Former National Review editor and journalist extroardinaire John O’Sullivan has frequently offered his maxim that every organization that is not already on the left tends to move steadily toward it.
He’s right, of course, and that’s even true of TV channels that show old movies, which one might think a natural province of nerdy fuddy-duddies nostalgic about the way movies used to be and relatively critical of today’s offerings.
One would be wrong. Ever since it fired its movie hosts a few years ago, American Movie Classics has been showing original programming presenting thoroughly antinomian points of view on movies and culture.
Turner Classic Movies, which shows movies of the entire past century, commercial-free, has icnreasingly been doing the same sort of thing in the past couple of years.
The introductions to the films have been increasingly politicized as host Robert Osborne takes every opportunity to pour scorn on the political and social attitudes of the past, although doing so with an eerily avuncular delivery.
Openly left-wing films get thoroughly sympathetic treatment in Osborne’s introductions, of course, and the channel is increasingly showing "underground" "classics" such as dreadful Russ Meyer films and other 1960s and early ’70s low-rent pix.
Showing such films has historical value, of course, and is in fact a good addition to the
station’s lineup, but the introductions and promos tend to reflect a devaluation of all values approach that characterizes the ideas and aesthetics of these films as much, much better than they are.
Farther down that same road is this month’s big feature, "Screened Out: Gay Images in Film." TCM says the series is "inspired by the Richard Barrios book Screened Out: Playing Gay in Hollywood from Edison to Stonewall" and "covers roughly the same territory as the book." The promos openly refer to the subject matter as "Hollywood homophobia." Every Monday and Wednesday night the channel is devoted to finding characters in old movies who can be seen as homosexual, with comments from host Robert Osborne (who himself is pretty evidently homosexual) and others telling us how unattractively Hollywood movies presented homosexuality back in the Dark Ages of the pre-Stonewall era. Duh.
In addition, clips presenting comments by homosexuals about images of homosexuality in old movies are running in the interestices between movie showings the rest of the time.
It’s as close as the channel can come to being all gay all the time.
Of course, it’s a subject that’s well worth looking at, but TCM’s treatment is thoroughly one-sided and politicized: every single comment I’ve seen on the channel so far has been aggressively pro-homosexual. Given that most people are highly uncomfortable about homosexuality and don’t like it, TCM is not serving its customers well in giving such a terribly biased presentation of the issue.
On a happier note: Sunday nights this summer, TCM is going to be doing something very good, however. On the Funday Night Movies series, Tom Kenny (voice of Spongebob Squarepants) introduces kids (and their parents) to classic films and explains what makes them so good. It premieres this Sunday, and sounds like a fine idea. The series premieres this Sunday night, and films to be shown include The Wizard of Oz (of course), Bringing Up Baby (great choice!), Sounder, and Abbott and Costello Meet Franknenstein.
We’ll see how long it takes for this series to become toxic and evil, but for now it’s a very good thing.
Drew: so, homosexuals were prominent in Hollywood “from day one” and share the credit for the great films of the past, but they were “screened out” of influence in Hollywood during that time, as TCM asserts. Such incoherence is the hallmark of argumentation driven by a political agenda, not facts, as I noted in this article written six years ago. Times change, as they certainly have in the past six years, but logic does not.
This is idiotic, certainly draconian. “Given that most people are highly uncomfortable about homosexuality and don’t like it, TCM is not serving its customers well in giving such a terribly biased presentation of the issue.”
It’s not 1954! The only people who “don’t like it” are latent homosexuals, and the women who love them!
Further, it has nothing to do with bias. It does have to do with fact, however. Everyone has a voice. Homosexuality (and therefore homosexuals) are fundamental to and indivisible from motion pictures. They were there from day one, and they are responsible (along with heterosexuals) for the great entertainment we have experienced for over a century with the motion picture industry.
I figured Osborne is gay . TCM gives way too much time and space to Homosexual themed films .
Thanks for your commment, Dashford. However, you are incorrect to suggest that I am judging only by watching Osborne on television. He is in fact openly homosexual. Ask him.
The issue of Osborne’s proclivities, moreover, is just a sideshow to the main point, which is the unnecessary politicization of a TV channel.
Karnick isn’t an idiot, he’s a genius. Why, he can tell whether someone is “pretty evidently homosexual” just by watching them on TV. Only the truly perceptive possess such powers.
you’re an idiot.
Dear Mr. Karnick:
As you and I have already determined, “homophobia” is a pejorative term meant to stigmatize people who resist the gay agenda. That TCM would employ it in its adverts seems to indicate a corporate commitment to it, and/or–as seems likely–a corporate willingness to exploit it for gain–also just as likely, given “Hollywood’s” relentless ballyhoo of anything that will turn a profit.
If the gay agenda has indeed become a factor in corporate asset allocation decisions, a multitude of mischief could ensue; the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah doubtless had their own primitive analogue of TCM promoting values-free entertainment, with the local economies more and more supporting the deviant lifestyle of a minority of inhabitants as normative. Commerce without ethics or morality seems to lead inevitably to corruption, degeneration, and dissolution (e.g., the illegal “immigration” issue).
I don’t know how much, if any, input Ted Turner has into the programming content on TCM, but given his past anti-Christian comments it wouldn’t be surprising if he lends a sympathetic ear to the gay agenda and embarks on a systematic campaign to enlist support for it–after all, this is the guy who gave a billion bucks to the United Nations, so a few million devoted to the homosexual cause wouldn’t incommode him very much.
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