What other ism should we have in its place?
When James attends a screening, the line is down the block. When he’s not, there’s 4 people in the theater. Really interesting, actually. #francofest (at IFC Center)
The art of watching Franco watch art?
“On Sunday, Netflix agreed to pay Comcast an undisclosed amount to ensure that its videos stream smoothly to Comcast customers. But fans of Francis Underwood’s manipulations on House of Cards might want to temper their celebrations.
This is more than a deal between two giant companies: It will affect everyone who uses the Internet. And as with so many things involving Comcast, consumers will end up paying for it in the end.”
"Let’s be clear. The Comcast-Netflix agreement is not the outcome of a free market. This is Comcast having Netflix over a barrel, and backing off only when it became clear that this sort of trickery could potentially derail its mega-merger with Time Warner Cable."
"This is a critical moment for our country. If Comcast acquires Time Warner Cable, it will control 55 percent of the U.S. market’s pay-TV/Internet bundled customers. It will be the only provider of this advanced communications package to nearly four out of every 10 U.S. homes. With this much control over the platform we all use to communicate and share with the outside world, the new normal will be whatever Comcast wants it to be.
Our country used to guard against the consolidation of this much market power, but in recent years policymakers have forgotten the lessons of history. We need to put the “public” back into public policy and some teeth back into our antitrust enforcement.
The average Internet user is at the mercy of companies like Comcast and Verizon, which won’t hesitate to degrade their services as a negotiating ploy. We need a watchdog in Washington who will demand transparency and who has the authority to stop discrimination and anti-competitive behavior.”
“The most shocking part of Generation Like, PBS’s new Frontline documentary about youth media culture, occurs when a bunch of teenagers confess they don’t know what the term ‘sell-out’ means. This term, so vital to the identities of at least three generations that had come before them, didn’t register as something negative. In fact, it didn’t register at all. If you hear a loud crunching noise at around 10pm tonight, don’t worry. It’s just a bunch of old people wringing their hands in unison.”
"We’re all brands now, and this is meant to be terrifying. And it probably is. But the entire documentary is also liberally soaked with a kind of romanticization of the past; a struggle to understand how America could’ve produced such a nauseatingly earnest generation of tech-savvy sell-outs. Boomers, Gen Xers and even older Millennials are meant to be shouting, HAVE YOU NO SHAME, at their screens — without recognizing that perhaps the answer is both ‘no’ and ‘shame about what?’"
“It’s that matter-of-fact attitude that’s so foreign to many of us over the age of 25 who are watching at home. ‘Selling out’ has simply become ‘paying the bills.’ It almost feels like they’re cheating. Who do these young punks think they are to just skip that step where you wallow in a pit of self-deception, rationalization, and guilt?”
“Sure, everything is the worst. But it always has been. There’s almost something refreshing about the way that many of these kids approach the seemingly insidious aspects of 21st century marketing. They seem less racked with guilt over the shitty realities of the world. They aren’t bothering to shout LET’S GET THIS DYSTOPIA STARTED, like I did at the screen. Because they don’t even see it as a dystopia. But as always, only time will tell if they’re right.”
Some people, I guess, might admire him for the superficial allure of his self-destructive antics: the drink, drugs, smoking and hell-raising years that saw him lose his way after a precocious start before getting it back together. But we should admire him because in his irascible, polemical, compelling broadsides he was so clear-eyed about our collective self-destruction. Listen to the audio recordings, watch the DVDs and I defy you not to be struck by how fresh and how prescient he sounds. Some of the references may have dated – particular personalities and technologies – but the attitude of contempt holds good. He wielded his comedy as a weapon against a zombie apocalypse of corporate yes-men, squeaky-clean conformists, sell-outs, frauds – everyone from politicians and pop-stars to, in one riff, all of LA.
It’s take-no-prisoners stuff but not nihilistic. Hicks rebelled hard and fast against the certainties of his bourgeois Southern Baptist upbringing in Texas but he carried a preacher’s crusading zeal along with him. The ascription of “Satan” to his enemies was at once a big joke and in deadly earnest. His satire was a scourge against what Orwell called “smelly little orthodoxies”. ‘We are miserable sinners all’ was his stance – and he took aim at his own shortcomings too. How that incredulity and derision would have sustained him against the holier-than-thou tyrannies of political correctness with which we have been afflicted since.
Personal hero indeed.