Archive - 2010
This afternoon i've expended (not wasted, but, used, when I should have been working) a bunch of time reading tweets and blog posts and news articles all about the case of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks and alleged rapist of 2 Swedish women, and the larger meta-issue of the people standing up to defend Assange and attack his accusers, like filmmaker Michael Moore and MSNBC personality Keith Olbermann. There have been so many great feminist blog posts about this, and tons of backlash on Twitter against Moore using the hashtag #MooreandMe. I won't go into the details myself but will just link to this excellent and concise little summary on the Feminist Frequency blog, which has links to a bunch of other blogs and stories that you can delve into. The last link there is to another blog that deftly explains at the end where we're at now, specifically for Olbermann and Moore (and I've sort of written the same on Facebook, though not as well), but also in general for anyone who screws up with these kinds of tricky issues that involve opression and power and social conditioning:
They have the opportunity to apologize. Because being a good progressive? Is all about fucking up.
If we’re ever to break the myth of the flawless progressive hero — a myth that is unproductive, a myth that breaks hearts — we need to start learning how to recover from mistakes. Because they happen; casual racism, sexism, rape apologism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, ageism, classism… Those things happen because we were taught to make them happen. Now we need to teach ourselves to stop them. Sure, we need to expect more. But expecting more doesn’t mean expecting perfection, the first time, every time. Expecting more is about making mistakes, being called out, engaging and learning from them. We learned that shit in pre-school.
So Moore and Olbermann should just fess up and say they're sorry. They didn't think it through quite enough. I don't think they went into it wanting to apologize for rapists. They were blinded a little bit by a focus on other issues, and on the fact that they're white men in a patriarchal rape culture society. They made a mistake. They should have said that yesterday. But they can still say it now. I hope they do. I hope when I make more stupid boneheaded white male mistakes, as i surely will at some point, I'll recognize it fast and apologise right away like they should have. Read more>>>
In the last issue of Filmmaker Magazine, there's a section (print edition only) called "Letters To A Young Producer." I'm not a producer, exactly, nor do I want to specialize in that, but there are lots of good bits of advice and stories by several working "indie" producers. The last one, Noah Harlan, says an interesting thing: basically, if you're producing films with budgets of at least 2 million dollars, that's enough to make a living as a producer, from your fees. But, in today's funding/investing climate in the filmmaking world, he's unable to pull himself into that bracket. There are no films being made in that bracket. "The mid-budgeted indie is gone."
Is that true? If so it's probably true of directors as well. Possibly it's not true of other roles that are less involved, because they can work on several films a year - grips, camera operators, actors, etc. But producers and directors are kind of sucked into one film at a time for a year or more. Read more>>>
A letter to the editor I just sent to the Tucson Weekly:
In your November 25th issue you allow Leo Banks to tilt at his same old windmill again. How many more times do we have to be subjected to the same old hyperbolic sob story? Every one of Banks' articles, which you insist on putting on your cover several times a year, can be summarized quite easily and uniformly: "poor, poor, yet noble, rancher-folk, their lives made so hard and dangerous by the nasty brown people coming over the border and the feds who let them! oh let's wring our hands and shed a tear for the once-beautiful and now ruined cowboy borderlands!" But these people aren't real cowboys (Ask Chilton, for instance, what his day job is and if he doesn't lie to you, he'll admit he's a banker), and the land has already been largely ruined by the emaciated animals that they insist on grazing there despite the unprofitability of such a hobby.
Furthermore, ask TPD to draw a map of assaults in the Tucson city limits and you'll no doubt get a bloodier and longer list than you provide for this latest Banks tirade. And never a mention of the root causes of the phenomenon, that the smugglers and undocumented immigrants (or "illegals" as you so hatefully call them) are out there in the deadly desert and mountains because right-wing politicians put them there with border policies that started in the mid-90s, and with trade policies that started in the 50s or earlier.
Does it ever occur to you that the credibility of your paper drops every time you print one of Banks' one-sided rants? The only people that take him seriously are the ignorant, right-wing nutjobs that already believe the alarmist narrative he's pedalling, and i would think that your readership is surely slanted more toward the opposite side of the spectrum. The young and hip club-goers and artsy folk who actually use your rag (admittedly only to check movie times and read the comics) know that Leo Banks is a racist blowhard, not a real journalist. So why bother with him? I guess because he's a friend of yours, part of the TW old boys' club? And nobody else will give him a job? Oh yes, and because that's a way to get people like me to pick up a copy, get annoyed, and contribute our eyeballs to your theoretical ad impressions count. That's the name of the game, I guess: Controversy, hate, and sensationalism sells. But take heed - I and all the smart people I know in town are less and less likely to frequent your pages, with every Banks screed we see. Read more>>>