09 January 2010

“If Balding, Paunchy Women Drove Ratings…”

On 2 January, the Boston Globe TV columnist Joanna Weiss wrote a column that began: “To gauge how Hollywood wants us to think about men and women and aging,…”

That prompted a useful response from Eric Korsh among today’s letters:

As a producer, I know that Hollywood spends virtually no time or money attempting to get us to think anything. Its efforts are focused on getting us to consume content in theaters and on television. To that end, it attempts to find out what we already think, and to deliver satisfactory characters. Hollywood gives people what they want in order to be profitable. . . .

make no mistake - if balding, paunchy women drove ratings, not only would Hollywood “allow” it, you’d hardly be able to find a network without them.
Granted, the images of men and women on TV and in other mass entertainment can help to create a feedback cycle that reinforces the prejudices they respond to. But those prejudices originate in society, not in “Hollywood.”

The notion that entertainment media are out to do anything more than collect money always seems silly to me. But to see that idea glibly expressed by someone covering the field for a major newspaper—that’s dismaying.

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