Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Mixed Colostomy Bag Wednesday II: silliness

Drudge links to a NYT article about Disney possibly forbidding the Miramax distribution of Michael Moore's newest documentary, "Fahrenheit 911." Apparently, there are worries that the documentary will "alienate" too many viewers, which I suppose translates to a loss of revenue-- Disney's main concern, obviously. I find this insipid. So what if the film alienates people? Most films alienate someone; you can't make everyone happy, and like it or not, Moore seems to be the spokesperson for a goodly section of the American populace (plus, his film would make money, I'm pretty sure). Personally, I think Moore's an attention-seeking fuckhead, but the politics behind the possible non-distribution of this film are asinine.

Another thing that's been irritating me is the flap over Ted Koppel's reading the names of the dead soldiers in Iraq-- specifically, the decision by Sinclair Broadcasting not to air Koppel on the night he did the reading. I think Koppel was indeed being political, but at the same time, we have to trust that people can think for themselves about these matters. Koppel's reading might have been a function of his biases, but the list of the dead can itself be salvaged as a sacred object by those who honor the dead, no matter their political leanings.

The above two situations, emblematized by Moore and Koppel, aren't exactly analogous, it's true. But both relate to politics, and both also relate to money. The difference is largely the degree to which money and politics are factors.

The citizens are the ones who lose out when "shall we distribute?" debates like this occur. If Moore is purveying bullshit (which he likely is), then his film should be out there for his critics to pick apart. Otherwise, Moore can stand on a pedestal, cry censorship, and claim a measure of moral high ground. For Koppel it's the same deal.

Just wanted to get that off my chesticles. Here's a link to a post that asks, "SO WHAT?" re: the accusation that both Koppel and Sinclair Broadcasting are being political. It doesn't exactly agree with my stance, but it makes some very good points.

John Moore at Useful Fools was advocating a boycott of the Koppel broadcast. I have no problem with this: it's consistent with the (traditionally) conservative contention that people are responsible agents and should act of their own free will. It's "if you don't like it, then change the channel" writ large, a shift to the first person plural: "If we don't like it, then let's change the channel." Had I been in the States to watch the Koppel broadcast, I probably would not have boycotted it, but Moore's on solid ground to exhort people to act freely. The moral difference between Moore's position and Sinclair Broadcasting's is that Sinclair didn't give people a choice. In my opinion, Disney is on a similar road.

UPDATE: Whoops. I think I stole Jeff's post title by accident.


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