Sunday, May 13, 2007

Me on CNBC!

Defending Vice.


At 5:55 PM , Blogger Jon E. said...


Good reasons in the main, Mike. I think it's hilarious to say that companies fundamentally choose to do what they think "their employees want." More than anything, their employees a more equitable distribution of the surplus value generated by their labor, which is precisely what management and stockholders don't want and therefore won't ever happen.

And there are two other objections that strike me as at least as important:

1) It's one thing to have workplace laws that prohibit smoking, whether or not the employees want it, because smoking stinks up the place and because it gives employees and any on-site customers cancer from second-hand smoke. If there isn't an OSHA regulation against smoking in your coworker's faces, there should be. But watching people smoke in a movie doesn't give you cancer, any more than watching Brad Pitt in Fight Club gives me six-pack abs.

2) For centuries, our culture has put sex in "private" spots (heh heh) or at least in "adult spaces" like the bathouses up the street from me. (Hi, boys!) But smoking still happens in public, or at least in semi-public. So the MPAA is actually not reacting to the prudishness of our culture but working to generate it. Reacting to prudishness is sort of artistically craven, but the MPAA is about protecting the industry against bad publicity and attempts at government interference. So it makes business sense to live with cultural realities. But it's a bad idea for Hollywood, both artistically and financially, to try to make America more uptight. It's bad enough to be necessarily lame, why be unnecessarily so?


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