"kirby dick"

The Bleeding Edge: a terrifying, enraging look at the corrupt, deadly world of medical implants

Prior to 1976, the FDA did not regulate medical implants, and so shoddy and even deadly devices proliferated, inserted into Americans' body. Read the rest

Sincerest Form of Parody: the lost ecosystem of MAD-inspired gross-out comics

Today marks the publication of Fantagraphics' magnificent archaeological comicsology, The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD Inspired Satirical Comics. This volume collects the rare, nearly unheard-of parody comics that sprang up in the early 1950s to jump on the bandwagon that MAD magazine set in motion. Many of the same artists who made MAD such a success (Jack Davis, Will Elder, Norman Maurer, Carl Hubbell, William Overgard, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers, Bill Everett, Al Hartley, Ross Andru & Mike Esposito, Hy Fleischman, Jay Disbrow, Howard Nostrand, and Bob Powell) were represented in long-lost tiles like FLIP, WHACK, NUTS, CRAZY, WILD, RIOT, EH, UNSANE, BUGHOUSE, and GET LOST. Many of these are racier, grosser, and meaner than even MAD dared. There's also an engrossing appendix of annotations from editor John Benson, a MAD expert who wrote the additional text for the first run of MAD reprints.

I grew up on Cracked and Crazy, but these were late, late, latecomers to the MAD knockoff party, and never went as far as these lost titles.

The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD Inspired Satirical Comics Read the rest

OUTRAGE: documentary outs anti-gay politicians who are secretly gay

Documentary film-maker Kirby Dick ("This Film is Not Yet Rated") has just released his latest doc, "Outrage," about anti-gay politicians who are secretly gay. These are the twisted lawmakers who campaign against gay rights in public, but who are, in fact, gay (and who generally enjoy the rights they're publicly against, thanks to their power and privilege).

An official selection of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, OUTRAGE investigates the hidden lives of some of the country's most powerful policymakers - from now-retired Idaho Senator Larry Craig, to former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy - and examines how these and other politicians have inflicted damage on millions of Americans by opposing gay rights. Equally disturbing, the film explores the mainstream media's complicity in keeping those secrets, despite the growing efforts to "out" them by gay rights organizations and bloggers.

Through a combination of archival news footage and exclusive interviews with politicians and members of the media, OUTRAGE probes the psychology of a double lifestyle, the ethics of outing closeted politicians, and the double standards that the media upholds in its coverage of the sex lives of gay public figures. As Barney Frank, perhaps the best-known openly gay member of Congress explains, "There is a right to privacy, but not a right to hypocrisy. It is very important that the people who make the law be subject to the law."

"Outrage" premieres on HBO this week.


(Thanks, Kirby!)

Previously: Kirby Dick and This Film is Not Yet Rated, Thu in LA - Boing Boing This Film is Not Rated - must-see doc about MPAA ratings - Boing Boing MPAA rips off freeware author - Boing Boing MPAA: it's OK to copy movies if you keep them in a vault - Boing Boing Read the rest

Free legal representation for fair-use filmmakers

Documentary film-makers are often hobbled by copyright -- the insurers and studios won't let them release their movies until every single copyrighted component is licensed, no matter that they're clearly legal fair use. American University’s Center for Social Media released the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use tries to appress this by helping insurers and filmmakers understand what is, and isn't fair use.

Now, Stanford's Fair Use Project has announced that it will provide free legal services to films that follow the guidelines:

As reported just over a year ago, American University’s Center for Social Media released the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. This fantastic report outlines principles to guide filmmakers in the fair use of copyrighted material in their films. It was an important step towards helping to clarify this unruly area of the law.

Working with Media/Professional, and Michael Donaldson, the Fair Use Project has now found a way to insure films that follow the Best Practices guidelines. For films that are certified to have followed the Best Practices guidelines, Media/Professional will provide a special (read: much lower cost) policy; Stanford’s Fair Use Project will provide pro bono legal services to the film. If we can’t provide pro bono services, then Michael Donaldson’s firm will provide referrals to a number of media lawyers who will provide representation at a reduced rate. Either way, filmmakers will be able to rely upon “fair use” in the making of their film. The Fair Use Project and Donaldson will defend the filmmakers if their use is challenged.

Read the rest

MPAA rips off freeware author

The author of ForestBlog, a blogging tool, has discovered that the MPAA was using his code in violation of his license. He gives the code away for free, but requires that users link back to his site and keep his name on the software. The MPAA deleted all credits and copyright notices from his work, and used it without permission. They ripped him off:

Way back in October last year whilst going through the website referals list for another of my sites I stumbled across this link. That's right, my blogging software is being used by the MPAA (Motion picture Association of America); probably one of the most hated organisations known to the internet. Cool, I thought, until I had a look around and saw that all of the back links to my main site had been removed with nary a mention in the source code!

Now, as Patrick Robin (the software author) notes, this probably wasn't the outcome of a high-level board meeting wherein the executive committee decided to rip him off. It was more likely the work of a lazy Web person at the MPAA who was cutting corners at work.

But the MPAA believes that employers should be held responsible for employees' copyright infringements. They want you to know that if you download movies at work, your employer will also be named in the suit. Infringe as we say, not as we do.

This reminds me of Warner Music chief Edgar Bronfman, Jr's admission that his kids downloaded infringing music. Read the rest

Free This Film is Not Yet Rated screening in LA TONIGHT!

Reminder: tonight I'll introduce Kirby Dick and a screening of his movie, "This Film is Not Yet Rated" at the University of Southern California. The show is sponsored by the USC Free Culture club, and I can't wait.

"This Film..." was the best documentary I saw this year. It delves into the shadowy world of the MPAA's rating system and the way that it forms a nearly invisible but all-encompassing censorship regime that punishes indie filmmakers far more than the major studios, who run it. The censor board is set up like a star chamber, the members, criteria, and appeals process shrouded in secrecy (Dick punctures the veil by hiring a charming private eye to uncover and reveal the hidden identities of the censors). The MPAA ratings process has been called "Jack Valenti's other mistake" -- apart from seeking wildly expanded copyright, that is.

It's an honor to be introducing Mr Dick and his movie -- he's a brilliant film-maker with something to say and real courage of his convictions. I hope to see you there tonight.

Where: University of Southern California, Los Angeles: University Park Campus, George Lucas Instructional Building, 108

When: Thursday, November 30, 2006, 7:00pm to 9:00pm


Read the rest

Kirby Dick and This Film is Not Yet Rated, Thu in LA

This Thursday, I'll introduce director Kirby Dick and his movie "This Film is Not Yet Rated" at a free screening at USC. The screening is sponsored by the USC Free Culture club, a campus organization dedicated to promoting liberty, openness, and access to information.

Kirby Dick has graciously agreed to present the screening of his movie, which I reviewed in September. This Film is Not Yet Rated is the best documentary I've seen all year, the kind of thing that inspired outrage and sympathy. It tells the hidden story of the MPAA's rating board, and its systematic discrimination against sympathetic portrayals of gay sexuality and sex in general, and its tacit support for ultra-violence.

The ratings board is shrouded in secrecy, and exists, supposedly, to forestall Congressional censorship of the film industry (an eventuality as unlikely as it is unconstitutional). The board's membership is secret, as are the names of the appeals committee that is meant to watchdog the organizing. The whole, secretive mess was established by Jack Valenti in his capacity as head of the MPAA, and so it bends over backwards to help filmmakers from the major studios (while shafting indies).

Dick's documentary revolves around his efforts to unmask the identity of the secret censor board. He hires a private eye and sets her to work (the CSI elements of the film are really juicy -- it's fun to see how private eyes really work). Threaded around this are interviews with filmmakers who've had run-ins with the board, and, as a climax, Dick's own Orwellian adventures in submitting his documentary to the censor board whose identities he has uncovered. Read the rest

This Film is Not Rated - must-see doc about MPAA ratings

I just saw "This Film is Not Yet Rated" and boy, is it a fantastic piece of work. As you've no doubt heard, TFINYR is a documentary about the MPAA's censorious ratings system, whereby a secret group of "parents" meet to determine whether a given film is safe for kids to see. If they give a movie an NC-17 (no children under 17 admitted), it's a death-sentence: studios won't promote these movies (sometimes they don't even release them), most cinemas won't exhibit them, and Wal-Mart and Blockbuster won't carry them.

The MPAA's excuse for this is that it's an alternative to government censorship of films, but as director Kirby Dick shows, it's wildly implausible that such censorship would be found constitutional. The MPAA system treats independents as second-class citizens, issuing gnomic pronouncements about a film's suitability, while treating the big studios that own the MPAA with more solicitude, lavishing editorial suggestions on directors who've come under the thumb of the big six.

This Film is Not Yet Rated makes a compelling case for MPAA ratings system as a form of institutionalized, homophobic puritanism. The ratings board is quite relaxed about violence, especially extreme, gory violence, but takes a dim view of sex, and won't tolerate sex out of the missionary position, nor gay sex of any kind, nor any suggestion of women getting real pleasure out of sex. It's an eye-opening look at America's hidden values, where you can take your kids to see bad guys gunned down by James Bond, but not a lightweight teen-comedy about lesbian girls sent away to anti-gay brainwashing camp. Read the rest