Steve Sailer channels his inner Kevin MacDonald in this insightful analysis of The Graduate (1967):
Nichols likes to claim that he hadn’t realized what The Graduate was actually about until he saw it parodied in a juvenile humor magazine in October 1968:
It took me years before I got what I had been doing all along — that I had been turning Benjamin into a Jew. I didn’t get it until I saw this hilarious issue of MAD magazine after the movie came out, in which the caricature of Dustin says to the caricature of Elizabeth Wilson, ‘Mom, how come I’m Jewish and you and Dad aren’t?’ And I asked myself the same question, and the answer was fairly embarrassing and fairly obvious: Who was the Jew among the goyim? And who was forever a visitor in a strange land?…
Screenwriter Buck Henry argued for Hoffman’s plausibility in the role by appealing to Cesare Lombroso‘s 1870s theory of racial atavism:
“You know my theory about California genetics? Jews from New York came to the Land of Plenty, and within one generation the Malibu sand had gotten into their genes and turned them into tall, Nordic powerhouses. Walking surfboards. We were thinking about how these Nordic people have Dustin as a son, and it’s got to be a genetic throwback to some previous generation.”
Ultimately, The Graduate is about the pain of being Jewish in a gentile society. This theme had been downplayed by previous generations of Jewish filmmakers, who were grateful for how nice Americans had been to Jews. But as the years went by, Jewish-American artists discovered that there was little danger and much profit in violating this old norm….
For example, in the first scene in the hotel lobby, the unaggressive Benjamin has to step aside while dozens of pushy WASPs in formal attire shove through a revolving door ahead of him. And, of course, there’s the memorable last scene in which Benjamin rescues his shiksa goddess from her new husband at the Methodist church by swinging a giant crucifix at the resentful blond beasts.
It doesn’t get much more obvious than that.