Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Casualty (sort of): Free Speech

Well, there seems to be a casualty of the swine flu today...attention to the Supreme Court's outrageous ruling that the FCC will be allowed to fine broadcasters for airing any "fleeting expletives." These are single-word curses like "fuck" and "shit" - or perhaps references that should be thrown around a lot in any documentary about the kinds of people (Parents Television Council) who are celebrating this ruling: "assholes." But while the news headlines have been dominated by the "all swine flu all the time headlines" (and yeah, not an unimportant story), the Supreme Court allowing the FCC to trample all over the First Amendment has fallen off the media's radar today.

For some excellent thoughts on this, do check on the right of this blog for Paul Levinson's piece too. As he argues - and has been arguing for years - it's outrageous how the words as clear as "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech" can be allowed to be flouted by an irrelevant and reactionary bureaucracy like the FCC.

And Dr. Levinson is absolutely right in the argument that conservative justices are ignoring their own beliefs that a judge should not legislate from the bench. This is an exact point I have believed in for a very long time, every time I heard the conservative far right wing moralists supporting censorious legislation. What the hell happened to the party of "small government" and Ronald Reagan's goal to "get government off your back?" What happened to the American people knowing how to live their lives and raise their families better than Washington bureaucrats and censorious, puritanical, whacko special interests?

Perhaps this might be one of the reasons so many are deserting that party for a real limited-government-alternative like the Libertarian Party.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Reporters Without Borders on WSPC Culture Wars

Today Ernabel Demillo and I hosted an important episode of Culture Wars, talking to Lucie Morillon from the Reporters Without Borders organization. They document and try to make public all the attacks on journalists and free speech around the world.

The episode is already up on podcast, so do check it out and download it either from I-Tunes or go to http://culturewars.libsyn.com/

This organization fights for people who get themselves into trouble around the world for doing real reporting. There are journalists out there who cover things more important than gossip and celebrities and fashion, and often they are silenced and punished for it. Reporters Without Borders tries fight for their lives, their safety, and to make their work public.

Right now American reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee are imprisoned in North Korea and Roxana Saberri is jailed in Iran.

Listen to the show and check out the work Reporters Without Borders is doing to further free speech and free press around the world

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Most requested Culture Wars episode on podcast!

WSPC Culture Wars' most requested episode for podcasting - with guest Nadia Cornier of the Firebrand Literary Agency - is now available for dowloading on either I-Tunes or by going to http://culturewars.libsyn.com If you go to I-Tunes, search for the show by putting "Culture Wars" matched with either Barna Donovan or Ernabel Demillo. You can subscribe to the podcast for free!

Previous Culture Wars episodes aired since January are also available.

And be sure and let us know what you think of the show, what you think the most pressing current events issues are that we should talk about, or give us any kind of feedback at wspcradio@gmail.com

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jackie Chan a Communist Stooge??

Whoa! Who’d a thunk it? Jackie Chan, the talented and imaginative, but basically harmless clown of martial arts cinema is actually becoming a controversial figure in Chinese politics. Check out this story about a conference on April 18 that’s generating some uproar.

As well as it should! For someone who had reaped the benefits of Hong Kong capitalism and democracy, his comments that Chinese people might not be able to handle freedom is distasteful. Perhaps he’d taken some lessons in political hypocrisy from the Hollywood far left the last time he was on this side of the Pacific…anyone remember Madonna on her Michael Moore kick, chiding Americans for being too materialistic? Sean Penn and Danny Glover palling around with dictator Hugo Chavez?

Now I’m curious as to what else will happen in a reportedly building backlash to his statements. In the meantime, I’m also wondering if he might be due a little bit of the benefit of the doubt, since we can’t be sure of the accuracy of the translation of his words or the context they might have come in. Jackie, after all, had also been very critical of the Chinese government’s crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989. But, then again, as his critics point out, there have been a number of extremely callous statements he had also made about the critics of China’s policies. Of those who protested the 2008 Olympics, he said they were “only” trying to cause trouble to get themselves on TV. To imply that the critics of China’s invasion of and policies in Tibet are somehow akin to crazy reality TV show wannabes acting outrageously to get attention is ridiculous. The fact that an angry crowd turned out to jeer him on a recent trip to Taiwan doesn’t surprise me.

All in all, his critics have called him one of the most visible apologists for the Chinese government’s anti-democratic policies. Perhaps his behavior might be motivated by the fact that his massive personal fortune and business interests are still invested in Hong Kong and mainland China. But, nonetheless, his behavior is disturbing and his critics are more than entitled to their outrage.

Jackie, say it ain’t so!!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Cool Culture Wars lineup takes shape for 4/16/09

Don't forget to tune in to the April 16th episode of WSPC Culture Wars! Our lineup of guests will include Firebrand Literary Agency founder Nadia Cornier. She will talk with us about kids' publishing and cultural controversies.

After our past episodes discussing those randy, sexting teens, we'll take a look at how the very big business of children's and Young Adult (YA) publishing deals with the tough issues of sex, sexuality, and all things controversial in a world of paranoid adults and extremely worldly kids.

You deffinitely don't want to miss it!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New podcasts of Culture Wars shows!

Be sure and check out http://culturewars.libsyn.com/ for more episodes of WSPC Culture Wars, including Paul Levinson's discussion of "sexting," Jennifer B. White talking about the publishing industry, PR, and the beginning writer, and Jeff Yang and Parry Shen talking about Asian American superheroes and comic books.

If you haven't been browsing the links over on the right side of the screen recently, be sure and check out Paul Levinson's blog post about sexting for more really great points about the issue, or click right here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

See, I Told You So!!

Check out this interesting little story about a killer attempting to shift the blame onto media use for his behavior.

Some vicious lunatic slit a man's throat and now he and his lawyers are arguing that it was all because of a pornographic video he was shown by a "third party."

So he shouldn't be punished so severely, right? It wasn't really his fault.

Yeah, right! Sure!!

Just as I argued before that all these ridiculous, idiotic, absolutely unfounded arguments about the effects of media violence and porn are a boon for lawyers trying to keep their scumbag clients from being punished, anti-media-violence and anti-porn do-gooders are the best friends every violent criminal in this world has.

And take note of how this pornographic tape has mysteriously vanished...like it never existed in the first place.

Here's an invitation to all the "family" advocacy groups, the media watchdogs, our good buddies and pals in organizations like the Parents Television Council: if you really believe that a porn tape made this piece of human garbage kill, please contact me right away. I have this great big stone and concrete and metal thing that spans the river between Manhattan and Brooklyn to sell you. It's mine! I own the deed! Trust me! You believe me, don't you?