Wednesday, May 18, 2005



If you want to see the new Jane Fonda movie, Monster-in-law, in Elizabethtown, KY… well, you can’t. The theater’s owner, Ike Boutwell, served in the military in Vietnam, and wants nothing to do with displaying anything featuring Jane Fonda.

The Yahoo! news story I just read about it describes Boutwell as "banning" the film, but that’s just another media error, just like any other time the cry of censorship is raised when a private enterprise makes a decision about how it would like to do business.

If it’s his theater, Boutwell can decide whatever he wants to show at it. Frankly, if I had a theater and could choose what to feature, I’m not sure Monster-in-law would be high on my list, either. (Of course, given the quality and originality of the fare available from Hollywood, I’d probably have a dark theater four days a week.)

Fonda is now reaping what she sowed, which is also fair. I won’t pay to see any film directed by John Landis ever since his negligence wound up killing Vic Morrow and two child actors, Renee Chen and Myca Dinh Le. (Yes, I know he was acquitted, but it’s also been demonstrated that movie production is more dangerous than mining, at least according to OSHA. Landis was responsible for what happened on his set.) But I would not pretend that the government has the right or responsibility to keep Landis from earning a living. (Nor would I want to be an actor or a crew member on one of his productions.)

That could bring me to the latest Bush Administration stupidity, which is its interference in the running of National Public Radio. NPR is being watched for signs of bias especially with regard to the Middle East, and there’s probably nothing that would make the Bushies happier than being able to alter the editorial judgment of NPR (or, failing that, using those editorial decisions as the basis for pulling funding).

But I’m talking about Jane Fonda and this guy in Kentucky. I say good for him. Neither Jane Fonda nor Jennifer Lopez need his money, he’s managed to garner some publicity, and, I’d wager, some goodwill in a town near Fort Knox. What I’d next like to see is him volunteering to put a Ten Commandments statue and a Christmas creche at his theater, so we know where to go to see them in Elizabethtown, KY and we won’t have to worry about using government funds to install such displays on government property there.

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