Monthly Archives: July 2012

Who Wants To See Old Movies?

Last week the Los Angles Times published an unusual op-ed about young peoples’ attitudes towards movies from Neal Gabler, the writer responsible for such insightful social histories as An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood.

I call the article unusual not because its topic is especially exotic (more on that in a moment) but because it reads with such befuddled contempt for an entire generation. Withholding any constructive solution to the supposed problem, Gabler seems less interested in fostering film appreciation than in griping about kids these days. In other words, it calls to mind the class of knee-jerk sociology which Empire of Their Own or Gabler’s more recent Walt Disney biography studiously avoid. Here’s a representative paragraph:

Young people, so-called millennials, don’t seem to think of movies as art the way so many boomers did. They think of them as fashion, and like fashion, movies have to be new and cool to warrant attention. Living in a world of the here-and-now, obsessed with whatever is current, kids seem no more interested in seeing their parents’ movies than they are in wearing their parents’ clothes. Indeed, novelty may be the new narcissism. It obliterates the past in the fascination with the present. Continue reading

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