MCN Blogs
Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

American censors: say it ain't so, Joe

How committed to free expression in a secular society are our elected leaders? Howie Klein, former head of Reprise Records, writes memorably and with telling details about firsthand encounters with censorship instincts of US politicians like Connecticut Democrat Joseph Lieberman, and it’s an ugly, ugly portrait. “People often ask me what happened [with the parental ratings implementation] and what was the big deal. Lieberman knew exactly what he was doing… when he insisted on ratings on CDs and it had nothing to do with helping parents supervise their children. Few people understand, the way Lieberman did, that in the late 80s something like 70% of all recorded music was sold in stores in malls and that malls have very stringent lease arrangements about their tenants not selling “pornography.” Klein characterizes the failed Vice Presidential candidate and his compatriots this way: “Over the course of this controversy two of the Senate’s most uptight and close-minded prigs, Sam Brownback and Lieberman, pushed for the kinds of stickers that would make it impossible for the kind of music they objected to… to be stocked by 70% of American retailers. The effect inside the music business was chilling—and instantaneous. senasor-lieberman.jpgSuddenly a whole new internal bureaucracy had to be created to police every record and suddenly artists were being pressured—sometimes overtly and sometimes less overtly—to cave in to demands by two really reactionary fundamentalists whose values are far from mainstream. In one fell swoop Lieberman destroyed an alliance between young voters and the Democratic Party that had started with John Kennedy’s election as he ham-fistedly savaged their culture for his own political ambitions.” Klein quotes Danny Goldberg, former chairman of Warner Bros Records and his book, “Dispatches from the Culture War: How the Left Lost Teen Spirit.” “When former LBJ advisor Jack Valenti, then head of the movie industry trade organization, and a friend of Lieberman’s was asked by Danny if he had ever told Lieberman about the First Amendment implications of the type of censorship he was advocating, Valenti replied, “When people get very religious and they believe their course of action is sanctioned by a higher authority, there’s not much you can do to communicate with them— left, right or center.” [More venom at the link.]

Comments are closed.

Movie City Indie

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch