How far should Hollywood go when distorting historical fact in movies--- It doesn’t matter, its just entertainment.---Depends on the subject matter---When it insults anyone with an average intelligence.--- when it becomes just ludicrous. Views?
Hello Cari: My gut response is to say: History is immutable. Despite it's spurious claims to being just an "entertainment industry", the film industry still has irrefutable impact, albeit subliminal in most instances. Just this weekend, a 12 year old jumped from a 6th floor building believing that he was "Spiderman" - having seen the movie the previous day. Should "Marvel Comics" be made to pay the $50 million law suit? Obviously not, but the question of accountability still remains and where more so then in paying homage to the facts of history. Thanks for posting. PP
In generosity and helping others be like a river. RUMI
Which Hollywood and which History? I believe that there may be a bit of confusion here. There is an actual documentary film industry in the world, and some of it is financed through Hollywood, though not very much. The Documentary film industry and the part of the film industry that attempts Journalism is working on non-fiction and to some extent on history, and their standards might be usefully compared to the written word study of History and its various academic branches. Julius Caesar's book on the Gallic Wars is very well written, and some people consider it history, but on the other hand, it is probably some pretty self-serving history, and as much a political document as a historical one. This has been the case with a fair number of books, including Churchill's histories of the Second World War. At a bare minimum, they don't give a good account of the axis point of view, and they do glorify and to some extent attempt to justify some of Churchill's own decisions. I don't know that I would expect differently. Look, for example, at the various biographies of some single individuals, where the facts are fairly well available, and look at what the difference point of view and story-telling make in constructing a coherent document that tells a story where the facts are pretty much available for Byron or Dr. Johnson or T.E.Lawrence. How many Queen Elizabeth the Firsts do we have?
There is a significant difference between having information and having the story, let alone having anything that approximates having the right story about any historical person or situation. In doing psychotherapy, this is also an issue in helping a person come up with an understanding of the narrative of their own story, and in some cases, coming up with a radical reinterpretation of that narrative. Sometimes this will be the difference between it being a story they can live with and one they cannot. People will find that their internal narrative process may occasionally paint them into corners like this, and the ability to revise can be literally a lifesaver at this point.
In dealing with John's question, I think that he's asked it in such a way as to suggest that Hollywood is marketing itself as the source of the truth about the way that things are in the world. If that were the case, I'd be pretty upset. I live across the street from Hollywood, and I occasionally see people from the industry passing by on the street. It's slightly strange. I'm not current, so there are probably more of them about than I notice. In London, though, you see actors on the street as well, and in New York. They don't see themselves as doing this. They see themselves as marketing stories, pretty much like novelists, and telling stories with style and imagination with the same elements that make these stories attractive when we tell them in written fiction.
If you want documentaries, go see a documentary. If you want news, watch a new story. I watch a fair number of these, and I'm more concerned about the amount of fiction in stuff that's supposed to be true and is advertised as news than I am about stuff that's marketed as fantasy, romance and science fiction.
Fox news, more and more, reminds me of The Invasion of The Body Snatchers. That should not be the case.
The fact that The Invasion of The Body Snatchers reminds me of Fox News gives me hope in the durability of the premises of art.