Beck – a brilliant media leader – told me to organize a rally at Disney during our interview Wednesday. Tons of commenters here on the blog and elsewhere have echoed his instruction. The refrain goes something like, “They don’t care what you believe. They care about dollars. Hit them where it hurts: their pocketbook.”
But ya know what?
That’s not true.
This is not a conversation about capitalism. It is a conversation about ideology. Not because I wish it to be or am defining it that way, but because the ones in power have made it that way.
TV money is harder to track than film money – at least, for a consumer. So, let’s take a look at the film money for just a second.
Do you know which movies make the most money in this country? The ones rated G and PG. Do you know which ones make the least? Those rated R. This is not new. It’s been this way for at least ten years.
John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners, called for more “family titles” at CinemaCon earlier this year. He said, “If exhibitors could make one recommendation to our studio partners, it would be make more family titles and fewer R-rated movies. Only two R-rated movies made the top twenty last year, even though more R-rated movies were distributed than any other rating category.” (full story here)
So, we already are showing Hollywood with our dollars what we want and have been for a while. It hasn’t changed the content. Why?
Well, I’m reading an interesting book by Ben Shapiro, Primetime Propaganda, that brings the conversation back to television production. In this book, Shapiro (whom I’ve never met and know nothing about other than what is in this book) shares actual conversations he had with studio heads, television writers, producers, and actors. And what they shared with him – according to him, because his Jewish last name and Harvard ball cap communicated “liberal” – was that there is a purposeful push of a liberal agenda/mindset through our television shows.
Not because it makes more money, but because it accomplishes an ideological purpose.
That’s why I don’t see efficacy in jumping on a bandwagon of, “Let’s have a rally. Let’s boycott.” I don’t see it making an actual difference because dollars are not what is driving film and television production and distribution. The dollar is not king here. Worldview drives production. (Also why I’m grateful Beck has bought studios!)
The only way to change what is getting made is to change who is making and distributing it, or change the ideology of those currently making and distributing it.
That is a Herculean task, which is an understatement. But it’s not insurmountable. It can be done. If you want to vote with dollars, then put your money behind the production and distribution of quality shows and films. Be proactive in this, not reactive. Don’t be content with tossing your TV and never darkening the door of a theatre.
If you don’t have access to production and distribution individuals, or aren’t sure how to get started, go over to the SON site. The whole reason we started that was to equip and encourage individuals producing and distributing good content for the mainstream audience. To be very transparent, while I serve as the co-chair of SON, I do not draw a salary from it. It’s a non-profit, and a young one at that. Every dollar over there goes to support the audience we’re serving: writers and creators of quality, mainstream, commercially-viable entertainment. I can’t tell you how many writers I’ve listened to who are frustrated beyond belief because their (very good) script or novel gets tossed out for having a person of faith in it or not including a sex scene or an element that pushes the chosen mindset.
If we’re determined to stop doing something, how about we stop our inactivity? Our disengagement? Let’s be a people of committed action – not against, but for. Let’s be for the content we want and support it. Can we do that?
(If you are a part of an organization that supports the creation and distribution of good, mainstream media content, let me know. It’s going to take ALL of us to turn this ship.)