Dan Glickman: Welcome to Hollywood by James Jaeger
Maybe it's too soon to determine what kind of successor to Jack Valenti ex-Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman will be, but he sure breaks the mold(1). On the other hand, from comments he made in his address to the NATIONAL PRESS CLUB on 11 November 2004, it seems it may be business as usual in MPAA-monopolized Hollywood.
To start, Glickman assures us he's been well trained by Jack and intends to maintain Jack's policies and views (such as 'get the pirates' and the 'movies-are-mere-entertainment' myth, respectively). To this end, when Glickman is asked about foul language, gratuitous sex and endless violence in the movies, he maintains the company line that movies are "mere entertainment" and merely reflect society. "I go to the movies to be entertained," says Dan, " . . . but I don't go to X-rated moves as that would be perfectly inappropriate for me. . . . Give parents the tools to determine what's appropriate." Yes, the MPAA studios have little or nothing to do with the cesspool that world society has now become (due to "America's number one export," the Hollywood feature film). Thus the new chief's motto seems to be: It's okay to put out filth, but it's "inappropriate" to look at it. Of course, if one thinks about it, Dan could be the perfect man for the job, going from the food business to the movie business. After all, both industries place tremendous amounts of meat on display and hard-sell it to the public.(2)
And speaking of meat on display, Dan quickly side-stepped a hot-coal question on the MPAA boycott of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. A member in the audience asked the following question: "When Mel Gibson wanted to make a film on the historic passion of Jesus Christ, Hollywood studios and distributors refused him -- and some reportedly threatened to blackball him. Then he used his own money, made the film, and it grossed $600 million, making it one of the most successful movies of all time. What is your association going to do to reduce anti-Christian prejudice or bigotry?"
To this long and salient question, Glickman gave his shortest and most evasive answer: "Well, I don't accept the fact that there is that prejudice and bigotry and . . . and, uh . . . coming from my own background, I will fight that vigorously wherever it exists. Period. It's not going to happen on MY watch."
Well, don't look now Dan, but rampant bigotry IS occurring on YOUR watch and it imbued the Industry on Jack's. With that last statement, saying that you don't even "accept the fact that there is prejudice and bigotry," you demonstrate that you are either a first-class hypocrite or COMPLETELY ignorant of what happened to Mel Gibson.(3)
The fact is: Your MPAA studios, WERE prejudiced against THE PASSION and therefore refused to finance or distribute it, even though it was clear, before the release, that the picture would successfully play to a significant percentage of the over-one-billion-member Christian community. Not only did your MPAA studios/distributors effectively boycott the picture, Abraham Foxman of the Jewish organization known as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), attempted to defame Mel Gibson by implying that his actions in making this picture were anti-Semitic. The ADL sent Mel letters which placed demands on him, like cutting out a line of dialog and placing a title on the picture. But the accusations of anti-Semite were quickly hushed up as it became apparent the public wasn't going to agree with the ADL and the picture started on its way to becoming one of the top-grossing movies of all time, garnering $600 million in theatrical revenues alone. Audiences agreed: There was nothing anti-Semitic about telling the story of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. Only various outspoken Jews and Hollywood apologists continued to pepper the talk shows with the opinion that THE PASSION and/or Mel Gibson was anti-Semitic.
So Dan, you say you will "vigorously" fight bigotry wherever it exists, eh? Well, maybe you should start with your own MPAA-infested industry. If you feel that it's okay for studios dominated by Jews (an "Empire of Their Own") to be intolerant of a Christian who wants to tell HIS story, you better start being more intolerant of YOUR story. Hypocrisy of this kind will hardly endear you to a Congress stuffed with conservative Republicans and an Executive helmed by a Born-again Christian. You're going to really need those people skills, Dan.
And speaking of Democrats, are we surprised that Dan IS a Democrat? Of course not: Hollywood is filled with liberal Democrats. Are we surprised that Dan is Jewish, or that he's a white male? Hardly. After all, what could be more perfect to represent the seven MPAA studios/distributors than one of their own: a liberal, not-very-religious white Jewish male (possibly of European heritage to boot). But what is sad is that Dan would try to pull a Bill-Clinton, a word caper even Alfred Korzybski would be proud of. Knowing full well that the MPAA studios are commonly referred to as "Hollywood," Glickman attempted to distance them from the very word HOLLYWOOD itself! He asks at the PRESS CLUB if the word "Hollywood" can be defined any more than the term "The White House." "When I was at USDA people used to call me up and tell me, 'the White House is on the phone.' I used to say, 'oh really, is the building calling me? Is it a door? Is it the roof? Who, some 16-year-old who thinks he's running the communications department? Or is it the president who is calling? So what I found out is there's no such thing as the 'White House' and so when people say 'Hollywood believes this,' I say, Who is this [Hollywood]? Is Hollywood the grip on the movie? Is it the lighting person? Is it the script writer? Is it Denzial Washington? By and large the entertainment community is a large complicated community. . . so I think it's kinda tricky to paint this all with a broad brush . . . . I see articles like 'Hollywood believes this' or 'Hollywood believes that.' Did they poll those people that are working three months a year and are barely surviving? . . . You know, I can't quite figure it out. . . . I think we need to be careful before we draw over-generalized assumptions about what any particular industry is like."
Of course, Glickman makes no mention of the fact that "Hollywood" is considered to be those that control it: the top studio executives of the seven MPAA studios/distributors that have dominated the industry for the past 90-some years. Why? Because these executives make decisions as to where an average of $150 million per picture will be allocated. These decisions allow the oligopoly to continue to monopolize 85% of the market. True, Dan? Nah, Hollywood is just a bunch of grips and lighting people!(4)
So, having re-defined Hollywood as a bunch of grips rather than the "liberal, not-very-religions Jewish males of European heritage" that we at FIRM maintain it to be -- again, given such demographic controls the three top positions of the MPAA studios/distributors(5) -- Dan is now ready to sidestep some more touchy issues with his "people skills" and put 70% of his MPAA staff of 250 to work suing all those pirates out there.(6)
Of course no one is condoning pirates filming movies in a theater and then uploading them to the Internet -- this is an abuse of an important art form and social tool -- but Dan, let's tell them the REAL reason the kids have been stealing your movies and streaming them over peer-to-peer networks, not the UNreal reason you state: 'Because people feel that what is in their home is theirs.' The real reason the kids have been stealing movies is because they feel MPAA studios have been charging excessive amounts of money that bear little relationship to the actual costs of production. Same in the record industry. Worse, most of this money doesn't even go to the artists or talents that created the music and movies; it goes to the studios and their over-paid executives and stars, all who pig up so much gross profit that there is little or nothing left for the other talents and producers (writers, private investors, directors, supporting cast) that also expect to participate in NET proceeds of distribution (i.e., what's left after the pigs feed from GROSS proceeds). These are the REAL reasons the kids are stealing from your MPAA companies. In their view, you have been stealing from the creative artists and exploiting the entire customer base for decades just so 2,500 Hollywood insiders can continue their hedonistic, decadent life style of excess while subtly indoctrinating the world with a secular, liberal, homosexual, Zionist agenda with an endless stream of America's "number one export." These movies don't represent AMERICA, they represent HOLLYWOOD, one particular little cult IN America.
Another reason the young movie-going audience is fed up with HOLLYWOOD (meaning, you, the MPAA studios/distributors), is the fact that, even though the MPAA studios/distributors monopolize over 90% of the market, they produce less than 1/3rd of the product. Thus, the REAL movie industry is NOT the studios -- it's the INDEPENDENTS and their new and original product that hardly ever gets financed because investors are leery of not getting distribution due to the fact that your studios monopolize and restrict distribution. The major studios are merely the oversized gorillas that preempt the distribution by monopolizing the shelf-space in the brick and mortar exhibition systems your boys in MPAA-infested Hollywood have devised over the years. To this end, the MPAA studios actually LIMIT the supply of films in order to artificially BOLSTER the demand in this limited shelf-space environment. This old trick artificially increases the revenue of the industry and is, of course, one of the reasons the "average" movie now costs over $150 million to "produce and advertise" when the average cost was just $10 million in the late 1980s.(7)
Two things should also be noted by the thoughtful reader: a) If the "average" cost of movies is any reflection of the inflation rate set forth by the CPI, we are all in serious trouble, and b) the cost of today's "average" movie is NOW represented as a composite figure of production + marketing costs. This nifty accounting sleight of hand is designed to indoctrinate the public with higher figures so that such higher figures can serve the MPAA studios' annual reports. It does this first of all because it makes "break even" on any given movie more difficult to achieve; thus, the studios are in a better position to claim HIGH RISK and do all sorts of things to "justify" survival measures (such as cross-collateralizing profits from successful pictures to bombs). See FATAL SUBTRACTION, a book documenting how an MPAA studio, Paramount Pictures, quickly settled its litigation with Art Buchwald as soon as the court was about to make the studio prove that its business was "high risk." Secondly, the higher "cost of making a movie" aids what's known as "creative accounting" by making it LESS likely that private investors and stockholders will achieve profit participation due to endless costs associated with marketing. By commingling the costs of production with the costs of marketing, the studio accountants can play endless games before they are required to announce "break even" in the revenue stream. If each movie "costs" over $100 million to "make" ("make" now defined as the bogus idea of "produce AND market") rather than $30 million to make (just produce, as it should be defined), studio accountants have millions more dollars to charge interest and overhead fees against and millions more dollars to "recoup" before pay out of post-recoupment profits. It's known as "rolling breakeven" in John Cones' excellent book, THE FEATURE FILM DISTRIBUTION DEAL, a must-read for anyone desiring to understand the intricacies of studio distribution agreements and the predatory nature of Hollywood business practices.(8)
So Dan, welcome to the job. If you are truly someone who can bring everyone together, we at FIRM hope you will give us a call (or post your views at the FIRM Discussion Forum). To start, we hope you will have a look at our Mission Statement at http://www.homevideo.net/FIRM/fmission.htm and discuss with us exactly what points you agree with or disagree with. We are always open to working with you toward the goal of improving (or reforming) the Industry we all love.
(1) A New Lobbyist to Represent Hollywood ... Why They Need One, by Thomas Doherty, Boston Globe, July 8, 2004. "Last week Dan Glickman, former secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration, was appointed to replace Jack Valenti as president of the Motion Picture Association of America. Not exactly a high-profile player in either Washington or Hollywood, Glickman was an unexpected choice. More interesting, though, the selection broke with an unspoken Hollywood tradition. Glickman is Jewish, and for more than 80 years the job description for the Motion Picture Association presidency has read: Only politically connected Christians of unassailable moral character need apply." Full article at http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/6204.html
(2) "During his congressional career, Dan Glickman spent nearly 20 years on the House Agriculture Committee. He became known as a key legislator on several farm bills and a key promoter of expanding agriculture trade and food safety. Both issues have been continued priorities at the Department of Agriculture. Glickman, who opposed President Clinton on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), has been instrumental in streamlining his agency and implementing reforms. The reforms have included rural empowerment and enterprise and the use of technology to improve rural economies." Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/govt/admin/glickman.htm
(3) See "Mel Gibson and the Culture War" at http://www.jaegerresearchinstitute.org/articles/culture.htm
(4) "Glickman is a consultant to major corporations on biotechnology and organic and genetically modified foods. Concerned with feeding the hungry, Glickman remains committed to organizations like MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and America's Second Harvest." Source: http://www.greatertalent.com/bios/glickman.shtml
(5) See WHO REALLY CONTROLS HOLLYWOOD at http://www.homevideo.net/FIRM/control.htm#execlist
(6) ". . . but I think the prime reason I got the USDA job was my people skills. I hope that's the strength that will make me effective at MPAA." - Dan Glickman Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/film/feature_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000622082
(7) In 1979, Max E. Youngstein, who was working with our company at the time, handed me a copy of the "Analysis and Conclusions of the Washington Task Force on the Motion Picture Industry" of July 1978 and said "James, read this carefully and you will get a good idea what Hollywood is all about." In part, the Task Force report states:
"The motion picture industry, with 83% of film rentals received by six companies (the MPAA companies) and 92% received by eight companies, is clearly oligopolistic. . . Capital is not flowing to independent producers, however, because of artificially maintained barriers to entry. For example: a) Cost is partially maintained at a high level because major producer/distributors generally acquiesce to high star salaries and high crew costs. b) The inability to distribute a film appears to result from the refusal by major producer/distributors to allow their distribution units to distribute an optimal number of films. The inability to distribute is the most substantial barrier to entry. . . The number of films produced by the major producer/distributors IS SEVERELY LIMITED. THERE IS NO ATTEMPT TO MEET DEMAND OR INCREASE PROFITS BY PRODUCING OR DISTRIBUTING MORE FILMS. (emphasis added) . . . The profits (rentals) received by a producer/distributor are very high on a film which does well at the box office (blockbuster). The rentals received for a film which fares poorly at the box office IS MUCH HIGHER THAN MIGHT BE EXPECTED BECAUSE OF LACK OF VIABLE SUBSTITUTE. (emphasis added) This is true even if the picture is perceived prior to rental as having a poor box office potential. . . . If the market is truly competitive, independent producers can expect to hire the unemployed at lesser salaries and thereby undersell the major producers. This should, in turn, result in a reduction in the cost of production and the price at which films are made available to exhibitors. This, however, rarely occurs because of the restrictions imposed on the number of films which are distributed. . . . Technological progressiveness is low when relevant to the exhibitor, e.g., motion pictures are still being distributed individually in the form of bulky and expensive film. . . . Technological expertise exists in the industry, but more efficient distribution (such as electronic transmission of motion pictures or the use of video cassettes), which would ease distribution for independents and therefore aid their entry into the market, IS NOT BEING EXPLORED. (emphasis added). . . .Major studios appear to be controlling the market to restrict competition and lessen output so as to maintain tight control over employees and an exceedingly low buyer (exhibitor) profit."
Remember when the last MPAA chief, Jack Valenti, testified before Congress on April 12, 1882 (http://cryptome.org/hrcw-hear.htm) as to the horrors of the video cassette recorder? To wit: "But now we are facing a very new and a very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the video cassette recorder and its necessary companion called the blank tape. And it is like a great tidal wave just off the shore. This video cassette recorder and the blank tape threaten profoundly the life-sustaining protection, I guess you would call it, on which copyright owners depend, on which film people depend, on which television people depend and it is called copyright." As the 1978 "Task Force" report states, this was an attempt by Valenti to inhibit "more efficient distribution (such as electronic transmission of motion pictures or the use of video cassettes)" under the guise of preventing piracy and thus inhibit the entry of independents into the market.
(8) Get a copy of THE FEATURE FILM DISTRIBUTION DEAL by John W. Cones at http://www.mecfilms.com/coneslaw/conesbk.htm
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