Good morning from Ft. Lauderdale!
1. Good question! Referring to yesterday’s post about an actor being excised from a film because he was revealed to be a registered sex offender, trenchant commenter Zanshin asks,
Is it possible to define something like the Ethics Alarms Distracting Actor Principle corresponding with the Ethics Alarms Naked Teacher Principle? The Ethics Alarms Naked Teacher Principle (NTP) states: A secondary school teacher or administrator (or other role model for children) who allows pictures of himself or herself to be widely publicized, as on the web, showing the teacher naked or engaging in sexually provocative poses, cannot complain when he or she is dismissed by the school as a result.
I suppose one could argue that anyone who has a criminal record of any substantive variety cannot complain about the lifetime consequences of his own action. I don’t think the principle, as Zanshin implies it would, should apply to a movie actor in a small part unrelated to the offense. Distracting to who, exactly? How many movie-goers are going to say, “I wanted to see the film, but I hear that the guy who plays “Third guard” is a registered sex offender, and I’m outraged.” The actor who created the distraction was the meddlesome bigot who complained to the studio.
The NTP exists because secondary school students should not have to cope with naked images of their teachers, as this may interfere with their respect and concentration. No such justification exists in the case discussed yesterday. I might well apply in a situation like that of Kevin Spacey, whose personal conduct might well constitute a tangible distraction from any film he appears in.
2. Academy Awards ethics. The foundering Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is now postponing the introduction of the the new award it had announced, which would recognize “outstanding achievement in popular film.” The award was immediately criticized for either being too vague or for relegating less serious films to the “kid’s table,” and creating a secondary award that would prevent a “popular film” from ever being named “Best Picture.” The word “best,” of course, is clear as a bell.
A film’s popularity with the public should be a substantial factor in determining what is “best,” and the proposed new category is a tacit admission that the “Best Picture” determination has been too often steered by politics, snobbery, and other hypocritical factors that are unrelated to what Hollywood is supposed to do: make good, creative, popular entertainment.
I have long advocated that instead of “Best Picture,” the ultimate Oscar should be recast as “Movie of the Year.” This would clarify the award considerably, and eliminate future grandstanding and virtue-signaling by the Academy.
Yikes! Gotta run…as Arnold says, “I’ll be back.”