Assemblog: June 29, 2012

Published on June 29th, 2012 in: Assemblog, Copyright/Piracy, Horror, Movies, Music, Science and Technology, Science Fiction, TV |

gwdt final title
Image from The Art Of The Title

New this week on Popshifter: an attempt to answer the question regarding sex, violence, and horror in movies: Are we short-charging the teens?; reviews of new releases by Jesca Hoop, DIIV, Ty Segall Band, and Neneh Cherry & The Thing; in praise of singer/songwriter Gillian Welch; and a look at a 1974 John Lee Hooker concert now on DVD.

By now you’ve probably read this article from musician David Lowery (Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker) about an NPR intern named Emily White who doesn’t think she should have to pay for music. It’s structured as a sort of “open letter” to Miss White and considering some of the quotes from her, Lowery is a lot kinder than I would be. Even if you think you know everything about copyright and illegal downloads and the RIAA and especially if you try to justify downloading music because “I’m poor,” you need to read the entire thing. I cannot stress this enough.

I would love to see someone write as detailed an article on filesharing as it relates to the movie industry and see what happens. I know the movie and music industries are structured differently and the argument that “we’ll pay for movies if Hollywood stops making such expensive crap” has some merit, but I’d still like to read an in-depth analysis of illegal downloads with regard to movies.

The Art of the Title is a great website that is about . . . the art of title sequences. Unlike a Tumblr blog of just images, however, it delves into the creative process. Their recent article about the title sequence of David Fincher’s film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is wonderful and is comprised of a discussion with Fincher, Blur Studio’s Creative Director Tim Miller, and designer Neil Kellerhouse of Kellerhouse, Inc. It helps if you’ve seen the movie (and if you’ve read the books, there are some choice bits), but even if you haven’t, it’s worth a read.

If you haven’t heard of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, it’s one of the most long-standing and prestigious genre festivals around, not to mention a showcase for Catalan films. Sitges 2012 takes place October 4 – 14 this year and boasts an intriguing lineup. Some of these films I’ve already discussed on Popshifter, like Cosmopolis, Holy Motors, Maniac, Sinister, The Possession, and The Tall Man, while others I have not. The Day, a post-apocalyptic thriller with Dominic Monaghan, played at TIFF 2011’s Midnight Madness festival last year, while Tower Block is one that’s new to me. I couldn’t find a trailer for it, but the Sitges press release describes it as “a real horror film revolving around the siege a hidden sniper subjects the tenants of an apartment building to.” You can read the entire press release at Twitch.

There’s a new movie on the horizon for Monsters director Gareth Edwards (not to be confused with Gareth Evans who directed The Raid). /Film reports that it’s a sci-fi tale about a boy, a robot, and intergalactic travel. Although Monsters was ostensibly science fiction, that aspect of the movie, like all truly innovative genre movies, was just the background for a good character study. Considering how good Monsters was, I’m definitely going to follow the development of Forever.

Here’s a bit of a different topic for Popshifter: television news. Pajiba has a totally hilarious article on the current sad state of it and where it needs to get to in order to become relevant. It’s incredibly sarcastic but if you’ve ever watched North American local news with regularity—especially if your local news station has a 24-hour channel—you will cringe at the truthiness.

There’s a new Supreme Court ruling out regarding indecency (nudity, profanity) on TV. /Film has some thoughts on it and has kindly provided links to Reuters and USAToday articles that synopsize the ruling in some detail.

There’s a lot to parse here, but I’ll hit the highlights that stood out to me. According to the Reuters analysis:

Under the policy which dated to 2001 and was amended in 2004, broadcasters can be fined for airing a single profanity blurted out on a live show or for brief nudity. Government lawyers said it covered the “F-word” and the “S-word” that denote “sexual or excretory activities,” respectively.

The justices threw out a U.S. appeals court ruling that struck down the policy on speech grounds and the justices said several options are before the commission, including reviewing the current policy and modifying it.

The case, which interestingly does not cover “Nipplegate,” does cover a few instances of cursing on TV, courtesy of Cher and Nicole Richie, as well as “a seven-second shot of a woman’s nude buttocks on a 2003 NYPD Blue episode on Walt Disney Co’s ABC network that led to $1.21 million in fines.”

Seriously, this is still being discussed. Regarding Janet Jackson, the article states:

The FCC already had launched its indecency crackdown when pop star Janet Jackson briefly exposed her breast during a 2004 broadcast of a halftime show for the Super Bowl football game, drawing half a million complaints.

Half a million complaints. Who are these people? If anyone reading this has filed a complaint of this nature or knows anyone who has, please speak up. Also, I find it interesting that receiving half a million complaints seems to be almost as big of an issue as actual laws that may or may not have been broken.

And yet, and yet! It goes back even further than the previous decade.

In the cases decided Thursday, the networks also had asked the high court to overturn its 1978 ruling that upheld the FCC’s power to regulate indecency in a case about comedian George Carlin’s “Filthy Words” monologue on radio, arguing the media landscape had changed dramatically.

Now for the shorter USAToday article.

For many years, the agency [FCC] did not take action against broadcasters for one-time uses of curse words. But after several awards shows with cursing celebrities in 2002 and 2003, the FCC toughened its policy. It concluded that a one-free-expletive rule did not make sense in the context of keeping the airwaves free of indecency when children are likely to be watching television.

There’s a lot I could say about “indecency” and “children” but I’ll let it stand for now.

Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor

2 Responses to “Assemblog: June 29, 2012”

  1. Paul:
    June 30th, 2012 at 5:28 am

    On the downloading article:

    Big yes, it’s the best article I’ve read on the problems with the standard ahem “free culture” defence. Most of the responses I have seen from those on the pro-side, have been doing the usual bait and switch of Record Companies Are Shits Argument, instead of dealing with the argument as is. Saying there were bad things about the old system so who cares if there is no new system and it has become culturally acceptable to not pay artists is as embarrassing a deflection as you’ll encounter. And I can’t even begin to express how atrocious the idea that the most talented people are going to be willing to work two jobs and make things in their spare time – or that spare time, hobby creation is equal to professional creation – it is the greatest shame of my generation.

  2. Popshifter:
    June 30th, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Well said, Paul. I think, too, that this is an issue on which people had a certain stance which did not evolve with the passing of time and developments in new access to information. It is not “wimping out” to change your opinion on something as complex and yet incredibly basic as this; on the contrary, it takes maturity and the ability to think “outside the box” (as it were).


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