Live-tweeting ain’t easy.
Our government is yet again marching us towards a war of choice in the Middle East and our non-partisan, peace-loving celebrities have gone missing since late 2008. We fear the worst.
This is great.
It’s an open secret in Hollywood that before the MPAA reviews many movies, the Pentagon does. David Robb documents the practice in his book Operation Hollywood. Whenever movie producers want to use Pentagon equipment: helicopters, bases, submarines, etc. they send a request to the Pentagon, along with five copies of the script. The Pentagon replies with proposed changes to the script, which the producer must either accept, or forgo the equipment (which disinclines studios to finance the film, since it entails extra costs). Then, while the movie is shot, a “minder” hangs along, to ensure the director sticks to the script. Final approval comes from Pentagon brass who pre-screen and censor the film. …
Movies that garnered approval include Pearl Harbor, Top Gun and GoldenEye. Movies that had to due without include Forrest Gump, Platoon, Independence Day and Thin Red Line. Among the taboo subjects for the Pentagon: anything that will decrease recruiting, alcohol or drug use, aliens overpowering the military or any military personnel depicted in a negative light. Forrest Gump failed to procure funds for implying that the Army was staffed by “soldiers of limited intelligence” and for the scene in which Hanks moons the President. In the original GoldenEye script a Navy Admiral sells state secrets, the final version, it’s now a Frenchman. …
The Pentagon claims it aims to “portray the military as it actually is,” but don’t planes sometimes have technical difficulties? Doesn’t torture sometimes lead to bad information? Don’t soldiers come home with post-traumatic stress because the enemies are human, not vague abstractions? Does the Pentagon truly want to “accurately portray” history? Let’s examine two cases studies. The first is the 2000 movie, Thirteen Days, in which the military brass urges President Kennedy to engage Cuba militarily. David Robb recalls that Pentagon pushed the producers to tone down the implications, but they refused and went without military assistance – a risky move since, “most studio heads tell their producers, ‘We’re not going to make this film unless we get military assistance, because it would be too expensive. So you’d better make sure the script conforms to what they want.’” One such case is Charlie Wilson’s War, the movie about Charlie Wilson’s attempts to aid the Mujahedeen during our proxy war with Russia in Afghanistan. In the original script, says Matthew Alford, in an interview with Al Jazeera [30:00] “there is a very clear link between the U.S. arming the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the causes of 9/11. Now, we know from a CIA advisor who was on set, he says ‘we deliberately made sure we excised that film.’” I asked Alford, author of Reel Time: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy, whether the Pentagon’s thumbs down had ever silenced a movie entirely. He cited Countermeasures, a 1994 movie that requested an aircraft carrier but was turned down because, “There’s no reason for us to denigrate the White House or remind the public of the Iran-Contra affair.” As to the “accurate portrayal” question, he replied, “Since when was it ‘realistic’ for the US military to go to war against Transformers?”
The CIA has recently gotten into the racket. The Los Angeles Times reports “The CIA has kept an entertainment liaison on staff only since 1996. At that point, the Cold War had ended, and the agency was fighting for its budget and its existence on Capitol Hill. The new mission was clear: to overcome the CIA’s image in popular entertainment as incompetent, evil or rife with rogue employees.” Bill Harlow, the CIA public affairs chief is quoted saying, “I made that a big priority, and we did a lot more with Hollywood than ever before.” Tricia Jenkins reports in her book The CIA in Hollywood that the CIA was “influenced” the production of Argo, which is why the movie is essentially an ad for the CIA. She reports that the underlying theme- that the public never finds about the CIA’s successes and only its failures- is one of the narratives that the CIA constantly encourages producers and directors to relate.
I’ve previously noted my personal experience with the “tolerance” of Leftywood here.
I hate this industry.
Officially pushing government propaganda (as opposed to unofficially pushing it, which is its modus operandi) right before an election.
Government propaganda has reached a new extreme. Soon couch potatoes will be inundated with propaganda about centrally planned healthcare. ... The evil bastards at Accenture have a contract to build the evil government healthcare destruction enrollment site. It’s Big Consultants supporting Big Pharma and Big Insurance:Abby Goodnough of The New York Times is reporting as the California state government is setting up its ObamaCare exchange, the exchange has hired a PR firm (with federal government money)."Realizing that much of the battle will be in the public relations realm, the exchange has poured significant resources into a detailed marketing plan — developed not by state health bureaucrats but by the global marketing powerhouse Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, which has an initial $900,000 contract with the exchange," she wrote. Ogilvy’s plan is to tap major network TV shows like "Grey’s Anatomy" and "Modern Family" to sell Americans on the health care law:Hollywood, an industry whose major players have been supportive of President Obama and his agenda, will be tapped. Plans are being discussed to pitch a reality television show about “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage,” according to the Ogilvy plan. The exchange will also seek to have prime-time television shows, like “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and Univision telenovelas, weave the health care law into their plots.
“I’d like to see 10 of the major TV shows, or telenovelas, have people talking about ‘that health insurance thing,’ ” said Peter V. Lee, the exchange’s executive director. “There are good story lines here.”Although the exchange will not start advertising until next year, the California Endowment, a foundation that has spent $15 million promoting the law, is running newspaper and television ads, including one in which the television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz exhorts viewers to “get educated, get engaged, get enrolled.” That campaign has targeted Hispanics, who make up more than half of the state’s uninsured population.Goodnough added “The exchange itself has so far been financed by three grants, worth $237 million, from the federal government. Most of the money is committed to consultants, including Accenture, which has a $327 million contract to build and support the initial operation of the enrollment portal.”
10 Years, written and directed by a good friend, premiered in theaters yesterday.
It’s funny, warm, features great music, and has an amazing cast (Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson. Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Oscar Isaac, Scott Porter, Kate Mara, Lynn Collins, Justin Long, Ron Livingston, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Max Minghella, and others).
I highly recommend it.
“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off.” “To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much.”
“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off.”
“To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much.”
In my years in this industry, easily 80% of the notes I’ve gotten from BS&P have been with regards to nudity and sexuality. The rest were mainly profanity and logos. I can’t even remember one note ever having to do with gore or violence.
I’ve discussed before how those of us who work in the tv/film industry and are not proponents of a big and meddlesome government tend to be marginalized by those others who are. This is why I call it Leftywood: the non-leftists are a very tiny minority.
A few years ago (2008, before the election), some producers were in my office and had spent a fair amount of time discussing the messianic qualities of Barack Obama. When I tried to steer them back to the task at hand, one of them turned to me and said something along the lines of “You’re latino. You must be so excited.” I winced at the employ of latino, and simply stated that I wasn’t going to vote for Obama. They looked at me as though I had just bitten the heads off a half-dozen live bats. If I hadn’t pulled the weight on that show that I did (and, frankly, wasn’t as well-liked as I was), I may not have stayed employed.
This is why I keep my identity generally under wraps on this blog. My coworkers and employers know that I’m libertarian, but there’s no telling what the consequences would be if the statists in the industry knew the extent to which my anti-statism reached. (The more I advance in my career - and the more clout and connections I have - the more open I become.)
Well, today I met another libertarian in the industry, a stunt coordinator who specializes in working with motorcycles. As a matter of fact, he lives directly across the street from me (he approached me while I was doing some sprinkler repair).
Apparently, working on a movie a few summers ago, his political affiliation was discovered. Like me, he was an anti-union member of a union (see my personal note on unions here) - a libertarian who would not support Obama.
That night, he returned to find his bike vandalized. The next day, he was met with cold shoulders and bad attitudes from his coworkers and especially his employers. Two days later, he was out of a job - and his employers made sure he understood that they were only looking for “team players” and wouldn’t tolerate “enemies within their ranks.”
Now this is the kind of story that would normally make the left’s blood boil. Here was an employer using his authority to squelch dissenting opinion. But when the opinion is anti-left, then I guess the normal rules don’t apply.
Hollywood is every bit as left-leaning and state-loving as it’s made out to be - but less tolerant than it wants the public to realize.
Just watched the first episode (which previewed a few days ago but officially premieres June 7) with my oldest daughter. Beck, the young insurgent who will be the main protagonist of the show, has this exchange with Tron:
TRON: “You understand this makes you an enemy of the State?”
BECK: “The State is the enemy.”
Finally some straight talk in a kids’ TV show.
I blew up a car.
What did you do?
- 1920’s – the record business complained about radio. The argument was because radio is free, you can’t compete with free. No one was ever going to buy music again.
- 1940’s – movie studios had to divest their distribution channel – they owned over 50% of the movie theaters in the U.S. “It’s all over,” complained the studios. In fact, the number of screens went from 17,000 in 1948 to 38,000 today.
- 1950’s – broadcast television was free; the threat was cable television. Studios argued that their free TV content couldn’t compete with paid.
- 1970’s – Video Cassette Recorders (VCR’s) were going to be the end of the movie business. The movie businesses and its lobbying arm MPAA fought it with “end of the world” [hyperbole]. The reality? After the VCR was introduced, studio revenues took off like a rocket. With a new channel of distribution, home movie rentals surpassed movie theater tickets.
- 1998 – the MPAA got congress to pass the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), making it illegal for you to make a digital copy of a DVD that you actually purchased.
- 2000 – Digital Video Recorders (DVR) like TiVo allowing consumer to skip commercials was going to be the end of the TV business. DVR’s reignite interest in TV.
- 2006 - broadcasters sued Cablevision (and lost) to prevent the launch of a cloud-based DVR to its customers.
- Today it’s the Internet that’s going to put the studios out of business. Sound familiar?
Game of Thrones is excellent, but Homeland is the best show on television.
Not one of his better episodes, but zoom to the 14:45 mark as [former MTV VJ] Kennedy explains what it’s like for a non-leftist in show business.
This morning, on my way in to work, I passed a large cordoned-off protest just starting to assemble on Hollywood Boulevard. After noting that it usually seems to be the left who blocks traffic and disturbs the peace when protesting (with sanctioned help from their fellow union tax-feeders in law enforcement), I took in the people and the signs.
It was a veritable smorgasbord of unwashed hippies, a gaggle of leftists with incoherent concerns and demands for everything except self-governance and personal responsibility. Nothing was too big or small to be considered a “right.” There were pro-union solidarity signs and “get greed out of weed” signs. The vast majority of the signage and t-shirts, however, seemed to be anti-war. There were huge banners demanding the U.S. and U.N. get out of Afghanistan. Of course, this is something I support. But what stuck out to me were the almost countless number of signs with Bush’s name. You know, the last president. They called him a war criminal, that he was “wanted” for crimes against humanity, that we needed to end Bush’s war, etc. But no sign displaying displeasure or concern with Obama. Not one.
Bush was certainly one of the worst U.S. presidents of all time, but how intellectually dishonest do you have to be to continue to blame him three years into Obama’s administration? In reality, Obama could have pushed for an end of conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan from day one. In fact, as Commander-in-Chief, he has full operational discretion - especially since there were no declarations of war. But he instead extended both conflicts and now wants to tussle with Libya. This is just another way President Obama has failed to live up to whatever few legitimately liberty-favorable promises candidate Obama made. And of course, just as the neo-cons supported Bush with one of the biggest entitlements ever in Medicare Part D, the Democrats kowtow to The One’s every whim.
[Turns out it’s a “Stop the War” March and Protest, which is blocking off Hollywood Boulevard from Vine to just short of La Brea. Which, if you’re familiar with Hollywood or L.A., is an extremely busy area.]