This is perhaps a bit of a rambling piece of writing but all parts I think are related. It is perhaps a news dump of sorts.
Have not published anything these past few days. Looking for something to catch my eye and gut.
I look in the Brit papers first. Because a lot of what you might see featured on a worldwide news highlight section on the Internet is there first. These lead stories appear in America with a follow up time of 12 hours to forty eight hours later in the USA.
There was a piece in the religion section of the Guardian about how the Movie the Golden Compass was not likely to follow through on two promised sequels. The actor Sam Elliott was blaming the boycott by the Catholic League in 2007/2008 that forced domestic profits down but not worldwide. I did a little research and found out that another piece, on the Golden Compass was in the Guardian under Cinema/Arts. Not the same article. The skinny on this whole thing was that this was some sort of PR stunt to stir up interest and capital to get the movie back online with its original schedule.
The Golden Compass
The thing that I did not like was that the truth was not being told in selling the product. The blame on the Catholic League was supposed to stir up resentment against the ethnic minority that supposedly controls Hollywood ( you know the ethnic minority that MG hates ) and were now afraid and listening to the church’s PR mouthpiece.
Further research found that fantasy or sci-fi always does much worse in the States than the Agnostic audience worldwide. Golden Compass made something like $70 million domestically on a 12 week run and over three hundred million worldwide. With an original budget of $180 million that leaves a theoretical profit of $200 million. If you cannot operate on that kind of profit margin, you better get out of the business.
Getting back to the Catholic League boycott about how the movie promoted atheism to the young. I saw the movie on cable and there was none of what the CL said was there. The books, the trilogy by Philip Pullman, is largely not so much an anti-religion theme but more one of the question of the existence of God – legitimate question to ask. The real fear, I think, of the catholic church was that this movie, a watered down version of the books would inpsire the young and everyone to read these books. A symbolic PR and or preventative, aborted "book burning" so to speak. Jeebus money well spent.
The movie is about a secular worldwide control of the people by the Magisterium but the movie is not anti-catholic. There is this PR hack named Bill Donohue, a down on his knees altar boy mouthpiece for the Catholic Church who led the so-called boycott against the Golden Compass.
Bill Donahue is the whole Catholic League.
Considering Donohue’s annual budget, he could not effect a boycott in this day and age – Impossible – nobody in the choir or the pews to preach to anymore. He was helped out by the Mushmouth of Bill O’Reilly over at Fox News that did trash this movie and urge the boycott. Facts however do not follow through on that spin.
With a $25 million opening weekend in 2007, the movie fizzled. The boycott did not work. Word of mouth would have generated more income than expected but the product had been mislabeled. The movie was billed as the next “Lord of the Rings” which it was not. Domestic sales were weak after that and the bully boys take credit for something they did not do.
Donahue and the Catholic League are no innocents. They got picked on in this present situation because it is convenient to generate PR energy, not news, attacking this PR firm. Blowback - payback time for the alleged boycott. If the truth be told I have to agree with the raunchy comedienne Kathy Griffin that the Catholic League is just one man and one computer – and a lot of hot air and bullshit. Kathy knows a lot about bullshit. She makes a damned good living off of it like Donahue. I do admire her moxie.
Moving along, I was waiting on a story yesterday for a Judge in Oklahoma to rule on the ongoing restraining order on the “Scarlet Letter” law in which ten pages of questionnaire stats on every abortion performed in that state would go online for the all world to see.
Waiting for the judge to get back from his three hour lunch, I did some research and realized that a similar recent anti-female, pro-lief Oklahoma law required a sonogram be performed on each perspective women wanting an abortion. That law got vetoed by the Dem Governor Brad Henry only to have the veto overridden in the legislature. The law itself was challenged in the courts and was eventually thrown out because it was not well written and did not conform to the rules of legislative bill writing in that state.
The judge postponed yesterday's expected ruling until February.
Along comes state Representative Dan Sullivan and state Senator Todd Lamb who are either stupid, naïve or both and write this Scarlet Letter law which seems to be sloppy and addressing more that one issue that would make it invalid under judicial review.
I don’t know if these two moral munchkins did the sonogram law but here is the skinny. If you want to generate lot of bullshit energy and get paid to support the Pro-Life Lobby, you write a law in a sloppy manner and generate months of hype and anger and whatever before it too bites the dust. The MSM has easy leads and easy stories and everybody is happy. Of course the courts might not throw this case out and then the appeal is onto the Catholic, I mean, U.S. Supreme Court.
Next story. “Now for something completely different” as they say on Monty Python.
I once wrote a line of poetry to describe how “New York is a loud and constant shouting”.
I guess I was impressed with the energy and the hustle and the loudness and the diversity of the New York City I first encountered over thirty odd years ago.
Thirty years ago Manhattan was still an American city and not an international rival today with the likes of a Hong Kong on the other side of the planet.
Things have changed or I have changed. Perhaps the energy too has changed.
I caught an article on the Internet about the decline of the use of the death penalty and I stopped to read it. A few interesting statistics and the like.
Death penalty use declining nationwide
Use of capital punishment by states continues its steady decline, with fewer death sentences handed down in 2009 than any year since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976.Maybe there are more lenient judges or more lenient juries. Maybe the bureaucracy of the state killing someone is bigger and more cumbersome, costlier than in the past. Maybe there are more appeals etc. Perhaps fewer people are dying violent deaths. The article doesn’t go into detail and perhaps ends on a positive that:
"The annual number of death sentences in the U.S. has dropped for seven straight years," said Richard Dieter, the report's author and DPIC's executive director. "In the last two years, three states have abolished capital punishment and a growing number of states are asking whether it's worth keeping. This entire decade has been marked by a declining use of the death penalty."
DPIC is a nonpolitical group that provides facts and analysis, while opposing capital punishment as impractical and ineffective.
There were 106 death sentences issued in 2009, compared with a high of 328 in 1994. Death sentences have dropped 63 percent since 2000, when there were 235 issued.
…New Mexico in March became the 15th state to abolish capital punishment, although two inmates still remain on death row there.Perhaps we are having less stomach for it. Are we becoming vegetarian so to speak?
New Hampshire's House of Representatives voted to abolish lethal injection, which would currently affect only one inmate on the state's death row. The measure is pending in the state Senate, but the governor has vowed to veto any bill. An execution has not been conducted there in 70 years, when hanging was the preferred method.
Thirty-five states still have the death penalty.
Perhaps like my aging perception of New York City, I am changing and not the stats? I do not think so.
There was a time when “law and order” was the stock in trade backbone of the Republican party and conservative Dems. Have we changed or have our tastes moved on?
Perhaps it is a cyclical thing with New York, the death penalty and law and order.
Is this a tribal thing, a beating of the drums? Or does every generation have to latch onto and invent some new catch phrase? In any event, the phrase “law and order” seems to have worn out. “Family Values” from a party of adulterers and closeted gays is definitely worn out. Definitely cliché. Passé.
When there is no substance beyond the phrase, the marketing technique falters, the product fails. The product is discontinued.
So too we seemed to have in the last 40 years (a biblical kind of cycle) worn out the name of God, and of Jesus, putting those names on products such as birth control or adopting a political party. Why no Jesus stadiums? Next logical step after mega-churches. It’s the economy stupid.
Jesus is a product, a commodity and no longer a spiritual energy to most rubes. It has come that far in spent physical and economic $ energy by fervent religionists who mistake humanity for a carton of milk or some other product to sell and or sell to. It reminds me of the book “The Selling of the President” by Joe McGinnis in 1968. Subject of that book … Roger Ailes is still around sad to say…running Fox News. He crowned Richard Nixon king with mere PR and bullshit. His cycle and his Madison Avenue lies, illusions I hope are near an end. I dare say his swan song will be to crown somebody else in the GOP in 2012 – this time maybe a queen. And I am not talking Mitt Romney ( though I think he might look good in a dress ).
By the way … GOD is not spelled G-O-P.
This is not a political endorsement for the anemic Dem party. I hear mayor Bloomberg to going to start, I should say buy a third party in 2012. History has a way of surprising people to quote something from comrade Lenin. We will see. We are living history at this very moment, eye opening moment.
“Family Values” is the stock in trade for the once powerful GOP. Now they seem to be selling their positions short and living from one lobbyists’ paycheck to the next. Hoping to buy back cloth coated values with their current profits somewhere down the road and somebody, everybody loses in the process.
This current debate about health care seems to be going nowhere. There is little substance of change behind the rhetoric and egos of, useless to the American public, doddering old men in the senate.
Congress and the airwaves seem to me be a “loud and constant shouting” too – not very poetic but very real.
Back to the subject at hand…Can you imagine that we do not as a society have the energy anymore to kill criminals, to get revenge. I know in general I do not believe in the death penalty but I leave room for exceptions to my general rule in the case of heinous crimes which defy logic or my strength to forgive. I did not cheer at the recent execution of the DC beltway sniper. Nor did I object. Something poetic and just and right in my gut about it.
Forgiveness is supposed to be a Christian virtue and a Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu virtue to name a few as well.
Are we as a culture evolving out of our stone age angers, hatreds, dysfunctions? Hard to tell from just one news article.
I believe there is hope and redemption and the chance to evolve to a better place and here on this earth as well – and for us all.