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08/24/2008

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Rick Cendo

While you guys usually seem to have good arguments solidly grounded in empirical data, this one seems to be quite a stretch.

Why wouldn't rich actors and producers be interested in foreign policy? You would think that this would be a luxury to those whose life styles are largely unaffected by economic policy.

I also wonder if you can positively correlate conservative actors and traditional lifestyles. My guess is that conservative Hollywood is much more attracted to the GOP's militant views on the defense of Israel than it is to Christianist social policies.

Rory Sutherland

It might be illuminating to compare the music industry too.

Of course one possibility (in both music and film) is that successful practioners make an extremely comfortable living on the backs of millions of relatively poor CD-buyers, concert-goers or movie-goers. They may hence adopt left-wing views out of a kind of embarrassment.

eld

Your INANE WORDS

“Whereas most actors and other filmmakers have little interest in tax policy, approaches to Medicare and social security, other domestic economic and political questions, and even in many foreign policy issues (except wars), they are very much concerned about policies regarding personal morals.’

THE TRUTH

This statement the most inane statement about the interest and where the sentiment rest on the semantic s of film. Did you guys every have a childhood? Are you social inept to laurels of life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. Let look at the pen-ultimate reason people attend a movie or film. Quite simply the attend to escape reality and validate vicariously the sheer likes and differences of ones on life through the aesthetic of film. If you the general public wanted to hear about the how the Laffer curve is basically a joke coupled with the pseudo-science of supply side economics, then let the film presses roll. I really feel sorry for those who preach this amoral high ground of pseudo-conservative rhetoric while privately not practicing the ideology of what they preach. He without sin cast the first damn stone.

Your INANE WORDS
I believe the single most important reason why so many of these Hollywood creative personnel are opposed to the Republican party, especially to the more conservative members of this party, is that the personal morals of many filmmakers deviate greatly from general norms of the American population.

THE TRUTH HURTS

Of I have already defined what filmmakers do this…..Because of my statement earlier….. Quite simply the attend to escape reality and validate vicariously the sheer likes and differences of ones on life through the aesthetic of film….do I need to repeat myself…. Quite simply the attend to escape reality and validate vicariously the sheer likes and differences of ones on life through the aesthetic of film….!

In closing, you guys are a dying breed. Conservatism will be completely dead once the likes of the relic of your species dies out coupled with the increasing mixing of races and the diluted Reich Wing Agenda become obsolete. Ok, you can go back to masturbating to the writings of Robert Stockman.

evgen

Creative contributors to films divorce in large numbers, often several times. Many have frequent affairs, often while married, they have children without marriage, they have significant numbers of abortions, have a higher than average presence of gays, especially in certain of the creative categories, who are open about their sexual preferences, they take cocaine and other drugs, and generally they lead a life style that differs greatly from what is more representative of the American public.

Actually, that sounds more like a description of the current crop of Republican legislators in Washington than of "Hollywood." Care to back up your assertions with anything more than hand-waving generalizations? Without references or numbers you are really destroying any point you might have been trying to make.

Bandwagon Smasher

The artistic lifestyle is more welcoming of behavior that is generally opposed by conservatives, that's true -- but that's only half the puzzle. What draws artistic-types into the other half of left-wing thought (socialistic or left-wing political economy) is an unrealistic detachment to their own property -- because they (the famous ones) essentially get paid far above the median income to do something that they would do for free. As a result, they don't relate the money they have to "labor" or "compensation," as opposed to people that see work primarily as a means to a certain lifestyle and level of security. This detachment informs their world view of "mandated altruism."

Peter Pearson

I think Becker underestimates the effect of our society's being steeped in the stereotype of the unscrupulous businessman. One sees this caricature in so many movies that it seems as natural and omnipresent as air, and almost everybody accepts it as reality. In contrast, the more realistic threat posed by a politician promoting economically damaging legislation out of idealistic ignorance, or socialist zealotry, or coldly calculated vote-buying is much less frequently depicted.

Jim

There are a significant number of Americans who cannot separate movies and their makers opinions from reality. Sophisticated friends have said to me that since they watched this or that medical movie or show that they"know" what you guys talk about in the OR.

As Daniel Boorstin wrote, "celebrity is being well known for being well known"; and the views of celebrities are not necessarilly worth much.

Hollywood types tend toward liberalism because it is trendy to do so and many of them wish to appear avant-garde or left-bank.I would love to see a survey of Hollywood types and how many serious written elements on public policy or political philosophy had been read by them. The problem is not even with the Hollywood types. It is with the left-wing politicians who use the Hollywood types to support their views. "Well, if Sharon Stone belives it, it must be so". Great!!!

Jim

There are a significant number of Americans who cannot separate movies and their makers opinions from reality. Sophisticated friends have said to me that since they watched this or that medical movie or show that they"know" what you guys talk about in the OR.

As Daniel Boorstin wrote, "celebrity is being well known for being well known"; and the views of celebrities are not necessarilly worth much.

Hollywood types tend toward liberalism because it is trendy to do so and many of them wish to appear avant-garde or left-bank.I would love to see a survey of Hollywood types and how many serious written elements on public policy or political philosophy had been read by them. The problem is not even with the Hollywood types. It is with the left-wing politicians who use the Hollywood types to support their views. "Well, if Sharon Stone belives it, it must be so". Great!!!

Garth Brazelton

Your entire quote extolling the stereotype that you view the average "creative contributor" to be (apparently you think they are drug abusing, gay, whorish, baby-killing sex-fiends with no one but themselves in mind) is disturbing. Your complete lack of data backing your ridiculous ultra-biased views up show how completely off-base both you (and Posner) have become. I'm removing your link from my blog. True, I don't get many hits, and I'm not a prize winning economist like you are, but you have increasingly lost any sense of decency or rational inquiry.

Denis Hauptly

This is an odd and, I think, below average post. There are so many "factual" assumptions with essentially no evidence that it comes across polemical, while, in fact, it is quite tepid.
The Becker statement about creatives is an example:
"Many have frequent affairs, often while married, they have children without marriage, they have significant numbers of abortions..."
Not every statement in a blog needs a footnote - else it would not be blogging. But that one surely does. I cannot think of an example on the abortion issue and I have no reason to believe that in the other categories creatives are far off from population norms. Perhaps I am wrong, but that is not a fact in evidence.
Followng that with the broad generalization that "the personal morals of many filmmakers deviate greatly from general norms of the American population" is close to eye-popping. It is, of course, true that the personal morals of many Americans deviate from general norms. That's a mathematical fact. The personal morals of many evangelical preachers (Republicans all) deviate from general norms. The statement has no factual support, says nothing beyond the mathematicaly probable and yet leaves a negative impression.
As a long time reader and rare commenter, I do think this post is not a useful contribution.

ryan brown

I've never understood how to reconcile the assertion that hollywood's impact on public opinion is muted, with the fact that marketing firms spend a lot of money on media ads. Ad impact is largest among the impressionable--that cohort which rational economic models is likely least applicable. Insights anyone?

Pandaemoni

The artists I know, which seems consistent with what I see of those in Hollywood, are most fired up *not* by issues of personal morality and censorship, but by issues of "torture," "domestic spying" and "misleading us into war." A secondary issue, but still more notable that personal morality and conduct is the issue of taxes and (generally speaking) a desire to see greater progressivity in the U.S. tax system. Not to back their interpretations of these issues, but your suppositions do not match my experiences.

If I look to the more liberal end of the spectrum, I'd could add "ending the death penalty" as a particular cause celebre.

As has been noted, if merely leading a lifestyle rife with divorce, extra-marital affairs and homosexuality are the bellwethers of liberalism, then one would expect more liberals in the heartland too. Throw bribery and making sexual advances on young interns in there, and many would half-jokingly suggest you were talking about Republicans in Congress. I mean Ted Haggard, who seemed like a very nice though quite conservative pastor, ran afoul of a few of those as well, as have other prominent conservative preachers. Americans in general use illegal drugs to varying degrees and at varying ages, divorce, have "affairs" (so much so, that when you say "often while married" it sounds redundant to my ears, merely having sex outside of marriage is so common it no longer has a special designation and is assumed for anyone in a romantic relationship unless there is reason to believe to the contrary), etc.

As I stated in Posner's blog I think the reason for the liberalism of Hollywood is easily explained. The life of an actor generally requires significant financial risk and tends to be a bohemian existence, as Posner notes. That disproportionately draws liberals rather than conservatives. Once congregated in Hollywood, they lead fairly insular lives, mostly interacting with their peers and the population in and around Hollywood (especially the Hollywood party crowd). As you note, people tend to be highly influenced by the politics of their peers, and so the insularity of the lifestyle and the disproportionate draw the it has for liberals, winds up creating a liberal echo-chamber that further entrenches the liberal mindset.

More curious, to me, is why Manhattan is such a bastion of liberalism, since so much of its draw comes from the ability to work in the financial services sector. It has a vibrant arts community as well, but having a foot in both those worlds myself, the two do not cross very often.

Jack

I wonder if anyone knows that "Hollywood" experiences a higher divorce rate than other groups? Or, is it that we hear so much about the love lives of the young and restless?

A quick look at "rates" turned up a Wiki on long lasting "Hollywood" marriages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_marriage

There seems some correlation between wealthier societies having higher divorce rates because "they can". There seems a fair amount of folklore and mythology in the Prof's speculation this week.

Anwalt für Erbrecht

I think Becker underestimates the effect of our society's being steeped in the stereotype of the unscrupulous businessman. One sees this caricature in so many movies that it seems as natural and omnipresent as air, and almost everybody accepts it as reality.

blake

I love how neither Becker nor Posner ever mentions the McCarthy era as a possible reason for a liberal slant. If either the left or the right had disbarred lawyers after a huge witch hunt to discover their political feelings, isn't it at least a possibility that the community would lean the other way for quite some time? That or possibly they don't like torture with no oversight. It could be they are more afraid of the government abusing the power to spy (cough hoover cough choke) than of a bunch of middle eastern religious fanatics getting their act together for the first time in the last 500 years and somehow seriously threatening the U.S.
That said, I suppose it could be that those weaselly Jews are afraid that the honest and humble Republican leadership will take it upon themselves to curtail their orgies of drugs and babies blood.

blake

Curtail the Jews orgies I mean, I don't think anyone is worried about the Republicans gay drug fueled orgies being curtailed or short of babies blood in any immediate future.

blake

sorry if that sarcasm was a little harsh, came out a bit meaner than I'd intended, and I intended a bit mean.

George Stigler

If I wrote this kind of crap in one of Professor Becker's classes I would rightfully get a failing grade.

Next up, why so many black people vote democratic: because they just want to grow up to play in the NBA where they can lead lifestyles devoted to cheating on their wives and smoking dope.

Apparently, even Gary Becker jumps the shark.

Beerzie

Thank you, evgen, for calling Becker on his egregious and unsupported stereotypes. This blather sounds like the crib notes from a Rush Limbaugh rant.

jeff Carter

Are they steereotypes? Or is their a lot of truth behind Becker's supposition?

I think that most Hollywood types-if we are referring to the very wealthy in Hollywood that are creatives, are Democrats because they fall to the left on most social issues. They (stereotyping again) are empathetic, and want to do more for the downtrodden. Their answer is to fall into the trap of government doing more.

If they understood economics, they would understand that the free market does more for people than governments can possible do.

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