Wischnewsky 1Louis WischnewskyProf. Shawn QuirkEnglish 10011 May 2011                       The Way We are Not: Considerin...
Wischnewsky 2However, the United States has, really, one golden rule. The Golden Rule of America is thateveryone is equal....
Wischnewsky 3here watch movies as if they are the main characters and ask, “What would I do?” whileEuropean viewers, for e...
Wischnewsky 4goes into creating an artful movie or television show. Congressmen, preachers, parent groups –none of them ar...
Wischnewsky 5news empire. Citizens worried that one person had too much control over informationdissemination (Pollack, 55...
Wischnewsky 6seen today where Ford Motor Company has refocused its inventory to more fuel efficientvehicles and is current...
Works CitedBaldwin, Alec. "Im often asked if I think." Politics Magazine Aug. 2009: 62. Gale Opposing       Viewpoints In ...
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What we are not considering opposing views final v3

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I uploaded a final draft of this last night after I finished it. However, I woke up early enough this morning to look over the paper once more and I'm glad I did - I found some minor errors that I fixed. So here is the final copy that I will be turning in. This is the last written paper for my English 100 class this semester. I think it turned out pretty good. Just prior to peer review of rough drafts two days ago, classmates felt this was a tough assignment but the rough drafts I looked at were pretty good. We'll see. I'm sure it'll get a perfect score.

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What we are not considering opposing views final v3

  1. 1. Wischnewsky 1Louis WischnewskyProf. Shawn QuirkEnglish 10011 May 2011 The Way We are Not: Considering Opposing Views In recent years there has been much public discussion about the vehicles that Americansdrive. This first became a debate during the late 1970s and early 1980s when, for the first time inAmericas love affair with the automobile, people were faced with the possibility of being lessfree to move about than they had been when most land movement occurred on the back of ahorse or on ones own two feet. When Ronald Reagans trickle down economy began to take off,however, the discussion faded from mainstream discourse. Whether ignored or simply ignorantof the concern though, most people do not realize that automakers across the globe remainedvigilant to the conversation. While there was a confidence that the earth had more than enoughoil to meet global demand for centuries to come (whether or not that belief was valid or not is notthe debate here), the reality was that even automakers admitted that, at some point, oil would nolonger be able to supply the fuel to power the 15 to 17 million vehicles produced in the UnitedStates every year. Thus, the debate was never whether or not to produce alternative fuel vehicles.Rather, the question has always been, and remains now, whether or not the public would buyvehicles powered by a fuel other than gasoline. And that is the problem with any grand idea to make the world a better place. Rarely isthere a question of whether or not there is a better mouse trap, the question is whether or notconsumers will buy the product. To that end, Sydney Pollack is completely correct: movie makers do not dictate whatmovies are made, the movie watchers are who decides what movies will be seen (Pollack, 553).
  2. 2. Wischnewsky 2However, the United States has, really, one golden rule. The Golden Rule of America is thateveryone is equal. As a result, Pollack can only blame his colleagues for organizations like theone he addresses in “The Way We Are,” for seeking ways to have entertainment guide Americasmorals and values. Why more idealistic voices cannot understand the success of movies likeSean of the Dead or The Hangover is not as mysterious as the success of gratuitously violentflicks like the Saw series or the Friday the 13th series. Perhaps what should be addressed isneither the morality of what people watch nor the freedom to create any art one desires but,rather, the reason that free speech and capitalism have a symbiotic relationship. Mr. Pollacks main point is as powerful as a Detroit V8 engine. He describes majordifferences in the style of European movies versus American movies and explains why Americanmovies tend to be popular around the world while movies from around the world often find onlylimited audience appeal in the U.S. Whether it is the many different religious practices, thedemographic profiles, the cultural differences or any number of ways that Americans aredifferent from one another, it is difficult to argue that the United States is not the most diversenation on the planet. Certainly it is one of the most diverse. That reality is important to Pollackspoint. Merely the diversity of the United States should make American audiences more receptiveto foreign films than any appeal of American movies to foreign audiences. Yet, that is not thecase. Indeed, as Pollack points out, the exact opposite is true (559). The question is, “why?” Pollacks answer is pretty blunt. Whereas in other countriesmovie makers start with the aim of bringing their personal view of what is right and wrong to theaudience (and in some instances, what the government of a country deems is morally acceptable)(556), in the U.S., directors and producers, like Pollack, ask the question, “What would I like towatch?” (555). American movies are meant to involve the viewer whereas movies of othermarkets are often meant to dictate to viewers a way of life. Pollack is basically saying viewers
  3. 3. Wischnewsky 3here watch movies as if they are the main characters and ask, “What would I do?” whileEuropean viewers, for example, watch movies and ask, “How should I behave?” (557). Even that, Pollack admits, is a loose interpretation of American movie recipes (559). Itis as close as he can get and for good reason. Americans have a love-hate relationship with“Hollywood.” When actors like Sean Penn or Alec Baldwin get on soap boxes outside the silverscreen or tube and tell Americans that, as actors, they have the education and background toassure lowly commoners their, Penns or Baldwins, ideas of the ideal state are what shouldgovern movie viewers, Americans as voters are inevitably going to push back by callingcongressmen or regulatory agencies with some valid questions. Mr. Penn has a very colorfulpersonal relationship history that certainly makes him no expert on the tolerance he espousesothers should have (Waak). And, back to the main subject of violence, Mr. Baldwin seemed tomirror his personal life in the movie, The Juror, when he rapes Demi Moores character. Mr.Baldwin has a well-documented history of domestic instability but somehow he becomes anexpert on the morals and ethics other Americans should follow. Baldwin admits as much, sayingonce, “Ive given them so much crap to use against me ... If I run for political office, theyll havea forest of material to kill me with” (Baldwin). The net result is that the public demands higherethical and moral standards from what Hollywood produces. In fact, when someone like Baldwin or Penn gets on their high horses, the onlycredentials they string behind their names is that they are successful actors It is one thing tolisten to a doctored professor of some social science to tell Americans what he has observed andhis theory behind various behaviors; it is quite another for someone to delve into a realm aboutwhich, frankly, Baldwin and Penn know nothing whatsoever. So it should come as no surprise toPollack that he is asked to bring ideas to a conference aimed at regulating his industry. Still, Pollack is right: those outside the entertainment industry have no concept of what
  4. 4. Wischnewsky 4goes into creating an artful movie or television show. Congressmen, preachers, parent groups –none of them are experts in the field of entertainment. Why, then, should they be deemed theexperts on how entertainment affects the behaviors, particularly the morals and ethics, of theoverall population (555-556)? The answer is as strong as a turbo-charged Chrysler: Mr. Pollackscolleagues in the industry are inviting those groups into realms about which they know, at best,little by stepping themselves into realms about which those actors know, at best little. Repeatedly Mr. Pollack reminds listeners that it is investors that must be appeased, at theend of the day (552-561). Interestingly enough, the world of movie violence criticism is a littlemurkier than it would seem at a casual glance. Back during the 2000 election, somethinghappened that fairly highlights movie violence criticism. One would imagine it is moreconservative oriented organizations that are the most ardent complainers of excessive volumes ofmovie violence. However, during research for this paper, it was far easier to find detractors ofentertainment violence with more left leaning orientations than it was to find right leaning critics.The presidential election of 2000 highlights this point when, while Democratic vice presidentialcandidate Joe Lieberman was at the forefront of the political discourse protesting movieviolence, with presidential candidate Al Gore not far behind, the closest the Republicancandidates came to the issue was vice presidential candidate Dick Cheneys wife, Lynn Cheney,being that sides voice on the matter (Hymowitz). There is probably a reason for this phenomenon; one that Pollack touches upon each timehe reminds his audience that movie creation is a business as much as it is an art. That reasontakes the debate back to that comparison of the American auto industry. Business, generally aconservative realm, understands market demand guides movie content. Pollack argues thatmovies reflect the current state of societal norms and conflicts. There is no arguing his point: it isa fact. Citizen Kane reflected the grumbling of the American psyche during an era of the Hearst
  5. 5. Wischnewsky 5news empire. Citizens worried that one person had too much control over informationdissemination (Pollack, 558). When World War II came about, Hollywood made movies thatreflected American determination, unity, and patriotism. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began tomarch around the nation for the civil equality and rights of African-Americans, in 1962, To Kill aMockingbird came out reflecting a growing tide of second-guessing an established societal norm.Director Robert Mulligans movie did not inspire King; Kings boldness likely inspired Mulliganto create the movie. Such historic perspectives exist, just as Pollack points out, since movies firstbegan to be produced in the United States (552). So, just like the auto industry built mini-vans inthe 1980s and SUVs in the 2000s to meet the demand of its consumers, Hollywood has beendoing the same thing. Maybe that is where the disconnect between those that decry movie violence and theartists making violent movies lies. There is nothing forcing those that do not like the violence towatch violence oriented movies. In kind, there is nothing forcing actors like Penn or Baldwin toget involved with politics to the level they do become involved. At the same time, after decadesof debate, there is no evidence that directly links real world violence to being a consequence ofimitated violence on a movie screen (Hymowitz). Conversely, Ronald Reagan is unquestionablythe most politically successful actor ever. The problem, though, is that whether or not he madethe world a better place is still questioned by some. Reagan, however, is not the best comparisonfor an important reason: he gave up acting when he entered politics while Penn and Baldwinhave yet to show that kind of dedication. In any case, the reality is that freedom, whether of expression, religion, etc., is required inorder for commerce to be prosperous. This has been witnessed within the auto industry.Automakers have to make vehicles that meet the demand of the day, not what a small group ofenvironmentalists think is best for consumers. The market will correct itself and that is being
  6. 6. Wischnewsky 6seen today where Ford Motor Company has refocused its inventory to more fuel efficientvehicles and is currently, arguably, the most successful automaker in the U.S. Today. At the sametime, as Pollack points out all too well, commerce will determine what art will be produced forthe silver screen. This fact can be seen in the reflection of Kevin Costners, Waterworld. Herewas a movie produced at the apex of the Apocalyptic landscape genre, yet flopped miserablywhen the genre seemed to have become too far-fetched. To that end, neither party, makers ofviolent movies nor their detractors, need worry: demand alone will produce what a commonpublic deems acceptable. It is a symbiotic relationship between free expression and freeenterprise that is, actually, healthy for a strong, liberated democracy. Sydney Pollack has been very successful because he has what many businessmen wishthey had: a keen sense of what consumers want. He is right: what is seen on the big screen doesnot govern the lives of movie watchers, American values are determining what is on the bigscreen. Those values evolve over time, for better or worse. However, if he is upset that outsiderswant to regulate the art he creates, he needs to remind his colleagues in the business not to beinciting amateurs to complain. While some actors can be annoying off the screen, the good newsis that American movie-goers have long ignored them. The result is a healthy entertainmentindustry that has produced memorable moments of passion, love, patriotism, thought, insight andmore for as long as the American automobile has been getting movie-watchers to the cinema.Thus, the conversation about movie violence should recognize that free speech and freeenterprise need each other. Neither would survive without the other. Unfortunately, the fact thatneither side truly considers opposing views reflects “the way we are.”
  7. 7. Works CitedBaldwin, Alec. "Im often asked if I think." Politics Magazine Aug. 2009: 62. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 10 May 2011.Hymowitz, Kay S. "The Sex and Violence Show." Commentary 110.5 (2000): 62. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 11 May 2011.Pollack, Sydney. “The Way We Are.” Common Culture; Reading and Writing about American Popular Culture. Eds. Michael Petracca, Madeleine Sorapure. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010. 552-561. Print.Waak, Erika. "Celebrities Should Be Free to Express Their Antiwar Views." The Peace Movement. Ed. Nancy Harris. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. At Issue. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 10 May 2011.

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