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Here’s Looking at You

Hollywood, Film & Politics


Ernest Giglio

Here’s Looking at You: Hollywood, Film & Politics examines the tangled relationship between politics and Hollywood, which manifests itself in celebrity involvement in political campaigns and elections, and in the overt and covert political messages conveyed by Hollywood films. The book’s findings contradict the film industry’s assertion that it is simply in the entertainment business, and examines how, while the majority of Hollywood films are strictly commercial ventures, hundreds of movies – ranging from Birth of a Nation to Fahrenheit 9/11 – do indeed contain political messages. Here’s Looking at You serves as a basic text for political film courses and as a supplement in American government and film studies courses, and will also appeal to film buffs and people in the film industry.
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Chapter 12: Hollywood, Race and Obama: Feel-Good Racism


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” —Martin Luther King Jr. “The emotions between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing in ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart.” —Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father “Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.” —Lyndon Baines Johnson With the election of Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008, liberal pundits proclaimed that the United States had reached the promised land of equality, with Obama’s victory signaling America’s entrance into a “post-racial society” where skin color would no longer be taken into account. But the political events, media representations, and highly publicized interracial encounters during the past few years indicate that that judgment was premature. The focus of this chapter is on the film industry’s treatment of race in its motion pictures, from the silent era to the present day, including films released since President Obama’s elec- tion in 2008. Did his election alter or shape the film representation of race? That is one of the questions examined in the chapter....

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