The Ideology of the Entertainment Media
Some Hollywood movies are platforms for jingoistic militarism laced with racism. Take John Wayne in a Western, e.g., saying, “There’s humans and then there’s Comanches.” In a WWII movie, a GI says of the Japanese, “They’re not people. They live in the trees like apes.” Michael Parenti asks, “How can we speak of Hollywood films and TV shows as being ‘purely’ entertainment when they regularly propagate certain political themes and carefully avoid others?” They are “permeated,” he says “with class, racial, gender, and other political biases.” Parenti says, “‘The Lone Ranger and Tonto’ offer us a familiar media prototype of the domesticated imperialist relationship. When Third World people are not portrayed as heartless savages, they are cast as devoted subordinates.” Stallone’s Rambo Vietnam War character exemplifies the historical engineering in so many films: the U.S. was not the marauding invader but rather the victim of the perfidious Vietnamese. U.S. troops were betrayed by weak politicians in Washington who did not want to win the war.
Michael Parenti is one of this country’s foremost independent political analysts. Cornel West calls him, “a towering prophetic voice.” He has taught at major colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. He is the author of numerous books including the classic Democracy for the Few, Power and the Powerless, The Face of Imperialism, and The Assassination of Julius Caesar.