31st July 2001

Artificial Intellegence Invades the New York Times

posted in `Roids |

(Or, Economic Blacklisting, Cultural Facisim, and the National Organization of Women)

by Lloyd Kaufman with Adam Jahnke

Not long ago, I served on the jury for the prestigious Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in Korea. At one of the press conferences there, French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier (director of such justly acclaimed flicks as ‘Round Midnight and Coup de Torchon) said a couple things that echo a mantra I’ve been repeating for years. Tavernier said the economic blacklist does indeed exist in film and it’s infinitely more insidious and damaging than any political blacklist. The economic blacklist is harder to prove and virtually impossible to fight. The fact that this idea was being purported by a respected and honored French filmmaker and not a broken-down low budget film-maker, best known for head-crushings and hot lesbian action doesn’t seem to have garnered the theory any more media attention

On the contrary, the pages of The New York Times on July 30 were full of bizarre stories seemingly intended to reinforce the status quo and maintain the economic blacklist that cripples independent art and commerce. In an editorial piece on the “New Economy”, Tim Race puts forth the argument that A.I., Steven Spielberg’s latest expulsion of saccharine drivel, tanked at the box office because Americans have grown wary of technology. Nowhere does he suggest that perhaps Americans have simply grown wary of boring, horseshit movies that ramble on and on as if the editor had been tied up, beaten, ass-raped, and stuffed into a broom closet while Spielberg indulged in two-and-a-half hours worth of self-pleasure in front of the Avid.

Here is cultural fascism in action. Race’s “theory” is basically that back in ’99, The Matrix became a big hit and the dot-com industry was at the crest of its wave. Today, technology stocks have become about as desirable as a syphilitic groin lump, so it’s no surprise that the Roboboy of A.I. is box office poison. Of course, for this theory to hold even a drop of water, you’d have to ignore the fact that The Matrix starred androgynous Queer World icon Keanu Reeves instead of spooky pseudo-child Haley Joel Osment, the fact that The Matrix was about an hour shorter than A.I., and the fact that, if nothing else, at least there were guns in The Matrix, thus guaranteeing the Trenchcoat Mafia audience. This is like saying Kevin Costner’s movie For Love Of The Game failed because Americans are sick of baseball (and this is obviously not true, judging by the success of Troma’s recent DVD release of the softball epic Squeeze Play).

What the New York Times is NOT saying is that A.I. is a piece of shit. And while the big devil-worshipping studios can frequently turn pieces of shit into big hits, they can’t do it if the stench from the shit is too much for the movie-going public…that is, if there is absolutely not one thing worth seeing in the whole picture. Of course, it does the studio’s Steven Spielberg Money-Printing Machine no good if word leaks out that Spielberg is more than capable of churning out unwatchable, pretentious garbage. To maintain their economic stranglehold and to protect the Spielberg brand name, it’s imperative that they place the blame for the failure of A.I. on anything other than the movie itself.

A couple pages later, the Times reports on the National Organization for Women’s second annual “Feminist Primetime Report”. The idea here is to rank the best Gyno-American role models on primetime television. The report basically says that there are no good feminist role models on TV (surprise, surprise) but we’re gonna slap this list together anyway. NOW’s “role models” include such jail-bait eye candy as the semi-naked cock-tease from the WB’s holy-rolling “7th Heaven” and Buffy The Vampire Slayer (apparently Buffy’s willingness to stab vampires through the heart marks her as “strong and independent”).

It should be pretty obvious that the only reason NOW issued this list was to get press coverage in rags like People, US, and TV Guide. Even more amazingly, New Republic magazine is playing into this by actually arguing with NOW’s choices. In their July 30 issue, they ran a piece debating the relative merits of Felicity as a Gyno-American role model. There is no debate! Any retard jerking off to a commercial for the show can tell you she’s a pathetic choice for a role model. End of story.

NOW (and, through their half-assed argument, New Republic) are simply trying to ride the networks’ coattails to some free publicity with this report. If NOW really wanted to make a stand, they’d issue a report that says primetime television offers fuck-all as far as positive role models for Gyno-Americans. It’s a wasteland of stereotypes and body images that make teenage girls think they’re grotesque and have to puke their guts up after meals. For real role models, you gotta leave TV and look at the real world. What about Heidi Sjursen, star of Citizen Toxie? Here’s an actress trying to make it on her own in New York, she refuses to move to Hollywood, she has her own line of clothing, and she’s producing her own independent movies. What about Pat Kaufman? Not only has she survived breast cancer and a couple decades worth of my bullshit, she’s New York state film commissioner. NOW had an opportunity to say that primetime TV is nothing more than dangerous male-programmed bullshit. Instead, they bent over backwards to kiss the networks’ collective ass and to praise what should be condemned.

It’s common knowledge by now that many newspapers and magazines are mere tentacles of a devil-worshipping international megaconglomerate and exist solely to promote the agenda and/or product of the parent company. For instance, People Weekly, the most respected journalistic branch of the AOL/Time/Warner/Satan hydra, features on its most recent cover a story called “Sexy At Any Age”, continuing the baby boomer’s generation desperate attempt to reinvent the very idea of what it means to be old (a conspiracy exposed and explored in a previous essay about “BabyBoomers”.)

As long as the press remains little more than a corporate vassal, advertisements masquerading as news, there is no hope of rubbing out the economic blacklist. The blacklist hurts independent artists and filmmakers like myself and Bertrand Tavernier. But the party most injured by the blacklist is the audience, because you have lost the freedom to see what you want, when you want.

For the economic blacklist to be exposed and rooted out, this kind of oppressive cultural fascism must be eliminated. You don’t even have to know how to spell the word “jernalizm” to realize that the stories I’m referring to are not newsworthy. They are corporate apologies and excuses for things that the Powers That Be have invested billions in: prime-time television and the bulletproof career of America’s favorite filmmaker. Cultural fascism has infected America for too long. We must expose and reject it to enjoy real diversity both on screen and off.

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