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Does Hollywood reflect social change or initiate it? A depiction of Alexander the Great's bisexuality seems to have left middle America unfuming

By Mark Cousins   January 2005

When Bertolt Brecht said that art is not a mirror to reflect reality but a hammer with which to shape it, he clearly hadn’t seen Top Gun. The whole point about Hollywood blockbusters is that the audience – primarily the people of non-coastal America, but nowadays everyone from Johannesburg to Moscow to Taipei – has its hopes and fears reflected back at it.

Tinseltown’s latest blockbuster, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, is already the subject of much mirror/hammer debate. Its depiction of an epic defeat of the Persians is being seen as a reflection of our Rumsfeldian times. From Tehran and the…

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