Friday, July 12, 2019

Notes on the Review of QUIZ SHOW by Trevor Lynch — Morality Tale vs Power Play — WASPS and Jews — Paradox of Moral Iconography

Geritol may have been worthless but still preferable to Jerry-Toll, the bitter and very expensive pill that Germans(and other whites) must take for perpetuity to atone for the Holy Holocaust.

Interesting review but I think Trevor Lynch's 'Aryan' neuroticism is showing in willfully misreading certain aspects of the movie. Consider...

Van Doren objects to being, in effect, tricked into taking part in a rigged game, but Enright and Freedman salve his conscience by telling him that he is promoting higher educational standards to American schoolchildren. The money also helps.

The role of money isn't merely incidental to the story. I don't know what happened in REAL LIFE, but in the movie, the money helps A LOT. Also, there is hardly any sign of troubled conscience on his part when he's riding high. In hindsight for the audience, his initial objection to cheating comes across as merely customary, a formality. It was the 'proper' thing for a man of his class and background to say. If indeed he was made of finer and truer stuff, he wouldn't have fallen for the pap about promoting education. He would have spotted it right away as disingenuous rationale. It turns out what he wanted from the beginning was money and fame. This side of him remained repressed because he came from a respected literary family in a culture that still distinguished between highbrow and lowbrow. Twenty-One Questions was essentially a bogus show, lowbrow entertainment with highbrow ornamentation. Thus, the millions who really watched for the suspense and sensationalism could tell themselves that they were watching it for Kultur. Of course, Hollywood operated in the same manner from the beginning, making mass entertainment for the unwashed but also adapting classic novels(in watered-down form) or dealing with TIMELY issues to impress the world that Tinsel Town isn't only about nickels and dimes but culture and values as well. (QUIZ SHOW itself was one of those 'prestige' movies made by Hollywood for Oscar Season.) The later game shows were more honest as shameless entertainment. Who wants to learn anything on FAMILY FEUD? Among game shows, JEOPARDY was semi-smart but hardly more challenging than Trivial Pursuit.
As the highbrow vs lowbrow dichotomy has faded from cultural discourse(though sub-hierarchies of all kinds still exist), even children of elite families need not worry about their shameless hankering for fun, entertainment, fame, and celebrity. Today's elders are the children of the Sixties who grew up on Rock music, and their kids and grandkids have similar tastes(that have gotten even more vulgar). But in the late 50s and early 60s, there still was a literary culture, and the TV was considered the Idiot Box. Van Doren was obviously smart(though far from genius) and erudite, but at least according to the movie, it seems he followed the path of elite education and high culture because such was expected of him in a family that was steeped in literature and seriousness... though, to be sure, it's refreshing that the Van Dorens are shown to have a light side as well. These are not cold rigid Wasps, the kind in Woody Allen's INTERIORS. At the father's birthday, the old man reads poetry, but everyone would rather hear something else and gently mock him, all in good humor. It's a serious but not a cold and rigid family. Though Charles Van Doren followed the straight and narrow path of earning his degrees and settling down to an academic career, there seems to have been an burning itch for easy money and publicity. He wanted the LA DOLCE VITA lifestyle.
While popular culture played a big role in America since the 19th century -- think of P.T. Barnum and Wild Bill's traveling shows -- , its power grew exponentially after World War II. America experienced prosperity like never before. Even ordinary folks could afford nice big cars. Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, James Dean, and etc. were legends in their time. With radios and then TV's spreading like wildfire all across America, the nation came together in collective awe of celebrity. JFK was the first celebrity-president or TV-president, and his tragic death was soon followed by amnesia and Beatlemania, an aspect of Americanism captured in the closing moments of Robert Altman's NASHVILLE where the audience are soon clapping to "It Don't Worry Me" after a country-singer star has been fatally shot. It shows both the stupidity and stamina of Americanism: The easy forgetfulness and distraction by entertainment and the resilience to revive one's spirits and march on with song and dance. After 9/11, Americans went shopping like after the JFK assassination, they went to Beatles concerts.

A sci-fi variation on QUIZ SHOW's theme is THE TRUMAN SHOW where the main character isn't merely obsessed with pop culture but a product of it. It turns out he is IN a TV Show, indeed been in one since birth. And even as the audiences root for him to escape the TV bubble-world, they themselves are completely glued to their TV's. It appears the ONLY way they can experience the thrill of liberation from TV is by watching TV, a prison of their minds that creates the illusion of freedom with constant flow of images. And when Truman finally escapes, they are still watching. They themselves cannot quit the habit. TV banned tobacco ads but turned out to be more addictive than nicotine. Sam Peckinpah's final movie THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND was prophetic about how the video technology would take over our lives. In the movie, government agents use video surveillance to trick and dupe people, but now, countless millions all over the world offer up their own images and sounds for companies like Google and Facebook to track.

By the looks of the movie, Van Doren wasn't honest with himself because of his family background and prevailing sensibilities of his socio-cultural milieu. It was still a time when colleges were respectable places of serious knowledge. Back then, most universities didn't have Film Studies Departments even though Film as Art Form(especially foreign cinema) was being taken seriously by the elites. Susan Sontag had yet to write her Notes on Camp, and Pauline Kael had yet to arrive on the scene. Andrew Sarris said he excluded both TOUCH OF EVIL and VERTIGO -- genre crime thriller and genre romance-mystery -- from his 10 best list of 1958 but included Stanley Kramer's ON THE BEACH for its serious treatment of a grave topic, something he soon came to regret. When Sarris, under the influence of French cinephiles, changed his tune and gave a glowing review of Hitchcock's PSYCHO for the Village Voice, it was still a time when such views raised eyebrows. Now, ON THE BEACH wasn't highbrow but it was serious, and educated people were supposed to be very concerned about the state of the world.
In 1955, the Best Picture went to MARTY(highly praised in Europe, especially in France) because it was supposedly a serious and honest look at Real Ordinary Americans and a hopeful sign that Hollywood was beginning to wake up and make films about real problems of real people; even Hitchcock got into the act with THE WRONG MAN. (HONEYMOONERS was more fun.) It wasn't merely good but good for you, like medicine. (In QUIZ SHOW, Stempel the Smarty is made to take on dive on MARTY.)

And this spirit also accounted for the rise of Folk Music among college students against the seeming crassness and vulgarity of explosive Rock n Roll and shallowness of commercial pop. Though politically leftist, Folk Movement was, in many ways, culturally conservative. But then, so was Stalinism. Because of the climate of seriousness, even silly game-shows could have middlebrow pretensions. And the vast NEW middle class of the post-war period was suddenly flush with money and property, and they were anxious for some cultural capital as well; many families in this period ordered the Great Books series, most of which went unread by both parents and children who preferred the TV and stereo. Deep down inside, most people just wanted fun. It wasn't so much the 'innocence' but the 'stuffiness' that bored them. They wanted to take off the suit in summer and dive into the pool, like Benjamin Braddock in THE GRADUATE who wants to be 'different', but then, it's been said the Mike Nichols' movie reflects America of the early 60s than 1967 when so much had already changed. Charles Van Doren of the movie comes across as someone who, for all his education and background, really hankers for fame and fortune and to live the 007 lifestyle. (In W. directed by Oliver Stone, Dubya is blue blood but just wants to party and have a good time. In that, he was at least more true to himself than Van Doren.) But given his family and profession, he was doomed to lead a dignified but dull life -- all work and no play makes Charles a dull boy -- , that is until he appeared on TV and became an overnight sensation. Some people are naturally shy while other are naturally exhibitionist, and Van Doren just couldn't get enough of the spotlight. Van Doren had initially resisted the offer(in a rather mild and tepid way), but once he got the prizes, he was more than happy to play along. And if the issue of corruption had never come to light, he would likely have lived his entire life with the myth intact and without a troubled conscience(unlike the James Stewart character in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE who really was troubled throughout his life by the myth that made him a legend and a senator).

Also, one doesn't have to be neurotic to cheat in life or be a real a**hole. In CASINO, the L.Q. Jones character causes a lot of problems simply because Ace Rothstein(Robert DeNiro) won't rehire his numbnut brother-in-law. Like so many, he does the right thing for all the wrong reasons. There is rottenness all around, and different people use different means to get what they want. And the two-faced goy weasel car dealer in FARGO rings all too true. Plenty of those types all around regardless of race, color, or creed. And one wonders about the character of Wasp elites when the distinguished Bush family produced dolts like George W. Bush and Jeb 'please clap' Bush. Or how about that Dan Quayle?

And in the end, it wasn't the Wasp sense of truth and honor that did them in. If QUIZ SHOW shows any Achilles Heel among Wasps, it was the habitual preference for form over substance. If Wasps or 'Aryans' had genuine concern for truth and honor(the real kind), they would have spoken the truth about all that mattered. But when push came to shove and Wasps had to choose between genteel respectability(always defined by the changing Zeitgeist) and the cold hard truth, they too often chose the former. Maintaining their good name and reputation mattered more than dropping the pretense and saying it like it is. Elite wasps were like gardeners who handle flowers but loathe touching the dirt. In Akira Kurosawa's SANJURO, the gruff hero teaches the young ones that looks can be deceiving. A charmer can be a scoundrel. Of course, a man can be bad in manners and morals, but real goodness and truth are not about appearances and impressions.
Another problem with Wasps was the repressive reluctance to speak candidly on a host of important matters of modern times. It's no wonder Jews took over sexual politics since they were willing to discuss it(even if often in a bad way) -- it's like the liar will be heard over the truth-teller if the latter would rather not speak his piece. Wasp elites were also reluctant to speak on racial issues because they were afraid of ruffling anyone's feathers. There was something bloodless about them, the anxiety of giving offense. (This bloodless quality was evident even among Wasps who let go of their inhibitions and became libertine. Some joined nudist colonies and were equally as dull and bland in their liberation. They went back to playing bridge and sipping tea, except they were butt-naked this time.) By this, I don't mean they should have been like the KKK or yelled 'ni**er' at the top of their lungs. Rather, they could have put forth a rational and honest discussion of race and racial differences(before PC made it truly impossible), something many were unwilling to do lest doing so blemish their reputations. It wasn't just the fear of being called 'racist' or 'bigot' but the anxiety of causing a scene. It's been said William F. Buckley couldn't tolerate anyone losing his temper at National Review meetings. Another problem with Wasps was the conceit of America itself. American ideals were always too pristine for its often unsettling realities. Whiter the blanket, more easily the spots and stains are noticed. And the Wasp Vision of America was too spotless for the reality that was very spotty, and in time, even the Wasps lost faith in their myth, causing a Narrative vacuum to be filled by other groups, esp the Jews who gained control of institutions that decide such things.
Those who are overly obsessed with niceties and respectability don't have what it takes to get down and dirty in the fight. Though a united Anglo force on either side of the Atlantic was virtually unbeatable against external enemies -- consider what Anglos and Anglo-Americans did to Spain, France, Mexico, Japan, Germany, and etc -- , once the enemies were allowed into the Anglo Order, the Anglos were far less effective as a power. A united Anglo force at war with an outside enemy didn't have to play by gentlemanly rules. Anything goes in a war. Anglo power could wipe out the enemy with ruthless abandon. But when members of the Other were allowed to enter Anglo or Anglo-American society(that were bound by gentlemanly respectability at least at elite levels) and acted with special vehemence and aggressiveness, the respectable Anglos could no longer react with ruthless force. Rather, they were bound by the Rule of Law that guaranteed representation even to their new rivals. It's like UK and US can kill any number of Muslims with unrelenting ferocity in the Middle East, but the Muslims IN the West are untouchable. US in WWII could easily crush Fascist Italy, but the Federal Government had a hellish time dealing with Italian-American organized crime because the Rule of Law guaranteed legal representation and rights even to hoodlums. US soldiers could blow up entire parts of Somalia, but white Americans are helpless to stop Somali mobs rampaging around Mall of America. Anglo Power has a tough hide but soft stomach. Once you get INTO the Anglo order, there is almost nothing the Anglos can do to you even as you act loutish. It's like a horse is a powerful animal that can crush just about any creature, but if a predator gets on its back and bites the neck, it is helpless. As the Anglos elevated the Law as the highest principle, all those WITHIN the Anglo Order(even if not Anglo) could gain protection of the law that could even be used against the Anglos. Is it any wonder that the Anglo power in India was brought down by Hindus who studied in the UK and gained privilege WITHIN the belly of the empire? If one had to choose between remaining clean & respectable(by retreating) and getting down-and-dirty to fight the hostile Other, Anglos often chose the former IF the hostile Other was INSIDE the Anglo Order. This is why whites in UK are so helpless against the hostile Other. They'd rather keep their 'good' manners than unleash their unruly manhood to push back against the Other.
Of course, not all Anglos were so refined and dainty. Some were tough and mean(especially the Scotch-Irish in the South, but they were always a breed apart), but Anglo elites became obsessed with their good names, and if keeping their reputation required them to sever their ties with their own unwashed folks(who were still willing to use rough means to protect their turf from the Other), they did so. Similarly, the fancy whites in South Africa, to keep their 'good' name and privileges, decided to toss the un-rich whites to the wolves(or gorillas). Besides, rich whites have the means to move to greener pastures when the hostile Other gets too unruly whereas the un-rich whites have no such way out. The ONLY way un-rich whites could hold their own against the Other was by rough means. But when Wasp elites, in order to keep their reputation, used the power of law to prevent un-rich whites from defending themselves from tougher blacks, the white race was truly lost. With their hands bound by the law, the un-rich whites could no longer use extralegal methods to push back against blacks who had always disregarded the law(even as they sought protection from it) and acted like wild savages. As such, the only fate left for un-rich whites without the means to move away from blacks to greener pastures was to surrender their women to Negro men and become submissive cuck-dogs to the black race. Thus, the fall of whites and the rise of 'whiggers' and cucks. In BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, the British officer even goes about building a bridge for the Japanese because nothing matters more than his reputation as a leader of men who could get things done.
The formidable united Anglo Power against External Enemies. It was ruthless, committed, and near-invincible.
The pathetic sappy Anglo against the Hostile Other who now reside INSIDE the UK. Total Wussy.
When faced with an external enemy, Anglo Power need not worry about the restraint of respectability since there is nothing gentlemanly about dropping bombs and killing bushels of people. Even today, who cares when US drops bombs on Syria and kills the 'enemy'? No one. Respectability matters only WITHIN the Anglo/American Order, and this is why Anglos lost out. They let the Other enter the Anglo world and gain protection of Anglo Rule of Law. Now, not all groups in the Other category were hostile. The mild ones could be digested by the Anglo stomach and become part of the Anglo body. But certain groups, especially Jews, were more like hookworms than food. Once they got inside the stomach, they resisted digestion by the weak acid and began to suck on the blood of the Anglo host. Just like a powerful bear that can slay just about any animal can't do anything about its intestinal parasites, Anglo Power could do little against the parasites that formed on the inside. And it wasn't only the Jews who caused trouble but the Irish -- though the Irish were eventually digested and more-or-less became part of Anglo-America, they did a lot of damage along the way and weakened American Unity. Instead of taking on the tough Irish who were taking over cities with corrupt Machine Politics and criminality, a lot of Anglo-Americans decided to retreat to other areas. This set the template for other troublesome groups to emulate. They realized Anglos are unbeatable and formidable as a united force against external enemies but vulnerable in conflicts with the Other WITHIN the Anglo community. This was why CLASS was so important in the UK. It served as a barrier for the respectable elites who didn't have the stomach for bloody conflicts WITHIN their own order. Better to keep peoples separate by psychologically instilling them with the notion of Class Distinctions.
In the US, the sheer size of the country turned Anglos into both lions and chicken. All that space meant that Anglos could be conquerors waging war to to take the land from Indians and Mexicans. They felt as lions against those perceived as external enemies to the ever-expanding Anglo-American Order. But Anglo-Americans were less confident against the troublesome Other within the Order. Besides, why worry so much when vast spaces meant Anglos could just pick up things and move to greener pastures to get away from the Hostile Other, especially blacks. So, the very lion-like race that conquered land from Red Savages ran like chicken from Black Savages who came conquering with their fists and rage.

Anglo way was "Be Ruthless With External Enemies and Be Respectable with Internal Citizens". So, once the Other made it INTO British society, Anglos were bound to treat them with respect. Of course, there were Anglo snobs who snubbed the Other, but over time, they were seen as mean and rude, and it became a universal rule among elites to be kinder to the Other... to keep their reputation. As for unwashed whites who continued to push back against the Other, they were suppressed and penalized by white elites who'd rather betray their racial kin to keep their own good 'reputation' as people who simply cannot tolerate 'racism'. We see this tendency even with Jared Taylor. He is willing to discuss IQ and crime but not the fact that blacks pose a threat to whites because they got more muscle and bigger dongs. That stuff is just too 'vulgar' for his Anglo sensibility. Also, as 'antisemitism' is the biggest heresy in respectable circles, he will stifle most candid discussion of Jewish Power at American Renaissance. Even though he's treated as an irredeemable pariah by the Establishment, he still clings to Judeophilia out of hope that it will spare his good name. The Age of the Gentleman is over. We need Toughmen.

Unfortunately, when Enright and Freedman made Herb Stempel take a dive, the unstoppable force of Jewish neuroticism crashed into the immovable object of Jewish unscrupulousness, and the result was a huge explosion. The highly neurotic Stempel was humiliated by being forced to fail on an easy question.

Herb Stempel is a rather grubby and odious character in the movie. And it's true that his motivations are not pure. He did the 'right thing' for all the wrong reasons. Still, in some ways he is more of a man than Van Doren because he admits he's about greed, vanity, and resentment. He admits he loved the money & attention and wanted more of it. Besides, he was genuinely wronged at least in one way. He had been promised slots on future game shows, which was why he agreed to lose on purpose. So, even though he's nasty and unscrupulous, he didn't merely act out of spite or envy. He didn't get what he was promised. A liar who admits he's a liar is, in some ways, more honorable than a liar who pretends to speak the truth and nothing but the truth. Stempel is a pile of shit out in the open. Van Doren is a pile of shit inside a gift box. Stempel is more truthful about who and what he is than Van Doren is about himself. And that is what makes Van Doren worse in some ways. Stempel is shit that smells like shit whereas Van Doren is perfumed shit. And Van Doren isn't just a dupe of Jewish executives but a willing collaborator. After the initial half-hearted NO, he easily said YES to all that followed. The problem is he isn't only dishonest with others but with himself. Stempel is at least knows himself. He has no illusions that he's motivated by anything but resentment, rage, and bitterness. In contrast, Van Doren tells himself that it's all for some higher good. Consider how Van Doren decides to accept only the questions than the answers(so he can look up the answers himself prior to the show), as if that really makes a difference. For a man who's supposed to be so smart and upright, he so easily fell for the sales pitch of Enright and Freedman. You see, "it's for the children." But then, he didn't so much fall for it as go with it because it was convenient rationalization for his want of fame and fortune.

Of course, QUIZ SHOW is dishonest with its misdirection about how the game was rigged to reward Gentile(esp Wasp) contestants with more money over their Jewish counterparts. Thus, we get the impression that Gentiles profited over Jews. But in fact, such favoritism was to ensure that the Jewish big-shots who run the show will rake in more money from the duped Gentiles. As white goyim are more likely to root for one of their own, many more are likely to tune in if a white golden boy is shown to be winning over Jews. But it's all just a hustle as the REAL MONEY flows from the sucker gentile audience to the coffers of Jewish moguls.

It's like, if slot machines were rigged in Las Vegas to favor white gentiles over slightly over Jews and if Ad campaigns showed white gentiles with the biggest jackpots, who would be the real winner? Gentiles? No, it would be the Jewish owners of the casinos who would be suckering EVEN MORE white gentile suckers to come and try their luck.

The whole thing would have blown over rather than up were it not for the catalyzing agent of Jewish ambition, in the form of Dick Goodwin, trying to work his way out of a minor staff position in the House Committee for Legislative Oversight.

Good for Dick Goodwin. He was doing his job and did it well. Now, I don't know about the REAL Goodwin, but the character in the movie comes across as the most honorable. Though Jewish himself, the main targets of his investigation are Jewish media big shots. Also, even though he strongly suspects Van Doren is lying, he develops a soft spot for the man's positive qualities and the Van Doren family. He has a heart. He's not motivated by ethnic sadism or revenge. He wants to hit Big Media without hurting Van Doren, even sparing him with a kind of 'passover' favoritism. If anything, this 'weakness' on his part compromises him professionally and ethically, but he is human after all. It's like the eccentric but upright character in THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO tips off his licentious friend because, all said and done, he sees some good in him -- the guy is flawed but not evil. Likewise, Goodwin senses that Van Doren isn't a wicked character. Just weak and all too vain, an inability to be square with himself.

None of the people who lied faced any negative consequences... Goodwin, who died in 2018, went on to be a speechwriter and an aide to presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and also to senator Robert Kennedy... Charles Van Doren was the only person in the whole sordid affair to face negative consequences for his testimony, solely because he told the truth... When caught in a perfect storm of Jewish unscrupulousness, neurosis, and ambition, his Aryan sense of honor was his undoing. Thus the story of Charles Van Doren can be seen as the epitome of the fall of the WASP ruling class and the rise of our hostile Jewish elite.

This is very very wrong. First, why include Goodwin among those who were spared negative consequences when he didn't do any wrong? If anything, he played an instrumental role in exposing corruption in big media. If he was rewarded later in life, that is justice, not injustice. If he did wrong, it was because he developed a soft spot for Van Doren and tried to shield him from the full brunt of the shit that was about to hit the fan. In this respect, he also 'fed answers' to Van Doren, but he wasn't motivated by greed but sentimentality and infatuation. Also, there was back then a love/hate thing among many Jews toward Wasps. Yes, they felt envy and resentment, but they also aspired to emulate Wasps in class and style. It's like the bourgeoisie superseded the aristocracy but also looked up to it as a cultural model. Besides, Goodwin doesn't come across as self-aggrandizing and prickly as Ron Silver as Alan Dershowitz in REVERSAL OF FORTUNE -- now, that was painful to watch.

As for Stempel, things didn't turn out so great for him either. He brought down Van Doren but never made it on TV again. The fact that he later got a job in the NY Transportation Department hardly means much. As for Enright and Freedman, they were shyster businessmen and didn't have much of a reputation to lose. It is then no wonder they got back on their feet with more of their hustles.
Van Doren fell hard because of his social and cultural standing, something he milked for all it was worth in the sordid affair. If a devil and an angel are both caught in a tawdry act, who's going to suffer more? The angel of course because of his reputation of being a heavenly creature. An outed devil may lose his loot but not his reputation since he hasn't any to begin with. Van Doren coasted on his reputation. He exploited his family name and standing as college instructor with sterling academic degrees. He sold himself as one of the best and the brightest. And that's why he fell the hardest. This is why we are less forgiving of priests than prostitutes. If a prostitute is caught doing sordid things, we can expect her to return to her life as soon as she's out of the slammer. Business, like politics, has always been sleazy. But priests and religious leaders have(or at least HAD) higher reputation, and this is why it's far more damaging for them to get caught in lurid acts. In our jaded and cynical age, there isn't much respect left for priests or professors, but Van Doren came to fame in a time when certain figures of authority were still regarded with much respect and trust. Van Doren betrayed this trust, and that's why he paid a price.

Also, we have to consider why he finally decided to tell the truth. He did it only under great duress as he sensed the whole thing would blow up. In some ways, he finally decided to do something halfway honorable but it was too little too late. Also, we don't know -- and he doesn't know either by the look of it -- why he suddenly had a change of heart when he did. Was he truly motivated by conscience? Then, why wasn't HE the one to expose the truth? And why did he kept on denying the truth, digging himself deeper into the hole until he could no longer fool Goodwin or himself. Was it out of his sense of shame before his family? We will never know, but the movie seems to suggest that his truth-telling stunt was less about coming clean than cleaning up his image as a born-again man-of-conscience. In other words, it's less a confession and apology than a self-serving act of making himself the object of sympathy. By admitting his guilt in grand manner, it's almost as if he's showing off that, as a proud and honorable Van Doren, his conscience finally compelled him to lay it all on the table. And committee member after committee member seems to go along, that is until a Jewish-looking gentleman who saw right through Van Doren's testimony objects to the self-serving display. And the people applaud the censure because it cuts through the BS.
Van Doren was not an evil man, and as Goodwin discovered, there were many likable and even good qualities. But all said and done, he was a vapid person who was incapable of being honest with himself. He wasn't acting out of Honor, Aryan or otherwise. Indeed, the notion that honor is a special preserve of a certain racial group is itself tawdry and dishonorable. Honor is an individual quality. While some groups may have more honorable individuals than others, it's something that has to be individually cultivated and earned. And it's about more than appearances. Van Doren never had much honor. He finally confessed not so much to come clean and suffer the consequences but to present yet another squeaky clean image of himself as a man so racked by conscience that he decided to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. At least according to the movie, he expected to be rewarded for his newfound compass and Scout Honor. But as most Americans noted all too easily, it was too little and too late. If Van Doren was really about honor and truth, he should have been the FIRST one to come clean, not one of the last after digging in his heels.
Now, one could argue that Van Doren could have just kept mum like Goodwin advised him to. One could argue that Van Doren decided to testify because, at some point, he really did want to make amends and redeem himself before his family and the American public. Such interpretation is certainly plausible. But more likely, it seems he chose to appear before the committee because his calculating mind decided that the American Public would assume he was given answers and cheated like Stempel and the rest. After all, if cheating was indeed so endemic on the program, why would it have been any different with him? Therefore, even if he himself wasn't formally accused by the law, he figured that the public will assume him to be a fraud as well. So, the ONLY way he could salvage his reputation was by turning a new leaf, going from know-it-all Van Doren to born-again Van Doren. It was a gambit that failed.

In a way, QUIZ SHOW is as much a Jew vs Jew story as a Jew vs Wasp story. After all, while Stempel is envious of Van Doren, he is really seething mad about the Jewish execs who forced him to take a dive and duped him with bogus offers. Also, Goodwin isn't after Van Doren but the Big Jews in the media. It's a portrait of a time when the Jewish community was still divided between Money and Morality. Plenty of highly talented Jews back then pursued the calling of prestige than profit. Goodwin had the smarts to work in Wall Street and make serious money. And he has money on his mind. The movie begins with him luxuriating over a car to a salesman's pitch. He could have had wealth, but he chose another line of work. As someone who graduated first of the class at Harvard, he went into government not because he couldn't cut it in the business world. It was a conscious choice to do the right thing. It was a sacrifice, and there is a part of him that wishes he'd gone for the money. And this is yet another reason why he sort of identifies with Van Doren. Van Doren went for money and fame, and Goodwin wanted some of that too. Amazingly, Van Doren at the peak of his fame seemed to have the best of both worlds. He had a respectable profession as an academic but also became a famous celebrity(like Carl Sagan much later). It's like he kept his soul and gained the world. But in fact, he made a farcical-Faustian pact and sold his soul for the world. QUIZ SHOW suggest how its near-impossible to have it both ways. Van Doren's father gained respect as a serious writer, but a man like that could never be Elvis or Sinatra. In contrast, businessmen will do just about anything to gain the world. And people who gain celebrity usually turn out to be vain and vapid. For a short time, Van Doren had the world believing that you could be true to yourself and still be a big splashy star. (In American Cinema since the 80s, only Martin Scorsese gained renown as both artist who remained true to himself and a world-famous celebrity who won many accolades. When Redford was coming into his own as a star, it was the time of New Hollywood when all seemed possible: The Artists would take over from the businessmen in a New Dawn. But as most personal film-makers failed while George Lucas and Steven Spielberg hit the big times, the choices became rather stark: Make films that earn you little money and hardly any fame but remain true to yourself OR make the kind of movies that might become blockbusters and earn you millions even if they go against the heady idealism of New American Cinema. The ethical dynamics of QUIZ SHOW reflects the Big Question hanging over the generation that emerged with New Hollywood that finally came to an end with APOCALYPSE NOW, REDS, and HEAVEN'S GATE. Lucas and Spielberg won. Redford was too handsome not to be bankable, and his sensibility was too mainstream for him to become an artist like Scorsese or David Lynch or Sidney Lumet at his best. Still, his heart was with the Artist, which was one reason he came up with the Sundance Festival to give the personal film-makers an opportunity to be heard.)
It's been said that one reason why so many Jews became radical leftists in the late 19th century and early 20th century was too many of them were educated but couldn't find jobs worthy of their pride and ego. Feeling wronged by the world, they embraced socialism/communism and waged war on the capitalist world that snubbed their intelligence and seemed rigged for the interests of a few. This mentality gradually ebbed in the US, the land of the free filled with boundless opportunities for a people as tireless as the Jews. With each generation, Jews gave up on radical socialism and embraced capitalism as the path to riches. But, the leftist legacy still lingered and affected enough Jews who idealistically decided they want to do something True and Important than merely profitable. There was also the long Jewish tradition of rabbinical studies that traditionally held more prestige than the mere making of money. Mandarins over Merchants. Still, especially as Jews in business got so rich, it must have been painful for idealistic Jews who chose the 'righteous path' to see what they missed out on. And it's possible that Goodwin was partly motivated in this manner when he decided to go after the sleaze-biz Jews. But such Jew vs Jew tension seems to have faded over the years for the most part as too many Jews in media, academia, entertainment, law, big tech, and deep state now seem to just nod along in wink-wink manner to grab everything for themselves. Most Jews figure there is enough to go around for themselves, so why go the Bernie Sanders route? Besides, even the new Bernie Sanders is more about free college tuition that working class interests.

The psychological aspects of QUIZ SHOW resemble that of CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. They concern the matter of Morality and Motivations, i.e. what motivates people to feel conscience and guilt? What makes them do the right thing? Are moral actions generally the product of genuine conscience or a self-serving ploy to cover one's own ass? When Bill Clinton finally fessed up and expressed contrition over the Monica Lewinsky Affair, was he acting out of genuine moral sense or squirming inside a hole from which he could no longer bluff his way out? Is morality all-too-often like a Poker Game where you hide your cards until the last moment when you must turn them over? In Woody Allen's CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, an affluent and much respected Jewish doctor has his gangster brother murder a mistress who threatened to not only expose the affair but his dubious financial practices. Like Van Doren, he has something more than money to lose. He has a reputation. After she is killed, we see him agonizing over what's been done. How could he have done such a thing as a respected professional, husband & father, a son-who-made-good from a loving Jewish family, and a well-educated & highly cultured man? But as the film progresses, one senses his pangs of conscience are motivated mainly by fear of being caught. He fears his crime will be uncovered, and he'll have to face justice and have his name be dragged through the mud in respectable society. Remorse is his crutch lest the world finds out what really happened. The only way to defend his name would be to say, "I've no idea how I could have done such a monstrous thing: I don't know what came over me" and "I know I let my family down." (The worst example of this is when Jews who get caught with their pants down invoke the "My grandmother was a Holocaust Survivor" card, as if that makes their show of BS contrition all the nobler.) But as the cloud lifts, and he realizes that he's going to get away with the crime, his remorse evaporates like dew in sunrise. Akira Kurosawa's HIGH AND LOW also powerfully dramatizes Moral Motivations. Why did its protagonist finally do the right thing? We don't know, and he doesn't know either.

There is a similar thing with Charles Van Doren. Why did he finally fess up? Contrary to Trevor Lynch's contention, it doesn't seem to have been a genuine case of honor, 'Aryan' or not. By the way, if 'Aryans' are so honorable, why did so many of them give their souls and bodies to a pathological nut like Hitler? Why did Hitler the 'Aryan' betray his promise to Neville Chamberlain? Why did he break the understanding with Stalin? Nazi Supremacism could maybe allow honor among the 'Aryans' but not with those deemed 'weak' or untermensch. Likewise, honor among aristocrats applied only to themselves, not to rest of humanity who were treated like dirt. And the expansion of Anglo-America was not based on honor. Whites broke endless promises made to American Indians and used all manner of dirty tricks to take SW territories from Mexico and trigger a war with Spain to take Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Was it honorable for Anglo-America to help Jews destroy the Palestinians, a people who'd never done any wrong to Americans? Furthermore, the decline of Wasp America was due to pressure from many groups EVEN THOUGH Jews ran off with the cake. Irish Political Machines destroyed much of rock-rib Republican power in cities. Ethnic groups like Italians practiced all manners of criminal activity to get their piece. In a way, Italian-Americans were more tribal and unscrupulous than the Jews, but why did Jews come out on top? More brains and more concentration on institutions and industries that really mattered. Also, Jews could invent and build entire new industries like Hollywood and Las Vegas whereas Italians were mainly good at leeching off the work of others. So, while it's generally true that a people who choose principles over power will lose to a people who choose power over principles, it really depends on whether the two peoples are roughly equal in talent. If Jews had never come to the US, who would have won the Wasps vs Eye-Talians rivalry? I would have bet on the Wasps because, even though Eye-talians choose power over principles, they never had the brains and vision to think big and dominate elite institutions like Jews did. In the Jewish vs Italian rivalry, the former won out because more Jews became lawyers whereas too many Italians remained goombas. While Jews played dirty -- but then, so did lots of other groups -- , their victory had a lot to do with higher IQ. One might argue Episcopalians have equal or even higher IQ than Jews, but in their case, they lost out due to weaker personalities and fading sense of identity. Also, prophetic intelligence gains over analytical intelligence. It's like the artist dreams the dreams while accountants only count the numbers.

Anyway, Van Doren's confession strikes me less a matter of honor than ego. Granted, one's motivations can be multi-layered. One can be driven by both noble and ignoble impulses. A man who risked his own life to save someone surely wanted to save the person, but maybe his ego also wanted to be showered with attention. He wanted to be seen as 'hero'.
Also, there could be duality in one's actions. For instance, what was Van Doren's confession to his father all about in the latter's empty classroom? Was it to preempt his father's disapproval were he to find out some other way instead of from his son who, finally like George Washington and the Cherry Tree, decided to confess, "But father, I cannot tell a lie"? Van Doren finally asks his father to attend the hearing. Was it to bare himself completely in front of his family and the world alike? Or, was he using his father's good name as a moral shield in the sphere of public opinion? While not as craven as "My grandmother was Holocaust Survivor" card, the "Look, my Pulitzer-Prize-winning father sits among you and forgives me, and so, maybe you should too" card is rather low as well. But then, maybe Van Doren was consciously trying to be good 100% and subconsciously pulling a dirty trick 100%. Thus the duality thing.

Granted, these 'ambiguities' and 'subtleties' are rather obvious, the stuff of Complexity 101 taught in Film Writing Schools. Everything is a bit too calculated, measured, and trimmed in the movie. As such, it's not a real work or art but Middlebrow stuff, the kind that Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin specialize in. It's very good of its kind, but we don't really get to know the characters from the inside. Instead, the movie has been calibrated for maximum appeal without being too simplistic for the more 'sophisticated' viewers. The movie was written to be sufficiently 'thoughtful' and 'intelligent' without digging and pushing too far. That level of 'complexity' may have been the reason why audience stayed away -- plus the fact that it doesn't have the humor of something like BROADCAST NEWS or hipster nihilism of SOCIAL NETWORK. Maybe the movie was too complex for dummies and too obvious for smarties. People want heroes and villains, like in ERIN BROCKOVICH and JFK. Or people want to feel warm and fuzzy, like with BEAUTIFUL MIND. In contrast, everyone falls at the end of QUIZ SHOW. Only Goodwin comes out well, but he too proved ineffective in changing the nature of the business. Also, it's a role without star power.
QUIZ SHOW's complexity-by-the-numbers is too familiar as movie tropes go. At the end, we see even Stempel feeling a bit sorry for Van Doren. It's Exhibit A of 'artful' balancing to show a bit of redeeming quality in someone who hitherto was presented mainly as a nasty character. It's supposed to make Stempel into a well-rounded character than a mere caricature. We see the fingers of the film-makers all over the characters, tipping them this way and that lest they stiffen into stock-stereotypes. It isn't art with characters imbued with real psychology but artful entertainment with characters molded with semblance of complexity. It's Canned Ham-let. When true artists create, the characters at some point gain a life of their own. It's like artists giving birth to new life in the realm of imagination. In contrast, the characters in QUIZ SHOW, as amusing as they are, never amount to more than puppets of the makers.

QUIZ SHOW's actors give their all, but their roles remain stock characters. They are all-too-familiar. They are social, ethnic, or ideal types than truly individual characters. In GOODFELLAS, Henry is an Irish-Sicilian hoodlum but much more. He is Henry, an individual(than a type) with a unique story of his own. In contrast, the various characters in QUIZ SHOW hardly come across as anything more than what-they-stand-for. They are walking emblems, generic types fitted with just enough eccentricity to lend an impression of 'complexity'. They are walking-talking bundles of lessons than organic individuals. Goodwin is essentially a bundle of observations that go: (1) Has the smarts to make big money and ride fancy cars (2) Has ideals to clean up the system (3) feels animus against the Wasp elites (4) gains affection for Wasp breeding and manners. He exhibits those qualities like various ill-matching suits. Apart from what he stands for, there is almost nothing about who he is. In contrast, even though Michael Corleone in THE GODFATHER also has conflicting emotions and interests, we sense a true inner character that is entirely his own. Even shallow Henry in GOODFELLAS has more inner life than Goodwin who mainly functions as a dramatic chauffeur. QUIZ SHOW is essentially a didactic work that wraps its instructive good-for-you sermonizing with trappings of complexity posturing as Art or, at least, 'thoughtful entertainment for adults', the kind of movies Otto Preminger used to specialize in. John Sayles has also worked in this vein albeit with a more personal touch, but the result has been much the same. There is too much preachiness despite artful ambiguities, which is why films like MATEWAN and CITY OF HOPE won the perfunctory plaudits from critics but were soon forgotten. His one true great film is BABY IT'S YOU because it's just about life.

Despite its pretensions, QUIZ SHOW works best in Capra-esque mode(though that was the worst aspect of Oliver Stone's JFK, an utterly cynical film with the faux-innocence of MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON). In a way, it is like MEET JOHN DOE where a newspaper and then a plutocrat conspire to turn a hobo into a moral leader to sucker the masses. The newspaper wants to sell more copies, and the rich guy wants Doe the 'common man' as his mouthpiece. The story of Charles Van Doren is almost like a real-life imitation of Frank Capra's movie, the difference being that whereas 'John Doe' is a nobody who become somebody, Van Doren was a privileged son of Somebody who via the hype machine became, for a day, a super-somebody who achieved far less than his father but reached many more people and made more money in a few days. Gary Cooper's 'John Doe' went along out of desperation and hunger, whereas Van Doren played along out of hunger for fame and fortune. MEET JOHN DOE, for all its faults, works better because it doesn't pretend to be any kind of art. Still, the story turns powerful with its depiction of the dark side of mob psychology: How a gathering of gentle lambs can turn into a stampede of angry cattle, at once triggered by unscrupulous operators and spontaneously taking on a manic logic of its own. The final moments really do have the element of tragedy though the ending is a cop-out, but then, it was only being true to form as a Hollywood movie with obligatory happy ending.

Quiz Show is surprisingly frank about Jewish ethnic hostility toward founding stock Americans. Dick Goodwin is portrayed as a vulgar arriviste. In the opening scene, he chomps a cigar while being shown an expensive Cadillac by an unctuous salesman. Later, when Charles Van Doren and his father treat him to lunch at the Athenaeum Club, his table manners are atrocious.

But isn't vulgarity written into the American DNA? Even among the Founding Stock of Americans, there were the elites and the 'vulgar' masses who finally gained a voice with the rise of Andrew Jackson. Many 'vulgar' Americans disdained the East Coast Brahmins and moved westward to find freedom and play Cowboys and Indians. As for vulgar materialism, Americans didn't need Jews to teach them that. Why did Americans gain the reputation as Ugly Americans around the world? Why was John Wayne such a huge star? For his manners? And when it came to hostile and vulgar behavior, the Irish and Italians were tops. James Cagney made an entire cottage industry for himself as an Irishman enraged 24/7. John Ford's idea of celebrating Irishness was having John Wayne and some other big Irish lug knock each other senseless in THE QUIET MAN. Jews were probably least likely to get into barroom brawls.
So, while Jews were certainly vulgar compared to elite Wasps, they weren't necessarily so compared to most Americans such as hillbillies, cowboys, Polish steel workers, Irish mobs, and etc. Also, there was division between more genteel German-American Jews and later arrived Eastern European Jews. Jews have been Zeligish in their personality traits and attitudes. They could be vulgar and gross but also refined and sophisticated. Among well-heeled Wasps, a Jew could go into Portnoy mode and make trouble as a vulgarian. But the same Jew could feel intellectual, elitist, or professional disdain for the boorish 'deplorables' and the like. Jews played it both ways. When the Wasps lorded over others, many Jews sided with the white working class, the Irish Machine, and 'dumb Polacks' to undermine the moral prestige of the privileged Wasps. But today, with Jews as the top elites and with former Wasps elites as their cuck-puppet dogs, Jews are more likely to work with well-heeled white-goy-compradors against the white masses who voted for Donald Trump. One part of Jewishness is like Harold Bloom preaching how dumb and illiterate we are. Another part of Jewishness is like Ron Jeremy sucking his own dick. Jerry Springer embodies both kinds of Jews. He is a shameless vulgarian who hosted one of the sleaziest shows ever on TV. But surrounded by deranged 'white trash' lunatics screaming 'Jerry, Jerry', he comes across as the civilized one. Better to have mindless goy passions be channeled to holler 'Jerry, Jerry' than 'Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil'. Same with Ace Rothstein in CASINO. He manages the vulgar and sleazy vice industry of gambling, but he works tirelessly to keep things clean and glitzy and won't tolerate boorish cowpokes without manners.

As for Goodwin's table manners, they may not be good but are they really atrocious? Granted, manners are relative. The manners of MOST Americans could be considered rather crude at a fancy joint. The thing is Goodwin's manners would hardly seem out of place in MOST dining places. Also, there is the American populist tradition that prefers honest food and manners over fancy ones. While I'm all for manners, excessive refinement fosters snobbery and conceit. Besides, there is something bogus about people chewing on chopped up pieces of dead animals pretending they are such clean dignified creatures. Big cities used to be more honest when they had honest steak houses and family restaurants. Now, they have all these fancy hipster joints catering to neo-aristo-sophisticates in Manhattan and San Francisco whose taste for the exotic is a new kind of snobbery made palatable as Diversity.

Generally speaking, Morality Tales are less effective than Power Plays in the realm of art. Kurosawa was one of the few exceptions to this rule. When a storyteller presents a moral lesson, he doesn't accept the world as is and seeks to rectify it with the power of moral vision. Thus, there is a sense that some higher being is looking over the struggle between good and evil, tipping the scales in favor of the good; and even if the good loses, there remains the sense of tragic concern, a hope that good shall be resurrected again for another fight. As such, the story can come across as overly preachy, didactic, and/or slanted, though in the right hands and good fortune, the result can be a masterpiece like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
The purpose of the Morality Tale is to make us hope and believe that there is something out there, God or History or Humanity, that favors the good over evil.
In contrast, the Power Play accepts the world as it is. The cosmos is infinite, cold, and indifferent. As for good vs evil, it is all inside the minds of men, and human affairs are entirely the business of individuals with no higher being or force as final arbiter of right and wrong. Now, a power play can have heroic and noble characters, but they are presented as individuals in a world that plays no favorites. This is the difference between Martin Scoresese and Robert Redford. Other than the fact that Scorsese has film-making skills far beyond Redford, his movies accept the world as it is. One may note certain Catholicist undertones in his films, but Scorsese's approach has been more anthropological, investigative, and empathetic than moralistic, judgmental, and instructional. Even his greatest spiritual film SILENCE is about the apparent absence of God in the affairs of man despite all the hopes and prayers. It has the bare-knuckle brutalism of Luis Bunuel's NAZARIN. Objectivity plays by different rules than subjectivity. Scorsese claims to believe in the existence of God, but he's been artist enough to honestly depict a world that cannot be altered with prayers. This makes faith a far more difficult challenge, but why should faith be easy? For ease, there is the Fantasy genre where the world bends to the will of one's subjective magical desires.

To be sure, there are moral concerns in works like GOODFELLAS and CASINO, but we have to find them ourselves through steadfast engagement on our part. In contrast, Redford -- mocked by John Milius as 'saint bob' -- always had a do-gooder side to him eager to spread the message. He has a softer gaze than the sharp-eyed Scorsese whose focus pierces like a needle. With Redford, the vision is filtered through a sense of moral sanctimony and/or the sentimentality of nostalgia. Granted, Redford has been more thoughtful than most directors, and he may even have made a work of art with THE CONSPIRATOR. It is closer to the model of Power Play than Morality Tale. Naturally, it bombed.

Generally, Hollywood(and the public) has preferred the Morality Tale because it is more uplifting and assuring than a Power Play that, in its 'cold' depiction of the world as is, may come across as 'pitiless' and even 'indifferent' to its characters and their struggles. THE GODFATHER movies are among the notable exceptions that not only garnered critical accolades and won Best Picture Oscars but proved to be very popular. They accept the politics of the gangster world for what it is -- 'business' -- than some social evil that must be eradicated; if anything, it uses gangsterism as metaphor for power politics in general. America is a land of crooked politicians, ruthless gangsters, and cynical fixers; and most people are either craven suckers looking for a piece or naive squares without a clue; THE GODFATHER movies deal with people who are in the know and in the play. Still, its sentimentality and romantic depiction of the Corleones made it possible for people to root for one side against the other. Even if it was not about good vs bad, it was about 'personal' vs 'business', and Michael's turn to crime had a redeeming facet an act of fealty to his father. Part 2 was less sentimental and unsurprisingly made less money than the Part 1.
Usually, Power Plays work like PRINCE OF THE CITY, the best film of Sidney Lumet. On the surface, it has all the elements of a Morality Tale as the story is about a cop with conscience who comes clean about police corruption; it also has something of a 'happy ending' because he survives the ordeal and gains a measure of respect(from some quarters at least), especially self-respect. But throughout the film, despite his struggles and pains, the camera watches him with cool detachment(as with everyone else) and thus doesn't reduce his opponents to easy villains. The lead character doesn't have wind on his back, dramatically or emotionally. If he does overcome the main obstacles, it was due to forces far beyond his control. He's but a player in a struggle than a classic hero who, charged with righteousness, makes things happen. And because he's presented with warts and all while the antagonists are shown to have their reasons and interests(that seem not so terrible in a city as corrupt as New York), he doesn't command the emotional center despite several heated moments(that often make him appear confused and desperate than passionate). In BICYCLE THIEVES, the protagonist 'loses' and is humiliated, but emotionally at least he has wind on his back, and we feel all the love for him despite his dejection. But even as we come to admire the character of PRINCE OF THE CITY, the lack of overt favoritism and classic narrative arc leaves him looking stranded and lost. Like Kurosawa's HIGH AND LOW, there are two story arcs, the second one(where the protagonist himself is put on trial) diminishing than ennobling him, not least because his closest partners see him as a 'rat' than a hero. To the Jewish Cop(Jerry Orbach) he admires most, he is a boy scout in a world of crooks and killers, a whore playing nun in a brothel that is NY. And in being true to the law, he ends up betraying his partners and violating his own vow that he'd never turn against them. As the story progresses, we aren't sure if he is acting out of burning passion for a better world or cold feet under legal pressure. There are some similarities with ON THE WATERFRONT but without the morality tale elements. This is all so jarring since PRINCE OF THE CITY sticks so close to the protagonist. But then, it sticks close to him but not by him. Thus, there is a sense that he is a lonely crusader in a world that has little use for the Good Guy. Furthermore, as the film observes and depicts other characters(of varying degrees of legitimacy) in the same tone, even the cops who refuse to confess and criminals on the margins retain their own kind of pride and even 'dignity', especially the Jewish cop played by Jerry Orbach whose way of thinking is why shouldn't cops take a piece for themselves when they're doing all the dirty work to bust up the crooks; besides, there are crooks in high places in the so-called legitimate world, and they look out for each other as well. SERPICO, with its stronger sense of good guy vs bad guys, did better at the box office. It is more like a Morality Tale. Power Plays generally fail with the audience, like THE RIGHT STUFF for example, a film that portrays a much-compromised world for what it is without overtly idealizing or condemning it. Seen up close, the heroes aren't really heroes, and there's a lot of politics going on in the space program and in the media as a willing participant in Cold War propaganda. Granted, despite those realities, the film did manage to convey the courage and bravado of the men involved. And even as film shows the machinations beyond hype and publicity, one senses the outpouring of genuine patriotism that is moving. Still, its mode is closer to Eastwood's later WWII film FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS than the morality tale of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. In FLAGS, despite the heroic deeds of the characters, they are above all human, ordinary people who ended up in battle, whereas the characters in SAVING are pre-ordained to go from humble humans to Noble Heroes at the movie's end. Guess which pulled in bigger bucks.

Perhaps, the casting of Martin Scorsese in QUIZ SHOW was a nod to his superior skills and sensibility as a film artist. One of the biggest gripes in movie history was that the morality tale of ORDINARY PEOPLE beat out the power passion play of RAGING BULL, a hard-nosed look at the boxing world. (And year before, many were upset that KRAMER VS KRAMER beat out APOCALYPSE NOW.) Actually, ORDINARY PEOPLE is a pretty good movie and was unfairly denigrated over the years for its win over RAGING BULL, no fault of Redford. (Also, as in QUIZ SHOW, RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, and THE CONSPIRATOR, it offers a sympathetic and even affectionate portrait of Anglo-America.) Was Robert Redford, the golden-haired Natural favored over the short ethnic Martin Scorsese? Was the game rigged for Redford over Scorsese like for Van Doren over Stempel? It happened again in 1990 when GOODFELLAS lost out to Wasp Kevin Costner's DANCES WITH WOLVES. But ethnicity surely had nothing to do with it. The Oscars have a long history of handing trophies to non-Wasps. Frank Capra the Italian-American won three times. Jewish William Friedkin won for THE FRENCH CONNECTION, and many Jews before him took home many prizes. Francis Ford Coppola won for GODFATHER Part 2.

Still, a kind of noblesse oblige(or noblesse apology)attitude has developed among Liberal Wasps lamenting that they were showered with advantages, opportunities, and privileges simply because they were born with the right names and looks... though ironically it was the Jews who often used the 'Aryan' look to sell more tickets. Also, Jewish Hollywood has a long history of making Jewish characters seem nobler or more attractive by having 'Aryans' portray them, the most famous being Charlton Heston as Moses and Ben-Hur. Lately, Bad Jews are often played by 'Aryans': Hayden Christensen in SHATTERED GLASS and Leonardo DiCaprio in WOLF OF WALL STREET, either to sell more tickets or dilute the Jewish factor in all these crimes and misdemeanors. And it's interesting that many Jewish characters in Barry Levinson's AVALON are not and don't look Jewish at all.
Like Tom Brokaw, Robert Redford also got into the habit of crooning about how he got all the breaks in life because of his race and looks. Some might call it white self-loathing, but there's also a kind of self-aggrandizement not unlike Van Doren's confession before the subcommittee. When Liberal Wasps put themselves down as 'undeserving privileged', they are in effect elevating themselves as the GOOD WASPS who see the wrongness of their ways, realize its injustice, pledge to do what's right, and therefore deserve admiration and praise for their redemptive virtue. One wonders if Redford ever picked up on this irony, i.e. that his 'liberal' gestures of atonement have been as self-serving as Van Doren's grandstanding contrition.
Granted, as the screenplay is by Paul Attanasio based on Dick Goodwin's book, it's difficult to say who the Real Author of the movie is, especially as Redford wasn't much of a film 'auteur' but more of a skilled professional on the level of Ron Howard, Mel Gibson, and Clint Eastwood(whose style has become so even-keeled over the years that it is a kind of mastery and even impersonal style, as in THE MULE, a cruise-controlled movie with superb suspension system).

It is rather amusing that a movie that claims to show the wizard behind the Oz is itself hardly above Ozzy trickery. But then, so many based-on-true-story movies are like magic tricks exposing other magic tricks. It pulls a new one while pulling the rug out from the old one. If the point of QUIZ SHOW is that truth-according-to-the-media is not what it seems, shouldn't it have hewed as close to the real story as possible, like PRINCE OF THE CITY and GOODFELLAS? Rather, it is essentially another fairy-tale even as it warns us not to fall for fairy-tales. Just as the media execs in QUIZ SHOW rigged results to convey what they assumed would be most popular, the makers of the movie left out too many key elements while adding falsehoods to make for a good show, the kind that wins Oscars. (ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN has also been exposed as mostly bogus.)

One of the big ironies of QUIZ SHOW's Liberalism is that John F. Kennedy was Van Doren to Richard Nixon's Stempel. It's oft-been said that Kennedy was the First TV president. He was clearly 'chosen' and favored by the Media over Nixon(as Clinton was later over Bush Sr. and as Obama was over McCain). Whatever his real strengths and qualifications, Kennedy was largely a media creation, which was easy because he was so photogenic unlike the dour and sweaty Nixon. And even though Kennedy was just as dirty and tricky as Tricky Dick, his good looks and easy charm lent the impression of a clean youthful leader, with massive help from the tricky Media of course.
So, it turns out Goodwin, who made his name by seeking the truth behind the image, dedicated his political life to the Kennedys who were often style over substance. If not for the power of TV, Kennedy probably would have lost to Nixon in 1960. The Democrats also cheated big time, especially with the help of the Irish Machine in Chicago. So, it is rather disingenuous for Liberals to be fulminating constantly about how WE prefer illusion over reality. It's been Liberals who dominated most of the outlets of sounds and image. (And when the American public voted for Donald Trump despite all the media manipulations to make Hillary out to be The Next One, the Liberals threw tantrums about how their illusion-factory failed to work this time around. Currently, Liberals are working to rig the internet search engines to make sure Trump loses the next time. To be sure, much of this 'liberal' power is more about Jewish ethno-centrism, especially as it never seems bothered by Trump's supremacist support of Zionists over Palestinians.) Advertising, media, entertainment, and Hollywood have all been dominated by Liberals. Too often, Liberals fell under the spell of their own BS. They propped up Sidney Poitier as the Ideal Negro and wept like babies over TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD while suppressing true racial realities. Is it any wonder then that race relations hardly got better over the years(and in some ways got worse)? Because Liberals(as well as cuckservatives) are fixated with the illusion of MLK and the Noble Negro, they are triggered by the all-too-common reality of the Ghastly Negro and desperately try to wish away reality by calling it 'racist' or using weasel terms like 'youths' and 'teens' for black thugs. Or, they've fallen into the habit of using the TALK to praise the Magic Negro while using the WALK to reduce black crimes in cities via gentrification or mass-immigration.

According to the Liberal Narrative, JFK was supposedly killed by a vast right-wing conspiracy, and that's why the 60s Dream failed, especially with the presidency of the dreaded Richard Nixon. And then, the US was just barely spared from Nixonian Fascism by heroic Watergate Crusaders Woodward and Bernstein. The worst crime and scandal in US history, apparently much worse than the cover-up of the Israeli attack on USS Liberty. To be sure, it's been said it was the lie than the crime itself that was the real undoing of Nixon, a lesson learned by Ronald Reagan at the peak of the Iran-Contra Scandal. QUIZ SHOW makes a similar point. In the end, Van Doren comes across worse as a fallen idol because of his lies than his actual deeds on the show. It's like in THE GODFATHER. There is 'business' and there is 'personal'. His cheating was tawdry, but it was 'business', show business. But in his lying, he lied to himself, to his family, and to Goodwin who(according to the movie) wanted to win his trust and spare him. Van Doren failed on the 'personal' level. And when he finally decided to come forward, it was too late as the play was already in motion. It's like a man who shirks his duties for as long as possible and then making a grand entrance as the best man for the job because, by golly, he has finally realized how important it is.
Redford may have been reliving the glory of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN in making QUIZ SHOW. Both movies are about investigation into corruption in high places, but whereas ALL THE KING'S MEN was timely and urgent(released only two yrs after Nixon was gone), QUIZ SHOW is waxed in nostalgia like Coppola's TUCKER and Levinson's AVALON -- Levinson did much better with DINER that has none of that sentimentality. The nostalgic element, which smooths out what might have been satirical angles, may have confused many viewers as the film seems to both embrace and excoriate the past. That said, who knows what the people want as the dreadful DEAD POETS SOCIETY, another rehash-and-bash-the-past movie, was a huge hit. Well, it did have Robin Williams with lots of jokes.

That said, QUIZ SHOW may be more timely than ever in what seems like a very corrupt America. To be sure, the US(like any nation) has always been corrupt, and it's the same old song to gripe that things are worse NOW than ever before. It's like someone seeing a bad movie and saying it's the worst thing he's EVER seen. In some ways, things were better back then, in other ways, worse. But, it's safe to say that Diversity made things far more complicated in recent times. Also, PC has not only broken the back of Anglo-American Rule of Law(that, for all its flaws, made the US a much better country than those in Latin America) but made non-whites blind to their own faults as they are encouraged to scapegoat 'racism' for all their problems and failings. Also, Jewish elites have proven to be far worse elite-custodians of the US as they refuse to even admit that they got the controlling stakes and power in America. They are still in 'minority-victim' mode and would have us believe that even West Virginia hillbillies got more 'white privilege' than Jews in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and Wall Street. Given that the Cold War is over, the current US foreign policy of belligerence(mainly to serve Jewish and Zionist interests) is insane. The culture has broken down to the extent that even mainstream entertainment for kids is filled with porny sewage. Tattoos and piercings cover the bodies of the unwashed and even the washed. Jews got top power but won't take responsibility as leader. They still point to 'white privilege' and encourage others to blame anything but Jewish power.
If White Goy Privilege were at least real(in its dominance over America), we could at least call upon White Power to deal with problems. But white power has cucked to Jewish power, black power, and homo-power. Even though there are still lots of rich and successful whites, they lack confidence as race, culture, and elites. They just apologize to blacks, praise Jews to high heaven, and bend over to globo-homo. White Power can't even control the borders against massive illegal invasion despite the fact that Trump is president. So, in some ways, it is much worse now and getting worse if the one-party system in California is the wave of the future for the nation as a whole. In 2016, it turned out Donna Brazile slipped questions to the Hillary campaign that may also have been behind the Steele Dossier that set off the utterly bogus Trump-Russia Collusion BS. And nearly all of media seemed to be of One Mind and One Agenda. Charles Van Doren was small potatoes indeed.
The media are more concentrated than ever. The so-called 'left' has almost no one like Chris Hedges left. Google, Facebook, and Twitter rig results out in the open with full support of the media that no longer value freedom and controversy. Liberal Jews once took pride in having pushed against corrupt Wasp privilege and White Southern 'racism', and the ensuing Narrative led to Jewish self-flattery as a force for reform and progress. There was some degree of truth in the Narrative, but it is now outdated in a much-changed world where Jewish Power has become even more corrupt and destructive of the world in general. But 'We got the Wasps' narrative is still running strong among Jews like the 'We got the Tsar' narrative through much of the 20th century. Never mind that the system created by Jewish Bolsheviks was many times more repressive and ruthless than the Tsarist Order. As the Jewish Narrative would have it, Jewish radicalism is forever noble because it toppled the Evil Giant, and there isn't a shred of self-awareness that Jews, as the New Boss, could be the Current Evil Giant.
So, even if US was always corrupt, the sheer scale and shamelessness of today's corruption are through the roof. In our time, we are to believe that second-raters like Neil DeGrasse Tyson are great minds. And Ta-Nehisi Coates is some kind of genius. It's a rigged system alright. And Jews can keep invoking the Holy Holocaust as holy water to wash away all their sins and crimes. They even made a ZELIG-and-SPINAL-TAP-like pseudo-documentary called LIBERATORS for PBS that pushes the lie that BLACK American soldiers liberated the Nazi Death Camps and bonded with Jews as their soul-brethren. ROTFL.

That said, we can find dirt everywhere, low as well as high. Not long ago, there was an Alt Right feud among Richard Spencer, Daniel Friberg, Greg Johnson, Matt Forney, and others with everyone slinging turd all around like monkeys. According to Friberg, Johnson is a cheater and thief. According to Johnson, Friberg is a fraud and charlatan. It was a real shitshow, and supposing only 1/2 or even 1/4 of the accusations all around are true, there seems to be a Honor Deficit on the Alt Right. If people such as this take power from the Jews, would the world be any better? Ideas are one thing, but they only come to life in practice, and practice is guided by character, something sorely lacking in the Alt Right sphere. Also, it's lazy thinking to rest on the laurel of 'Aryan' identity, as if that fact alone automatically bestows honor and dignity to oneself. The Alt Right feud was Aryan vs Aryan, and its sparks revealed a lot of neurosis, nastiness, resentment, envy, and pettiness all around. And no honor. So, maybe neurotic nuttery isn't necessarily just a Jewish thing. While Jews are indeed the main power behind White Demise, it's a fool's dream that white problems will vanish along with the Jews. Even in a world without Jews, the kind of vanity-fueled pissing contest among the likes of Spencer, Johnson, Friberg, Forney, and the rest of them(were they to serve as the ruling elites of the White World) would make for a bad state of affairs.

QUIZ SHOW is psychologically astute at least in one way. It is about the paradox of how social morality really works, and in this, it shares something with MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE. In a way, morality is the great equalizer in the sense that true right and wrong cannot be determined by race, nationality, sex, or class. If a white man commits murder, he cannot defend himself on the basis of his race. If a nobleman commits rape, he can't invoke privilege to justify what he did, at least under the judgement of morality. Rich or poor, white or black, German or Russian, Jewish or Gentile, matters of right and wrong should apply equally to all people on an individual basis. A murderer is the man who committed the murder. He can be the richest man in the world, but if guilty, he must face justice like the poorest man... at least in a morally governed world. This is something most people can readily understand(though Negroes like Jussie Smollett and his enablers have a hard time understanding anything as their butts override their brains). And yet, the 'spiritual' and 'iconic' power of morality doesn't derive from its egalitarianism but from the element of superiority willingly acting in the service of inferiority. Goodness is boring, even pathetic, in someone deemed ordinary, mediocre, inferior, or dull. Goodness gains an element of nobility only when embodied by a naturally superior person who, out of his own volition, chooses to side with the inferior over the superior. In MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE, Captain Yonoi(Ryuichi Sakamoto) is ultimately moved and even transformed by Jack Celliers(David Bowie) because, despite his innate superiority(in looks, intelligence, and credentials) Celliers chooses to sacrifice his life for other men, most of whom are ordinary or in wretched state. Yonoi, a man of superior qualities himself, had hoped to bond with Celliers as a fellow superior, but Celliers chooses the moral path of concern for all men. Now, any man can choose to act morally and even sacrifice himself, but most people remain unmoved UNLESS the act is carried out by someone deemed superior. This is why people made such a big deal out of Pat Tillman. He was someone who could have had a great life but gave it all up to fight(and ultimately die) for his country. So, even though morality is about equal justice for all, it gains the aura of nobility only when the clearly superior man forsakes special privilege in favor of others, the lumpen folks. It's especially moving when Burt Lancaster's character in GO TELL THE SPARTANS chooses not to bail out and decides to stick it out among the villagers who've desperately come to rely on Americans. And of course, Christianity is the biggest example of this dynamics: The Son of God who chose to do right by Mankind, and the deeply moral religion He founded had a good 2,000 yr run before it was finally slayed by combined power of Jews, homos, and hedonists.

Anyway, it's as if the media operators in QUIZ SHOW know a thing or two about this psychology of morality. They sense that the appeal of the show that millions of dummies tune into is the sight of much smarter individuals deigning to share their knowledge and intelligence with the hoi polloi. And Charles Van Doren was especially a good catch because of his family background and academic credentials. Imagine that, a man of such legacy and distinctions humbling himself on a TV show and all for the education of kids across America who are hungry for heroes. Perhaps, the world would be a better place if our moral psychology weren't so, but it is what it is, and that is why it is important that people of superior qualities go the extra step to do what is right, truthful, and courageous. We need more Jack Celliers, but is it possible in a world as rigged and corrupt as ours?

Finally, the movie's most egregious dishonesty is in presenting Charles Van Doren as a handsome golden boy, indeed as if he was Robert Redford with special smarts. It is in this respect that QUIZ SHOW most resembles BROADCAST NEWS where the clearly more handsome Wasp is favored by corporate media over the smarter Jew. Of course, where BROADCAST NEWS is most dishonest is in placing the blame/burden on TV news-readers than on those who control the media, most of whom are Jewish. In other words, the state of the media today is what it is NOT BECAUSE of good-looking but vapid news personalities(who are only puppets) but because of the Power behind them, i.e. even if News Media were to only hire intelligent & experienced but less attractive men and women to read news on the air, the results would be the same because the mouthpieces would not be allowed to deviate from the Narrative. After all, New York Times hires a lot of smart credentialed people but still publishes a lot of crap because the management enforces the Narrative and Agenda. Journalists are more bloodhounds than wolves; more often than not, they must track down what is approved, not what what they think is important. So, while the shallow William Hurt character in BROADCAST NEWS is certainly a bad omen, the REAL problem is that, smart or dumb, handsome or ugly, the hired guns reading the news on TV cannot deviate too far from the script. This is why Chris Hedges works for RT. The Jewish-controlled US media won't allow his kind. Of course, Hedges has restrictions on what he can say at RT as well.

Anyway, BROADCAST NEWS was about substance vs style, smarts vs looks. It was about how the world is unfair in favoring the superficial appeal over core talent. And since 'Aryans' are considered to be more appealing than the smarter 'Semites', the dire result could be the public favoring the likable face of mediocrity over the less prettier one of meritocracy. Of course, this is on the assumption that intelligence correlates with integrity, honesty, and character, which is often not the case, sadly. It is very possible that the person who gains high position by meritocracy also turns out to be a lying weasel and crook. There have been plenty of those of late on Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the Media. Meritocracy of talent doesn't guarantee charactocracy.
But many Liberal Wasps seem to be under the impression that Jews must be better in every way because they're smarter and had to work harder than Wasps after WWII to make the climb. If Alan Dershowitz is to be believed(and he sounds credible on this account), it was tougher for him to find a good job even though he graduated near the top of his class than Wasps who graduated with less sterling records. Given that the likes of Dan Quayle became Senator and likes of George W. Bush became not only governor but president, it seems Wasps did get a lot of breaks(and grew weak and mediocre over the years). And given how so many 'Aryan' patriarchs shielded their sons by pulling strings to place them in the National Guard during the Vietnam War, the only kind of honor many of them know must be the honor-among-thieves. This is dispiriting considering that George H.W. Bush(like John F. Kennedy) served in World War II with genuine honor. Why didn't he expect the same of his son? Did the Wasps go soft in the postwar period? Of course, Jewish elites today are just as bad. How did Jared Kushner get into Harvard? At any rate, the behavior of even highly intelligent people in the Deep State and elite institutions would indicate that higher IQ doesn't necessarily correlate with commitment to truth, integrity, or honor.

Anyway, if QUIZ SHOW wanted to make the point that what looks like gold can be fool's gold, it chose the wrong real-life story. Whatever Charles Van Doren was, he was no golden boy. If anything, he was physically LESS APPEALING than even Stempel who certainly was no looker. Indeed, given what Van Doren really looked like, one is tempted to believe he craved publicity to compensate for the fact that he didn't look like the classic handsome 'Aryan' Wasp. He looked like a troll doll. From certain angles, he even looks like a semi-Negroid, a mulatto. Did his mother cheat on her husband and have a kid with a octaroon?
He was not a good-looking guy. He looks like William Macy in FARGO with an Afro. He looks like a cross between Joe Piscopo and the guy in ERASERHEAD.
Just look at him. There was no way millions of Americans back then found him handsome and dashing as QUIZ SHOW would have us believe. Indeed, it's likely that if he really were good-looking and popular with the girls, he would have stayed away from TV and went out on more dates.
Charles Van Doren was one ugly mofo. He didn't look anything like fine-featured Ralph Fiennes below.
Another thing that the movie overlooks is the fact that Charles' father, Mark Van Doren, was a leftist who wrote for radical magazine The Nation. Also, he was once a film critic, which means that he wasn't merely a droll literary type as the movie makes him out to be. Given the political leanings of the Van Doren family, the real reason why Goodwin went easy on Charles could have been political and ideological than the seductive charm of Wasp refinement and good manners. According to Wikipedia: "(Mark)Van Doren helped (Allen)Ginsberg avoid jail time in June 1949 by testifying on his behalf when Ginsberg was arrested as an accessory to crimes carried out by Herbert Huncke and others." If Mark Van Doren has a soft spot for the likes of Allen Ginsburg, he couldn't have been the stuff-shirt character in the movie. Because of evasions and simplifications like this, QUIZ SHOW cannot be real art but, at best, like SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER(that has almost NOTHING to do with the actual story), a more respectable example of morality tale that ultimately fails at its own game because it has too many unresolved ethical issues of its own.

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