Hollywood's Scathing Portrayal of Judaism

October 24, 2009

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by Henry Makow Ph.D.


Hollywood has been accused of portraying Christianity with a jaundiced eye while sugarcoating Jews and Judaism. Or it presents Jews as non-Jews.

Finally there is a movie that presents Jews realistically.  "A Serious Man,"  by Oscar winning directors Joel and Ethan Coen, satirizes many Jewish types and suggests Judaism is a fraud.

If this begins a trend toward honest self-examination, there is hope yet for the Chosen people.

Set in Minneapolis in 1967, "A Serious Man" is an homage to the Coen brothers' Jewish upbringing. The protagonist is physics teacher Larry Gopnik, played by stage actor Michael Stuhlbarg who, like the Biblical Job, is beset by a multitude of difficulties. 

"I didn't do anything wrong," he protests when Judith, his pouting wife, announces she is leaving him for Sy Ableman (pictured together, left.) Larry is a "serious man" -- hard working, ethical and responsible. Why is God testing him?

Larry turns to a friend, Mimi for sympathy. "It's not always easy, deciphering what God is trying to tell you," she says. "We're Jews, we have that well of tradition to draw on, to help understand. When we're puzzled, we have all the stories that have been handed down from people to people."

In fact, that well is dry.  Gopnik visits rabbis who tells stories unrelated to his dilemma. One tells him to find "Ha Shem" (God, the "name") everywhere, even in the parking lot. Another relates a story about a dentist who found Hebrew letters on a Gentile's  teeth. "What does this story mean?" Gopnik says. "I don't know,"  the rabbi replies.

Finally, Gopnik pleads for an audience with the revered Senior Rabbi Marshak. "He's busy," his battleship of a secretary tells Larry. "He doesn't look busy," says Larry.

"He's thinking," the secretary assures him.

After his Bar Mitzvah, Gopnik's son Danny does get an audience with the fabled Marshak. Danny waits in eager anticipation for the wisdom that marks his induction into the Jewish fraternity.

Finally, the great rabbi opens his mouth and quotes the Jefferson Airplane's song "Somebody to Love." (1967)   

When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joys within you dies

don't you want somebody to love
don't you need somebody to love
wouldn't you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love


Funny? Yes, but also true. This became the credo of our time. Jews were at the forefront of  substituting romance and sex for religion. Perhaps it was born out of alienation from their own "religion."

Compare with Paul Simon, "Kathy's Song," 1965

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you.



A JEWISH CONVERSATION

Joseph Sobran said that working for the National Review for 21 years was like listening in on a conversation between Jews. This observation doesn't only apply to political discourse. Jews, often Illuminati Jews, oversee cultural discourse in general. They arrange the spectacles astride our noses and decide who will govern.

In "A Serious Man"  we are privy to a conversation Jews are having about themselves. Finally, we are witnessing some honest self-criticism. As Village Voice critic, Ella Taylor wrote,  "A Serious Man is crowded with fat Jews, aggressive Jews, passive-aggressive Jews, traitor Jews, loser Jews, shyster-Jews, emo-Jews, Jews who slurp their chicken soup, and--passing as sages--a clutch of yellow-teethed, know-nothing rabbis."

Indeed, the Coen Brothers have done for Jews what Fellini did for Italians. I don't think there is malice intended but rather a recognition of Jewish limitations in style, culture and religion, i.e. the stultifying parochialism, conformity, status seeking and meaningless observance.

The film also exposes the seeming contempt Jews have for non-Jews, the "goy." Gopnik's gentile American neighbors are hunters who come home with a bloody deer carcass strapped to the roof. There is a revealing scene where Gopnik is confronted at home by the father of a South Korean student he failed. The gentile neighbor comes to Gopnik's defense. But Gopnik dismisses his support and prefers to dicker with the new immigrant.

Is this movie Jewish self-hate? I don't think so. Jews recognize honest satire and find it refreshing. I sat beside a middle aged Jewish couple who roared with laughter. Ultimately, Jews are the first victims of their own culture. Because of anti-Semitism, they have been deprived of the rejuvenating benefits of genuine self-criticism. 

"A Serious Man" is a major improvement from the Coen's last two movies. "No Country for Old Men" and "Burn After Reading" were bleak, violent and nihilistic. It's great to see these talented filmmakers examine a recognizable reality.

I don't know why people have so much trouble with the concept of "God." He is synonymous with our spiritual ideals: absolute truth, goodness, justice, peace, beauty and love. We have no choice but to believe and act in His name.

Yes, bad things happen to good people like Larry Gopnik. But that's not God's fault. Usually, it's our fault, other Godless people or an accident of nature. In fairness to God, more bad things happen to bad people.

The general defamation of God and religion has more to do with the Illuminati conspiracy than anything else.


 CONCLUSION

The movie begins with a ten-minute fable in Yiddish (with English subtitles) set in a Jewish shtetl (village) in Russia. This fable alone is worth the price of admission. I don't want to give  the story away but it is about how evil creeps into the home, and how one must be vigilant  and courageous to expel it.

Evil has crept into Judaism and the Jewish community; and via Freemasonry, the whole world.

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Related- Michael Jones "Serious Man" -H'Wood's Most Anti Jewish Movie"






Comments for "Hollywood's Scathing Portrayal of Judaism"

THM said (October 26, 2009):

I feel exactly as does Deborah: "The Holocaust thing is wearing thin these days, so movies like this are intended to have a softening effect on their public image. "Hey, guys, we're just like you with our dreams and fears, etc." I for one will not be letting my guard down."

When Hollywood Jews start revealing their weaknesses, frustrations and failures, and wearing their hearts upon their sleeves, the long term objective is not to identify with their gentile audiences, but rather, to lure them into a false sense of fellow feeling and camaraderie, and to allay the suspicions which Jews always seem to arouse in many, that they may be pushing a parochial agenda that is not alway salutary for society at large.

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THM, Despite appearances, Jews are not a coherent body that operates as one. They are very individualistic. The leadership however is coordinated but they do not represent the majority. Your attitude, held by many, is what prevents more Jews from speaking out against the leadership.

henry


Larry said (October 25, 2009):

When I first started studying the situation we find ourselves in and the potential reasons for it, I didn’t think I would end up where I am. I certainly did not think that any group, religious or otherwise, would become a “pivot” for what first seemed unrelated events and historical happenings. Unfortunately, what I now think is based on my research and observations. In other words, I may not like my conclusions, but they are what they are.

What I see is that we spend entirely too much time focused on “Jews”. In itself, there is no “logical” explanation for why a population of this minute size gets so much attention. Secondly, any group, religious or otherwise, who isolates themselves from their neighbors and lives as strangers with enmity to those around them is bound to be the object of scorn. To me it makes absolutely no difference whether a “religion” dictates that behavior or not. If your over-arching goal is the destruction and/or domination of “the outsider”, you are going to encounter problems. It seems to me that feeling guilt for someone else’s behavior is border line insane.

In your article you say “…….because of anti-semitism…”. I’m sure you are aware of the arguments regarding that. Former Turco-Mongolian penis worshippers from the wilds of Georgia are hardly “Semites”. Further, I really do not believe that the enmity derives from “religious” or “ethnic” concern. It is almost entirely behavioral.

Those of us who do not belong to the sect should learn to respond appropriately. If someone is obnoxious, devious and destructive, it is not “anti-semitic” to point that out. Perhaps the answer lies in whether or not these people wish to join the greater family of man. If they wish to live on the fringes and parasitize the hosts they are likely to encounter ill will. Somehow, that is not very surprising to me.

In the end we all have free will. If we use it to good effect we grow. If we do not we suffer the consequences. That choice is ours to make. It is not an obligation of others to endure our aberrant behavior in silence. Nonetheless, it was a good piece. I just can’t help commenting on my not so apparent requirement to ‘share’ in responsibility for their problems, real or imaginary.


Ray said (October 25, 2009):

The Coen brothers may be taking aim at Judaism but overall for the past 40 years Judaism has not been trashed anywhere near the degree Christianity has been. Evangelicals are made to be the loons and fanatics over and over while the Jewish person is the sage or moral champion. Regardless religious fanaticism is not a pretty thing in any form. I just wonder why Borat was not called out for being a racist diatribe against Arabic peoples and I am sure the Hollywood moguls would never have allowed a film by an Arab that similarly lampooned the Jews.

Freemasonry certainly seems to be an evil institution but the Talmud is not far behind it and Jews adopted and used that before Freemasonry.

Also Jesus himself called the Pharisees children of the devil because their love was for their own traditions and not the living God as demonstrated by Jesus himself.

Therefore, it seems that the downfall of Judaism started long before Weisshaupt and maybe had something to do with their rejection of and animosity for Jesus.

I am NOT advocating Jews adopt evangelical churchianity as that is about as far from Jesus' teaching as the Pharisees' teachings were. I am saying that the elevation of ones ethnic identity above being a light for the truth of the living God is not the way to enlightenment. To quote the Beatles : "all you need is love!


Deborah said (October 25, 2009):

I've come to the realization that nothing is ever done by "accident" with these elite Zionists. They're savvy enough to know that their victims are beginning to see them for what they are: an evil cabal of Satanists. The Holocaust thing is wearing thin these days, so movies like this are intended to have a softening effect on their public image. "Hey, guys, we're just like you with our dreams and fears, etc." I for one will not be letting my guard down.

My husband and I had to send one movie back to Netflix after watching it for a few minutes and then jettison two other movies we had recorded on the DVR because there were, let's say, "Illuminati" fingerprints all over them. We just kept thinking, "This is how THEY want us to see ourselves: stupid and degraded." One movie with cute Jewish angst isn't going to do it, I'm afraid.


Curtiss said (October 25, 2009):

Dear Dr. Makow,
I enjoyed your review. However, I do not plan on seeing the movie, for the following reason: the trailer is absolutely horrible. It starts with Gopnik getting slammed repeatedly into a wall with a loud bang every time.

This loud banging sound, only slighly modified, is continued throughout the rest of the trailer, as we watch all sorts of horrible things befall
him. Nothing redeeming happens to Gopnik, and, as if showing him get repeatedly slammed into a wall once was not enough, the trailer revisits this scene at least two more times. The entire trailer puts one on edge and leaves one with a dark, violent, and nihilistic feeling. I am glad that the Coen brothers are willing to examine Judaism, but I wish that they would have done so differently.

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Couldn't agree more. The trailer turned me off too and I was going to see another movie that started 10 min later. The trailer does it an injustice. That banging scene gets extended in the trailer--it is short lived in movie. Also there are some redeeming elements in the movie.

-henry


Tony said (October 24, 2009):

Wow, Henry, Hollywood made or not, it seems amazing to me that this film got distribution. Perhaps it's a sign that those in control figure their control is, at last, absolute, and they can now lighten up a little about themselves and Judaism in general and have some fun. This hardly seems to fit many past "Jewish insider" movies that were designed to play to two separate audiences at the same time wherein it was obviously figured that the goy wouldn't really "get it."
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Tony,

This movie gradually is being rolled out worldwide.

henry


Dave said (October 24, 2009):

I really enjoyed that review, Henry. Overall I have very mixed feelings on the Coen brother's oevre and while I have yet to see "A Serious Man", it looks to me like it will rank among their more entertaining and philosophical offerings. It also sounds as if anyone with Jewish friends or heritage will find something to be amused by, or at least something to think about after you've left the theater (and let's face it, not many general release films inspire the latter!)


Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at