May 19, 2004

Disney Gasses Miramax

A few years ago, an art exhibition entitled “Filter” used the theme of masks to focus on media and corporate control. In the essay that accompanied the show, there is a line that says: “The filter is the act of self-censorship by the media that eliminates any message detrimental to commercial interests.”

In writing this entry, I wanted to link to a wonderful piece in this morning’s LA Times by Kenny Turan entitled “Substance Over Style.” In the article, he not only praised the storytelling and restraint of Michael Moore’s new film (which I was delighted to hear, because but I just didn’t think Bowling For Columbine held together very well), but he went on to describe some of the politics between Disney and it’s subsidiary, Miramax, the former having prevented the latter from distributing the film.

So, the filter is everywhere. In this corner, Disney is stiffing Miramax because Moore’s film “doesn’t serve it’s commercial interest.” In this other corner, the Times is making it difficult to access it’s content (especially entertainment coverage, which they place in its own special subscription cyber-compound called “Calendar Live”) because they can.

The lastest rumor I hear is that, to get around Disney and the distribution problem, Miramax intends to buy the Moore film outright. I’m glad.

…And, Disney knows what they can do with their masks.

(The gas mask, by Bill Barminski, was part of an exhibition, called Filter, at the Robert Berman Gallery in LA. The exhibition site, and (especially) Bill’s personal site are both a lot of fun.)

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Michael Shaw
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