RE: [Videolib] NAATA & Fox

Mike Tribby (mike.tribby@quality-books.com)
Thu, 3 Jul 2003 11:09:27 -0500

Scott;

Do you mean to suggest that only Asian Americans who have seen the Chan
films are entitled to have an opinion on this matter? I'm not Asian
American, I have seen most (if not all) of the Chan films (including the
weaker later ones) and I've had just about enough of calls for banning
certain films from airing for fear of offending various and sundry. Shall
we ban not only Birth of a Nation (offensive to African Americans), but
Watermelon Man (offensive to whites) and all Adam Sandler movies (offensive
to sentient beings), too?

In library school we had a guest speaker who advocated banning (at least
from library collections) all films that depicted identifiable ethnic groups
in negative terms, especially if the films were made by persons not of the
ethnic group being portrayed. Carry this a little further and I suppose we
could ask cable companies to cease showing all of the films that Goldwyn,
Mayer, et al. produced that show Gentiles in a negative or foolish light
(speaking of Adam Sandler...). That would certainly open up some time on
the schedules.

Mike Tribby
Senior Cataloger
Quality Books Inc.
The Best of America's Independent Presses

mailto:mike.tribby@quality-books.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Lehman [mailto:scottl@evpl.org]
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 9:14 AM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] NAATA & Fox

After reading and deleting hundreds of posts on this topic, I have to know:
how many on this list 1) are Asian-American, and 2) have seen one or more
of the Chan films? Are there any out there? What are your thoughts? Because
I'm finding it interesting that so many people feel they can tell people
what they should or should not be offended by. I may not agree with what
the Fox Movie Channel (a cable channel I believe, not a broadcast channel)
has done, but this is not the first time a group has complained, boycotted,
picketed, or done something else to try to get something off TV or radio.
Is it censorship? No, it's life, because we all have different viewpoints,
and we want others to agree with us. There is something out there that
upsets everyone, whether it is offensive to men, women, white, black,
Hispanic, the NAACP, GLAAD, PETA, or NAATA. Would you be upset if Rush
Limbaugh was pulled because of political pressure from a group? A new TV
show that people believe is anti-semitic, or a film that was perceived to
be offensive to gays? These may not be "culturally significant" to you, but
then, perhaps the Chan series isn't culturally significant to someone else.

Whether or not the Chan films are historically important, some of them are
available on video to rent or purchase. If they are really culturally
important to everyone, have you been petitioning Fox to release more of
them on video or DVD? I don't get the Fox Movie Channel on my cable system,
so even if they did show them, the only access I have to them is (gasp!) my
library. I feel for Fox in a situation like this, because apparently they
are going to offend someone whichever direction they go.

I'm not arguing against the petition at all. That is exactly how this
works. You are doing the same thing that NAATA did. Trying to persuade Fox
to agree with you. And that's great. But please, don't raise the
"censorship" flag so easily. In the end, the Fox Movie Channel will show
whatever it thinks most people will watch, because it wants to be
profitable. It's not the same as banning books or films from society, it is
just one company that probably bowed to political pressure because an
executive (who, yes, probably didn't even watch the films) was worried
about offending a group of people. If something offended me enough, I
suppose I would complain too.

But back to my first sentence: Does NAATA have a feel for the
Asian-American community? Are Asian-Americans really offended? And how many
have actually seen the films in question? (And for the record: As good as
the films may be, I have not seen them.)

I personally do NOT think that "all films have something important to say."
I'm sure you would feel the same way if you saw some of the awful films I
made in college...

OK, I'm ready for the angry replies. Flame away!

Thanks for indulging me,
Scott Lehman
Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library

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