In His Image
וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת בְּנֵי-נֹחַ, שֵׁם חָם וָיָפֶת; וַיִּוָּלְדוּ לָהֶם בָּנִים, אַחַר הַמַּבּוּל.
Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and unto them were sons born after the flood. Genesis 10: 1
In a world where non- "white" folks are on the ascendancy politically, culturally, economically, the message from the latest epic out of Hollywood, Noah, starring Russell Crowe and from what can be seen in the theatrical trailer, in the world before and after The Flood, white folks rule. There isn't a non-European among the stars, nor I would imagine amongst the supporting players.
For in Hollywood, "white" folks, "white" culture rule. That's the natural order of things. And any storytelling where the fictional world resembles the world as it really is is strictly verboten.
So for all the supposed "liberalism" that conservatives and the GOP rail against coming out of Tinseltown, the reality is that the moneyed interests, the studios that finance the whole enterprise are very conservative, backward even. And Noah is a perfect example of that mindset. Bill Cosby's classic routine about Noah runs rings around anything "white" Hollywood could conjure up. But although the powers that be always say they are just in the entertainment business, when you pull back the curtain, you find that themes running throughout mainstream Hollywood features are not only overwhelmingly Euro-Centric, but Euro-Dominant. Yet as recently chronicled in the Hollywood Reporter,
More than 170 million African-Americans took a trip to the cinema in 2013, a 13 percent gain compared to roughly 150 million in 2012.
Minorities overall made up a larger percentage of ticket buyers last year. Hispanics continue to make more trips to the theater than any other ethnic group, representing 25 percent of ticket buyers, although they only make up 17 percent of the population. African-Americans, who represent 12 percent of the population, purchased 13 percent of all tickets. Asian and other minorities, who make up 8 percent of the population, bought 8 percent of all tickets sold.
Caucasian's bought only 54 percent of all tickets, even [though] they make up 60 percent of the population. And frequent Caucasian moviegoers fell below 50 percent for the first time (a frequent moviegoer is defined as going to the movies more than once a month).
Noah is an example of Hollywood providing its "socialization" function. The "process by which individuals acquire the knowledge, language, social skills, and value to conform to the norms and roles required for integration into a group or community. It is a combination of both self-imposed (because the individual wants to conform) and externally-imposed rules, and the expectations of the others." And since Hollywood is a global industry, that message is disseminated world-wide.
Whether taking the Biblical text as Gospel or just a morality tale, the story essentially says that everything that is alive today owes its existence to Noah, his kit and kin. We are all descended from Russell Crowe and despite the leader of the free world being a "black" man don't worry it's still a "white" male dominated world, you're living in.
So even as people who consider themselves Christian is on the decline, and folks aren't really hip to the Abrahamic God thing, we'll package the story of sin, wickedness, un-Godly behavior in an epic, big-tent movie so you get the message another way. So we get Noah, Gladiator-style. Despite the ascendancy of the notion of equal rights for all and a liberalism of thought around gay rights, women's rights, or illegal immigration, wink, wink, we're still on the side of "The American Way," the misogynistic, homophobic, anti-immigrant, white supremacist, American way.