By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
If you don’t want the entertainment industry to go the way of athletic shoes and other offshore-manufactured products, then you’ll do what you can to speak out on our behalf and support our progressive efforts — unless you like the idea of seeing movies made by virtual slave laborers overseas, which, considering our current trade relations with China, is actually becoming a possibility. Are you planning on seeing a movie that qualifies as a "runaway production"? Try this tactic: Buy a ticket for a U.S.-shot film (or a foreign film) showing at roughly the same time at the same theater, and sneak into the runaway instead. I feel absolutely no guilt about this tactic. The theater still gets its ticket money, and a more deserving film gets the credit for my purchase. This is better than an outright boycott, since you get to have your cake while the production company "eats it." (The only cases where this tactic won’t work are in a single-screen theater, which is a rarity these days, or for a blockbuster’s opening week, when the ushers actually check your stub.)
And while you’re at it, how about tackling the television version of runaway production? Start with Showtime, which makes the overwhelming majority of its original material in Canada. Drop them from your cable or satellite (if you have either), and/or write or call Showtime to say you won’t use their service because of this issue. Tell the respective networks carrying the following shows that you resent Dark Angel, Smallville, Witchblade and Andromeda being shot in Canada with largely U.S. funds.—John Hays
THEM IS US
Re: Marc B. Haefele’s "A Platter of Prejudice" [August 2–8]. I read your delightfully cranky piece on immigration. It sounds like Mr. R attended many American Independent Party meetings pre–Arthur Bremer with Paul Ehrlich’s book The Population Bomb in his hip pocket. I love arguments that fling statistics back and forth; it never convinces anybody, but it gives an aroma of truth to both positions. It seems to be true that we use statistics to argue when we don’t want a problem solved but do want an argument that can polarize people and energize political bases. Abortion, gun control, welfare reform and drug enforcement are classic examples of how the ground is plowed over and over again with the same stale arguments until people demonize their opponents and reach for their checkbooks to fund whichever party supports their superstitious, irrelevant and/or un-researched point of view.
From your arrangement of vowels in your name, I take it your pedigree on our shores is as brief as Ricci, Lopez et al. I don’t mean the assumption as an insult, but I think it underlines what I believe, that one’s attitude toward immigration depends on which side of the border one is standing on. The border in question isn’t a political border but an economic one. A fabulously well-paid scribe like you probably avails himself of the low-paid skilled labor by our most recent arrivals doing gardening, or dry-walling, or perhaps minding the kids. You may be a habitué of the colorful haunts of our Zolaesque underclass; you may even count advocates for their terrible condition as friends.
If my comic version of you is correct, you are entrepreneurial, intelligentsia and capitalistic by inclination — bourgeoisie despite your pay rate. I doubt if you have any friends in the construction trades who have to compete with the exploited underclass and see their property taxes going to provide a health-and-safety net (such as it is) for unwelcome, uninvited visitors. They are proletarians and rely on others’ capital to provide their crust; their only asset is their time, which they spend working. The immigrant makes them spend more time for less pay; meanwhile, he’sa victim of immigration. Poverty and powerlessness breed crime, which is endemic to the immigrant class, and your victim of immigration sees his personal safety eroded by, again, unwelcome guests. Think not? Rackets were originally extortion vehicles for Irish hoods of the Five Points. The word then described the organized Jewish and Italian mobs of the first decades of this century; now it applies to the Cosa Nostra or anywhere else the RICO statute is applied. New and exotic crime has always been the special purview of the immigrant; Mexicans, Russians and Jamaicans all have their Mafiosi. Whatever their names, the victim sees a class of people that threatens him, and he gets angry. There is truth on both sides of the line, although I doubt we are hearing it from the L.A. Times.
The U.S. has an ancient tradition of despising immigrants, with good reason. Immigrants stress the existing system, which eventually crumbles and is replaced by something newer; whether it’s better is something you have to decide yourself. The Indians — excuse me, Native Americans — still despise the whites for upsetting their apple cart. The Irish were virtual slaves until the Civil War ,employed to dig the Erie Canal because New York didn’t allow slavery, and Irish Catholicism was viewed with suspicion for years afterward. One of the reasons Mexico exists is because, although the South coveted the rest of the frontier for division into slave states, they didn’t want an influx of that many Catholics, so the American Army withdrew to the Rio Grande and we left Mexico to the Mexicans.