Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment Industry’

Violence On Their Behalf

by Daniel Greenfield on Sunday, April 14th, 2013

This is article 236 of 339 in the topic Criminal Activity

Somewhere toward the end of “A Few Good Men” comes the only scene from the movie that anyone actually remembers. It’s the one where Jack Nicholson in a uniform begins chewing the scenery and turns a dreary Aaron Sorkin adaptation of an Aaron Sorkin play into a memorable movie while inflicting Sorkin on the entertainment industry for the next two decades.

The familiar thesis of  Nicholson’s Colonel Jessup is that he does what needs to be done and what no one wants to talk about needing to be done. His existence may be “grotesque and incomprehensible to you”, but he does the ugly things that make it possible for everyone to go about their day.

The speech is an extended wordy distillation of a familiar quote that was variously attributed to Churchill or Orwell. “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

In the urban battlefield of Philly, one of those rough men doing violence on behalf of liberal ideas was a  Thomas Jefferson University by the name of Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell was one of those unsung heroes doing the dirty work that allowed the activists putting on another round of the Vagina Monologues sleep safely in their beds at night.

Most supporters of military intervention don’t like looking at photos of dead children after a bombing raid. They will contend that they are a fact, but not the point. Gosnell’s butcher shop is similarly a fact, rather than the point. Pro-choice activists will argue that it is not representative of abortion clinics. And it isn’t.

It is representative of what abortion looks like once you cut through the upper layer of the medical services provided to Sarah Lawrence grads and down to the street level of the lower strata that don’t visit abortion clinics to assert their reproductive empowerment, but because the family unit is broken and they are trying to escape the same cycle of broken families that they can never leave behind.

Kermit Gosnell wasn’t running an Aaron Sorkin abortion clinic. He was running a Colonel Jessup abortion clinic.

Margaret Sanger got her start setting up shop in Jewish and Italian neighborhoods because those were the two groups that the upper strata of the day thought were having too many children. Back then it was supposed to be about wives overburdened with too many children. Now it’s about families that never existed where the abortions don’t happen at the clinic, those are just the final expressions of a larger societal abortion that took place when the family died.

Abortion is the final act of the death of the family. It pretends to solve the problem that arises from the absence of the family. The first abortion kills marriage. The last abortion kills the child that might have come from a marriage that never existed.

The family isn’t dead everywhere. It’s more likely to be dead in the places that men like Gosnell do business than the places where the policymakers and the non-profits who dress up destruction as empowerment do business.

Most arsonists don’t set their own houses on fire. Most liberal policies don’t affect liberals.

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The Authenticity of Fake

by Daniel Greenfield on Sunday, January 20th, 2013

This is article 16 of 41 in the topic Moral Values

Last week featured the shocking revelation that two athletes had lied to the whole country for years in order to become rich and famous. This is the same thing that politicians do except without the exercise regimen.

Moral theater is an odd event in a country which has mostly given up on morals. In the absence of any notion of right and wrong, the only truly punishable offenses involve hurting people’s feelings. That includes famous people “betraying our trust” by doing something that we didn’t expect them to be doing thereby deceiving us into liking them for the wrong reasons.

That code means that it is completely acceptable for a public figure to be amoral as long as they are honestly up-front about it. Or as long as they embrace an absence of characters and standards as the basis for some sort of savvy post-media in the media image where they acknowledge that they do everything only in order to get attention as a way of commenting on the attention-getting tendencies of modern entertainers.

Shallowness is actually a winning media strategy. The truly shallow have nothing to hide because they have nothing. They voluntarily turn their life into public consumption. Most of the rest just manufacture a fake reality that seems real only because generations that grew up on television have brains that are trained to confuse natural lighting, low resolution footage and shaky cameras with sincerity.

In a culture where everything is really fake, exposing the few people who seem virtuously really is an industry. The media deconstruction process establishes once and for all that all families are bad and that all virtuous people are fake. Except the virtuous people being profiled by them tomorrow and destroyed the week after that.

The more fake the culture is, the more of a sucker it is for fake authenticity. The explosion of reality shows is traceable to the death of reality. Everyone wants to connect to something and someone and the entertainment industry is abandoning escapism from reality for escapism to a fake reality next door. Music has reached the same range of fake reality, embracing the inauthenticity of making your life public as the ultimate form of authenticity.

Politics thrives on that same fake authenticity. Mitt Romney, a fake authentic politician of the old school, back when politicians were working with magazine covers, snapshots and a 30 second clip, couldn’t compete against the truly fake Barack Obama, who in truly modern media style doesn’t just fake 30 seconds or 30 minutes in front of the camera, but fakes his entire life going back decades.

Obama is truly fake. He is authentically unreal. There is absolutely nothing to him. If you take away all the work that was done to make him famous, there would be nothing there. And that is exactly why he is the perfect avatar for the media age.

JFK won by looking good on camera. But looking good on camera is old school. It’s crude to the point of being irrelevant. Politicians had to look good on camera then. Now they have to have a vibrant image. Appearance is a small part of a big package with nothing inside it.

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Fiscal Cliff deal increases deficit, increases taxes for 77 percent of taxpayers, and gives out lots of tax breaks for Democratic supporters

by John Lott on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

This is article 208 of 307 in the topic Taxation/IRS

From The Hill newspaper:

The Senate deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” will add roughly $4 trillion to the deficit when compared to current law, according to new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The CBO determined Tuesday that the package, hammered out late Monday evening by Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would — over the next decade — come with a $3.9 trillion price tag. . . .

This will give Obama something to brag about.  From Bloomberg:

The budget deal passed by the U.S. Senate today would raise taxes on 77.1 percent of U.S. households, mostly because of the expiration of a payroll tax cut, according to preliminary estimates from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington.

More than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes. Among the households facing higher taxes, the average increase would be $1,635, the policy center said. A 2 percent payroll tax cut, enacted during the economic slowdown, is being allowed to expire as of yesterday. . . .

Some of the politically favored wealthy got some benefits.

And it seems Hollywood’s rigorous backing of President Barack Obama and his Democrat peers in the waning months of 2012 paid off.

Section 317 of the freshly approved legislation includes an extension for “special expensing rules for certain film and television productions.” Congress first enacted production tax incentives favorable to the domestic entertainment industry in 2004, and extended them in 2008, but the deal was meant to expire in 2011. . . .

Other winners include:

  • $331 million for railroads by allowing short-line and regional operators to claim a tax credit up to 50 percent of the cost to maintain tracks that they own or lease.
  • $222 million for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through returned excise taxes collected by the federal government on rum produced in the islands and imported to the mainland.
  • $70 million for NASCAR by extending a “7-year cost recovery period for certain motorsports racing track facilities.”
  • $59 million for algae growers through tax credits to encourage production of “cellulosic biofuel” at up to $1.01 per gallon.
  • $4 million for electric motorcycle makers by expanding an existing green-energy tax credit for buyers of plug-in vehicles to include electric motorbikes.

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Increasingly frustrated by lack of focus on climate change, Al Gore turns to Hollywood

by Doug Powers on Monday, December 17th, 2012

This is article 219 of 334 in the topic Global Warming

Frustrated that President Obama and Congress are currently focusing most of their attention (and our money) on other things while his “clean energy” stock portfolio takes a hit (dramatization of Al’s message to DC Dems here), the Goracle is again turning to Hollywood.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter about 75 guests including Lawrence Bender, Leonard Nimoy and Lynn Lear gathered to hear Gore’s impassioned plea for the entertainment industry to renew its focus on climate change.

While in town, Gore also lunched with An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim.

At a dinner for the Children’s Defense Fund, the documentarian bemoaned global warming slipping off the public agenda.

“Do you think it still matters to people?” he wondered.

The short version of that is, “Will one of you please make a sequel to The Day After Tomorrow?”

Actually, if Gore was serious about getting Hollywood on board to help curb climate change, he’d demand that they shut down production on everything.

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Gore, above left, reacts after being informed that the green energy bubble has begun to burst

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LIBERAL HYPOCRISY

by Burt Prelutsky on Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

This is article 129 of 198 in the topic Liberalism

by Burt Prelutsky

We all know that when it comes to hypocrisy, the Left holds the copyright. For instance, take Hollywood. If there are two things that those in the entertainment industry are always ready to promote, it’s public education and the sanctity of unions. In truth, however, none of them have their kids in public school. If they even thought about it, their friends and colleagues in the industry would accuse them of child abuse.

Speaking of education, I found it fascinating that in a recent poll, 93% of Chicago’s public school teachers rated themselves superior or excellent. This is in spite of 45% of students dropping out of high school. I bet Chicago’s kids wish the teachers graded them as generously as they grade themselves

As for unions, why do you think so many movies and TV shows are shot thousands of miles away from Hollywood and Vine? The obvious answer is that they pack their bags in order to keep the costs down by shooting in Canada and in right-to-work states. But, then, even Michael Moore, who passes himself off as a proud member of the proletariat, avoids hiring union members to work on his movies, thus saving more for Moore.

Pinheads like Juan Williams, aka Barack Obama’s bitch, took umbrage when Newt Gingrich suggested that food stamps provide Democrats with a convenient way to buy black votes. Liberals inevitably point out that more white people than black ones dine on the taxpayers’ dime. However, the 800-pound gorilla they choose to ignore is that while 78% of the population is white and only 12% is black, the number of whites receiving the stamps is only twice as many. In other words, if the percentage of whites was equal to the percentage of blacks, instead of 46 million people dining on the taxpayers’ dime, there would be close to 80 million freeloaders at the trough.

Last year, when the Democrats were trying, as usual, to raise taxes, they kept trying to embarrass Republicans by asking if they would agree to a deal if for every dollar in additional taxes, they, the Democrats, agreed to cut spending by $10. It was all a scam. For one thing, no self-respecting left-winger would ever actually agree to cut taxes. For another, a question I never heard asked is why if you cut spending, there’s any reason on earth to increase taxes.

Five weeks before the presidential election, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that the state’s law requiring a photo I.D. was constitutional, but that it couldn’t take effect until after November 7th. Judge Robert Simpson, just possibly Homer’s idiot brother, said it wouldn’t allow people enough time to get the photo. I wonder how long he thinks that takes. He also didn’t explain why if Pennsylvanians really cared about voting, they hadn’t taken care of business long before now, knowing, as they did, that the law had been passed and might very well take effect before the election.

This boneheaded decision merely confirms my prejudice against people who get to wear their bathrobes during working hours.

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The Post-American Entertainment Industry

by Daniel Greenfield on Sunday, January 8th, 2012

This is article 34 of 116 in the topic Hollywood

The decline of the entertainment industry is all around us. Movie ticket sales have dropped sharply even with inflated numbers from IMAX and 3D movies. Network viewership has declined even more dramatically leaving big three letter networks with numbers that look more like cable. Even the music industry is a ghost of its former self.

The entertainment industry has done its best to disguise this state of affairs with glamor and big numbers. More money is invested in bigger budget projects than ever before, and some of those projects yield incredible sales numbers, but the occasional megahit can’t disguise the overall decay of the basic business model as more and more money has to be spent to draw in a declining base. It now costs more to promote a successful movie, show or performer than it takes to produce the creative content. The hundreds of millions of dollars that used to go into product development go into sales now. And the sales look good until you start taking a close look at the big picture and the bottom line.  No matter how big the hits are, overall ticket sales are down, television viewership is down and there is no relief in sight.

The industry has blamed the Internet, and while technology has historically played a role in eclipsing and destabilizing technology linked entertainment business models, which movies, television and the music business certainly are, it’s an insufficient explanation. The Internet is a source of creative chaos, but the source of the entertainment industry’s woes come from inside its own gates.

The entertainment industry was once one of the more American industries as it was steeped deeply in taking and putting out the national culture. Today it has little to do with America or Americans who are nothing but a backdrop for its spectacles, providing the scenery and extras for stories and songs that no longer speak to them.

The decline of the entertainment industry is linked to that failure to speak to Americans. When the entertainment industry speaks it is to the concerns and obsessions of a political and cultural elite, but for the most part it acts as a weapon of mass distraction. It no longer speaks, it bellows like an insane carnival, pumping out garish spectacles and outlandish personalities in the hopes of attracting patrons.

American entertainment now performs better around the world than it does at home. Or at worst it performs equally well because there is no longer anything American about it. It was possible to look at a film from the 1950s and see something of the American character and value system in even the most worthless drivel. It has become all but impossible to look at the front shelf products of modern film, television and music and see anything American in their values.

The question is not one of morality or vulgarity or artistic value. It is simply that there is nothing American about them. They speak to an undifferentiated global audience in a glottal cacophony of noisy spectacle with no meaning. American entertainment used to be difficult to compete with because it was innovative and well made. It is difficult to compete with today because so much money is spent on making it and promoting it.

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Breaking: Roseanne Barr Still a Loon

by Doug Powers on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

I’m not surprised to learn that Roseanne is still forgetting to open the garage door before starting the car:

Controversial comedienne Roseanne Barr has her own solution to the financial crisis: behead any wealthy banker making more than $100 million who won’t be reeducated.

In an interview with the RT program “Keiser Report,” Barr said if she were the president, she would bring back the guillotine as a form of justice for Wall Street’s “worst of the worst of the guilty.”

“I first would allow the guilty bankers to pay back anything over 100 million in personal wealth because I believe in a maximum wage of 100 million dollars,” she said. “If they’re unable to live on that amount then they should go to the reeducation camps, and if that doesn’t help, then be beheaded.”

I’ll get on board with that — provided people who made their bones in the entertainment industry are included, and we lower the net worth threshold to anything over, say, $50 million. What say you, Roseanne? … Roseanne?

My idea probably wouldn’t give Roseanne a moment of pause though, because she’s spent the last several years proving that she can survive just fine without a head:

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The Financial Advice of Experts, Then and Now

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, September 25th, 2011

This is article 220 of 391 in the topic economy

“I see nothing in the present situation that is either menacing or warrants pessimism…I have every confidence that there will be a revival of activity in the spring, and that during the coming year, the country will make steady progress.” That’s what William Mellon, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, had to say on December 31, 1929. The Great Depression would last until 1941 when the U.S. entered World War Two.

“Could we have a crash a la 1929? The flat answer is no.” So said Dr. Pierre A. Rinfret, a noted economist, writing in Time magazine on October 5, 1987 and, on October 19, 1987—instantly dubbed “Black Monday”—the Dow Jones average plunged 508 points.

Despite the pronouncements of Presidents and pundits, it was the December 30, 1929 edition of Variety, a newspaper for the entertainment industry, that got it right. The day after the crash its headline read, “Wall Street Lays an Egg.”

All through history, the opinions of “experts” have been subject to revision and derision. The Internet has simply multiplied our access to a multitude of opinions. It behooves us all to pick our experts very carefully. A good track record is always a good sign, along with a healthy measure of common sense.

As the economies of the U.S. and several European nations totter on default it is essential to draw on lessons from the past. The most obvious lesson is that the governments of the U.S. and the Europeans have been spending far more than they can tax or borrow.

All have spent decades since the 1980s wasting billions on “alternative” sources of energy in the name of global warming or climate change. All have stayed busy before and since the end of World War Two consolidating power in the U.S. federal government and more recently in the European Union.

Herbert Hoover on whose watch Wall Street crashed in 1929 generally gets the blame, but five years earlier in an address to the annual meeting of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hoover said, “The test of our whole economic and social system is its capacity to cure its own abuses,” warning that, “If we are to be wholly dependent upon government to cure these abuses, we shall by this very method have created an enlarged and deadening abuse through the extension of bureaucracy and the clumsy and incapable handling of delicate economic forces.”

“The clumsy and incapable handling of delicate economic forces.” Spoken nearly 90 years ago!

What a perfect phrase to describe what the nation has been passing through as Congress during the last days of the Bush administration and the passed two and a half years of the Obama administration has demonstrated.

The financial crisis of late 2008 was the result of government “entities”, Fannie Mae, created in 1938, and Freddie Mac, created in 1970, both intended to stimulate the housing market by securing the loans made by banks for the purpose of giving everyone, including those who could least afford it, the opportunity to own a house. By the time the crisis hit, they jointly owned more than 50% of all U.S. mortgages.

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Fluff in the Church, Snuff in the World and One Brave Pakistani

by Rev. Michael Bresciani on Saturday, March 5th, 2011

This is article 32 of 242 in the topic Religion

shahbaz bhatti

The Bible predicts a great apostasia (apostasy) will precede the coming of the world’s last dictator called the antichrist. Don’t look now but we are well underway into that dreaded prophecy.

Basic Bible doctrines are being abandoned at an alarming rate in mainline denominational and historic churches and “sound doctrine” (2 Tim 4: 3) is being replaced by what is today known as the social gospel. This is a substitute gospel that deals only with helping the poor or righting social ills. It looks good on the surface and appeals to the religious nature of almost everyone but it is miles from the true gospel.

In mainline protestant churches even the language of the entertainment industry and the new religious diversity is showing up. Recently a famous TV evangelist mentioned how he was “booked” rather than scheduled to speak in some of the nation’s biggest churches. Often preachers are found referring to their adherents as the “audience” instead of the congregation. Now the platform from which inspired music and messages are heard is commonly called the “stage.” The line between inspiration and entertainment is becoming obscured by cultural influences.

As the old preachers used to say the church is promising an experience but in the end only offers a performance. Is it becoming all just so much “sound and fury, signifying nothing?”

The fastest growing churches in the US are large non-denominational fellowships either evangelical or charismatic. In such churches growth is measured by head counts and the more people that show up the more assured they are that they are doing something right. Often these kinds of churches are event, conference and gathering centered with big name preachers and musical groups as the greatest draw.

They see their own success but never see that as the nation changes on the most fundamental level from societal norms to government, they are fast becoming ever larger groups of people who are in fact completely isolated. If you asked most of these people what FOCA, DOMA or the latest hate crimes legislation was you would most likely get a puzzled look and no more.

It is not a requirement for Christians to know all the subtleties of politics and social trends but there is a bit of hypocrisy if not outright stupidity in asking people to pray for government and political leaders (2 Tim 2: 1-3) as the Bible exhorts if we have no idea what is going on from the President down.

Running a Christian website requires that I stay abreast of all the latest news that affects the nation. I keep a list of the top news and current event sites both Christian and secular to draw from. I comb through the list daily looking for matters that relate to America’s condition and heart beat so to speak, but I am always amazed at the contrast between the secular and Christian sites and what they have to offer.

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$335,906 is the Price of the Constitution

by Daniel Greenfield on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

This is article 49 of 190 in the topic Government Regulations

When Senators give speeches, they will say that you can’t put a price on freedom. But as it turns out you can. You can actually put an exact dollar amount on the Constitution. And that amount is $335,906.

That’s the amount that Hollywood gave Senator Patrick Leahy. And in return, Leahy gave them COICA. That’s not the same of some new disease, it’s the abbreviation for Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, the biggest and more comprehensive internet censorship proposal in the history of this country. It would give Attorney General Eric Holder the power to create a blacklist of websites and force all companies that do business in the United States to comply with that blacklist.

Ever since the Clinton Administration’s Communications Decency Act, Democrats have been obsessed with censoring the internet. And that drive has kicked into high gear again. COICA is the most ambitious plan to enact government control over freedom of expression on the internet since the days of the CDA.

While this bill was crafted on behalf of the entertainment industry, the applications go far beyond that. Websites that feature collections of articles, such as FreeRepublic or DemocraticUnderground could easily be targeted under the terms of COICA. And so could many blogs, which list entire articles or cite extensively from them. Any site or blog that embeds videos or images which are not authorized by the copyright holder could be similarly targeted. And with the Attorney General of a highly politicized administration wielding the power to preemptively shutter and blacklist entire websites, it would be all too easy for COICA to be used as a club for suppressing dissent.

While on paper COICA is only supposed to apply to 0.01 percent of the internet, in its broadest interpretation it could apply to anywhere between 30/40 percent of the internet. And the damage can go even beyond that. COICA gives the AG’s office a billy club that can destroy any company’s business overnight. And will that billy club be used strictly for copyright oversight alone? When the Attorney General’s office has the power to shut down any webhost, costing its owners millions in revenues, what will the owners do when they’re asked to shut down a site that does not actually fall under COICA? Will they call the AG’s bluff and prepare for a legal battle to restore the site and hope their business survives, or will they do the practical thing and comply?

We already know the answer to that. Some larger companies with deep pockets will put up a fight. Maybe. Smaller companies will just go along. And this is not what free speech was supposed to look like in America.

COICA is just the beginning. It’s the first step in transforming the internet into an environment completely controlled by the government. If the Senate can move along a law that creates a copyright blacklist, the next step is to create a blacklist for political extremism.

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