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Hortense Powdermaker

  • All entertainment is education in some way, many times more effective than schools because of the appeal to the emotions rather than to the intellect.

  • South Sea natives who have been exposed to American movies classify them into two types, 'kiss-kiss' and 'bang-bang.'

  • Hollywood provides ready-made fantasies or daydreams; the problem is whether these are productive or nonproductive, whether the audience is psychologically enriched or impoverished.

  • Only a small percentage of novelists, painters, musicians, scientists, anywhere in the world, are talented. But there are many more in Hollywood than one would expect from looking movies.

  • Almost no one trusts anyone else, and the executives, particularly, trust no one, not even themselves.

  • Hollywood represents totalitarianism. Its basis is economic rather than political but its philosophy is similar to that of the totalitarian state.

  • The artist in all societies has traditionally been a kind of barometer, more sensitive to nuances and changes than others, because he is more deeply immersed in his culture and more interested in its meanings.

  • In Hollywood, the ... basic freedom of being able to choose between alternatives is absent. The gifted people who have the capacity for choice cannot exercise it; the executives who technically have the freedom of choice do not actually have it, because they usually lack the knowledge and imagination necessary for making such a choice.

  • The Hollywood atmosphere of crises and continuous anxiety is a kind of hysteria which prevents people from thinking, and is not too different from the way dictators use wars and continuous threats of war as an emotional basis for maintaining their power.

  • In Hollywood, primitive magical thinking exists side by side with the most advanced technology.

Hortense Powdermaker, U.S. anthropologist, ethnologist, educator

(1896 - 1970)