Woody Allen’s Café Society

“I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.” [i]

– Joel Stein

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Woody Allen’s crepuscular film Café Society (2016) is as boring as it is instrumentally instructive as a testament to Jewish cosmopolitanism, domination and reshaping of American values and culture. Set in the 1930s the film centers on Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg), the youngest son of a New York Jewish family, who leaves his father’s jewelry business for Hollywood. If Fellini used Mastroianni, as an idealized surrogate-self, Eisenberg is used rather as Allen’s mirror image, neurotic, shlumpy, physically weak, lascivious, overtly sentimental but quick-witted, clever with high verbal acuity – a certain Jewish je ne sais quoi. The conflation of Dorfman and Allen is made even more obvious with Allen’s voiceover narration throughout. The trio of Dorfman’s family functions as a trio of Jewish stereotypes, his elder brother a gangster, his sister married to a Marxist intellectual and both he and his uncle settled in the entertainment industry. The trio of crime, radical intellectualism and entertainment represents the latter duo of Jewish cultural enterprise, and the explicitly crude expression of usurious tendencies in the form, each supporting and affirming the other. Without missing the other edict of the Protocols, Allen intersperses economic Jews, who fleetingly pass off information of a stock option, whispering in an ear at a party – implicitly showcasing an ethnic networking. The film, no doubt, is illustrative of the immense and impressive interpenetration of the Jews into American elitism as it happened, but with a focus on the cultural elements rather than the purely economic and criminal. Jews dominated the cultural scene in American life, much as they had in the cosmopolitan centers of Europe, in fact knowing nothing of the movie, I had assumed that its title referred to Vienna, the central hub of Jewish Mittel-Europa known for its famous ‘café society.’ As such the parallels between Jewish control and domination of fin-de-siecle Vienna and modern America are too numerous to be merely coincidental. From Jewish domination of finance to the arts, as one pan-German paper of the period put it, “the products of a ‘degenerate afterculture’ of the ‘modernists’ should well be banned… Everything that is sacrosanct to us, our people’s customs, our ancestor’s way,’ was in danger of becoming ‘Jewish-contaminated.’”[ii]

Unlike the rich cultural traditions of the Old World, America with its explicit liberalism, heterogeneous population mixtures, utilitarian and egalitarian philosophies and hyper-capitalism, and anti-traditionalism was already, whether it knew it or not, Jew-friendly. Jews had far less obstacles towards domination and used culture as a springboard to alter American perceptions and values further to their advantage. As Harold Cruise puts it in Crisis of the Negro Intellectual:

“But the Anglo-Saxons and their Protestant ethic have failed in their creative and intellectual responsibilities to the internal American commonweal. Interested purely in materialistic pursuits—exploiting resources, the politics of profit and loss, ruling the world, waging war, and protecting a rather threadbare cultural heritage—the Anglo-Saxons have retrogressed in the cultural fields and the humanities. Into this intellectual vacuum have stepped the Jews, to dominate scholarship, history, social research, etc.”[iii]

In this passage Cruise accounts for two aspects of the Jewish cultural control, as represented by the film’s characters. The third of gangsterism, and general lawlessness (Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Dutch Schultz) is related metaphysically to the other two elements, and is a direct expression of a central feature of Jewish consciousness, as each is aimed at the radical extenuation of a society’s limits, for Jews the rules do not apply, since after all the rules are established by a society that is not their own.

The film is set half in California and half in New York, the two central hubs of Jewish domination of American culture and society, as Michael Novak wrote, “A relatively small number of Jews in New York and Los Angeles set a style for Jewishness that may be foreign to Jews in Cleveland or Utica,”[iv] or rather a style for Americanism that is foreign to most gentiles the world over.

The central focus of the film is the story of how Jews came to dominate American culture and both secondarily and incidentally how they came to dominate gentile women. Indeed the central narrative element moving the story along is the romantic one of Jewish men with gentile WASP women. Dorfman travels to Hollywood to work for his Uncle Phil (Steve Carell) an industry powerbroker. Dorfman is stunned by his Uncle’s young assistant, Veronica (Kristen Stewart), who is tasked with showing Dorfman around Hollywood. During these pseudo-dates the two grow fond of one another and begin an intimate relationship. The relationship, however, is complicated with the kind cronyism-cum-Freudian love triangle that Jews are so apt at, as Veronica is secretly seeing Dorfman’s married Uncle Phil, although in this case the gentile woman is playing the field. While, the film is set in the 1930s, I was too reminded of the treatment and condition of scores of gentile women in “Hollywood’s seedier cousin,” another Jewish dominated enterprise, the adult film industry, wherein white women are passed around like ‘liberated’ Valley of the Dolls extras to reenact the tragedy of Norma Gene on film:

“It is clear,” says Anthony Summers in his biography, “that Marilyn made judicious use of her favors. A key beneficiary was the [Jewish] man who got Marilyn that vital first contract at Fox — Ben Lyon. According to writer Sheila Graham, Lyon had been sleeping with Marilyn and promising to further her career . . . Lyon called the casting director for Sol Wurtzel, a [Jewish] B-movie producer of the time [and Monroe was awarded a small part in the 1947 film Dangerous Years]” (Summers, 35).

In olden times,” Upton Sinclair once remarked, “Jewish traders sold Christian girls into concubinage and into prostitution, and even today they display the same activity in the same field in southern California where I live.” Or as F. Scott Fitzgerald summed up the Hollywood scene of his era — “a Jewish holiday, a Gentile tragedy” (Gabler, 2).[v]

 

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When the revelation of the love triangle is discovered Veronica makes the decision to marry the established and wealthy Phil, explicitly on those materialistic conditions, who then divorces his wife, and Dorfman goes back to New York with memories of his idle time spent with Veronica, a woman vastly out of his league. Dorfman had already expressed his intention to marry Veronica and move back to New York with her. Back in New York Dorfman runs a high-end nightclub that his gangster brother Ben (Corey Stoll) started. There Dorfman meets an even more out-of-his-league gentile woman, the statuesque Veronica Hayes (Blake Lively), and the two begin to date, marry and begin a family. Hayes is used as a kind of prized Rainbow Lorikeet in a gilded birdcage, the shiksa in the designer dress and lush apartment. The fact that both are named Veronica may point towards the effective consumable quality of each.

The Sunday evening audience, comprised mostly of geriatric Jews, gasped at southern belle Hayes’ initially slight anti-Semitic remarks as Dorfman hard-pressing himself onto her, “god you people are pushy” (gasp), and ‘where I’m from, you’re not supposed to mix with Jews.’ Of course Hayes is not where she is from, but rather her one-dimensional prop usage is illustrative of the prototypical liberated woman who can choose her associations regardless of group-loyalty, her loyalty is the Carrie Bradshaw variety; of brands, cosmopolitanism and sexual liberation. If the audience was chided by the slight insider offense of antiquated and toothless anti-Semitism, it relished in anti-Christian comedy on display; the gangster brother, had converted to Christianity before being electrocuted for his crimes because Judaism does not contain an afterlife, his mother laments, “my son first a murderer, now a Christian,” implying the latter is worse (laughter).

Overall the film was overly sentimental, with one-dimensional characters and a bathetic ending. In content and execution it reminded me of Steve Martin’s Shopgirl (2005) with the same monotonous sweeping aimlessness, aridness and nearly pointless, except for the little invisible signposts that read ‘Juden was here.’

 

Review has since been published at the Occidental Observer: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2016/09/woody-allens-cafe-society/

 

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[i] http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/19/opinion/oe-stein19

[ii] Hamann, Brigitte. Hitler’s Vienna : a portrait of the tyrant as a young man. London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2010. Print. 84.

[iii] Cruse, Harold. Crisis of the Negro intellectual. London: W.H. Allen, 1969. Print.

[iv] Novak, Michael. Unmeltable ethnics : politics & culture in American life. New Brunswick, U.S.A: Transaction, 1996. Print.

[v] http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/08/who-killed-marilyn-monroe/

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