Strange View Indeed
A review of Ben Stein's The View from Sunset Boulevard
by Alex Linder
Let's start with two axioms:
1) TV is the strongest influence in America.
2) TV is unremitting liberal propaganda.
Most conservative media critics stop right there, content to point out that bias exists.
Ben Stein in his 1979 work The View from Sunset Boulevard takes the next step. He goes out
and interviews forty of the few hundred writers and producers who create virtually all
prime-time programming. His conclusion? Just what we suspected: TV writers and producers
inhabit a different world. Their loves are not our loves, their fears are not our fears.
They fear us.
Good TV criticism begins, as does Stein, with a nod to the context:
a) There are literally only a few hundred people who determine what you see on TV.
b) A "distinct majority" is Jewish.
c) They live in West LA.
d) They see the world the same way.
e) What you see on TV reflects nothing but what this tiny group believes.
So what do they believe? Of course, if you've ever watched TV, you know: Southerners are
bad. Gays are good. Germans are evil. Aryan-looking types are snotty, haughty and/or evil.
Jews are mensches, bringers of light, the compassionate chosen, sinned against yet
unsinning. Catholics like to rape boys when they're not excluding women or being dogmatic.
Evangelicals are corrupt and stupid. Stein adds to the list: Military is alien, Aryan,
and threatening. Same with upper ranks of cops. Blue on the beat is OK, even lovable.
Big business is corrupt, rules the world, works hand in glove with the mafia. Government
bureaucrats are frustrated, ineffectual but well meaning. Small towns appear nice and
cosy, but hide racism and evil. Big cities are superficially violent and ugly, but are
deep down compassionate and caring. Rich are lucky or criminals. Poor are victims of the
system. Same with criminals. Clergy are irrelevant.
To understand TV, you have to get into the mind of the Jew. Think of a middle-class Jew
growing up around New York City, then moving out to L.A., and you have the mindset of the
average writer. TV is the Jewish, New York mind in the bright, clean, pastel Los Angeles
To understand the Jew is to understand the writer/producer is to understand television.
The Jew has strong racial memories of exclusion from the better colleges and clubs and
communities, and these reflect in his prejudices. Stein himself has written of the
repulsed fascination of his youth regarding the restricted local country clubs in suburban
D.C. where he grew up. The Jew is wary or frightened of anything WASPy or Aryan. If there
is any looking-down or excluding to be done -- he wants to do it. For that reason, among
others, he looks askance at any institution or group dominated by Whites. For example, the
military seems to him a very Aryan, potentially dangerous institution, very forbidding
with its authoritarian rules and formality and honor. So too with the upper ranks of the
police, and double-ditto for big business. All these are sectors that seem alien and
threatening with their manners and mores not found in the shtetls and ghettoes. Making
$10,000+ a week in most cases, the writers/producers nevertheless feel underpaid and
undervalued. They retain a strong, not vestigial, sense of being the underclass ethnics
their grandfathers were, scrabbling their way from tenements to penthouses against a
backdrop of lip-curling WASPs. Judging by the consistency of their actions, there is most
likely a genetic or racial component at work in their behavior. Perhaps instinctive is the
best word. Jews instinctively recognize that the Aryan is a different breed, and they are
intent on making him the weird, abnormal, alienated outsider they've always felt. This
ethnic animus is the single best tool for understanding the world as depicted on TV, though
Stein but hints at this.
Another aspect of the ethnic animosity emerges when Stein queries his subjects on rich-and-poor
issues. It becomes clear that although hard work and productivity paved the way for their
own individual successes, and they love the capitalist free market that pays them highly to
manufacture their dreams, they are far from feeling that these are the keys to getting
rich, or even getting ahead, for anybody else. They think riches are acquired by
speculation, or guts, or, most importantly, luck, while hard work will only guarantee meals
and a roof. They are workaday capitalists, but spiritual socialists. Right down the line,
with "marvelous uniformity." They favor systemic explanations for crime and poverty. This
bias reinforces their own historical feelings of persecution or rejection so that when they
write a crime story, they make the criminal an upper-class white. The Jewish narrator knows
that the Blacks are statistically guilty, but he feels that the Aryan Whites are spiritually
and systemically guilty, so that's the way he writes it.
What's on your TV, White man, is an alien's psychodrama starring you as the bad guy.
Before going any further, let us note that Stein likes these people. Loves them. Respects
them. Is one of them. He shares more of their biases than you might think (him being a
conservative and all), and, as he says at the very end, he is not sure that they are wrong
and he is coming around more to their way of thinking every day. And that was 25 years ago.
Now, with two of his own shows, who knows what his views are today... In any case, he
clearly sees that TV writers and producers represent a very specific class of people come
recently to power -- and intending to stay there. He's not really sure that's a bad thing.
Although he is open-minded enough to wonder why this class believes so many things that
just aren't so -- the reason for his inquiry, after all -- in the end they are his people
and his class, and he loves them, warts and all.
Not that there are that many warts. On a personal level, Stein says these people are
morally regular (reporting faithfully to wife and kids at the end of the day), and that the
moral corruption associated with Hollywood is better associated with the music industry.
Plus, they are extraordinarily cheerful, optimistic and productive. And socially adept.
The following is perhaps the most interesting part of the book, and I wish Stein had
expanded on it:
"Most were extremely cheerful by the standards of other people with whom I have worked. ...
Comedy writers are constantly making jokes, as one might expect, and as far as I could tell
they have an optimistic attitude about everything they do. There was always superb rapport
between the producers and writers -- who might be thought of as the bosses -- and the
secretaries and messengers. Some, especially the top people at Tandem/TAT [Norman Lear's
group], had truly extraordinary social skills, in terms of diplomacy, tact, and friendly
interchange -- skills of a higher order than any I have ever encountered."
Not like the American right, are they? Which comes first, do you suppose: success or
"In the world of TV are people who are financially successful, creative, living in
comfortable surroundings, and generally quite happy. Around a successful TV production
company...there is an air of confidence and self-satisfaction that is rarely encountered
Nationalists should note his characterization of these writers/producers in terms of
temperament and mentality and in general how they wear on those around them. Is it
possible to be a racialist and be funny, productive and cheerful? Are there ineluctable,
generalizable temperamental differences between Jews and Whites? I don't know the answers.
That's pretty much it for Stein's book, in terms of the attitudes and characteristics of
the class of people he is describing. As he says, "I discovered what I thought I would
discover, which was that the homogeneity of the views of television's creative people is
almost uncanny." To suggest that the views of TV people are the views of the nation is
like thinking that "a taste for snuff movies or Beluga caviar was the general taste of the
Summing up, Stein says: "The people who are in a position of creative authority in
television feel very much at war with the power centers of American life, as they see them.
They see the businessman class, the heir class, the military officer caste, the people from
Grosse Pointe, the people in restricted communities, the people in small towns who continuously
resist all the political guidance of the people in big cities, as their enemies."
His final thoughts are worth quoting at length: "It all came together for me only by using
a Marxian analysis. ...[I] found that if I imagined the TV production community as part of
a small but extremely energetic and militant class, sense could be made of everything. If
the creative TV people are seen as a class that once was powerless, dominated by other
classes...held in political thrall by an America dominated politically by small towns and
their remnants, and that had then emerged into a position of power and influence, then
certain things became clearer.
"The TV people see certain classes as their enemy from long ago. Moreover, they still see
those people as enemies, except now a sea change has occurred. Instead of having to work
out of nothing to become something, the TV people are now in a position to dominate society.
They can contend with the businessman class, with the military class, with small town
gentry, with anyone for the leadership role in society.
"But they realize that other power centers must be denigrated and humiliated if they are to
take the top positions." . . .
"When the people who make television are seen in this light -- as a highly articulate,
well-heeled, highly motivated class on the move, eager to dominate the other powerful
classes and groups in society -- their entire political and social posture becomes clearer.
They are doing neither more nor less than seeking to move their class to the top of the
heap and to displace whatever stands in the way. By their intelligence and the power of
technology, they stand astride the most powerful media instrument of all time. This tiny
community in Hollywood has been given the fulcrum that can move the world -- and its
members know how to use it." . . .
"No one in Hollywood seriously wants to do anything drastic to society; people are making
out too well as it is. Rather, they are like newly rich dowagers. They simply want to be
recognized as members of the leading stratum of society. They want their views to be
looked up to. They want their way of life to be thought of as the best. They want to be
unchecked and unthreatened by businessmen or others. They do not want their candidates to
be beaten by rural votes. They do not want plots by military men against the free society.
And so, they want their ideas of how society should be run to prevail. But those ideas are
not radical or dangerous. There is no specific program. There is no threat to anyone,
beyond loss of prestige. A contending power group in society, the TV people simply wants
its hour in the sun. And so TV people resent anyone, or any institutions, that compete
with them. This shows on television.
"For what it is worth, when I think of those people and the money and media power at their
disposal, I do not see how anyone will keep them from getting their time in the sun. In
fact, they probably already have it. They all have suntans. And why not? They are fine
people with a great deal to recommend them. I find myself thinking more like them every
Forget the sugar-coating at the very end, what Stein is saying is that Jews are now on top,
ha ha! And they deserve their power because they are smarter, feistier, richer and
better-natured than everyone else. But don't worry, they don't have radical plans to
change things! I wonder if he believed this when he wrote it; I don't see any way he can
believe it today.
Twenty-five years later, things are much clearer. TV is just like it ever was, only more
so. Rawer, stupider, more bizarre sex. Crazy and destructive leftist consumerist
multiculturalist politics. Even though we've had the proliferation of channels with cable
TV, the messages coming out at us are the same as they ever were. The internet is the only
channel for difference.
Stein thinks or pretends he is writing about TV writers and producers. What he is really
writing about is Jews. And not all Jews work in TV. Many work in government. Many work
in academia. Many write in newspapers. But they all share the false and paranoid
worldview the tube drums into us. Interlocking and reinforcing, they have created the
studies and the laws and the news bulletins and the court decisions and the cartoons and
the videos and the movies of the week that get us all thinking the same way: the
"propasphere" that is all but impossible to get away from.
It will take a determined and clever class to wrest control away from them.