Memo to my Hollywood friends

By Joe Eszterhas



Salon Staff
September 1, 2000 11:26PM (UTC)

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Is Eszterhas kidding? I consider myself a liberal, bleeding heart and all. However, his posturing about Lieberman's supposed threat to Hollywood creative freedom is rather pathetic. This from the person who brought us that great intellectual film, "Showgirls." To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen: You, Mr. Eszterhas, are no Hitchcock. Eszterhas just wants the freedom to make as much filth as he wants without anyone saying anything about it. I applaud Lieberman's stance.

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-- Ernest W. Walker

In previous years I might have been more sympathetic to Hollywood's cries that its free speech rights are threatened. Recent events, though, have revealed the film industry to be nothing more than a fair-weather friend to free speech. Jack Valenti and the MPAA have led a full-scale assault on the free speech rights of computer programmers and Web authors, as well as the fair use rights of consumers, in the course of their efforts to outlaw open source DVD playback software. This industry action, combined with Hollywood's efforts to strangle the public domain by ratcheting up the duration of copyright every few years, have convinced me that the film industry is perhaps the most powerful enemy of free speech in America today.

If Gore and Lieberman are elected, I will be quite pleased to allow Lieberman to continue to rail against the film industry. Maybe he's not condemning them for the same reasons that I am, but it's nice to hear them criticized nonetheless. If there are any attempts at overt censorship, I'll speak up then. Otherwise, I look forward to the possibility of an administration that doesn't owe so many favors to Hollywood. I'd feel safer that way.

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-- Mark Gordon

I agree with the author, but his argument is flawed. Violence is used in films because directors have the right to use it, period, not because they have a good moral issue to convey. What happens when you don't have a moral reason for the violence in the film -- is your right taken away? The beauty of this country is that Joe Lieberman has the right to get up at his political rallies and tell people how he feels about "bad Hollywood" and you have the right to use your column to tell everyone to be leery of "censor Lieberman." And if Gore and Lieberman win, that just means you have to work a little harder for the next four years.

-- Siobhan Murphy

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Hurray for Hollywood! I hope you succeed in getting your message across that sex and violence make for interesting movies, and make them realistic and reflective of our world. If Lieberman wants fairy tales, he can watch Disney movies.

-- Patricia Conrey

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