Comments on: A Letter to the #Occup(iers): The Principle of Non-Contradiction Blog, news, books Thu, 12 Oct 2017 08:56:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Richard Bennett Fri, 07 May 2004 21:26:56 +0000 Rob, may I point out that Authority isn’t actually a monolith? It seems to me that it’s helpful to remember that, especially in the political context where using one oligarchy to fight another is the order of the day.

In the most real and important sense, you yourself are the only Authority that matters.

By: Richard Bennett Fri, 07 May 2004 21:22:33 +0000 Actually, we don’t have a problem with access to the airwaves at all. Most of us watch TV on cable or satellite – 70% or so of American households – so the airwaves and their regulators are at best a minor nuisance.

Progress is a wonderful thing.

By: Rob Fri, 07 May 2004 21:06:54 +0000

The issue here is…you buying the lies because of your predisposition to accept any line of reasoning that attacks authority…I agree that you�re being manipulated, and suggest that you look at such questions as �how� and �by whom.� When you know the truth, you�ll be free.

I just read an excellent (my opinion) essay by scientist/author David Brin:

The Matrix: Tomorrow May Be Different

Mostly the essay is about overarching themes in speculative fiction and their relevance to society, but it also has quite a bit of relevance to your point. Here’s a quote (apologies in advance for losing some of its context) from that essay:

…the most persistent and inarguably incessant propaganda campaign, appearing in countless movies, novels, myths and TV shows, preaches…A singular and unswerving theme so persistent and ubiquitous that most people hardly notice or mention it. And yet, when I say it aloud, you will nod your heads in instant recognition.

That theme is suspicion of authority — often accompanied by its sidekick/partner: tolerance.

Perhaps I have been manipulated to suspect Authority. I don’t claim to be immune to propaganda. Given that admission, I certainly feel in my heart that large media conglomerates are heavily predisposed to use their power in purely selfish ways. The people running them aren’t superhuman either; they may genuinely feel that releasing Moore’s film would be harmful to society, but that’s not the story I’m hearing. Instead I’m hearing that Authority is deciding to silence an annoying dissenter who questions their power and the moral underpinnings of that power. I feel I must respectfully disagree with their position.

The public has just as much right to demand equality of time from a media megalith as it does from an individual television network or newspaper. It is OUR society, not Authority’s, though Authority would perhaps like us to forget that.

By: Jonathan Rintels Fri, 07 May 2004 19:33:51 +0000 What’s really worrisome is that Disney acts in a similar way against political and so-called “indecent” speech in television, where it is one of only a handful of companies that control access to the public airwaves. As a theatrical film by a well-known filmmaker, Moore’s film will be distributed by someone else after Disney’s pass. And the public can choose whether to pay its seven bucks to see it.

But in television, the likelihood of a show that Disney, through its production companies, bankrolls but then refuses to air eventually finding another broadcast outlet are slim and none. Unless it’s by a producer with the juice of a Jerry Bruckheimer who can stand up to them and demand his show back (as was the case with CSI, where ABC famously passed and thus handed a goldmine to CBS/Viacom). It’s where our public airwaves are concerned that we ought to be most concerned. The giant conglomerates who we allow to control these airwaves are so dependent on Washington for licenses, spectrum, merger approvals, tax breaks, etc., that we all pay a price in homogenized, unchallenging, and politically “safe” programming.

Clear Channel dropping Howard Stern from its stations was an excellent example — it was getting killed in Washington, so it sacrificed Howard. Now, the question is whether Viacom will dump Stern, as he himself is predicting. If so, we’ve got a major, major problem in this country. In fact, we have one already.

By: Richard Bennett Fri, 07 May 2004 15:32:05 +0000 Rob writes: …it�s the public�s right to demand that a major movie distributor give equal time to all points of view.

It is?

The issue here is Moore lying to create buzz, and you buying the lies because of your predisposition to accept any line of reasoning that attacks authority; this is what sells Moore’s books (and Lessig’s, and Vaidhyanathan’s, and Franken’s, etc, etc, etc).

I agree that you’re being manipulated, and suggest that you look at such questions as “how” and “by whom.” When you know the truth, you’ll be free.

By: Rob Fri, 07 May 2004 14:36:46 +0000

…in the CNN interview he [Moore] said: “Almost a year ago, after we’d started making the film, the chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner, told my agent he was upset Miramax had made the film and he will not distribute it.”

Nothing new here. It still doesn’t negate the fact that Eisner/Disney made their decision on what I consider a dubious basis. And it still is a fact that Disney indeed did “pull the plug” on distributing the movie, making good on their threat. It’s their right to decide what not to distribute, but it’s the public’s right to demand that a major movie distributor give equal time to all points of view. If Disney wants to exercise such control over the political content of their projects and those of their subsidiaries (censorship is such an ugly word), that fact needs to be out in the open so the public can see it. And now it is.

By: Richard Bennett Fri, 07 May 2004 07:14:15 +0000 Moore accused of publicity stunt over Disney ‘ban’

Less than 24 hours after accusing the Walt Disney Company of pulling the plug on his latest documentary in a blatant attempt at political censorship, the rabble-rousing film-maker Michael Moore has admitted he knew a year ago that Disney had no intention of distributing it.

The admission, during an interview with CNN, undermined Moore’s claim that Disney was trying to sabotage the US release of Fahrenheit 911 just days before its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.

Instead, it lent credence to a growing suspicion that Moore was manufacturing a controversy to help publicise the film, a full-bore attack on the Bush administration and its handling of national security since the attacks of 11 September 2001.

You’ve been had, boys and girls.

By: Taran Fri, 07 May 2004 03:27:45 +0000 And in other news, Roy Disney says Disney Inc. is being privateered by someone with a Letter of Marquee…

Ok, he didn’t SAY that, but…

By: Richard Bennett Thu, 06 May 2004 18:32:11 +0000 Miramax is a producer, and they have a deal with Disney for distribution. When Miramax decided to produce Moore’s latest piece of puke, Disney said they wouldn’t distribute it. That was a year ago, and none of this is news to Moore, who even acknowledges that his agent knew about the deal all along but somehow failed to tell him until this week.

There are plenty of distributors who would love to handle this film, and Moore won’t suffer by using someone other than Disney to pawn his dreck off on the unsuspecting young people who make up his core audience.

The only story here is Moore lying (again) in order to create buzz for his irrational, dishonest, hysterical attacks on Authority.


By: Rob Thu, 06 May 2004 15:40:29 +0000

When did tax breaks become partisan rewards?

I would guess about the time monied interests decided to try to influence government. Ancient Rome maybe? Probably even earlier. Naivete’ is so charming sometimes.

By: Rob Thu, 06 May 2004 15:28:40 +0000 I’ve yet to see anything Moore has done that’s been dull. Of course there’s always the possibility that anything touching on President Bush will be affected by his dullness, but I bet Moore is up to the task of making even the President seem somehow interesting.

As far as Mr. Cooper’s supposed debunking of Moore, I notice that the “inside scoop” article he includes nevertheless repeats the quote from the NYTimes from Moore’s agent where the tax incentives supposedly came up in a conversation with Michael Eisner; that indicates to me that the author feels it’s good info, and Cooper (by including it) does as well. He also cites nameless “sources” at Miramax reporting that Miramax also “never planned to release the Moore film”. Well, gee, I’m convinced. As with Manes, points for Cooper using “bloviating” (which is fast becoming one of my favorite words); but my statements still stand.

From the Cooper blog entry:

“Dissecting the current dust-up, it seems clear that Disney never intended to distribute Moore’s film.”

Well of course they didn’t; but Moore wasn’t dealing with Disney, was he? He thought he was dealing with Miramax. Oops. Cooper even points this out himself, with emphasis:

“[Disney officials] also pointed out they had made it clear a year ago that they wanted no involvement with Fahrenheit 911, which was picked up by Miramax against the wishes of its corporate parent. [My emphasis -ed.]“

I can spell “shameless self-promoter” any number of ways. M-a-r-c-C-o-o-p-e-r. G-e-o-r-g-e-B-u-s-h. The list is endless. And citing one shameless self-promoter to attempt to discredit another is not likely to be very convincing.

By: Joe Caucci Thu, 06 May 2004 05:22:54 +0000 Why call Michael Moore’s film propaganda without seeing it first?

This guy speaks more truth in a day than Bush has in the past 3 years.

What do they have on this guy? What, that he gets a couple minor facts wrong in his book? So what? He’s not a professional journalist. Doesn’t claim to be. It’s much worse, in my opinion, when “professionals” like Bernard Goldberg publish pure lies.

By: tim Thu, 06 May 2004 00:50:45 +0000 The argument that this movie could cost Disney tax breaks presumes corruption on the part of Florida. When did tax breaks become partisan rewards?

By: Richard Bennett Wed, 05 May 2004 20:37:55 +0000 It turns out that this is a hyped-up story manufactured out of thin air by Moore to create some interest in an otherwise dull project. See The Nation* columnist Marc Cooper’s explanation and inside scoop on a story coming out in The Independent* tomorrow.

Can we spell “shameless self-promoter?”

*Not right-wing publications.

By: ek Wed, 05 May 2004 18:00:56 +0000 It’s one thing if Disney simply made a marketing decision not to distribute the movie because it would anger some consumers and hurt its sales elsewhere. But if their “business decision” is based on the fear that they might upset Governor Jeb Bush and lose tax breaks they now enjoy in Florida (as the NYT article suggests), then it’s something else entirely. Alan, is your idea of “freedom” about receiving corporate welfare in exchange of suppressing political dissent?

By: Rob Wed, 05 May 2004 17:38:06 +0000 The point is that Miramax bought the rights to distribute his movie, then the parent company stepped in at the last minute and overrode them. That in my book is “killing the movie”, don’t know what book others might be reading.

And of course it’s all perfectly legal, and perfectly understandable, why Disney did it. It also stinks to high heaven. Here we have a major corporation making decisions on what films will be released to the public based (allegedly) on how it might affect their tax breaks (which of course they deny, what else would they say?).

It�s no secret that there has been a fairly quiet campaign by many family oriented Christian organizations to complain to Disney about this movie.

And they have succeeded in getting the movie killed at Miramax. Family-oriented Christian organizations are now to be the arbiters of what movies will be released in America, at least at Disney-owned studios. That’s the message here. Better not make any movies that go against the beliefs of family-oriented Christian organizations, or at any rate don’t pitch them to Disney, the family-oriented Christian movie company!

Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if Moore saw this coming, but took a chance that he might be able to slide one in “under the radar” of the parent company. It’s no-lose for him: his film is going to Cannes regardless, and some other distributor will eventually distribute it. Meanwhile he’s exposed the sham of Miramax’ independence from Disney.

By: Bob W Wed, 05 May 2004 16:18:44 +0000 I agree with Alan. Why should Disney be obliged to finance a highly partisan diatribe? Disney clearly has a brand to protect, why shouldn’t they protect it? Would they be obliged to produce a film from the far right? no.

By: Alan Wed, 05 May 2004 15:12:19 +0000 Rather than cowardice or complicity, how about good ol’ freedom. It’s no secret that there has been a fairly quiet campaign by many family oriented Christian organizations to complain to Disney about this movie.

Disney is clearly responding to the market…their right by the way just as it is their customers’ right to not patronize Disney if they dislike what they do.

Disney is not submarining this movie, they are just saying they don’t want to be involved with it (their right, again).

Moore’s claim that Disney is killing the movie is, like much of what he write/produces…not true.

By: justin @ RSR Wed, 05 May 2004 12:23:49 +0000 All this talk about Michael Moore reminds me of
my favorite TV clip from this year (at the Oscars):

Click here to view it

Justin @ RSR

By: tim Wed, 05 May 2004 12:13:21 +0000 cowardice or complicity? Disney seems to be advancing the verticle integration of it’s interests with those of the right wing machine that now has a created a choke hold on information flow. With any luck at all they can become the state appointed long form content company.