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Posts Tagged ‘hollywood’

Look who’s feeding at the public trough

Posted by Richard on January 29, 2010

In Michael Moore's 2009 film, Capitalism: A Love Story, he railed against (among others) corporate greedheads lining up to get government handouts of the taxpayers' money. Talk about a great big pot calling the kettle black.

According to, Michigan's Mackinac Center discovered that the movie was partly filmed in Michigan, qualifying it for a generous windfall courtesy of the state's taxpayers. And it's already been approved, despite what strikes me as a serious conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety (emphasis added): 

That windfall would come from Michigan’s refundable tax credit program for the film industry, a program that allows movie producers to apply for a tax refund of up to 42 percent of their spending in Michigan. This lavish provision means a studio can easily receive more from Michigan taxpayers than it pays in Michigan taxes.

This initially seemed to trouble Moore, and he openly questioned the program at a forum in July 2008.

“These are large multinational corporations — Viacom, GE, Rupert Murdoch — that own these studios. Why do they need our money, from Michigan, from our taxpayers, when we’re already broke here?” Moore asked.

Moore posed this question to the Michigan Film Office director who determines which movies will qualify for the program. Moore went on: “I mean, they play one state against another, and so they get all this free cash when they’re making billions already in profits. What’s the thinking behind that?”

But in November 2008, Gov. Granholm appointed Michael Moore to the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council. Which advises the Michigan Film Office. Which runs the tax refund program.

Moore filmed part of “Capitalism: A Love Story” in Michigan. And the Mackinac Center has confirmed with the film office that a “production person” associated with Moore “applied, was approved for an incentive and … will receive credits” once the state treasury department reviews and approves the audited filing.

The film office did not disclose how much the resulting payment from the state would be; however, the film office director insisted that the incentive approval posed no conflict of interest with Moore’s seat on the film office advisory council.

Oh, OK. I guess I was wrong. Nothing to see here, folks. No crony capitalism. No unseemly behavior. No hypocritical greedhead pigs feeding at the public trough. The director of the office that Moore advises, who determines which movies qualify, has assured us of that.

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Pledging to serve the President

Posted by Richard on September 5, 2009

Have you seen the "I pledge" video by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher (it's produced by Oprah's company, Harpo Productions), and featuring a score of their whackjob Hollyweird friends? It dates all the way back to inauguration day, but someone has recently been promoting it anew (over 100,000 new views in the past few days). A friend sent me the link, and it was new to me.

I found it very disturbing, and I'm not going to embed it here for fear that someone might think I'm promoting, endorsing, or approving it. But here's "Ashton Kutcher's Creepy Pledge" (it's really Demi Moore who utters the creepiest part), a 48-second rejoinder that starts with the money quote from the Kutcher-Moore video: 

[YouTube link]

You might also want to check out "Pledging to be a Servant" (embedding disabled), Penn Jillette's 6-minute response. It's a bit rambling, but it expresses exactly the revulsion, disbelief, and sense of ickiness that I felt.

"I pledge" is the quintessential expression of both the cult of collectivism and the cult of personality. I wonder how long until these people start a movement to appoint Obama "President for Life"?

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MPAA guilty of copyright violations

Posted by Richard on December 7, 2007

Oh, the wonderful irony! The Motion Picture Association of America is, together with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), one of the most hawkish organizations anywhere regarding copyright protection. At one time, the MPAA fought to ban VCRs because they "encouraged" people to copy movies. More recently, the MPAA and RIAA have been the driving forces behind the odious digital rights management (DRM) schemes that encumber digital entertainment and restrict our "fair use" rights. So I found this news just hilarious:

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) recently released a software toolkit designed to help universities detect instances of potentially illegal file-sharing on school networks. The toolkit is based on the increasingly popular Ubuntu Linux distribution and includes the Apache web server as well as custom traffic monitoring software created by the MPAA. Although the toolkit was previously available from a web site set up by the MPAA, the software was removed last night after the organization received a request from Ubuntu technical board member Matthew Garrett to take it down due to GPL violations.

Many of the components in the Ubuntu Linux distribution, including the Linux kernel, are distributed under the General Public License (GPL). … Distributing software licensed under the GPL in binary format without making source code available to end users is a violation of the GPL and constitutes copyright infringement.

The MPAA, which has consistently lobbied Congress for stricter penalties on copyright infringement, will likely take some much-deserved heat for this embarrassing gaffe.  

Much-deserved indeed. 

Meanwhile, there's more good news for consumers regarding digital music. Retail giants Amazon and Wal-Mart have joined the fight for DRM-free MP3s:

Earlier this year EMI and Universal Music Group started selling DRM-free music. Now, Pepsi and Amazon have teamed up to give away 1 billion DRM-free MP3s. The offer puts pressure on record companies who aren't offering music in DRM-free format to either join the party or miss out.

In the past, retail giant Wal-Mart has sold music with Microsoft's PlaysForSure DRM. iTunes, the top online music retailer in the world, sells music compatible only with Apple iPod and iPhone devices.

Now, Wal-Mart is siding with the Smash-DRM movement, claiming it wants to switch to a DRM-free catalogue in 2008 and threatening to leave behind any record label not willing to comply. Meanwhile, iTunes has already started selling DRM-free music. Change is definitely in the air.

A couple of years ago, I pointed out that Microsoft was defending consumers' rights by backing the HD DVD format and insisting that it include Managed Copy, an extension of DRM that restores consumers' fair-use rights. Now, music consumers have a friend in Wal-Mart. Microsoft and Wal-Mart, the little guy's friends — somewhere, a corporation-hating lefty's head just exploded. 🙂

Of course, those corporations are (as they should be) acting out of self-interest. It's really competition and innovation that are the little guy's friends:

Retailers and record labels wanting to sell DRM-free music are hardly feeling an alliance with the open source / free-love crowd. This is strictly business. Universal and others had no problem dealing with iTunes, DRM and all, when the iPod was the only significant MP3 player. But now that practically everybody has cell phones and other non-Apple devices that play digital music, cross-compatibility is looking a lot more interesting.

DRM will become marginalized as Apple's stranglehold on digital music playback weakens.

BTW, on Friday Wal-Mart is selling Toshiba's 3rd-generation HD-A3 HD DVD player for $298, and you get 12 (!) free HD DVDs. If you've been thinking about a high-def player, grab this deal!


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Another anti-war bomb

Posted by Richard on November 26, 2007

Four weeks ago, I noted that Hollywood's recent spate of anti-American propaganda films had been singularly unsuccessful:

The bad news is that Hollywood is relentlessly cranking out film after film intended to undermine support for the war against Islamofascism. The good news is that Americans are avoiding these propaganda pieces in droves. Most recently, Babel, The Kingdom, and Rendition have all bombed at the box office.

Add Brian De Palma's execrable Redacted to the list. In fact, put it at the top. According to a NYPost story quoted by JammieWearingFool, it may be the biggest box-office bomb ever. On its opening weekend, it took in about $25,000. No, I didn't accidentally leave off three zeros. Twenty-five thousand dollars. At what — about eight bucks a ticket? That means more people attended your average minor-league hockey game than saw this left-wing turkey.

JWF's post also has the unbelievable story of how De Palma is complaining that he's a victim. You see, his corporate overlords insisted on blurring the faces of dead American soldiers in a "collage of actual bloody bodies at the end of the film." He's been censored! Denied his opportunity to inflict gratuitous pain and suffering on the families and friends of the dead in service of his art (and politics)! Poor Brian!

De Palma is a vile POS, and a pretty sorry director, too — overrated, overblown, and completely derivative. His career should have ended years ago. I remember a great (late 70s?) Saturday Night Live parody commercial for a De Palma film called The Clams — a silly ripoff of Hitchcock's The Birds, complete with clams gathering on a jungle gym. As I recall, the money line at the end was "every couple of years, he picks the bones of a dead director and gives his wife a job."

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Hollywood’s war

Posted by Richard on October 31, 2007

The bad news is that Hollywood is relentlessly cranking out film after film intended to undermine support for the war against Islamofascism. The good news is that Americans are avoiding these propaganda pieces in droves. Most recently, Babel, The Kingdom, and Rendition have all bombed at the box office.

But it's not just that film-makers are making anti-war movies. They've also gone out of their way to avoid portraying the most believable and likely villains around today, Islamist terrorists, even if it meant rewriting stories like Tom Clancey's The Sum of All Fears to kowtow to the demands of CAIR (unindicted co-conspirators in a terrorism-financing operation). The film version replaced the Islamist terrorists in Clancy's novel with cartoon neo-Nazis.

Michael Fumento noted the difference between Hollywood then and now:

In 1942, Hollywood went to war. It began pumping out countless movies designed both to entertain the public and bolster its will to fight. A lot of them were cheap, hokey, or both. But even in a nation that seemingly needed little reminder of the dastardly attack on Pearl Harbor or the evils of the Nazis, they kept drilling home the message that we must persevere no matter the costs or the duration.

Well that they did. President Franklin Roosevelt lived in constant fear that the public would turn against the war. Indeed a Gallup Poll taken just five months before Germany’s collapse and long after the American public began learning of the horrors of the Holocaust, showed about one-fourth did not want to drive on to unconditional surrender.

Fast forward that reel to the post-9/11 era. Just how many Hollywood movies (not documentaries) have been made in which the bad guys are Islamist terrorists that do not specifically concern the Sept. 11 attacks? If you have to guess, guess “none.”

Read the whole thing. As Fumento observed, Hollywood seems bent on convincing us that either Islamist terrorists aren't really a threat or that they're no worse than we are.

Also, read Ed Driscoll's Hollywood Nihilism, which argues that the change in Hollywood predates 9/11 and Bush ("who's the real enemy," indeed).

It's really remarkable (and disgusting) that Tinseltown — with its well-known predilection for hedonism, its commitment to feminism, its enthusiastic embrace of alternative lifestyles, and its general "do your own thing" attitude — has consistently sided with the most barbaric, mysogynistic, intolerant, and repressive religio-political movement on the face of the earth, a movement that would, given the chance, behead or stone to death practically every last one of them. 

Driscoll be damned, I blame Bush.  

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Geffen changes tune

Posted by Richard on February 22, 2007

Several hundred glitterati attended a fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton Tuesday night to meet Sen. Barack Obama and donate $1.3 million to his presidential campaign. Hollywood mogul David Geffen helped organize the event, and the former big-time Clinton supporter had some rather unkind words for Bill and Hillary:

Geffen also alluded to possible campaign distractions caused by Bill Clinton’s personal life should his wife secure the Democratic nomination, saying, "Everybody in politics lies, but [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling."

Now Geffen is troubled by the Clintons’ lying. Funny — it didn’t trouble him when he raised $20 million for Bill and enjoyed sleepovers in the Lincoln bedroom. It didn’t trouble him as long as the lying helped to further his ideological agenda. What a hypocrite! He deserves the infamous Wrath of Hillary, and he’d better hope to God she doesn’t become President. It’s not good to be on her enemies list under any circumstances, but if she had the reins of government in her hands… <shudder>

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Making Hollywood more anti-gun

Posted by Richard on April 6, 2006

A few weeks ago, Dave Kopel’s Second Amendment Newsletter mentioned a press release entitled Firearm Statistics Report Available to Movie, TV Creators. I finally got around to checking it out recently, and here’s what it’s about:

The Entertainment Industries Council Inc. (EIC) has created an extensive compilation of information on gun violence, firearm safety, gun legislation and more as a resource to the creative community for potential storylines. Published under the title Putting a Face on Firearm Statistics: Volume II, this information is available to the entertainment industry through EIC’s First Draft resource program via its website ( and through the mail. The publication was made possible through the support of the Joyce Foundation.

"We’re launching an aggressive program to encourage the use of this material to provide awareness about the inherent dangers that guns can pose," said Brian Dyak, President and CEO of EIC.

Well, the support of the Joyce Foundation suggested that I wouldn’t much like the information about guns that the EIC was presenting. A look at their web site confirmed my suspicions. The EIC’s page of "Facts & Statistics" on gun violence and firearms safety relies heavily on discredited "data" from the usual anti-gun "researchers" and sources — Kellerman, Saltzman, the Violence Policy Center, Johns Hopkins’ Center for Gun Policy, and the CDC.

This is really too bad, because the overall purpose of the EIC seems worthwhile. They’re an information and education resource for the entertainment industry regarding such complex issues as drugs, HIV/AIDS, and mental health, so that portrayals of and information about these topics are more accurate. I’ve given some of their other issues information a quick once-over, and it appears to be pretty solid and balanced, unlike the gun violence information. (Of course, I could be wrong about that, fooled by my ignorance of the Kellermans and Saltzmans in those fields.)

More information and education about guns would be a good thing for the entertainment industry. For instance, a few years ago, the EIC sponsored a firearms safety class taught by a retired police officer. This was an excellent idea. People have been killed and injured on movie sets using prop guns. And on-screen portrayals of gun use are typically pretty awful both in terms of technical accuracy and in terms of safe gun handling. This class ought to be an annual event.

Unfortunately, the EIC’s "Facts & Statistics" on guns aren’t educating the entertainment industry. They’re just feeding it more anti-gun propaganda, such as Kellerman’s 20-year-old bogus claims about defensive gun use, which were thoroughly discredited ages ago.

Do we really need an organized, well-funded effort to make Hollywood more anti-gun?

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