Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Era of Creativity in American Music, Cinema , Television etc is Over: 1

Era of Creativity in American Music, Cinema , Television etc is Over: 1

Regular readers might be aware of an older post in which I wrote about why the past decade of mainstream movie-making in USA has been full of sequels and reboots rather anything vaguely original. The short version is as follows: the uncritical worship of financialism is behind this and many other (and much larger) systemic problems seen in USA today, from brick-and-mortar retailers dropping like flies to Boeing making some truly atrocious design choices for its 737-Max series. And yes.. ‘late capitalism’ and ‘financialism’ are interchangeable terms- in most contexts. I also wrote another post about how the downstream effects of late capitalism explain the proliferation of ‘superhero’ movies we have seen over the past decade. But how is any of this connected to the title of this post? For starters.. the general lack of creativity we have seen in american music, movies, television, streaming services, video games etc over past ~ 15 years is just another symptom of the same underlying problem.

But before we talk about that problem, let us first spend some time to properly define the issues involved. For example- How does one define creativity and how long did the ‘golden era’ last? Do music sale numbers, box office receipts etc matter and do they affect how we define creativity? So let us begin by discussing all of this and more by using real life examples. That way, I can explain the issues involved in very clear and straightforward terms. Given my greater interest in the visual arts, I will first focus on cinema, television, specialty cable shows and streaming outlets in this part. Here is a good question to start this discussion- Was there ever a ‘golden age’ of american cinema? The answer to that question, while affirmative, is a bit complicated. See.. most people are trained to think that the ‘golden age’ of american cinema was between 1927 and the mid-1950s, when TV started to become the more widespread form of audio-visual entertainment.

I think differently. While cinema was the dominant form of audio-visual entertainment in that era- it was not the ‘golden age’ by any stretch of imagination. The quality and originality of the movies in that era left much to be desired- and that is a huge understatement. While a small part of the blame can be assigned to technology, most of it was a result of how the whole system was run. See.. Hollywood studios were the worst thing that happened to Hollywood- because they were run by losers who cared only about the bottom line and exerting their egos over creative people. That is why movies from that era are so bland, insipid, and unmemorable. Sure.. they made money- but that was largely a consequence to there being no other competing audio-visual media. Also cinema theaters were among the first public places to be air-conditioned. The true golden age of american cinema began after the studio system fell apart in the 1950s and the Hays “moral” code became increasingly irrelevant throughout the 1960s.

The golden age started sometime in the early- to mid- 1960s. And there is something else, which facilitated this era. Today, we think of Hollywood movies as being internationally popular. This was, however, not the case for many decades. Many large European countries had flourishing local film industries for many decades before and, in some case, even after WW2. The Italian, Spanish, German and Russian film industries has tons of very talented directors, producers, actors and the financial means to make and distribute their products. So why did all these other players slowly decline after the 1950s and 1960s. Well.. in the case of film industry in Russia, Germany and other East-European countries, the rise of state communism and promotion of extremely bland control-freaks into position of power resulted in complex regimes of unofficial censorship. People with non-standard worldviews were either silenced or learned to keep quiet.

Let me put it this way.. the majority of memorable and influential movies you can think of simply could not be made in those countries after the early 1960s. Do you think they would have allowed their people to make movies such as Jaws, Star Wars Trilogy, ET, Back to the Future Trilogy, first two Godfather movies, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Blade Runner, The Matrix, the first Jurassic Park, a couple of the original Indiana Jones etc? But why stop there.. what about the first two or three Police Academy movies, all those teen sex comedies from the 80s and 90s, spoofs with Leslie Nielsen or by Mel Brooks and many.. many more transgressive comedies. My point is that the quality of even mainstream Hollywood movies was pretty good (compared to rest of the world) between the late 1960s and early 2000s. But why was Hollywood able to make and market some pretty amazing movies in those three and a half decades- while the rest of the world kept making the same types of movies they had been making since the 1950s?

Some of you might invoke reasons such as american exceptionalism or Hollywood being run by a certain religio-ethic group. The reality is rather different and it all comes down to a combination of two or three factors that were unique to Hollywood. Firstly, after the late-1960s there wasn’t anywhere near the level of direct and indirect creative censorship as compared to other countries. For example- films in former east-Germany and Russia had to pass multiple rounds of scrutiny by people employed specifically to enforce ideological purity. Or take the case of India, where films that did not adhere to the standard Bollywood format had no chance of getting funded and filmed, let alone distributed. In sharp contrast to that, one could make and raise money for all sorts of crazy sounding ideas (some of which later became cultural landmarks) without the fear of being labelled as a dangerous subversive or a perma-failure in Hollywood.

Then there is the effect of 3-4 decades of post-WW2 opportunity for non-rich or non-connected people to get into the film industry. See.. one of the big differences between the american movie industry and the its equivalents in the rest of the world was that the former let people who were not rich or connected into the movie industry- especially behind the camera. Just look up the biographical details of most iconic movie director, producer, special effects guy etc between the late 1960s and early 2000s and you will see that they did not come from a family who was already established in the industry. but why does this matter? Well.. people who rise to their position by coming out the ‘right’ cunt are usually not the most competent or capable candidates for any given job. In my opinion, this was probably the most importance difference between Hollywood and its equivalents in other countries.

The third reason is linked to how success and failure was treated in Hollywood as compared to its foreign counterparts. Which is really a fancy way of saying that frequent failure was considered an unavoidable part of making movies. A few moderate failures or even a couple of nasty ones was not an automatic death sentence or cause of perpetual ostracism in Hollywood- as long as you had a decent record of success or demonstrable competence. To be clear, I am not saying that the american film industry was some great meritocracy full of fourth and fifth chances or kind altruistic people. But it was significantly better than its counterparts in other countries as long as you were white. It was this combination of factors which allowed the extraordinary three and a half decades ‘golden age’ of Hollywood- from 1968 to 2003. But why did it end at 2003? Let me put it this way, truly significant movies made after 2003 are few and widely spaced.

In the next part, I will go into some detail about why 2003 is the best cut-off point for Hollywood making truly amazing and creative movies. As you will see, it has much more to do with new business models based in financialism, managerialism and other bullshit ideas that are also destroying other industrial sectors in USA. You will also see how similar the demise in this sector is to concurrent demise of others such as pharmaceutical research, physical retail outlets and many more. I will also show you what outcomes these financial and managerial types are targeting and how that explains the demise of creativity. You will also see why these losers were in the back-seat during ‘golden age’ but are now firmly in driver’s seat of this dying car.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. March 31, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    OMG, some anti-fa creep ticked me into watching this horrid film…

    there were no penises….

    and the LGBTQI*+ character was an unbalanced murderer, while I and the Wolves of Vinelandd are also violent and and unbalanced, we do it against dis-guy-ting low status dark skinned men so it is really okay…

    I hope you won’t say the 60’s and 70’s were the peak of murreKKan creativity. Even though we did kill a lot of drakes by dropping bombs all over vietnam and cambodia.

    See Hail !!

    14 eighty (not) str8

    Clam Chowder !!!

    er, White Power !!!

  2. March 31, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    BTW, this is what we play at our Whites Only Bath House….

    We are the besets of the white race, the cream of the crop, you just wish you could get hot and sweaty with us, you filthy hindu muffins…

  3. nyolci
    April 1, 2019 at 12:38 am

    “Well.. in the case of film industry in Russia, Germany and other East-European countries, the rise of state communism and promotion of extremely bland control-freaks into position of power resulted in complex regimes of unofficial censorship.”
    This is factually untrue. Actually, after the 50s, state censorship loosened to the point of being virtually non-existent. The golden era of film-making in these countries were the 60s-70s and the first part of the 80s. Before that the same formulaic movies were produced as anywhere, except maybe for the Soviet Union, where profit was not an important factor. In the 80s, the general economic troubles simply made it impossible to make movies at all.

    That is sorta true for East-German cinema- and yes, I have read about a period of about 10-15 years when censorship was set to low. But it did snap back in the 1970s.

    • nyolci
      April 1, 2019 at 7:46 am

      “But it did snap back in the 1970s”
      Perhaps with great regional variations, ‘cos in (eg.) Hungary, nothing like that happened. (First hand knowledge.) Actually, this censorship issue obfuscates the issue a bit. You shouldn’t discount the profit motive. Perhaps this can be thought of as some kind of indirect censorship. But anyway, it should be important for film makers to create regardless of direct, immediately measurable profit. The Eastern Block provided this kind of freedom for a few decades, together with (at most) nominal censorship. Actually, in the 80s, Hungary was perhaps the freest in its whole history (yes, during the last years of communist era), but the general lack of funds made it hard (more or less impossible) to make movies.

  4. doldrom
    April 1, 2019 at 4:12 am

    Meritocracy … as long as you were white.
    Actually, entertainment and sports were always good fields for non-whites because they cannot be based on credentialism and who you know. You don’t get to be a comedian, concert pianist, or basketball star on the basis of a degree.

    • A.B. Prosper
      April 2, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      . There was an entire genre of Black cowboy movies back during peak cowboy that did quite well among Black audiences same as Medea movies and Empire does today

      Also outside of that peak period D.A. is talking about , generally cinema is culturally specific or dumb genre movies simply because people like the familiar and don’t understand the nuance of other cultures anyway

      Its rare for stuff to crossover when there is a choice of what to view.

  5. doldrom
    April 1, 2019 at 4:17 am

    The American language has perfect words for the phenomena you are describing:
    [1] “Making money”. People don’t make shoes or fix the drain or bake bread or sell goods. No. They are “making” money, a trend which has reached a pinnacle with the stock market frenzy that started in the eighties and has morphed into actually printing the money to raise asset prices after the dot-com bubble deflated.
    [2] “Busyness”. What do Americans do? They go about the business of being busy.

    • A.B. Prosper
      April 2, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      The global economy is so efficient that it makes it increasingly harder for people to make a living especially making things

      The inexorable logic of that is make money or starve as the US little real safety net and a endless desire to exploit labor

  6. Yusef
    April 2, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    I think the golden era was from the end of the studio system to the making of Star Wars. There were some incredibly inventive and original films being made then. It was a bridge period when the Hollywood biggies had lost all contact with what American audiences wanted and a few daring individuals rushed in to fill the breach. The Star Wars blockbuster put the kabowski on that, but the screen writers, stars, directors and camera men of 1964-1976 (roughly) period continued to make great movies and made their presence known in many ways right up to the present. (They are, however, very old men now.) Star Wars is a return to a very conventional idea of movie entertainment, and to draw box office was clearly its primary intention. It looks we may have a bit of disagreement about what’s a great film, but I do agree there was a lot of gold for a long time after what I see as the highest point.

  7. Rich
    April 8, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    Mass immigration is also what contributed to Hollywood’s (and large part, the music industry) demise. You can’t have real American tales with American dramas, with a large White cast anymore because Hollywood elitists need to cater to the new audience – third world English illiterate immigrants. That’s why, a large focus is on Superhero movies. That’s what the foreigners love, and that’s what sells internationally at the box office, especially in China. American movie theaters also now show Bollywood movies because of the hoards of H-1Bs they took in from India. You notice that a complete buffoon like Kumail Nanjiani is all of a sudden now everywhere in Hollywood, with no pedigree in acting (he was a computer science graduate and worked in IT on an H-1B visa until he married a post divorcee White woman) is being given all of sorts of gigs? He’s in the new Men in Black, The Twilight Zone reboot, some movie with Dave Bautista, and now rumored to be starring alongside Angelina Jolie in some Marvel superhero movie. It’s a good time to be a brown guy in Hollywood. I mean, they gave the Oscar to Best Actor to Rami Malek for crying out loud, and his acting and movie her starred in sucked! Notice that Hollywood imported Priyanka Chopra and made her into a star? Why? Because she could bring in the Indian crowd to buy tickets to her Hollywood movies. She also married a White guy!

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