Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hollywood Out of Touch?

It cracks me up when people say that Hollywood is out of touch with America. No one elected Hollywood. Hollywood doesn't make policy. Washington being out of touch is a problem. But Hollywood? Tinsel town? These are filmmakers. The ones who are really passionate about the craft are the dreamers, so of course they're a little out of touch with everyone else. Why is that a problem? No one ever says "Today's poets are just out of touch the country," or "The sculptors are completely out of touch with America." And the filmmakers who are just in it for the money, well, they run all kinds of focus groups to find out what people will pay to see. So they're very in touch. It's a strange phenomenon the way some people feel like the entire film industry has some kind of obligation to take a national poll and use the results as a guide for what kind of movies to make, as if such a poll were even possible.


Dubai Ports World

Looks like this controversy has passed. But you know if there's one thing that I think we can all agree on, I think it's that Dubai Ports World needs a better name. It sounds like a discount store for ports. I can see a low budget late-night commercial now: "Ports, ports, ports. Come on down to Dubai Ports World for all your port needs! We have big ports, small ports, secure ports, vulnerable ports – if you need a port, we have one waiting for you at 30 to 50% less than our competitors. Dubai Ports Emporium may claim to have the best selection and the best prices, but they're full of it. Dubai Ports World. The King of Ports."


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bill O'Reilly, the ACLU and NAMBLA

Tonight on The O'Reilly Factor, Bill interviewed a U.S. Ambassador who is a chief advisor on the subject of human trafficking – something we can all agree is bad. The ambassador talked at length about a litany of problems from children in the Middle East being forced to be camel jockeys to child prostitution in Cuba. The ambassador also brought up a case of a particular group of seven Americans who are members of NAMBLA who were arrested in February while trying to enter Mexico. And O'Reilly chimes in with "NAMBLA - the ACLU's favorite."

Good one, Bill. I'm sure they're all child molestors, every last one of them.

Here's the thing: the ACLU defends what it believes to be a correct interpretation of our civil rights. And when it comes to freedom of speech, they defend the right to talk about anything, whether you're a right wing nut job or a left wing loon or for that matter a sexual deviant – but that's not the same as defending the right to do the thing being talked about. Over the years they've supported free speech rights for all kinds of groups, from Christian fundamentalists to Nazis to Oliver North, but that doesn't mean they support Christianity, genocide or trading arms for hostages – but the will defend the right to speak freely about all of those things.

But that doesn't make for a quite as catchy or caustic a sound bite, and I suppose that's how O'Reilly makes his living.