I saw the re-release of Alien last week, and I was a little startled at the level of propaganda the movie people felt I deserved as a result of spending $16 on tickets.
No, not the commercials. I’m resigned to that.
No, not the Foundation for a Better Life PSA where the kid who built the race car lets the kid in the wheelchair drive it because some things are more important. Even though it has a CHRISTIAN SONG ABOUT ANGELS in the background where apparently I’m the ONLY one who notices how CHRISTIAN it is. Did I mention it was religious in nature? (They’re also the people who brought you the Whoopi Goldberg billboard that explained hard work is the solution for dyslexia. Y’know, they’re just too lazy to read.)
I’m talking about the anti-piracy PSAs that are described in this New York Times editorial:
A set painter and a stuntman, respectively, they star in the first two in a series of public service announcements that seem to answer the question, “Who makes movies?” In the brief spots, the two men reflect on their unsung but unmistakable contributions to the art of moviemaking.
I was caught rather unprepared for this lecture from the proletariat, despite having a friend in LA who makes part of her living as a set painter.
My pique must have been startled right out of me about the third time the slimy alien jumped out of a wherever and chewed through someone, because I forgot to post about it as I had intended. But then the NYT piece catches my eye, and I decide to see more of what this new ad campaign is all about.
This is a powerful statement, but how persuasive will it be? For one thing, if stars and producers have less to lose, why is the Motion Picture Association, which represents Hollywood’s owning class, putting its muscle and its money behind these spots…? (And why, by the way, are the studios, in search of savings on labor costs, giving more and more work to Mr. Goldstein’s lower-paid counterparts in places like Vancouver and Prague?)
Funny how the author never gets back to the question of why the MPAA is funding anti-piracy ads that feature working people and sending their jobs away. The argument is even plainly made in one of the PSAs, quoted in the article, that when the industry suffers the rich guys won’t get hurt, it will be the construction crew that loses their jobs.
Oh yes, I forgot. Individual acts are always more of a problem than systematic economic oppression. Just like one man bouncing a check is much more damaging to society than a pervasive pattern of overcharging people of color for mortgage loans.
OK, I’m still not convinced. The people who own the companies are making these ads, so what I actually come away with is that the MPAA doesn’t want me to download movies because decreases in revenues will force the rich to fire the working-class people and keep whatever’s left for themselves.
Am I wrong?