is nothing more than an excuse to get to the stimulating action. And the leftist platitudes exist to give the whole thing an intellectual backdrop. The director’s idea of what constitutes an “ethnic minority” is perhaps the most interesting issue from our perspective. Liberals love to pretend that Irish and Italians often fall into the underclass category. It’s a strategy they use in the American immigration debate. For if the poor and crime-prone always happen to be non-White, some of the less dim leftists might ask themselves why that is. Acting as if somewhere out there are Irish and Italian gangs that have something in common with the North African ones in France or the Black ones in America is necessary for a worldview where the poor and hopeless are whomever society happens to oppress.  

The French government doesn’t record statistics on race, but it’s estimated that at lest 10% of their population is non-White, mostly descendents of laborers who arrived in the 60s and 70s. While American public housing was built in our cities, the French banlieues exist on the outskirts. The similarities between them and our American Black ghettos are so striking that it’s hard to believe that the same metapsychological forces are not at play. The banlieues are filled with crime-prone minorities (North Africans and Blacks) who riot, fight the police, and are filled with hostility towards the majority culture. As Jared Taylor wrote after the 2005 riots

What has grown up in the non-white suburbs — sometimes to the bafflement of an older generation — is an almost perfect copy of the black American ghetto. The louts who threw bombs dress like ghetto blacks, walk like them, use the same gestures, and listen to a French version of the same, vile rubbish known as rap “music” — and at the same ear-splitting volume. They have the same hatred for the larger society, find the same lure in crime and violence, and demonstrate their manhood with the same coarse contempt for women. The television blares 24 hours a day in their homes, and no one ever reads. They are even sneaker-crazy: Some carry around erasers so they can wipe off scuff marks. Like blacks in America, the women do much better than the men. They appear to be able to find all the work they want, whereas the young toughs refuse to work for “chump change.”

Unfortunately for the left’s would-be-artists, Arabs are harder to make likable than Blacks, who are blessed with a sort of natural charisma (see J. Philippe Rushton’s “winning personality” theory). That didn’t stop French director Mathieu Kassovitz from trying with La Haine (1995) — a more serious attempt at societal commentary than Aussie Park Boyz. The story centers around three young friends from the ghetto — a North African (Saďd), a Black (Hubert) and a Jew (Vinz).  

Vinz, Saďd, and Hubert, from La Haine

Of course, the racial mix is comical. Not many Jews are still stuck in the ghetto, and if they were they wouldn’t hang around with Muslims. Even the ADL admits that the majority of French attacks on Jews have Islamic perpetrators and takes the left to task for not addressing the “new anti-Semitism.” But as we saw with APB, liberals need to convince themselves that at least some of the underclass is White. Jews are close enough — despite the fact that the socioeconomic profile of Jews is higher than any other ethnic group or religion.

Within the ghetto itself, race means nothing — Semites and Blacks are interchangeable — even though we know that in American prisons Blacks, Whites, and Latinos are strictly self-segregated and often at each other’s throats.

A fourth friend, Abdel, is put into a coma and shortly afterwards there is a riot. The film begins the morning after. Saďd and Vinz go meet Hubert at what’s left of his gym. Much of the tension is between Vinz and Hubert. Since the director must avoid stereotypes, he proceeds to look ridiculous. The Jew is hotheaded and angry about his situations while the Black is clear sighted and politically aware. The former finds a gun that the police lost in the riots and promises to kill a pig if Abdel dies, while Hubert tries to talk him out of it. Although the French don’t have their own Morgan Freeman yet, you see the theme of the Black as a fatherly figure, perhaps made wiser by a lifetime of dealing with unjustified discrimination.

Late in the film, Saďd and Hubert get picked up by the police for making a scene. The two are choked and called names while in custody and then let go. Later on that night, the group is attacked by “skinheads.” It’s not very subtle, and one wonders whether the artfulness of portraying “institutional discrimination” rather than overt discrimination and violence by Whites against minorities is something European cinema is working towards.

La Haine has been called prophetic and is now regularly shown in classes on modern France. French riots since the film’s production have become more frequent and worse, with the most serious occurring in 2005 and 2007. I first learned of the film a few years ago when the beginning was shown in my second year French course. It’s doubtful that the French will follow the Americans and burden themselves with an affirmative action state and the creation of “Moroccan Studies” departments. There’s no history of slavery or segregation to guilt the White majority into lowering standards and excusing otherwise intolerable behavior.

While La Haine is basically an American tale translated into French, the 2008 Entre les murs (literally “between the walls,” released in the Anglosphere as The Class), is an indication that at least some Frenchmen are more realistic about their underclass. It’s based on the semiautobiographical work of the same name by François Bégaudeau, a former literature teacher in inner-city Paris. Bégaudeau plays himself (with his last name changed to Marin) and the movie follows him for a year as he teaches French to the young teenage children of African, Muslim and Chinese immigrants, with a few native French mixed in.

In American film, the poor non-White underclass is always portrayed as a group of victimized kids, waiting to be “reached” by a nice White teacher. We’ve seen variations of the same theme in Stand and Deliver (1988), Dangerous Minds (1995), and Freedom Writers (2007). Nobody is below average and the dumb kid is only so because nobody ever believed in him.

In Marin’s class, the kids are rude, insolent and even — what would be unthinkable for an American film — stupid. He asks them to fold a paper, write their name on it and put it on their desks. They ask why he doesn’t do the same. Mr. Marin tries to teach them the imperfect subjunctive and they tell him that nobody uses it. A girl asks how they can know what’s proper for written French and what’s right for speaking. He tells her intuition. What’s intuition? And so on.

Talking to the left half of the bell curve is frustrating.  The Class should be what people watch in a thousand years to see what a classroom at the beginning of the twenty-first century was like. If they watch an American equivalent, they’ll marvel at the lost civilization where even the poorest were capable of handling and even creating great literature. (Mr. Marin warns a fellow teacher against assigning Voltaire by telling him that the Enlightenment would be too tough for the class.)

In order to instill narcissism in American students, schools ask children to write about themselves. The French apparently do it too, but in The Class instead of the project bringing out the inner sublimity of each student, it’s mediocrity that shines through: “I’m Carl. I like rap and basketball. I dislike racism and techno.”

Late in the film Mr. Marin is arguing with his fellow teachers against disciplining a Black student. A few observers are shocked when he says that young Suleyman may be intellectually limité. Another Black student tells Mr. Marin that the whole year she learned nothing. In French? No, she responds, in everything.

The Afro-French, regardless of whether they more recently came from the mother continent or the Carribbean, are in a class of their own when it comes to creating problems. They congregate in the back of the class with their hoods up and occasionally yell insults. The North Africans are more harmless goofballs. The only kid who seems to show intellectual promise is of course Chinese.

If there’s a lesson here for those of us who are maddened by the artistic attempts to make the most worthless amongst us enchanting, it’s that it’s hard to sympathize with people who are stupid. Nobody who’s dumb is romantic. I remember reading Charles Murray’s writings on how stupid below average actually is and being cured of any illusions I may have had about the poor. In fact, science tells us that underclass males are not simply sexier, more masculine versions of White males. Rather, underclass males are occasionally more masculine, but are always too dim to remember multiplication tables and understand polysyllabic words.

And that’s a good lesson for White females. It’s no secret that women are more affected by liberalism than men are. But if there’s one thing a girl detests, it’s a male she doesn’t respect. Knowledge of the non-White underclass’s asininity and downright stupidity is the antidote to sexual intrigue, if not a bleeding heart.

In Germany the largest visible minority are the 2.5–3 million Turks. In 2007 Turkish-German Fatih Akin directed Auf der andersen Seite (translated as The Edge of Heaven). Nejat Aksu (Baki Davrak) lives with his father Ali (Tuncel Kuritz) in Germany. Nejat is a professor, as we realize when we see him lecturing students on Goethe’s opinion on revolutions. The father falls for Turkish prostitute Yeter Öztürk (Nursel Köse), whom he offers to pay to come live with him. After being threatened by some Muslims on a bus to “repent” for her work, she agrees. Ali ends up killing her in a drunken furor and is sent to prison.

Yeter had told Nejat that she had had a daughter she lost touch with. The young professor goes to Istanbul in order to find her. The story of the daughter Ayter (Nurgül Yeşilçay) runs as a parallel thread throughout the film. She belongs to an organization that fights for some variant of social justice in Turkey and is facing persecution. Ayter runs off to Germany and forms a lesbian relationship with college student Charlotte Staub (Patrycia Ziolkowska). Charlotte is the kind of short and fair haired German of exaggerated niceness that will be familiar to anybody who’s studied abroad.

Ayter and Charlotte in The Edge of Heaven

Eventually, Ayter’s asylum request is denied and she’s sent back to her country of origin. Charlotte is crushed. Although the audience is supposed to shake its head at the heartlessness of bureaucrats that demand proof that someone will be tortured upon being sent home before granting asylum, it’s quite clear that the director’s main ax to grind is more with Turkey than Germany. It’s ironic, considering that the German restrictions on speech and political organization are at least as strict as Turkey’s.  

The director Akin plays the role of the good European. The one place the continent’s culture demands assimilation is in matters regarding sex. We won’t be seeing cinematic glorifications of arranged marriages or genital mutilation any time soon. Here, the thugs who feel like they can tell a woman what to do with her life because of her ethnic background get no sympathy, as they would if they were, say, burning cars and complaining about racism.  

The Turks are happy to be in Germany, and the Western country is in no way ever portrayed as bigoted or unwelcoming. In the Anglo-sphere we get films and art that at the same time try to convince us that non-Whites are horribly oppressed in Western nations and that it would be inhumane to keep them out. Perhaps Turks are genetically close enough to Europeans to not intuitively feel like outsiders in Western nations. Genetic differences do exist, of course, but the main thing that separates the Turks psychologically from the Germans is religion. Unfortunately for the victimology narrative, it is a conservative faith and thus not to be positively contrasted with European norms.  

*      *      *

Europe awaits it own Samuel L. Jackson, Will Smith or Halle Berry. It also awaits those destructive social trends and necessary number of Blacks that have made the American inner cities Third World wastelands. The language barrier that separates France and Germany from the Anglo-sphere may have allowed those two nations to think about race in un-American ways, but the long arm of Hollywood continues to inflict damage.

The European left was lucky because they managed to crank up immigration just as it was becoming clear that the White working class wasn’t going to fill the revolutionary role the elites wanted it to. However, the left was also unlucky because the people they imported, socially conservative Muslims, aren’t perverted enough to make ideal leftists either.

For this reason any schemes to increase the numbers of Africans in Europe need to be fought tooth and nail. And while an increasing Muslim underclass might not inspire as much bad art, the IQ and genetic differences between them and native Europeans are real, and assimilation is impossible.

But on the cultural front, if film can be used as a barometer for the health of cultures of the non-English speaking White world, we can at least say that, when it comes to race relations, things aren’t as bad as in America.

Richard Hoste is a graduate student in anthropology. He runs the website HBD Books. 

Permanent URL: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/authors/Hoste-Hollywood.html 

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