Thursday, February 11, 2010

Theft Actually

In searching for my favorite romantic movies to list for Valentine's Day, I came across this bit of film propaganda involving Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy.  While the idea of a Tobin tax is not new, I am disgusted at the full court press by celebrities in pushing this envy-driven socialist agenda. 
Is their involvement a symptom of their reckless morality, or is it because when times get tough, more people go to the movies as a means of escape and so their star power rises?  It makes me wonder: more than recession proof, is the entertainment industry recession fed? More on that another day perhaps.

The article which led me to this video states that a proposed %0.05 tax on all financial transactions would be a painless way for banks to compensate society for causing the global financial crisis
The campaign has already lived up to its outlaw image. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the question "Do you want to be part of the world's biggest bank job?" was projected onto the Bank of England. From tomorrow, campaigners will ask Facebook networkers to don green Robin Hood style facemasks as a show of support.
Beside encouraging mob rule, what the proponents of such a tax seem to willfully misunderstand is that, unlike taxation, bankers did not use force to get their money (the government used force to give them your money), banking and financial services is one of the most highly regulated industries (a large, if not the largest component in bank failures), and it is likely that any losses in revenue will be passed onto the financial services consumer.   
So how exactly will this gross expropriation and redistribution of funds, this legalized theft actually, help us avoid such a financial crisis in the future? How will it contribute to the long-term interest of anyone? How will it encourage appreciation for capitalism and the free market through which men have developed tremendous advances in technology and wealth?
This is unprincipled thinking whipped up by misplaced blame with a bit of nasty satisfaction from vigilante justice thrown in.
 [T]he economist James Tobin always thought a far higher tax would be needed to throw "sand in the wheels" of finance.

I may just have to remove Love Actually from my list of best romantic movies. 


Rachel said...

I hope that last sentence was hyperbole. Unfortunately, those ethics are ubiquitous in Hollywood and it would be a shame to stop enjoying a very nice piece of art like Love Actually just because its director and an actor are typical looters.

Or are you suggesting a movie boycott?

Lynne said...

Nah, I'm not suggesting a movie boycott. That wouldn't serve any purpose.

I do love Love Actually (Colin Firth AND Alan Rickman! Hello!?!) and still plan to include it in my list (to appear tomorrow). I was just dismayed to find this nasty business associated with it which could possibly color my future enjoyment of the movie.

I'll have to watch it again and report back.

Rachel said...

Perhaps I'm so jaded in that respect that I'm numb. I don't think there is an artist (actor, writer, producer, whatever) I've encountered, whose works I've enjoyed, who hasn't disappointed me. (No, not even Mr. Whedon.)

It's gotten to the point that I have to steel myself against future disillusionment by assuming the default: If you are associated with Hollywood, you are a suspicious character.

And then I just put out of my head any awareness that the cast and crew probably don't live up to their portrayed heroism and enjoy the show.

Lynne said...

I don't require knowing the morality of artists prior to deciding whether or not I like their art. Depending on the art form (e.g. books), there is sometimes no escaping it.

However, if an artist is going to use his star power to make a political stand, particularly if I think it contradicts his work, I'm going to make note of it and try to identify where he has gone wrong, or if I was wrong in appreciating his work.

Sometimes, as in the case of U2, it's near impossible to reconcile the joy gained from the art to the political stand of the artist, so I don't try. This may be one of those cases.

Mr. Whedon is another case entirely. I was pretty frustrated by the major errors he made in the last 40 seconds of a speech he gave last year, but otherwise, I mostly enjoy him and his work.

Rachel said...

What I meant is that I'd prefer not to know their philosophies, but that since I've not encountered any heroes in Hollywood I'm suspicious of new artists by default; thus my comment about being jaded to the point of numbness - and my further comment about putting it out of my head and simply enjoying their art. Sorry if I wasn't clear. I just meant that I hope your knowledge of these two clowns as people won't spoil their movie(s) for you.

As for Joss Whedon, I compare him to Rearden. But in his case, he has the benefit of Atlas Shrugged being available. I don't know the extent of Whedon's exposure to Rand's writings, but if Rearden knew what he knew at the end of the story and persisted in his errors, I would no longer regard him as a hero. And the same goes for Whedon. I remain at least cautious.

Lynne said...

I think I understood your point, Rachel, I just went off on a tangent of my own apparently.

But my point was that I won't make special efforts to put artists' philosophies out of my head, especially when they've decided to use their artistic abilities and fame in an attempt to put those ideas into my head.

Otherwise, I simply judge on what the artist has decided to showcase through his art.

Whether or not this news will affect my affection for Love Actually remains to be seen.

I don't expect anything out of Hollywood to approach the heroes from Atlas Shrugged.

Another, perhaps more fun tangent: Who would you cast as the leads in an Atlas Shrugged movie? (I wrote a post about this, but I don't think I ever published it.)

Rachel said...

Oh, golly! Ummm...

I've seen that meme go around and Im afraid I've never seriously considered it. Since you pose it to me directly, let me ponder for a bit.

In the meantime, let me leave off with this thought:

I prefer serials ever so much more than movies. Granted that it doesn't make sense to do AS as a serial, I would still insist that it be a lengthy mini-series (less than 6 hours and I'd be heart-broken).

Lynne said...

A meme you say? Now I feel so . . . common.

Rachel said...

If it helps, it's an Objectivist meme. ;)

Well, I can report that I've learned, today, that I'll never get a job as a casting director.

All I could come up with is Kristen Bell for Dagny. I've got nothing else.

I look forward to your post, though. :D