Re: [Videolib] NAATA & Fox

Jessica Rosner (jrosner@kino.com)
Thu, 03 Jul 2003 11:13:14 -0400

Sorry Milos I disagree on this one. NAATA has done many good things and
will do again but getting Fox to pull the Chan films was a very, very
dangerous & hypocritical thing for a media organization to do and should be
brought to account for it (Tough Love?) We all know that the "left" does
have a history of supporting "PC" censorship and if we don't take them HEAD
ON, over this it we will be guilty of abetting this. If a conservative
Christian group had gotten Fox to pull some racy pre-code films because they
were immoral or portrayed Christians in a bad light, we would all be
furious. I am NOT going to cut NAATA any slack on this. They DID NOT ask Fox
for a dialogue or too work with them on project dealing with the racial
stereotypes they believe were perpetuate by the Chan films, They attacked
them and wanted them REMOVED. I have NO DOUBT that but for the backlash they
would by gloating over their "victory". Obviously Fox folding like a house
of cards was a major part of the problem but in this case they WERE doing
a great service to Movie buffs and historians by RESTORING and running
the Chan series. The fact that they have pulled these AND the Mr. Moto films
AND the Will Rogers films is a MAJOR blow to accessing one of the great film
libraries. They should have been applauded not attacked for making these
films available and I am terrified of the long term impact of this.

I believe NAATA is hypocritical in condemning the Fox Chan series
as perpetuating racist stereotypes WHILE at the same time often supporting
and encouraging research & presentations of films starring Anna May Wong &
Sessue Hayakawa, the two seminal figures in Asian American film history
In many of their films both portrayed the worst kind of Asian stereotype
lustful, greedy, evil figures out to destroy white Christian society. NAATA
feels THESE films should be studied but the Fox Chan's in which the Asian
character is smart ,sympathetic and heroic should be banned largely because
a white actor plays the lead.

If I seem particularly out of joint on this it may be because I am probably
the only person on this list who has seen some of the Chan films ACTUALLY
PROJECTED ON FILM WITH AN AUDIENCE as recently as May. I attend a film buff
convention where every year they run at least one Fox Chan, a Mr. Moto
and a few other films from notable "B" detective series like
Lone Wolf or The Falcon. The Chan films are VERY good and the character
more or less the same as the other non Asian detectives. From the text of
NAATA's complaint I have no doubt they confused these films with the later
and much inferior Monogram Chan's of the forties. To put it bluntly
I don't even think they knew what they were talking about in criticizing the
Chan character as subservient of shuffling. By getting Fox to remove these
films , they have lost a golden opportunity to watch these films and place
them in the context of Asian American images on the silver screen.

I am only sorry I forgot to tape them

Jessica ( who is off to Wrigley and off the list for the next 10 Days)

-- 
Jessica Rosner
Kino International
333 W 39th St. 503
NY NY 10018
jrosner@kino.com

> From: Milos Stehlik <milos@interaccess.com> > Reply-To: milos@facets.org, videolib@library.berkeley.edu > Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 06:39:20 -0500 > To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu > Subject: RE: [Videolib] NAATA & Fox > > I think that Joan has a big point, and I would suggest that someone talk to > NAATA first and ask to hear their views. I think the issue - that video > librarians are upset with their getting Fox to withdraw the Charlie Chan > films - is one they would (and need to) seriously listen to. > > Censorship or banning films is never the right option, but they are a very > good organization which has fought hard and long for the inclusion of Asian > Americans on American television (including PBS) - something which is a BIG > issue. They have given support to filmmakers like Wayne Wang, Arthur Dong, > Rene Tajima and others, organized an annual festival of Asian American work > in LA, and fought hard to prove that there are voices and representations of > Asians or Asian Americans OTHER than EITHER Charlie Chan OR Jackie Chan. (No > offense to either, they were/are both great) > > Obviously the perceptions of racial insensitivity in the Charlie Chan series > were/are real to Asian Americans. This can't be ignored. What we should try > to get NAATA to see (something which will hopefully have a more profound > effect than a petition to a mindless channel like Fox) is that there are > ways of programming and placing films with views that are anachronistic or > offensive into context so that audiences viewing them can LEARN rather than > remain ignorant of film history altogether. From the Charlie Chan series on > Fox, NAATA could have tried to create a platform for discussion. But perhaps > they tried this - we need to ask before ouorselves becoming guilty of > over-reaction and negative judgment of an important organization, which > librarians and others should support. > > > Milos Stehlik > Facets Multi-Media, Inc. > 1517 West Fullerton Avenue > Chicago, IL 60614 USA > Voice: 1-773-281-9075 > FAX: 1-773-929-5437 > milos@facets.org > > > > -----Original Message----- > From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu > [mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu]On Behalf Of > JMandell@aol.com > Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 6:32 PM > To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu > Subject: Re: [Videolib] NAATA & Fox > > > > I am not a librarian, but a media producer and educator. I'm on this list > because I enjoy reading many of the postings. It is very important to know > how > librarians use and present the media that we struggling independents work so > hard to get to varied audiences. I also appreciate how librarians have been > outspoken on issues of censorship: like the attempted censorship of Michael > Moore's > book or the legislation to make librarians spy on their patrons through the > Patriot Act. > > I am chagrined reading the current spate of emails calling for petitions and > condemnations of NAATA as censor. > > This is how I see it: > NAATA is a modestly funded PBS public service organization that advocates > inclusion of Asian Americans. FOX makes millions off of commercially > financed > programs that fuel the flames of racism, violence and war. > > The official goal of NAATA's work is to present Asian Americans as they see > themselves. Their video collection includes work that looks at the history > of > the movie industry and its depiction of Asians, including negative > stereotypes. > NAATA's work also investigates trends in American history when Asians have > been vilely stereotyped, had homes arsoned, been beaten and murdered, locked > away in internment camps as alien enemies, treated like slaves on > plantations, > and subjected to ignorance and xenophobia. NAATA is of essence an advocacy > organization as well. > > As far as I know, NAATA is not an adversary of freedom of speech, and > librarians are in forefront of defending freedom of speech. Why not speak > with > someone at NAATA to try to understand their position before sending a > petition? > > Is Fox really doing a public service by airing Charlie Chan films? Would > they > would be open to a televised lesson in media literacy or a panel of Asian > American detectives talking about their real lives following the show? There > are > many ways to preserve our country's cultural legacy, including the legacy of > racial stereotyping, so I am wondering why attack NAATA? > > thanks for any clarification, > > Joan Mandell > Olive Branch Productions > > > > In a message dated 7/2/03 12:05:57 PM, elizabeth@bullfrogfilms.com writes: > > << The petition is a good idea, Gary. > > > But first, has anyone from Video Round Table talked with the leadership of > > NAATA to find out the facts? > >>> > _______________________________________________ > Videolib mailing list > Videolib@library.berkeley.edu > http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/mailman/listinfo/videolib > > _______________________________________________ > Videolib mailing list > Videolib@library.berkeley.edu > http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/mailman/listinfo/videolib

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