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January 10, 2010


Half Sigma
can you spot overwhelmingly Jewish areas on the map? Are the viewing habits of Jews identical to general SWPL viewing habits or is there a difference

Good find. Benjamin Buttons seems to be trumping all the other movies in this area. However, the very strong showing of Twilight in many of the working class areas scattered through the eastern portions of L.A. (mostly Hispanic) seems strangely juxtaposed with its top as-to-be-expected placing in West Hollywood.

Trivia question of the day: What does Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas have in common?

Answer: based on the Tyler Perry rentals, the black populations are concentrated on the south side of each of these cities.


And check out the Atlanta map! Sort by metascore and click next until you get to 'Milk' (it's the fourth one). Notice the sharp divide between SE Atlanta and the rest of the city.

I would say that just by looking at this map and
not knowing anything about Atlanta, the majority of black people live in this part of the city. It's been shown by blacks voting record on gay rights measures that they are extremely homophobic. So of course they're not going to rent 'Milk'!


"Mall Cop" was actually fairly good, although it is probably relevant if you find Kevin James funny (in NetFlix reviews Mall Cop does pretty well).

For some reason "Rachel Getting Married" does well in affluent NYC areas even though it is a God awful movie.

Its probably more relevant what people rated their returned movies. I would not want to live in a zip code where people gave Rachel a four star rating. They probably have a variety of lingering issues that would make them unsuitable neighbors.

Interesting find. From what I can tell Scarsdale is the place to live.

According to what I've read, even lower-class Hispanics in the US tend to identify strongly with mainstream, prole-ish American movies and domestic moviemakers don't have to incorporate any specific content in order to attract the larger Hispanic market.

Thus, a specifically Hispanic film industry has been much slower to take root in the US in comparison to the African American movie market. In contrast, many black directors can still make profitable movies with full knowledge that whites won't attend in appreciable numbers (Tyler Perry, Spike Lee, etc.) The highest-grossing movies recently directed by black filmmakers (Inside Man, Scary Movie 1&2, 2 Fast 2 Furious) were marketed towards the general 18-35 male viewing market, rather than to a specifically AA audience.

However, it should also be noted that both Blacks and Hispanics are very over-represented in box office receipts, accounting for 2-3 times the amount of spending that their percentage of the population should suggest.

Benjamin Button seems to have a lot of crossover appeal. Tyler Perry not so much.

New in Town is an interesting Red State City / Blue State City example.

Minnesota map is almost all red, Dallas map has red on the edges.

New York, Boston, SF, LA, DC, and Miami have nothing darker than a light yellow.

Seattle, Denver, and Chicago have some orange.

The Dark Knight was a huge hit in Kennedy Airport.


[HS: The rentals lists in airports are very weird.]

What does this really tell us.

Humor is cultural and since Americans no longer share a culture, they no longer share humor. Proles actually have jobs like working at the mall or security jobs. The rich do not. Blacks have their own vernacular and own culture. Their humor is unique.

It also shows that blacks do not like white gay men. However, the dislike of white gay men does not mean anything politically.

I notice the military bases around DC have a distinctly different pattern than the surrounding areas. 'Yes Man' seems to be the sharpest contrast.

By looking at the Netflix map, where can I avoid proles (Mall Cop Movie), brown nosing middle-class people (Last Chance Harvey) and pretentious yuppies who think they're special (Mad Men)?

Hmm... It would be cool to get more TV ratings data. Maybe a comparison of Dexter, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men (the best dramas on TV).

Btw do you watch any of these shows?

I worked at a DVD factory during a summer while in college (I was just about the only non-NAM there so based on what you've written elsewhere it was not a smart decision). Anyways, I had never heard of Tyler Perry before this but his movies were by far our most popular item. I am talking huge wooden pallets stacked five feet tall with Diary of a Mad Black Woman as far as the eye can see. This made it very strange that neither I nor anyone I knew had ever heard of him but it all makes sense now.

Age is another variable that would affect rental preferences. For example, it's reasonable to say that other things being equal, Paul Blart: Mall Cop will be more popular in a zip code with a relatively high proportion of teenagers and 20-somethings than in a zip code with an older age distribution. Mad Men, in contrast, would appeal to older age groups and the rental patterns would reflect this.


Camlost: However, it should also be noted that both Blacks and Hispanics are very over-represented in box office receipts, accounting for 2-3 times the amount of spending that their percentage of the population should suggest.

I regularly observe this first-hand. Any Friday evening or Saturday afternoon, the cinemas (and shopping malls) will be very highly disproportionally attended by blacks. On the other hand, the nearby (literally next door) bookstores and libraries remain all White.

paulie: Defiance would be the Jewish movie on this list.

I am not one bit surprised that W and Religulous overlap: East River coasts / Bloomfield-Irvington. Looks like Man On Wire, also. Nick & Norah overlaps - and there we have it. I See White People.

I'm pleased to see Sunshine Cleaning's popularity in the SWPL set. Yay capitalism!

"The vastly different rental patterns Mad Men vs. Last Chance Harvey demonstrates that there are two very different types of upper middle class"

Based on looking at areas in cities I'm familiar with, I'd agree: Heavily gay areas with a large upper middle class wannabe population (MM) and actual upper middle class/wealthy areas (LCH). I'm not that familiar with specific neighborhoods in NYC, but one distortion I note is local interest. Milk, for example, is moderately popular in a lot of Bay Area suburbs similar to Dallas suburbs with similar demographics that have zero interest in the film. That's probably an issue in NYC too, particularly with Mad Men.

"where can I avoid ..."

If you used this map and sought out LCH zip codes, I think you'd find them exceptionally good places to buy a home.

Washington DC is always interesting because the demographic split is so stark...Toggling between Tyler Perry's The Family That Prays vs. Rachel Getting Married is pretty hilarious. It would seem a movie about someone named "Rachel" has ZERO appeal to the black population.

This was on Drudge:

"Hundreds of African immigrants have been evacuated from a southern Italian town, authorities said on Sunday, following some of the worst racial violence in Italy since World War Two"


Steve Sailer gave Mall Cop a decent (i.e. favorable) review.


anon_5 and others gay rights fail because the overwhelming majority of white voters vote against the measures. But i can understand ranting against black people can make you feel part of the mainstream.

I thought it odd that the Tyler Perry movie wasn't even in the Top 10 in Compton. The only black area where it was even on the list (not high) was Inglewood. Maybe it's an East Coast thing.

Frost/Nixon is very good at marking high class neighborhoods.

This is actually a brilliant tool for deciding what neighborhood to live in.

Maybe people would prefer to laugh at Paul Blart rather than watch a bunch of boring, gay looking yuppies on Mad Men. I'd prefer Paul Blart over Mad Men any day of the week. That doesn't make you better than me. I'm not impressed that you wear a tie to work and had to give your boss a blowjob in order to get a promotion.

I live in SW DC. Last census 65% of my zip code was Black, and about 1/4 of the families lived below the poverty line. The Top 10 Netflix rentals herein last year were: Benjamin Button, Milk, Slumdog, BAR, Doubt, Rachel..., The Wrestler, Changeling, Frost/Nixon, and Body of Lies (of which myself I have seen half).

Maybe few of the Black people here use Netflix because we don't have the money to spare (I sure don't). Or maybe few of the white people do, as they're often elderly folks who just didn't want to move (such as my rentor). Could be there are lots of gay clubs along the Waterfront that I just never noticed. But none of these explanations scream "extremely homophobic."

Are there homophobic Black people? Yes. Lots! ESPECIALLY in DC!! Are these data corroborating evidence of that fact? I'd say no.


If you are looking at places to invest, look at zip codes where both Tyler Perry and Paul Blart are rented. These are neighborhoods that are transitioning from being overwhelmingly black to Hispanic. My guess is that retail stores like Target and Wal-Mart are looking at such areas and property values will probably increase from very low level to moderate levels.

Some one with real analytical capabilities should look at SWPL movie rental to public school performance. It would show the urban pioneer, next hot gay neighborhood.

Is it possible that NetFlix has some sort of
recommended lists that certain people get grouped into and then their rentals from then on will take on a certain pattern.

Likewise are there "Oscar Nominated" packages that feed people movies of this type.

Based upon looking at the structure of the lists it seems like something is up there.

What about "Payola" from the studios???

Superdestroyer writes: "It [the fact that blacks don't rent the movie 'Milk'] also shows that blacks do not like white gay men. However, the dislike of white gay men does not mean anything politically."

What group does like white gay men—that is to say—what group, other than another group of homosexuals, seeks out their company, and includes them in their circle of friends and companions?

[HS: Urban women LOVE to have gay male friends.]

Looking at the pattern for Mad Men in Los Angeles suggests to me that there's greater DRV owership (and mastery) in Malibu than Santa Monica.

My favorite quote from the "Readers' Comments", Brian from CT:

"Interestingly enough, "I Claudius" was not on the top rental list for the south Bronx, while the documentary "Self-Medication: Why I Can't Seem to Achieve Happiness" was quite popular among the Park Slope viewers."

Pure comedy gold!

Someone who can make fun of two groups of people, thus killing two birds in one sentence!

"The vastly different rental patterns Mad Men vs. Last Chance Harvey demonstrates that there are two very different types of upper middle class"

What's the mystery? It's simply a function of age. Last Chance Harvey is watched by the wealthy babyboomers, Mad Men is watched by their children.

I had never heard of Tyler Perry until I read this post - amazing the cultural ghettos we're creating in this country.

By the way, Compton is majority Hispanic now. Only it's leadership (aldermen, etc.) is black.

I'm interested in the movie "Milk". If I was raising a family, I would want to avoid areas where "Milk" was extremely popular, because these areas would be socially left-wing and prone to the gay influence. Where I live in NYC, Milk is the NUMBER ONE rental. Funny thing is, I do NOT live in a very gay area. I never see gay couples walking around my neighborhood. So I'm kind of curious about this. I guess there are straight yuppie types who love gays?

Also I looked at the suburbs of NYC. Staten Island, mostly Irish and Italian Catholic, is not a huge fan of Milk compared to other parts of the area. An area of western LI and eastern Queens appears to have next to no interest in Milk; some of these areas appear to be black, but others appear to me more "Paul Blart" country.

Long Island seems to have pretty high interest in much of the west, with much less in the east (except Hamptons). Milk appears popular in southwest Connecticut. Liberal Westchester is pro-Milk, with more Republican Rockland less so.

I was very surprised at the amount of areas in Republican Morris County, NJ (Madison, Mendham, etc) that support Milk so strongly. I thought this was a family area. High income towns in Northern New Jersey seem to be highly supportive of "Milk." What's wrong with the upper middle class in this country? A lot of the wealthy suburbs in NJ are renting "Milk" as their top or second-top movie. Also renting lots of "Milk" are ethnic areas like Bloomfield and New Brunswick...whites in these areas must be Really pro-fag.

Milk interest is high near Princeton as well, very high. In northern NJ, you have to go up to the northwest corner (Sussex area) to avoid "Milk".

Check out _Fireproof_, the Christian movie. All the book variants are hugely popular in the red states, but it's virtually invisible on these metro maps other than Dallas and Atlanta.

Jack, you have apparently spent very little time among the upper classes. Sorry to disappoint you, but even upper middle class Republicans, especially the wives, tend to like gays. In fact a lot of upper middle class Republicans ARE gay. Homophobia in the US tends to be a prole attitude - shared by uneducated Republican whites and Democratic blacks and hispanics alike. Your ability to tolerate homosexuality is, has been for centuries probably, a mark of your social class.

This data is skewed, as the highly technical non-prole people in their 20s to early 30s probably pirate most of their movies and opt out of a service like Netflix, which they would otherwise probably belong to.

"This data is skewed, as the highly technical non-prole people in their 20s to early 30s probably pirate most of their movies and opt out of a service like Netflix, which they would otherwise probably belong to."

I don't think this is the case. People that are highly technical have jobs that pay pretty well and Netflix is really cheap. If you only want to see popular movies or stuff geeks like, then downloading will work, but if you want to see more obscure things Netflix is ideal, especially the ability to stream movies onto your TV through your Blu-ray player.

Peter A, I've been upper middle class all my life. My parents are not homophobic but would never dream of renting "Milk". They think gays are weird like most people do. None of my friends growing up cared about "gay" issues. Many affluent people do not like the homosexual agenda. The NYC area is very disappointing, but Southern cities like Dallas and Atlanta have suburbs where nobody watches "Milk".


Did you or your parents go to an Ivy League school? Or at least a comparable school like Stanford, Wesleyan, or Williams? Are you from the Northeast or the West Coast? How well do you play tennis? What foreign languages do you speak? Where's your summer house? A lot of Americans think they're "Upper Middle Class" but aren't really. Attitudes towards gays tends to be one of countless markers. It doesn't mean a lot of Upper Middle Class people are running out to rent Milk, I can't name anyone who's seen it either, but the idea of New Jersey Republican voters, probably female, renting that movie does not surprise me in the least. A good review in the New Yorker or the NYT and people will probably throw it on their Netflix queue. You also have to remember that a lot of Netflix movies never actually get watched - they gather dust for a week or so, then get sent back to make room for the next hot thing.

I think that fact actually makes the data even more useful, perversely. These are the movies people think they should be watching. And that levels out variations of individual taste into an even more accurate representation of the local community. Sure maybe I like Mall Cop, but if 5 or 6 people say "hey, that Sean Penn was awesome in Milk - give it a shot" maybe I throw it on my queue for the hell of it. Then let it sit there and watch South Park every night on cable and send the DVD back unwatched, who knows?

Peter A,

Elites no not like homosexuals, they just like rich, elite homosexuals. The affluence of the homosexual community demonstrates that homosexual behavior is culture and not biology.

A lot of the "affluence" of the homosexual community has to do with simply not having kids.

I really want to see a Philadelphia version of this. Fishtown compared to Bryn Mawr, or Mayfair compared to Norristown. Metro Philly is the largest metropolitan area not represented with more than 2.5 million more people than Metro Seattle or Metro Twin Cities.

Gay people are not all rich and white; it's just that gay people with power and influence are rich and white, and those are the only ones portrayed in the media. It serves the interests of gay media to perpetuate this myth too, as advertisers want to advertise to a population with disposable income, and white people are less scary and more 'mainstream' in politics.

Also consider the fact that gay people of color have unique difficulties in coming out and being represented. China was just in the news for shutting down its planned Mr. Gay World pageant; in many reports the gay contestants expressed that they have incredible cultural pressure to have biological children, and that homosexuality is not tolerated in their communities. It is not in black communities too, and Latinos' machismo culture is infamous.

To the poster that snidely suggested that gay affluence (which is false perception anyway) means that homosexuality is cultural, and not biological: there's a whole field of study on this topic that, consistently with gay peoples' reported experience, support the theory of gay immutability, so you don't need to make baseless speculation.


Homosexuals are overrepresented in colleges and especially overrepresented at tier one universities. That is a sign that homosexuals are from affluent families and a sign of affluence.

If most of the homosexuals in the U.S. are coming from families with above average incomes and above average intelligence, then homosexuality is obviously a lifestyle choice. After seeing a huge number of married, upper middle class white women decide that they are lesbians after going through messy divorces, anyone who believes that it is immutable is just lying to themselves. Just look up the phrase Hasbians.

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