IT'S NOT (EXACTLY) THE JEWS!
Your May 15-21 Naked Hollywood article by Charles Fleming [“It's the Jews”] was irresponsible journalism at its worst. The article contained numerous factual errors and false conclusions.
First, the description of the article provided on your contents page and describing my agenda as “anti-Semitic” was false. The headline suggests that I say, “It's the Jews.” That's false. The subheadline suggests that I contend that the Hollywood situation is a result of some form of conspiracy. That's false.
In the second paragraph of the text of the article, you state that Film Threat's readers e-mailed editors there to tell them “what was really going on with Cones and his Film Industry Reform Movement.” That [i.e., the Film Threat readers' idea of what's real – Ed.] is false. Also, in the second paragraph, the allegation that one of my Web-site essays states that “connections or relationships with Hollywood Jews” [Cones' language] are the “key to success in the motion-picture industry” [Fleming's language] is false. The further allegation that I have said Hollywood studio executives are “all-powerful, unaccountable and irresponsible to all but themselves” [Fleming's language] is false.
My position is misstated in paragraph number four, again with the “It's the Jews!” reference. That's not my position and never has been. It is falsely suggested in paragraph number five that by looking at my writings questions can be fairly raised about whether they contain any anti-Semitism. Nothing is fair about alleging anti-Semitism where there is none.
It is also false to state that “basically, everyone else” in my chart of Hollywood studio executives whose background is not otherwise identified is Jewish. That's false. Further, Neal Gabler is quoted in the article as suggesting an argument I've never made. That's irresponsible on both Fleming's and Gabler's part. In paragraph number seven, Fleming again makes the false statement that I have theories about the “impact of Jews in Hollywood.” That's false.
In paragraph number eight, it is inaccurate to say that Mensa is “embarrassed” about my speech. Mensa is an organization made up of a large number of people. An interview conducted by Fleming with one or two members of Mensa does not accurately reflect the views of the group. Finally [as to the illustration accompanying the article], associating a symbol that implies hatred for Jews with my position is a gross injustice. Nothing could be more wrong or irresponsible.
-John W. Cones
CHARLES FLEMING REPLIES:
I am certainly not alone in questioning Mr. Cones' underlying agenda in his analysis of the Hollywood power structure, and I stand behind what I wrote. But I would urge interested readers to draw their own conclusions. Mr. Cones' speech to Mensa is available on the Internet at www.mecfilms.com/ FIRM/crimes.htm.
I appreciate your coverage and attempt to shed light on the agenda of Mr. Cones, and I realize that the writer, Mr. Fleming, was implying that Mr. Cones was way off on quite a few facts and that his reasoning is severely corrupted by a weird prejudicial agenda. However, rather than the sort of writing in which one mostly quotes the offending party, then includes a few brief quotes of protest from other parties, I would much prefer to have seen a simple, concise rebuttal included in the article, e.g.:
1) There are an enormous number of non-Jews in the film and entertainment industry (Irish, Italian, WASP, Polish, African, Asian, Latino, whatever Americans), including quite a few at the highest levels. Just look at the rolling credits of any film or movie. The “Hollywood” industry is a huge employer of people across the ethnic spectrum.
2) Still, there are an inordinately large number of Jewish people involved in the filmmaking business, at all levels, including the creative and business, partly because some Jewish individuals helped create and originate the industry as we know it many decades ago. Why does Mr. Cones – or anyone – assume that all, or most, of these individuals are any more influenced by their religious or ethnic background than anyone else in America is? Their opinions are obviously diverse and range tremendously. Most Americans, I believe, do not find any particular groups slandered in movies on a regular basis, but rather find the characters in many movies to be stylized, superficialized or comic versions of real life.
If the entertainment products made by hundreds of people under a Jewish corporate owner somehow represent particularly “Jewish” sensibilities, then do Ford cars have an “Irish” sensibility (Henry Ford), Coca-Cola a “Latino” sensibility (Coke's chairman and CEO is a Cuban-American) or Bank of America money an “Italian” sensibility (B of A's founder is an Italian immigrant)? I think not.
Quoting an individual with an illogical or prejudiced agenda is fine in an article, but please counter it with some rational arguments. In this case, there are many good ones to be made.
-Adam M. Gropman
Either I am not paying enough attention, or you were not informed that L.A. had two Gay Pride celebrations on the weekend of June 27 and 28. Having just relocated to L.A. from NYC, I find such lack of interest in gay issues perplexing, to say the least. The Village Voice always has a Gay Pride cover and pullout section. While I know that the L.A. Weekly is not The Voice by any means, I still don't understand your silence.
Do gay and lesbian people not exist for you? Do you believe we only live in Northern California? What gives?
Author, The Gay Man's Guide to Heterosexuality
MR. SODERBERGH CORREX
Regarding Paul Malcolm's very generous article about me [“Back in Sight,” July 3-9], I feel the need to make two minor corrections. First, I did not “win” the lawsuit with Paramount Pictures et al. over A Confederacy of Dunces – we settled out of court prior to trial. Second, Schizopolis was not self-financed. Strange as it may seem, the film was funded by pre-selling video rights to Universal Pictures with the understanding we would buy these rights back after making a deal with a (presumably independent) distributor. Fortunately, Fox Lorber purchased worldwide rights to the film, enabling us to repay Universal's “investment.”
F.X. Feeney's review of Picnic at Hanging Rock [Revival Pick, June 26-July 2] perfectly illustrates the meaninglessness of film criticism. Twenty years ago he hated the film; now it is a masterpiece. My question is: How long until the current crop of bad films become works of art? Conversely, how long before today's masterpieces are turned into crap? Perhaps the Weekly should drop the commentary altogether and just print plot summaries.
THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO
I just finished reading the L.A. Weekly – and its ads – for the first time, and have come to the conclusion that you must have a lot of ugly-ass people reading your paper. Or, at the very least, insecure, rich, ugly-ass people. Liposuction, breast augmentation, penis enlargement, vaginal rejuvenation (?!), tummy tucks . . . What ever happened to “growing old gracefully” and “letting it all hang out”?
I dunno. Maybe I'm just sour about the fact that I couldn't find any ads for what I want: to make myself taller. I guess I'll just have to settle for the old disco platforms in my closet.
-Deborah L. Peeples