"A chill wind is blowing in this nation," actor Tim Robbins told the National Press Club. "A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio and Clear Channel and Cooperstown. If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications." But Robbins, who was uninvited to the Baseball Hall of Fame in retaliation for his anti-war views, is optimistic. "It doesn't take much to shift the tide," he said.
Arts / Culture
The movie musical "Chicago" may be in line for the Best Picture award at this year's Oscars, but it gets a "Thumbs Down" Hackademy Award from the American Lung Association (ALA) for its numerous scenes involving cigarette or cigar smoking. Two of the main stars of the movie smoke regularly throughout the film. Catherine Zeta-Jones smokes even while dancing, even though very few women actually smoked during the period when the movie was set.
Ruth Ozeki's second novel, All Over Creation, is praised today in separate reviews in both the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. Her first novel, My Year of Meats, skewered the beef industry's PR efforts to promote its product in Japan and examined the health hazards of growth hormones. This time Ozeki again looks at food and PR, specifically the the genetic engineering of potatoes.
The conservative organization Citizens United has teamed with Fred Thompson, the former U.S. Senator turned actor on NBC's "Law and Order," to produce and air a TV commercial supporting war on Iraq. Citizens United president David Bossie says his ad is necessary to "combat the left-wing propaganda" he says has come from such stars as Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon and Janeane Garofalo.
"The White House recently cancelled its symposium, Poetry and the American Voice, due to the first lady's anxiety that it was shaping into an anti-war forum," Rebecca Okrent writes for TomPaine.com. "Spokesperson Noelia Rodriguez explained that, 'While Mrs.
A reproduction of the "Guernica" work by Pablo Picasso, which depicts the horrors of war, has been covered with a curtain at the United Nations because it is apparently an "inappropriate" backdrop for discussions of the pending war with Iraq: "A diplomat stated that it would not be an appropriate background if the a
The industry trade publication PR Week has a few kind words to say about Nick Naylor, the fictional PR man who figures as the protagonist in Christopher Buckley's hilarious book, Thank You for Smoking. "He can stun a Clean Lungs conference into silence with a few words about the First Amendment rights of the poor, embattled tobacco companies.
"The Bush administration has recruited prominent American
writers ... in a campaign started after
9/11 to use culture to further American diplomatic
interests. ... The Smith-Mundt Act ... bars the domestic dissemination of official American
information aimed at foreign audiences. The
essays can, however, be read on a government Web site
Last year PR Watch noted that since 9/11 Hollywood is working with the White House on US global propaganda efforts. Apparently some in Hollywood see film censorship as part of their patriotic duty. The New York Times reported this October that "a cataclysmic event can change the fate of a movie. One example is The Quiet American, the ... adaptation of Graham Greene's 1955 novel. ... Miramax executives worried ... [it] ...could be seen as a searing critique of United States imperialism.
"The Clash's 'London Calling, with its lyrical images of
nuclear winter, looming ice age and engine failure, might
seem a particularly annoying musical choice for selling an
elite brand of cars. But for Jaguar, the 1979 song was the
perfect accompaniment to the television commercials for its