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Blacklisted, oh yea* [Updated]

From Maybe I Think Too Much:

I'm fed up with Hollywood elitists thinking they can publicly mock our President, Christianity, and values that Middle America holds dear without ever being held accountable. They are certainly entitled to their opinions, and they should still be able to fund candidates and organizations, appear in movies of their choosing, and say whatever they want to whomever they want, but they should also experience the consequences and repercussions of their words and actions.

This is why I propose to reestablish the Hollywood Blacklist.

Any celebrity, having been verified saying something objectionable, after today (Saturday, June 12, 2004) about an elected official, the American military, a religion or religious leaders, about people living in "flyover country", or in any way impugn the religious or moral values held by the majority of Americans to the press, in media such as television, movies, radio, CDs, books, newspapers, magazines or web sites, will be added to the new blacklist and I encourage everyone to cease renting or purchasing products that they appear in or promote. This includes their movies, their television shows, their CDs, their magazines, their books and those of the products whom they are spokespersons for.

What a soundly terrible idea. It mocks everything America is about, as well as gives credence to the left's mantra that conservatives and/or Republicans want to crush dissent and block free speech.

While I think it's disengenous to call Bush Hitler, for example, I don't think anyone should be "held accountable" for doing so in terms of being blacklisted.

This is why I don't join boycotts or throw out my Beastie Boys CDs. America is the land of the free and that includes free speech. If you don't want to watch movies or listen to music made by actors or musicians whose views differ vastly from yours, more power to you. However, I think calling for a Hollywood blacklist does more harm than good to your cause.

There is a difference between an entertainer facing the repercussions of his statements via monetary loss if a whole bunch of people just decide to stop purchasing his products and being a victim of a group-think movement to outright stop his career in its tracks.

For instance, a person writing to UComics and telling them that they are upset that they print Ted Rall's comics and will no longer put any of their own money into supporting UComics is fine and a great expression of your freedom to show dissent. However, gathering your forces to get UComics to drop Ted Rall from its roster (please note, as much as I despise Ted Rall, I never wrote to any of his syndicators to ask them to drop him) is engaging in tactics that can be construed as crushing of someone else's dissent, which is not very American.

Perhaps it just the term "blacklist" that worries me. The connations of that word are dark and evil and make me think of smoky back rooms where giant men with cigars dictate the lives of others. To whitewash the entertainment industry so that only those who voice your own opinion are left standing is dishonest; it creates an environment where only one lone voice is heard. Michael Moore may not speak for me, but he certainly speaks for others and to make any attempt to blacklist him or to strong arm movie theaters into not showing his film it to take away other people's freedom to listen to Moore and see his works. Who are we to decide what other people can see or hear?

I get nervous whenever people talk about silencing others and that, in essence, is what a blacklist purports to do. Oh, the left has their own blacklists as well, as does every major political movement. They just don't always make it public. No matter who is doing the blacklisting, it is bad, bad policy.

The dictionary defines blacklist this way:

A list of persons or organizations that have incurred disapproval or suspicion or are to be boycotted or otherwise penalized.

Penalizing someone for speaking their mind, no matter how insane or contrary their views might be, is inherently un-American. Organizing a boycott among like-minded individuals is fine, stating publicly that you don't not support Actor X because of he trashes the president is fine as well. But a blacklist is equivalent to trying to shut someone up.

Sadly, I fear that this will end up being nearly all media as we know it, but given the trash that floods into our homes and theatres passing as entertainment today, it is probably a good thing to lose, especially if a boycott of these products will drive home the point that these Hollywood elitists cannot continue to insult their audience and still expect to get rich. Please note that this blacklist will not punish those in the entertainment media for civilized dissent. If an actor says something along the lines of, "I plan to support Senator Kerry in his campaign because I believe strongly in his vision for America," demented as that may be, it's not objectionable and insulting, and doesn't warrant blacklisting. If instead, the actor says, "Bush means Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, and all these fucking crypto-fascists are gonna get in and start carving up the pie and handing in all their markers to the Republican Party that's been itching to get back into power." (John Cusack, otherwise one of my favorite actors.)

The problem the author of this blog faces is that he assume that the audience is made up solely of people who have the same views of him. ...these Hollywood elitists cannot continue to insult their audience and still expect to get rich. Not all of the audience is insulted, just as not everyone is as insulted or horrified as I am when Ted Rall talks about Reagan roasting in hell. Also, the author is specifically defining what kind of dissent is appropriate, as if he has a right to determine the proper way of voicing your opinion.

Again, it's something about keeping a list that bothers me, that invokes the spirit of Communism (yes, ironically, blacklists in Hollywood historically kept out the Communists). The thought of someone fastidiously writing down names and checking them against their statements, then deciding if the statement was good dissent or bad dissent according to their own definition gives me the creeps.

I expect that there will be plenty of argument on this subject and many of you will rush to point to the fact that I often take celebrities to task for the policital things they say; that I am often seen deriding Michael Moore or Ted Rall for their commentary. While I do believe they deserve my ridicule, I also believe they deserve their time on their soapboxes because they are Americans and therefore they are born with the right to speak their mind, no matter how deluded that mind might appear to others. For every person like myself who thinks that Moore is insane, there is a person who thinks he is a genius and I have no right to take away that person's ability to listen to Moore.

[link via Dean Esmay]

Update: I knew this post would be like letting a swarm of bees loose. Honestly, my biggest problem with the blacklist idea - and I know this is not the basis for a good argument against it - is the useage of the word blacklist itself. I probably associate it too closely with the McCarthy blacklist era and thus all my feelings towards this are very negative.

Also, in the comments Allah states:

There was a lot of talk after 9/11 about Americans being prepared to sacrifice in times of war. You seem to be saying that despite the presence of people here at home who, casually or not so casually, are doing what they can to undermine that war effort, being asked to sacrifice part of your CD or DVD collection is simply a bridge too far. Doesn't leave much left to the concept of "sacrifice," I don't think.

I don't see how throwing out CDs and movies I bought years ago makes any sacrfice towards the war on terror. I'm willing to wait longer in airports because security is tighter, I am willing to give up certain freedoms and rights if it means that I am better protected for it. I just don't get the concept of throwing out entertainment in the name of fighting terrorism.

I do my best to call these people out, to bring publicity to their mostly idiotic feats that try to undermine our success in this war. I think it's a bit dishonest to make the implication that I am not willing to sacrifice anything for the war on terror. Just because I still have my Smiths CDs does not mean I hold Morrissey up as some great icon of truth. Morrissey the artist, I am still a fan of. Morrissey the person can kiss my American, freedom loving ass. But I do keep in mind his right to say the things he does, and I keep in mind my right to make sure everyone knows what he is going around saying. And please note I am not talking about speech that can be qualified as treason. That's a whole different ballgame. When someone, like Ted Rall, tells troops to start shooting at each other, that's a bit different than saying Bush is Hitler. One is poisonous, the other is just stupidity masquerading as protest.

Perhaps this makes no sense to you. It does to me and I cannot explain myself any better than I already have. I just really resent the implications in the comments and from some email I received that because I think Michael Moore is allowed to exercise his freedom of speech, I am therefore aiding and abetting anti-Americanism. Please tell me how an almost twenty year old copy of Beastie Boys album sitting in my CD player is doing just that?

It's very early on a Sunday morning and I'm sure there are plenty of holes in my argument against blacklisting that will be brough to light; holes that might be better filled when I've had more time to think about the subject. But that's what the comments - often filled with raging dissent - are for.

*

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Blacklisted, oh yea* [Updated]:

» Modern-day blacklist from Zygote-Design
ASV and Dean's World both have posts up talking about the idea of reviving the Hollywood blacklist to get rid of those who say hateful things about the United States and it's leaders. Quoth the Dean: But conservatives, who tend to revere Reag... [Read More]

» Time to revive the Hollywood Blacklist from Maybe I Think Too Much
Update: I've withdrawn my proposal to reestablish the Hollywood Blacklist (a poor choice of terms, I grant you) because, as Darleen points out, "An organized boycott or blacklist gives them what they want, more publicity, and an opportunity to play... [Read More]

» Free Speech from Red Wheelbarrow
Over at 'A Small Victory' Michele has some thoughts on blacklists and CD's, and many other things [Read More]

» Blacklisted from Mind of Mog
And not WP or MT blacklist either, the ancient and dishonorable practice of blacklisting people cause of their beliefs is the topic discussed at Dean's and Michele's. Where did this start? Here. Personally, for me, this quote from Tony Lawrence sums ... [Read More]

Comments

Fewer holes than you might think, m'dear.

I personally think it's okay to organize a public protest or boycott against a specific person. It's running right up to the border, I admit, but we have that freedom. If I want to boycott, and urge others to boycott, David Duke, I'm within my rights to do it. Just as others are within their rights to protest and boycott me or those who associate with me. Or you. (We shun you! Shun! Shun! Shun!)

The problem with these lists is, who decides who gets on it? But even bigger: How do you get OFF the list? Is it a lifelong thing? Or can you change your mind? What if a blacklistee recants? Do we have to decide if it's sincere or not?

This whole thing is complicated because people don't know enough about communists in Hollywood. Some stll think there weren't any and that the whole thing was hysteria and myth. Well that's baloney. There was a serious problem with communists in Hollywood. They were intentionally taking over some of the trade unions, and using strongarm tactics to throw non-communists out of the leadership, and were using arson, beatings, and all sorts of threats to life and limb to get what they wanted. Moreover, they were acting secretively, instead of out in the open about who they were and what they believed.

Think of the real Hollywood communists as like members of the mafia to understand what it was really like.

Hollywood was right to fight back against that. But they did it the wrong way, by blacklisting anyone who was ever associated with Communists, or was simply strongly suspected of it, or would not publicly state "I'm not a communist." Blacklisted: "You can't work anymore, period. You're gone." And there was no appeal process, no redemption process, no nothing.

That's dangerous, destructive stuff.

As I noted on my own weblog, Reagan himself, who was the ultimate Communist hater, angrily and vociferously and actively opposed the blacklists when he was president of the Screen Actor's Guild, and formed a side group with Olivia DeHavilland and some other friends in order to exonerate a number of blacklisted people.

It is not a good precedent to try to go back and re-do something that hurt so many people so wrongly. If you can't get Mr. Commie Hater Himself on your side, you might want to rethink what you're saying, you know?

(Not you Michele, that's a general "you.")

I must, respectfully, disagree. I believe that actions have consequences and that too many people get free passes under the rubric of free speech.

"...in any way impugn the religious or moral values held by the majority of Americans..."

That's the statment that worries me. Who does this guy think he ie, that he should define the religious and moral value of all (or at least "the majority") of Americans? He has his views, but how can he say that so many people agree with him? America is a diverse country, and as the 2000 election showed us, we're pretty evenly split.

Also,
"I'm fed up with Hollywood elitists thinking they can publicly mock our President, Christianity, and values that Middle America holds dear without ever being held accountable."
Well, I'm fed up of religious fanatics who try to force their Christian worldview on me, who treat those of other religions with contempt. I'm fed up with conservative rich elitists who mock the poor and give nothing back to the society that allowed them to become rich. That doesn't mean I'm going to creat a special little list of who I dislike, and encourage people to try to destroy their careers.

Finally, I personally find no big holes in your arguement, and I'd like to add that your commitment to freedom of expression is worthy of praise.

Ahh, yes, those Christian fanatics. Sending young kids to suicide bomb pizza parlors, establishing a chain of dictatorships, treating women like property, and engaging in wars with every other major world religion.

Some people still aren't serious about terrorism.

Frankly, it's a perfectly acceptable response to boycott an entertainer you don't agree with.

I don't agree with the blacklist either.

However, I already make decisions about the movies I see, etc., based on the stars in it. But it's personal, as it should be.

Zen, good point that I forgot to address:

"...in any way impugn the religious or moral values held by the majority of Americans..."

My moral or religious values are not the same as his, so who gets to decide what whether or not my values have been impugned? It's a big argument against his idea that I should have spent more time on.

Ian, I'm assuming you were addressing Zen and not myself, but I should make it clear that this is NOT a religious argument for me (despite the above comment) - because I don't think the author is making a relgiious statement. He is making a personal statment, yet trying to make it for everyone, which is just wrong.

Ian,

Why did we have to drag terrorism into this? Did I mention it? Nope.

I fully favor going after terrorists. But I wasn't talking about foreign terrorists in this case, I was talking about those at home who try to force their beliefs on me. People who, as you hint at, at least have the decency to do so in a civilised manner. Nevertheless, it doesn't mean they're not doing something wrong.

Donít try to put words in my mouth. Go after me for what I actually say, if it offends you, not what you decide I must obviously think.

Michele,

Glad to be of service.

This is why I don't join boycotts or throw out my Beastie Boys CDs.

i gotta big-time disagree.

Combine this blacklist with the anti-conservative blacklist already in effect, and we'll all end up sitting at home watching DVD's of Underdog.

My question, I guess, is the author proposing a government maintained blacklist (ala McCarthy) or a "blacklist" maintained by himself or another private entity for the purpose of organizing a boycott. If it's the former, yuck. If it's the latter, I have no issue with him.

I have my own personal "blacklist" (as you well know), and I don't have any ethical problem with that. Do I attempt to enlist others to join my "blacklist"? No, but I don't think there's a moral difference between the two, just as groups boycott Dominoes Pizza for contributing to Operation Rescue. Same idea, different end of the spectrum.

The more interesting issue here for me is why the "blacklist" term (admittedly the original author used the term himeself this time) and the alarmism over such things only seems to rear its head when the action comes from the right or far right. I haven't heard anyone complaining lately about the inappropriateness of the Dominoes boycott or many "animal rights" boycotts organized by PETA and their like.

Let me just add this link: http://www.caringconsumer.com/ -- which is, in essence, a huge blacklist.

Viting with your wallet is quintessentially American. This guy just wants to do it in an organized fashion.

The point of disagreement I take rests with the threshold he sets: it's ridiculously low - low to the point that it seems to encompass what would be reasonable disagreement.

The whole reason all these anti-Hollywood feelings started was because so much of Hollywood's opinion was beyond the pale of reasonable discourse, like comparing Bush to Nazis, saying this was just a conpiracy to conquer the world, going to Baghdad and being Hussein's media whore, etc, etc. That's far different than someone who argued, say, "Bush went into war with faulty intelligence and was reckless and irresponsible about it, and we shouldn't be there now." I think that's wrong, but it's not the sort of thing that deserves a boycott.

The question is, what does "objectionable" mean? Based on the tone of the excerpted text, I wouldn't be surprised if it meant simply, "An opinion I disagree with."

I wonder if the people certain to howl at the thought of such a "blacklist" were equally vociferous when civil rights magnate and racketeering extortionist Jesse Jackson was organizing boycotts of Nike and others. No, I didn't think so.

Two points should be noted:

1. The Constitution prevents government from punishing political views and expression. By definition, citizens can not be subjected to the same restriction. If we were, we'd find ourselves living in the Soviet Union, where the wrong words could bring 10 years in the gulag.

2. Show business careers crater every day. Maybe you shot your mouth off and pissed off a bunch of people whom you consider to be little underlings, only significant when they spend money on your projects. Or, more commonly, maybe your movies/books/albums suck. The music industry needs to stop pretending that all of its sales decline is due to online file-sharing, and admit that high prices and substandard content play a big role.

Yes, everyone has a right to say what they want. But some have a world-wide microphone held to their lips when they speak. Every newswire in the world will pick up what they have to say and spit it back to us as gospel. Most of us aren't privy to (or cursed with) that kind of exposure.

The only effective action left to me is to vote with my pocketbook. And I do so with a smile on my face.

Kinda' like Michele and the oil company salesman that tried to hook her into using their product. I think his company may be on her blacklist.

I don't know what the problem with boycotting those who impugn what you've come to believe is right. I mean, what's the alternative argument.

Are you supposed to affirmatively buy from them? So that, what? You will feel all icky and gooey and nice about that great god, "free expression"?

Why is "free expression" only reserved for those who say what we don't agree with? Why can't we "freely express" by actions and deeds?

Or is our "free expression" limited? We who have these pro-Christian or pro-life or pro-Republican or pro-whatever views must remain silent, or we must spend our money in such a way that benefits these, lest we be haters of the "first amendment"?

Bah. I've always thought the "crushing of dissent" argument weak. Crush dissent with your money and free speech all you want. Let ideas clash. Let you money do the talking.

Just don't get the government involved. That's all. But you, private citizen, alone or in groups, boycott and spend and support all you like.

Fortunately, we can still do that. And I will, whether anyone likes it, agrees with it, or not.

If I'm right, then I should act on it. Not doing so, in the name of "free expression of others" is at least misguided, and at most simple cowardice.
If I'm wrong, then I'll be proven wrong.

But, at least, I'll have done something.

I think the main problem with the argument for "blacklist" is the historical baggage that goes with the term. Indeed, too many people today think the old Red Scare blacklist was a government instrument, rather than the voluntary plaything of Hollywood bosses.

Freedom of speech is a right and a responsibility, not license. If any private individual, or group, wishes to organize or advocate boycotts or protests, it is their right of free speech, too. And, just like the individual they are protesting, they too will be judged on the appropriateness of their actions by the rest of the citizenry. PETA gets press, but also gets ridiculed. Dr. Laura is still on the air. Disneyland still has guests even after years of Baptist driven boycotts.

And regardless of the drumbeat of the "mainstream" media and the likes of Michael Moore and his syphocants who have ridiculed and made cruel jokes over the years about Reagan, the citizenry voted with their feet and clearly demonstrated how they felt about him. The leftist "blacklist" of Reagan failed (not that they are giving up anymore than the PETA has their own agenda.)

Oh... btw, Zen

Well, I'm fed up of religious fanatics who try to force their Christian worldview on me,

Just which Xtian fanatics are forcing you to do....what? (in contrast to the demonstratable Islamist fanatics who are in pursuit of a world-wide Caliphate and Sharia)

I hope you're not conflating the free speech rights of the first with the terrorism of the second.

for Zen, this might interest you:
PARIS - Vandals have desecrated a mural painted by Jewish children during World War Two in a transit camp in southern France where they were held before deportation to Nazi Germany, police said Sunday.
The desecration, which a historian reported to police Friday, follows a recent rise in anti-Semitic crimes in France, home to Europe's largest Jewish community of some 600,000.

Hmmmmm... let's see .. who might be responsible? Bet it was those Mad Methodists, or even the Beserker Presbytarians, ya think?

Zen said, "Who does this guy think he ie, that he should define the religious and moral value of all (or at least "the majority") of Americans? He has his views, but how can he say that so many people agree with him? America is a diverse country, and as the 2000 election showed us, we're pretty evenly split."

I do not claim to speak for all Americans, I don't even claim to speak for most Americans, but my views are shared by a not-insubstantial number of Americans. I use a double-negative purposely to draw attention to the belief that so many entertainers think a segment of their audience is insubstantial, and can be ridiculed without impact.

As far as my being the arbiter of the "religious and moral value[s]" of the majority of Americans, all I'm saying is: turn down the rhetoric! If a reasonable person finds an entertainer's public comments highly offensive, then he or she needs to either apologize or suffer some consequences.

Zed continues, "Ö I'm fed up of religious fanatics who try to force their Christian worldview on me, who treat those of other religions with contempt. I'm fed up with conservative rich elitists who mock the poor and give nothing back to the society that allowed them to become rich."

Now I'm a "religious fanatic" trying to force my Christian worldview on others? I disagree. I'm defending myself against people who denigrate me for my religious faith, not trying to impose my faith on others.

As far as "conservative rich elitists who mock the poor and give nothing back to the society that allowed them to become rich."?! Chill, Zed! Take a deep breath, man!

Faith asked for some clarification, "[I]s the author proposing a government maintained blacklist (ala McCarthy) or a "blacklist" maintained by himself or another private entity for the purpose of organizing a boycott?"

It's the latter, Faith.

Russell brought up some good points, first with, "The point of disagreement I take rests with the threshold he sets: it's ridiculously low - low to the point that it seems to encompass what would be reasonable disagreement."

I point out my previous statement, "Please note that this blacklist will not punish those in the entertainment media for civilized dissent. If an actor says something along the lines of, 'I plan to support Senator Kerry in his campaign because I believe strongly in his vision for America,' demented as that may be, it's not objectionable and insulting, and doesn't warrant blacklisting. If instead, the actor says, 'Bush means Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, and all these fucking crypto-fascists are gonna get in and start carving up the pie and handing in all their markers to the Republican Party that's been itching to get back into power.' (John Cusack, otherwise one of my favorite actors.)

That will warrant being added to the list."

Russell surmised, "The whole reason all these anti-Hollywood feelings started was because so much of Hollywood's opinion was beyond the pale of reasonable discourse, like comparing Bush to Nazis, saying this was just a conpiracy to conquer the world, going to Baghdad and being Hussein's media whore, etc, etc"

No, Russell, I started thinking this way because they're entertainers! They're supposed to entertain! They're not foreign-policy experts! They're not statesmen and diplomats! They're not even journalists! They're entertainers! They're the court jesters, they're the reason we buy expensive popcorn and soft drinks. I, for one, once I've been likened to reptiles and being repugnant, can never see Julia Roberts as a character in a movie anymore, all I can think of is, "by buying a ticket to her movies, I'm paying the salary of someone who hates me."

Several people, including Michele, have questioned the use of the term "blacklist" instead of "boycott." Each of you makes a valid point. Sadly, Iíll admit to taking a bit of poetic license to attach the term "blacklist" when dealing with Hollywood. I'm sorry if this leaves a bad taste in anyone's mouth, but the damage is done and I'm stuck with having said it.

Perhaps a boycott is not the best way of dealing with these people. I'm open to other suggestions, but clearly I'm frustrated by having people I have, in effect, created turn on me without compunction and having to continue subsidizing my own abusers.

Penalizing someone for speaking their mind, no matter how insane or contrary their views might be, is inherently un-American. Organizing a boycott among like-minded individuals is fine, stating publicly that you don't not support Actor X because of he trashes the president is fine as well. But a blacklist is equivalent to trying to shut someone up.

Yes it is. So what? Penalizing someone for speaking their mind is un-American only if the penalty in question is state-imposed. By trying to extend that principle to a privately maintained blacklist (which I assume is the kind we're talking about here), you're essentially saying that Michael Moore's right to free speech should trump my right and the right of everyone else who subscribes to that list to disagree with him by not buying his products. Talk about un-American.

That's point one. Point two is: If you think boycotts are okay, why is a privately maintained blacklist not okay? Isn't that just one big boycott with a lot of different targets on it?

And point three. Given that the country is split pretty evenly between left and right, where's the harm in a blacklist? If the Dixie Chicks end up on a right-wing list, the leftists can come in and pick up the slack in sales. And if they don't, fuck 'em. Don't penalize one side by taking away their right to boycott just because they're better organized than the opposition.

There was a lot of talk after 9/11 about Americans being prepared to sacrifice in times of war. You seem to be saying that despite the presence of people here at home who, casually or not so casually, are doing what they can to undermine that war effort, being asked to sacrifice part of your CD or DVD collection is simply a bridge too far. Doesn't leave much left to the concept of "sacrifice," I don't think.

Everybody boycotts somebody sometime...

I certainly do it on an informal basis. As far as organizing something, the only time I got mad enough was with Rall and the Pat Tillman strip, and I absolutely believe that was justified.

There are some actors and directors whose work I simply won't patronize. Michael Moore, Robert Altman, Alec Baldwin, and a few others are on the "won't see no matter what" list, and Viggo Mortenson is on the "won't see except for LoTR" list.

It's not crushing of dissent, it's refusing to give my hard-earned dollars to some millionaire twit who thinks I'm greedy for voting Republican.

Let me make one more point, Michele. I'm sure you realize that there are more than a few employers in and around New York City who would pass you over for a job because of the political opinions you've expressed on ASV. In my case, I realize it well enough to leave "Allah" off my resume. So you and I, for all intents and purposes, are on an informal, unwritten blacklist maintained by leftist business owners. And I have no problem with that. It's their business so they should be free to hire and not hire who they want.

Why should the Dixie Chicks get a better deal than you and me?

Michele, I must strongly disagree. If I misuse my Second Amendment rights I LOSE THEM. If I drive irresponsibly, I LOSE THAT RIGHT. Same with every other right Americans have... except one. That one, you can abuse and misuse and willingly use as a tool to damage your country and endanger your fellow citizens- with no comebacks at all, and people will line up around the block to defend your ability to do so.

What do you call a right with no responsibility attached?

The First Amendment.

I have no problem whatsoever with someone choosing to boycott someone who they feel offended them. My problem is the assumption by the author that his/her fragile sensibilities are the same as my own. As a member of the very group of people that the author wants to start this boycott on behalf of, I have very little problem with the statements of some actors that are very anti-war. I don't agree with them, but MOST of them are relatively reasonable in the manner that they express their opinions. But if we give only 1 or 2 people the authority to decide what offends all of us then we are going to have serious problems, including the real possibility that entertainers who never said or did anything even remotely offensive will be blacklisted due to the authors' personal preference. Kinda like I still meet people who are boycotting Tommy Hilfiger for remarks he supposedly made on the Oprah Winfrey show years ago. Except that he was never on the Oprah Winfrey show and never made those remarks.

If you as an individual choose to "vote your wallet" then by all means do so. And if you want to get your friends and family to join you then feel free. But encourage anyone who chooses to join you to make it an informed decision rather than following you blindly to avoid any conflicts later. And when you talk about your boycott, don't represent that it is about anyone other than yourself and those that have informed you that they agree. That is my biggest beef with the current proposal referenced here is that it refers to all of Middle America like we all agree with the author. And since I don't agree, will I be blacklisted now.

And Ian, my husband and I do not follow the Christian religion, and I dare you to tell a member of the US Military (my husband) that they don't know anything about terrorism. Since when did you have to be a Christian to recognize it? Being a non christian doesn't mean that I wear blinders or look at the world through rose colored glasses. And bringing terrorism into it this is just as ridiculous as bringing Hitler and the Nazis into every conversation when you can't come up with a point.

Michele, you are not wrong at all. And I don't see a whole bunch of holes in your argument at all.

I think I will go start a playlist now. Maybe some Beastie Boys, Dixie Chicks, and the Pirates of the Carribean soundtrack for starters.

"Penalizing someone for speaking their mind, no matter how insane or contrary their views might be, is inherently un-American"

Gotta disagree. There is no right to my money. If I think someone is a jerk, coward, or traitor, they aren't getting any of it.

Say what you want in this country without fear that the government will shut you down. Say something your employer thinks is stupid, dishonest, or bad for business, you can expect him to question his own judgement in hiring you. If you behave in a reprehensible way, or say reprehensible things, censure is your due.

The government can't shut you up. That doesn't mean private persons have to reward you for being a jerk.

Thinks_too_much

Too many of the Hollywood elite are fuzzy "thinkers" and desparate to maintaining their mugs in public by doing the outrageous simply by waving whatever in the faces of "the rubes" then acting shocked and hurt when "the rubes" complain. Unfortunately, an organized boycott or blacklist gives them what they want, more publicity, and an opportunity to play victim before a sympathtic press.

In this regards, ridicule and mocking is the best weapon. What gets their goat is not being taken seriously, so photoshop 'em , parody 'em, expose 'em, but most of all, don't take their inanities and hate seriously.

The problem, DaveP, is that there are quantifiable breaches of faith associated with the other rights you mentioned (ignoring the fact that the right to drive is neither a right nor a part of the Constitution). By whose standards shall we judge when someone has abused their First Amendment privileges? Yours? Why not mine? If I find it offensive and anti-American for someone to preach that homosexuality is evil, does that mean they lose their right to do so? Or vice versa?

Plus, what's your remedy? Get rid of the First Amendment, because you don't always like its application?

Who has the right to set the limits? Who has the right to judge when those limits are breached? And who has the right to impose the penalties for breaching them?

Personal boycotts and blacklists are fine. I don't have to participate in them. I don't think the author in question was advocating a government blacklist (at least I hope the hell not). But let's not trash the First Amendment just because it's messy sometimes.

Very well-reasoned post, Michele. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who bases their opinions about art on the politics of the artist is someone whose opinions about art I will blithely ignore. The primary problem I have with a blacklist - even one that's privately maintained - is that it seeks to relieve the individual of the onerous need to think for him or herself. In its fully evolved form, it also includes serious sanctions against anyone who dares to speak up in opposition to the blacklist. That's what is scary about blacklists - they're not like a boycott where people can freely choose to participate, or not, at their choosing. Go against a true blacklist, and you become one of the blacklisted.

Extremists on the left and the right love blacklists because their goal is to force everyone else to accept - and live in accordance with - their beliefs. No dissent or shades of gray allowed. In certain situations, especially when chaos and fear are rampant, the blacklist can be a very powerful tool to that end.

Problem is, the American people still remember Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy and - Ann Coulter's gushing aside - the great majority do not want to return to those days. We must always remain vigilant, though. The conditions at this moment are not ripe for blacklists to return, but it's always possible for things to start going to hell in a handbasket. A few more spectacularly "successful" terrorist attacks on American soil, and the opponents of freedom might begin to find a more ready audience.

Capitulation to the blacklisters in our midst would be no better fate than capitulation to the terrorists. In point of fact, they're one and the same thing.

Maybe Darlene has the right idea: worse than seeing their box office revenue dwindle (or increase, if the Law of Unintended Consequences kicks in) is seeing their reputations sullied.

But as for me, I choose to do both: (personally) boycott their projects AND make fun of them.

Solonor

Far be it from me to speak for Dave P, but I think he's pointing out that in contemporary society, there can be a misuse of the first amendment. For instance, what do you believe should be the consequences, if any, for the members of the media who knew a roadside bombing was about to take place in Iraq, and set up to film it, without any attempt to warm the American military?

And, yes, in politically correct terms, the American Left already has instituted statutes which have consequences for "wrong speech"...see "hate crime" legislation.

eech... PMIF... warm = warn ...

Darleen, that's not misuse of free speech. That's manslaughter.

Well if we can't have a blacklist, maybe we should try P.J. O'Rourke's idea and have a reverse blacklist:

The worst punishment for dupes, pink-wieners, and dialectical immaterialists might be a kind of reverse blacklist. We don't prevent them from writing, speaking, performing, and otherwise being their usual nuisance selves. Instead, we hang on their every word, beg them to work, drag them onto all available TV and radio chat shows, and write hundreds of fawning newspaper and magazine articles about their wonderful swellness. In other words, we subject them to the monstrous, gross, and irreversible late-twentieth-century phenomenon of Media Overexposure so that a surfeited public rebels in disgust. This is the 'Pia Zadora Treatment,' and, for condemning people to obscurity, it beats the Smith Act hollow.

Solonor

IIRC, Rather and Jennings? Brokaw? were asked if they themselves had found out of an impending ambush/attack on Americans while being journalists covering "the other side", would they feel morally compelled to warn the Americans.

Both men said "no", they wouldn't warn because it would sully their reputations as "objective" journalists.

Ah...the freedom of the press!

BTW, do you know how FDR treated the press during WWII?

I'm perfectly okay with boycotts and blacklists, provided they are private (as in, non-governmental). If the 700 Club, Hollywood, Fox News, the New York Times, local Channel 13, a coffee shop, my extended family, one-legged Eskimos, people who shop at the Gap, herpetologists, the BPOE, or whoever want to get their members to not do something, that's fine with me.

But things like this generally don't work, because individuals like to make their own decisions. And we tend to have a big tolerance for contradiction. I think Mel Gibson is nuts, but I'd see Mad Max IV even if it was panned. Often, a show is just a show and a book is just a book.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who bases their opinions about art on the politics of the artist is someone whose opinions about art I will blithely ignore.

MikeR, how very arrogant of you. I don't think we're talking about judging the quality of the "art" here, we're talking about boycotting it, regardless of quality, because the artist him/herself put his/her politics at issue. With celebrity comes a bigger soap box. One can use it how one will, but if Susan and Ted use it in a manner I don't like, I'm not going to see their movies, even if they are the best movies ever made in the entire history of the planet.

My only objection to the author's proposal is its name. It certainly attracts attention, but not to the author's intended focus, which I believe was to encourage rejection of haughty celebrities who misuse their popularity to promote sedition.

We conservatives often shoot ourselves in the foot this way. Liberals are much more adept at using obfuscation to serve their ends.

Oh, the left has their own blacklists as well, as does every major political movement. They just don't always make it public.

That's a LOT more scary (and real) than what "Thinks Too Much" proposed.

Penalizing someone for speaking their mind, no matter how insane or contrary their views might be, is inherently un-American.

Not necessarily. (1) refusing to buy a CD or a movie ticket is no penalty, even though (as incredible as it may seem) many celebrities claim a "right" to their popularity independent of their actions. (2) IMHO, some speech may constitute treason under our constitution, even though there's little chance of conviction in today's judicial climate.

That's what is scary about blacklists - they're not like a boycott where people can freely choose to participate, or not, at their choosing. Go against a true blacklist, and you become one of the blacklisted.

Why is a blacklist that evolves into a witch hunt a "true" blacklist, Mike? Seems to me it's more like a blacklist that's gone haywire. But since you mention the "opponents of freedom," let me tell you a story.

A couple of years ago, Daniel Pipes started a site called Campus Watch devoted to exposing pro-terrorist biases in Middle Eastern studies departments of American universities. The site debuted with a list of professors whose biases Pipes found particularly egregious, and, as you might imagine, the screeching about McCarthyism started almost immediately. Never mind that the website is a private venture; never mind that there were few economic repercussions to being listed, since most of the listees already had tenure. (Pipes's own response to the charges may be found here.) By invoking Tail Gunner Joe, the people on Pipes's list deftly managed to deflect attention from the reason they were on the list to the simple fact that they were on a list at all. Martyrs, they said they were, so it's no surprise that a whole lot of other bottom-feeding profs soon came forward and asked Pipes to put them on the list too. Because who wouldn't want to be a martyr when it doesn't cost you anything?

Pipes eventually backed down and got rid of the list. He replaced it with a feature on recommended professors, which is fine but does nothing to expose the terrorist apologists in our midst to scrutiny. And so I guess my question to you, Mike, is who are the "opponents of freedom" in this scenario? Those who see nothing wrong with people blowing up buses to serve their political ends, or the guy who tries to point it out and gets clubbed because he dared to put it in list format?

This is turning into something that it didn't start out to be. Nowhere did I mention anything about people who actually perform terrorist acts or those who actually go out and condone and/or promote terrorist acts.

I just assumed the original author meant people like Susan Sarandon and Michael Moore shouting out their Blame Bush nonsense.

This is why the left win eventually win.
The "artists" have no compunction in making slanderous accusations and demanding that their beliefs be adopted by all. They will go to any extreme, even making up what they think will help.
While those who disagree with them are afraid to take action for fear of "blacklisting". The debate here about someone expressing their opinion against someone denigrating them shows the blacklisting is already complete.

Michele, in response to your update, obviously I'm not talking about throwing out CDs. What would that accomplish? I'm talking about not buying products from those people in the future. I thought that was clear but in hindsight I can see that it wasn't so I apologize for the confusion.

I haven't thrown anything away myself but I do have stuff I won't listen to anymore. Maybe someday.

Well, I haven't bought the new Morrissey CD because it sucks. And I probably wouldn't buy it, given what he's said - I just wouldn't make a big deal out of asking EVERYONE not to buy it.

I knew this was too convoluted in my own head to hand out for public consumption. Always listen to your gut instincts!

Darleen: thanks.
Solonor: She pretty much had my attitude right. After September 11, we had Americans- some with the huge bully pulpit of the entertainment industry broadcasting their opinions internationally- unilaterally surrendering on behalf of America, announcing that we should give in to Al Q and its spiritual brothers because we could never beat them (and they were perfectly justified in attacking American civilians in the first place), announcing that we loved our troops when they killed their officers. Is there any denial that this public discourse went beyond acceptable debate and into the realm of aid-and-comfort to the enemy?
Why should free speech be so openly abused? Because when it comes to the First Amendment, everyone's minds have become so broad that their brains have fallen out. A major part of the War on Terror is the information war. I don't want to see my nation lose it because Michael Moore wants to lie his way into another million dollars and because some people see nothing wrong with an enemy propagandist claiming the First Amendment as a shield. And since when does wanting to (finally) add some accountibility to the First Amendment mean that I want to repeal it? Every other right and freedom we have has been held to have some reasonable constraints that can be placed upon them without destroying the freedom in question. What is so unreasonable about, "Don't lie" or "don't encourage people who want to kill your fellow citizens" or "don't espouse the ethics and morality of those who want to kill your fellow citizens"? Was the Constitution emperiled by the de facto ban on Nazi and pro-Hitler organizations in 1941-1945? Was any amount of useful debate lost?

Mere boycotts don't work anymore than rubbing a dog's nose in his dirt works. They don't make the connection.

When benneton was running those disgusting ads showing reagan with Aids, I boycotted them but I did it in a way that showed them why.

I went to the one on Fifth avenue, enlisted the help of a bunch of salespeople and went to the register with maybe $400 worth of clothes. I waited until they rang up everything, then I told them I had been thinking about their disgusting ad campaign and it changed my mind about buying.

For a while I walked out of movies as soon as a particular creep showed up on the screen and asked for my money back, but there are so many creeps I stopped going to movies.

Yeah, sometimes I am conflicted. Like, Robert Altman's a gibbering moron through and through, but I really like the old Combat television show, and I plan on buying the season sets on DVD. I'll probably skip his commentaries, though. It's a case by case thing with me. The only actor I really actively avoid is Clooney, because of what he said about Chuck Heston - a man whose bowel movements have more class than ole George. Plus, he's a terrible actor. Enough with the fucking head-bobbing already, George.

Blacklisting is already happening in Hollywood. Those in the entertainment field who are known to support Bush or the Republicans have a very hard time finding work, unless of course one is a powerhouse star who manages to rake in the money. For the little folks, the only way to work is to conform to the Collective and vow to vote Democrat. This practice is also happening in the NY Theatre industry. The only proof I can offer is from my own experience in the business.

The freedom of artistic expression csars are not necessarily fond of the concept of free expression.

Michele, you have a very twisted view of what "crushing dissent" is. Rights to do something are also the rights not to do something - you have the right to say what you want and buy what you want, but you also have the right to not do these things, and thus boycott someone.

The only way you can "crush dissent" is through force, such as the government making enforcable laws about speech, or someone using force against someone else to stop them from speaking - boycotts do not violate anyone's rights in any way shape or form. Even if a celebrity lost all his sales and job offers for movies because of a boycott, this does not constitute violating his rights because people are free to boycott if they want to.

Please learn about individual rights and "crushing dissent" before you start talking about it.

I was reading the posts and read that the commie blacklist was a government-mandated one, which I didn't know

like I was saying, certainly a GOVERNMENT MANDATED blacklist violates people's rights, since the government has a monopoly on force it can use to mandate it's blacklist, but if it's a privately maintained and participated one, then it absolutely does not violate anyone's rights or "crush dissent", no matter how effective - only force can truly take away someone's rights, and people don't have to endorse people they don't like and hence can boycott

Going back over this, I realize now that I called Zen Zed not once, but twice.

I'm so sorry Zen, I must not have been paying close attention.

Okay, I've officially withdrawn my proposal for a BOYCOTT (Man, was that a poor choice of words or what?) of Hollywood Liberals not because I have ethical problems with a boycott, but because 1) the Law of Unintended Consquences is likely to kick in and celebrities may actually end up coveting being on the list and 2) there may be better ways of reforming Hollywood.

Re-reading over the comments, there appear to be three alternatives:

1) Public ridicule of misbehaving celebrities.
2) Over-exposure of celebrities, or
3) Rewarding the good celebrities.

#2 seems to carry the greatest risk and I don't think I have the stomach to fawn over Garafolo or Cho.

I'm thinking... #3.

Whoa, I leave the room for a few hours, and come back to face the vengeance of those I have wronged. ::smiles::

No seriously folks. I don't mean to point fingers at anyone involved in this conversation. That said, I'll respond to a few of the comments directed my way

Thinks Too Much- I did not mean to call you a fanatic, and if it came out that way, I am truly sorry. The fanatics I was attempting to point at are the types that want to put the Ten Commandments in a public courthouse or make school prayer mandatory. Also: Zed? No worries man. I seem to have some bad luck with people messing up my name, whether online or in real life. No harm done. Or, were you just boycotting my name? ::smiles::

Darleen- Guess what? I think Islamic fascists are bad folks too. Really I do. There seems to be a false impression that leftists donít want to fight terrorists. I canít speak for anyone but myself, but this leftist would be more than happy to see terrorists dead. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stand against only them. I stand against any religious infringement on my way of life.

To anyone- Iím not sure if these comments weíre directed against me specifically, but I realize my views could use some clarification on this point: I donít have any problem with personal blacklists. There are entertainers and businesses that I choose not to support for various reasons. Iím not even against efforts to inform people of the views of entertainers or businesses, in order for them to be knowledgeable about whom they might want to avoid supporting. I just donít think anyone should create some huge list and just present it as ďHere it is. You should boycott these people. Because I say so.Ē People need to decide where their line is and when it has been crossed.

As another general comment to anyone, Iíd like to say that Hollywood generally does go too far. Sheen decided that since he pretended to be President, he suddenly had a great knowledge of politics. Plenty of other entertainment bigwigs try to force their opinions on others, and I dislike those liberals as much as I dislike conservatives that do the same thing. Both sides of the political spectrum have their crazies, Iím afraid. I mean, look at me; Iím stuck on Michael Mooreís side. Ewww.

hey Crisco

Go back and read just a bit more carefully..the Hollywood "red scare" blacklist was NOT government mandated.

And Michele has demonstrated over and over again she has a real clear grasp of what is/is not acceptable when it comes to individual rights and "crushing" of dissent.

Brush up on your reading comprehension.

sheesh

So THAT's why MM has turned into one big Oompaloompa! He's got other people sticking to him!

Zen

There seems to be a false impression that leftists donít want to fight terrorists.

False? Hmmm... ANSWER, NION, Noam Chomsky, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Ramsey Clarke, ISM, Spain ....

I could go on, but let's be honest here. While there are many individuals, say like Joe Lieberman or you, who are both liberal and moral when it comes to recognizing the seriousness of Islamism and the WoT, the organizations of the contemporary Left and many of its spokespersons either apologize, downplay or enable Islamist terrorists.

The fanatics I was attempting to point at are the types that want to put the Ten Commandments in a public courthouse ...

And it was other religious judges, who take seriously their duties to Rule of Law, that slapped him down... and last I looked, that judge hasn't sent any kids of his to suicide bomb the courthouse

or make school prayer mandatory.

Hmmm...and since they haven't succeeded, what car bombs have they set off to force you to accept their agenda?

Moral equivalency arguments are sophist at best.

Darleen,

Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell seemed to do a good job of explaining the causes of terror. I think they said the terrorists were reacting to gays and abortion and women's rights.

Idiots spouting about causes of terrorism aren't always making excuses. Usually they are just displaying their intelligence. Terrorists attacked the United States and they did this for many reasons. Navelgazing and blame games often follow tragic events, but there's a big difference between questioning international policy and excusing the behavior of terrorists. Yes, idiots cross that line all the time. But they are the exceptions, even on the left.

Just want to comment on your update: I think it's pretty pointless to throw away things you already own in the name of a "boycott" of particular individuals, the relevant question is your choices going forward. You may choose to buy Morrissey CDs or not, and how you feel about that choice is your own issue.

I'd also like to point out that the issue spread farther than just entertainment choices. For example, the French are on my personal boycott list, and while I'm not about to chuck the bottle of Dom Perignon in my fridge, I haven't bought a French originated product in years. Food, clothes, makeup, perfume, lots of things that go past entertainment. I hate to use PETA as a good example of anything, but, at least in theory, they advocate complete life choices based upon political and moral belief. I can't say as I'm 100% good about that, but I do try the best I can.

Jon

Those two idiots haven't had any power within the Republican party, let alone the conservative movement, for quite a while.

And they were very publically chastised by such stalwarts of "the right" as WF Buckley.

Maybe I missed it..can you link to Clinton's editorial taking to task Uncle Teddy's rant or Al Gore's meltdown??

there's a big difference between questioning international policy and excusing the behavior of terrorists.

Granted. And the "Bush Lied/people died" meme is far closer to the latter than the former, and needs to be called for what it is.

The left and the right generally ignore the idiots in our midst. This is because A) they're idiots, B) there's no reason to give them attention, and C) even idiots are useful when it comes to the election.

There is no rule that says Bill Clinton or W. Bush has to speak out against the stupid comments of those in their party. For one thing, that would be a full-time job. But most importantly, there isn't a need to comment on every transgression of reason. Some things take care of themselves, whether it is an idiotic anti-Semitic Democrat or an idiotic bordering-on-racist Republican. Eventually, they go away.

Except that West Virginian, but that tells more about West Virginia than it does about the Democratic Party.

ďThe fanatics I was attempting to point at are the types that want to put the Ten Commandments in a public courthouse ...
And it was other religious judges, who take seriously their duties to Rule of Law, that slapped him down... and last I looked, that judge hasn't sent any kids of his to suicide bomb the courthouse
or make school prayer mandatory.
Hmmm...and since they haven't succeeded, what car bombs have they set off to force you to accept their agenda?Ē
Darleen,

Indeed, they were handled well, but ďthe price of freedom is eternal vigilance.Ē No, they havenít bombed anything ... and you might notice, in return, I havenít suggested we send in the Army to shoot the lot of them. ::smiles::

Just because these threats arenít as overt, nor as violent as the terrorist threat does not mean that we shouldnít treat them as a threat. Terrorists want their global caliphate, and some of our homegrown fanatics want a theocracy of their own. It behooves us, as free people and lovers of freedom, to stand guard against all threats, great or small, to freedom.

Also: Thank you to all people involved in this debate for maintaining a high level of logic and reasonableness that is virtually unknown on the internet. Seriously. This did not turn into the flame war I had feared. You guys rock.

"This did not turn into the flame war I had feared. You guys rock."--Zen

The only thing worse than a flame war is a one-sided laudathon. Many of us seem to love arguments, and we acknowledge points on the meaningless scoreboard. This is the fun side of being passionate about politics. For some of us, there's nothing more enjoyable than tactfully attacking the credibility of those who really have nothing to do with the political decisions of our leaders and the opposition.

And since it doesn't involve funny-looking dice, it's not THAT nerdy.

Jon,
I hereby propose that we add funny dice. Just because I'm a total geek.

I've got the Dungeon Master's Guide
I've got a 12-sided die

Yep. Let's add the dice.

Ah, man! And I just sold my fuzzy dice on eBay last week!

Apparently, someone already beat me to this idea anyway.

Oh! You said FUNNY dice. Nope, I don't have any of those.

Yeah, (sheepishly) me neither.

(Holds head down.)

Indeed. Funny ones. 12 and 20 sided and the like. Not your silly mirror dice. ::smiles::

Also, Michele-
"I've got the Dungeon Master's Guide
I've got a 12-sided die"

The way that is formatted makes me think you're quoting lyrics? If so, please tell me whose, because if someone other than Melt Wizard is writing songs about D&D, I should probably be listening to them.

Faith - I take art very seriously. If a member of a band I love has a political philosophy I despise, I may be disappointed in them as a human being but their politics could never invalidate the beauty of their art, for me. If politics matters more than art to you, it's your right to boycott those with whom you disagree.

However, it is not your right to promulgate a blacklist with the intention of preventing your political enemies from being employable by anyone in this country. The difference between a boycott and a blacklist is the use of coercion - with a real blacklist, anyone who dares speak out against the blacklist or employ anyone on the blacklist gets added to the blacklist. The idea of a blacklist is to move from political debate to personal attack. "You say something bad about our candidate, we're going to get you fired." Basically, those who promulgate blacklists are attempting to use fear to force everyone else to bend to their will.

I never said anything that could possibly be construed as supporting blacklists that come from the left, while only denouncing those that come from the right. In almost every post I make on a political topic, I take pains to point out the similarities between the far left and the far right. This blacklist tactic is hardly exclusive to the right - I think the persecution of faculty members who happen to be right of center on college campuses across the country is a terrible situation that needs to change immediately.

Boycott on a personal basis to your heart's content, but try to make use of a coercive blacklist to prevent whose with whom you disagree from having the opportunity to produce their art or otherwise earn a living, and I'll stand against you.

I like this idea. Yep, I know that in the eyes of most folks that makes me a ravening hatred-spewing neo-Fascist, but there it is.

Artists are not in any way exempt from the consequences of their actions, or their expression. If people do not like their art or what it says, then Americans have an absolute right to boycott them, singly, or in groups. That's Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association. Will that make life hard for the artist? It certainly will. That is the consequence of airing their opinion publicly. That has been the way of art for as long as art has existed. Artists even have a term for art that is aimed as the popular opinion: selling-out. Yet art - even controversial art - survives. It is only recently that we have started saying that artists should be held safe from any negative repercussions from the public.

Keeping a copy of Beastie Boys CD you bought 20 years ago isn't reallyhelping their anti-Americanism, but buying their next one surely is. It puts money in their pocket and gives them more opportunity to say whatever they want in a far greater venue than you or I will ever get.

I'm still boycotting Hanoi Jane. Nobody asked me to, nobody told me to. I do notice however that a sufficient number of people seem to feel the same way I do because her promising movie career disappeared after she betrayed my country.

The latest crop of Hollywood 'foreign relations' experts are beginning to show up on my list now too. Domestic discussion of the issues won't do it. Active America bashing overseas will certainly qualify them though.

If it were up to me these folks would come home to find the door barred and their passports voided. Let them find another country that suits them better. But that's just me.

"I believe that actions have consequences and that too many people get free passes under the rubric of free speech."

As well they should. Better ten guilty men go free than one innocent man hang. That kind of logic should apply to everything about life in America. Always err on the side of TOO MUCH freedom.

JimK:
Better ten guilty men go free than one innocent man hang. That kind of logic should apply to everything about life in America. Always err on the side of TOO MUCH freedom.

Except freedom to commit treason, as defined in the Constitution: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

"And since it doesn't involve funny-looking dice, it's not THAT nerdy." - jon

And how do you know we're not roling d20's to determine how many hitpoints a Vorpal Reubuttal does? Hrmmm? Quit tapping into people's webcams. That's perverted. ;]

shrug I agree, for what it's worth on the dangers and un-Constitionality of a government Blacklisting. Or government sponsored/coerced blacklisting, which doesn't always have to be overt in order to exist.

I also agree with several commenters that, based on my research,, the Hollywood blacklisting of the Red-Scare era was predominately a studio maintained blacklist. Some of it may have been influenced by fear of Government action, some undoubtedly wasn't. At a certain point, corporate actions can blur the line there in that they can be influenced by attempting to preempt regulation.

However -

I don't have a problem with privately maintained "blacklists" suggesting boycotts for whatever purposes the author chooses to maintain them. It's my choice wether I actually boycott something or not. The private list owner can't force me to do so, no more than a private celebrity or industry can force me not to boycott something I dissaprove of. My wallet, my choice. So far... ;]

I shouldn't have to remind a lot of the longer term readers of this site that there's already several such private lists out on the 'Net:

Connie du Toit maintains a list of companies and celebrities that she feels have crossed the lines at her old site.

Both LisaS of RightVoices and the authors of RightNation have maintained boycott lists of celebrities and companies back when they were Boycott Hollywood and Hollywood-Halfwits respectively. I believe that LisaS still maintains her list.

Personally, I kind of wish that Lisa and Right-Nation were still Boycott Hollywood and Hollywood Halfwits - they served an extremely valuable service in the blogosphere that no one else is quite filling the void on since. Now they kind of blend into the other right-wing sites, and that's a bit of a shame.

Journalists, newscasters, news stations, actors, writers, singers, artists, and celebrities - regardless of what else they are - are a product. They're marketed and packaged and sold as a brand name and a product. One of the biggest draws that an actor can have is to actually become a brand name: to be so associated with a genre or so famous that a production with them becomes an instant hit like a "John Wayne Movie" or a "Schwarzenegger Movie". It's instant sales and instant rapport with the box office.

The only valid weapon that we have as a consumer against entities with the kind of voice that the media or a celebrity has is in our wallets. Period. Choosing to not spend our dollar on them, and making it known to their studios, sponsors, and advertisers why we're not spending our dollar there.

That's not a 1st Ammendment issue: we're not taking away their right to make whatever statements they wish to.

It's a market issue: we're choosing where to spend our beer money and letting it be known why we're making that choice.

Government wants to tell someone they can't work if they're [insert political stripe Here], then I'm going to be fighting that right along with you.

Someone wants to tell me that I can't vote with my wallet on whatever I care to, for whatever reasons and criteria I choose to, they're going to get told to stiff off in no uncertain terms and with vulgar language.

Personally, I value lists like Connie's. And I value the lists of French owned companies that are on the 'Net. Just as I value the NRA's lists of gun-unfriendly companies and politicians and media figures.

They give me a starting place for deciding where I want to spend my dollar or not.

"As well they should. Better ten guilty men go free than one innocent man hang. That kind of logic should apply to everything about life in America. Always err on the side of TOO MUCH freedom."

So limiting others' freedom by not allowing them to act and speak freely about someone else's speech if too much freedom? Seems like too little to me.

The upshot of this is: say what you want and so will I. The stronger idea will prevail. That's the way it ought to work.

Michele, I am truly saddened to see that this debate took place.

I have a personal blacklist and the rules for it are pretty objective. They involve the history I have with the artist/actor, how I feel about the artist/actor and just what the artist/actor did/thinks/promotes.

It's also a really short list. Jane Fonda is on it. When I was young and ignorant I watched Fonda movies like On Golden Pond and Barbarella and I enjoyed them quite a bit. Then I got edjumacated about her activities in the Vietnam War and she was just over for me. I absolutely cannot watch a movie with her in it. I despise her to such a level that I will never be able to get any enjoyment out of one of her movies.

Johnny Depp is a class-A jerk. He's flippant and ignorant about his country and far too quick to mouth off. He's also my favorite actor. I grew up with him. Hell, I watched him playing the world's oldest high school student on 21 Jump Street. Johnny and I go way back.

It all boils down to feelings (I ignore Johnny's activism like I ignore my brother's union-speak and I sincerely hope that Jane Fonda roasts in hell) and I'm certainly not going to follow along with somebody else's blacklist.