Hollywood Logic I

The original 1994 Red Dawn movie has the Soviet Union as the enemy of the U.S. The film was remade (propaganda must be repeated for effect) with the Chinese as new enemies. When this was thought to be not financially prudent for the studio, the film was edited to use North Koreans (since Koreans and Chinese are interchangeable in Hollywood‘s eyes). Andrew Leonard, a Salon staff writer uses the following logic:

Having not so long enjoyed the opportunity to sit in a sold-out Hangzhou theater watching “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I,” I can fully appreciate the global importance of the Chinese consumer market for the movie industry. And I can’t say that I hold any special fondness for exploitative schlock Hollywood films that attempt to cash in on nativist fears of foreign invasion. But somehow, I still feel like shedding a tear, or at least a deep sigh, at this unmistakable evidence of 21st century American inability to control the commanding heights of global pop culture. If we can’t reduce foreign cultures to menacing cartoon stereotypes then how dare we call ourselves the world’s preeminent superpower? ……

Some might argue that the decision to swap out Chinese invaders for North Koreans is all the proof we need that the invasion has already happened — and the Chinese won! But you won’t hear that accusation here: Chinese pageviews are far too important to the longterm profitability of Salon for me to engage in that kind of recklessness.

Leonard says that he does not fancy nativist views but then thinks that part of being a global power is to be able to cartoon-ify an ancient civilization with say 20% of the present world population. Then tongue-in-cheek, he states that Salon like Hollywood, requires Chinese viewers for profitability. To which one can ask, so what? After hundreds of years of worldwide American imperialism, what’s wrong with a bipolar world? Isn’t this clearly a sign of Leonard’s own anti-Chinese nativism?

Not to be outdone, someone with the pseudonym “AllahPundit” speaking of the same movie said,

Exit question one: Why didn’t the producers realize they’d run into this problem in the first place? Exit question two: Instead of changing the identity of the invaders, why not just recut the ending for foreign distribution to show China winning? Box office gold.

The answers are obvious: The producers are myopic, nativist Euro-Americans and if the Chinese ‘won’ the war, U.S. sales would be slim and the Euro-American nativist primary concern isn’t money but pro-American propaganda for the American public.



AllahPundit, 2011. Good news: “Red Dawn” remake changes villains from China to North Korea [http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/16/good-news-red-dawn-remake-changes-villains-from-china-to-north-korea]

Leonard, Andrew. 2011. Hollywood’s kowtow: “Red Dawn” dumps Chinese invaders. [http://www.salon.com/2011/03/16/red_dawn_replaces_chinese_with_north_koreans]


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