Something I’ve been thinking about lately…the whole “Jews in Hollywood” argument that antisemites like to trot out as an extension of the Jews Control the World belief and something that, unfortunately, a lot of people who wouldn’t be considered antisemites believe too.
It’s the same reason why you can find many Jewish people working in banking–historically convenient as it was one of the few professions open to them, and something that was carried over today. Before the start of talkies, movies (and a little before them, theatre) were seen as lowborn entertainment, fit only for the basest of the masses; real art, real entertainment, something that only the educated upper crust could truly appreciate, was to be found in writing, reading, and other activities like boating and walking.
Sure, Shakespeare’s plays were popular with pretty much every Elizabethan Londoner. We still read about Aristophanes, and Dorian Gray is still one of the most popular Gothic stories ever. But just because there were exceptions, even the most widely known playwrights and actors and, later, studio teams were still regarded as unseemly. They were considered to be on par with prostitutes and the rest of the societal underclass. This was aided by the fact that their earnings were low, many often had to prostitute themselves to supplement their meagre incomes, and what they did earn was usually on a play-by-play (and movie-by-movie) basis and mostly went to paying the renting costs of the theatre, inn or what have you that hosted them.
They depended on patronage so that they wouldn’t starve, and, along with the unfortunate fact that Plato’s railings against mimetic art in general still held strong, led to the moral and social disapproval against theatre and movies. It was lessened a bit by the fact that in the West during the 17th and 18th century more of the upper class attended plays, but this in turn only created a divide between “tasteful” theatre and popular theatre.
This was carried over to the movies – nickelodeons (named for the fact that the entrance fee was a nickel in the US) and matinees were popular with a working class barely starting to transition out of the Industrial Revolution, drastically changing their leisure habits in an age when free time was still mostly a thing for the rich. Movies were projected to a large amount of people, usually in tents, converted store fronts, or even the street.
It is of no surprise then, that a large portion of acting troupes and playwrights were made up of poor immigrants and the lower class in general – in the US, for example, the Irish and Jews (to say nothing of the overwhelmingly Ashkenazi presence in Western entertainment). Modern Jewish comedy has its roots in the big presence Jewish actors had in theatre, especially vaudeville – Ziegfield Follies, anyone?– and the subgenre of Yiddish theatre. Most people have heard of the Marx Brothers, Sarah Bernhardt, Sophie Tucker, Ida Rubinstein and Ed Wynn.
With all of the prejudice towards the theatre extended to movies, again, this was one of the few places Jews could excel in. And it’s for this reason that all of the Big Six Hollywood movie studios, with the exception of Disney, were started by Jews. Not because some tinfoil toting conspiracist thinks that this is just ZOG in action.
I have a photo exhibiting at We Saw It Before You in a few weeks in Melbourne. Come sus
Opening September 18 / 5pm ~ 9pm Open 11am ~ 5pm / September 18 ~ 21 Tinning Street Presents Lot 5, Tinning Street, Brunswick Enter via Ilhan Lane
With works from: Adelina Onicas, Andrew Johnson, Anthony Robinson, Rebecca Capp, Ben Clement, Benjamin Lichtenstein, Caitlin Molloy, Charlie Brophy, Che Parker, Damien Melchiori, Ed Gorwell, Emma Perry, Genevieve Walshe, Henry Johnson, Hilary Sloane, Jack Harries, Jack Shelton, Jason Hamilton, Jay Dymock, Jayden Reynolds, Jessica Brent, Joel Bouchier, Kirrilee Bailey, Kresimir Saban, Kristina Arnott, Lloyd Stubber, Luke Byrne, Luke Van Aurich, Madeleine Burke, Matthew Stanton, Max D'orsogna, Maxwell Finch, Michael Danischewski, Michael Thomas, Mitchell Pinney, Morgan Hickinbotham, Nadia Mizner, Nicholas Hawker, Nick Wilkins, Nusha Gurusinghe, Paul John Nelson, Red Stevenson, Ryan Cookson, Sam Steinhauer, Sam Wong, Sarah Pannell, Simon Aubor, Sophie Gearon, Timothy Hillier, Yasmin Nebenfuhr
The story of how the Women’s March on Washington came into being has already been codified into lore. As the returns rolled in on November 8, a Hawaiian grandmother and retired attorney named Teresa Shook created a Facebook page suggesting that women gather to protest in D.C. on inauguration weekend. Then she went to bed. By the time she woke up, 10,000 people had affirmed the plan.
Simultaneously, Bland, founder of the fashion incubator Manufacture New York and an advocate for domestic manufacturing, had a similar idea. She also posted about it on Facebook, where her followership had ballooned after she raised $20,000 for Planned Parenthood by selling Nasty Woman and Bad Hombre T-shirts. “We need to form a resistance movement that’s about what is positive,” she remembered thinking. “Something that will help empower us to wake up in the morning and feel that women still matter.”
It wasn’t long before Shook and Bland caught wind of each other and consolidated their efforts. Soon Wruble became aware of their plan. In her real life she runs Okayafrica, a media platform seeking to change Western perceptions of Africa that she cofounded with her business partner, Ginny Suss (also the march’s production director) and The Roots drummer Questlove. Having worked for years as a white person in a black space, Wruble quickly recognized that Shook and Bland, both white, could not be the sole faces of the protest they were starting to organize. “I think I wrote, ‘You need to make sure this is led or centered around women of color, or it will be a bunch of white women marching on Washington,’” she paraphrased. “‘That’s not okay right now, especially after 53 percent of white women who voted, voted for Donald Trump.’”
Bland agreed, and Wruble reached out to a friend, activist Michael Skolnik, who recommended she and Bland talk to Mallory and Perez. The latter two activists brought Sarsour to the table shortly thereafter.
Somewhere in there, controversy bloomed over the name Shook had floated: the Million Women March, which threatened to overwrite the history of a same-name protest by thousands of African-American women in Philadelphia in 1997. It was Wruble who proposed that they call it the Women’s March on Washington instead, locating their protest in direct lineage with the 1963 March on Washington, the occasion for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
The new coordinators even reached out to the civil rights leader’s daughter, Bernice King, who offered her blessing and shared with them a quote from her mother, Coretta Scott King. Perez read it to me when we followed up by phone a couple weeks after the shoot: “Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.’”
“It gave us all chills,” she remembered. “It assured us that we were moving in the right direction.
”What I think she meant is this: Where past waves of feminism, led principally by white women, have focused predominantly on a few familiar concerns—equal pay, reproductive rights—this movement, led by a majority of women of color, aspires to be truly intersectional. (x)