To be sure, there are those who bring up issues with the book, namely some attributations regarding photos and some date specific events as well as whether it was from the Letter “H” or the 13th letter “D” from which a starlet plunged to her final demise using the Landmark sign “HOLLYWOODLAND” as her jumping off point. Detail can be hashed out and nuanced but the gist of the tale is a major commentary on American Culture especially since this industry has become the predominant influence on current American Culture. Marshall McLuhan told us in the 60’s that the Medium is the Message. Btw. I was listening to Ravi Zacharias’ “Mind Games in a World of images,” today and he quoted (I believe it was Dostoevsky) on the evolution of art, “First Art imitates life…Then Life imitates Art… Finally, art becomes the purpose for life.” In these pages from Anger we see the human cost of fame and fortune in Hollywood. Page after page of nihilism bearing fruit as the elites come to the end of themselves and have no reason for continuing.
I seem to have begun a study on media and culture by accident here recently. I began with a study of Neil Postman’s, Amusing ourselves to death, along with McLuhan’s the Medium is the Massage (a compilation of effects), and his Understanding Media. I realize that I am a product of the media of my culture and now I am trying to understand how deeply such exposure has affected me. In reading Anger’s book I found myself wanting to take a shower knowing that this art form we call movies, the big screen has for years been putting out a message that reflects the worldviews of those we read about in Hollywood Babylon. In spite of, or maybe because of, the voyeuristic nature of the book I felt I needed a bath after finishing it. Some of the stories are hardcore in their explicitness and others are a read-between-the-line codification of what Anger is trying to convey.
This book is not for the immature or the youngsters but is interesting prattle from a first source.