Yearly Archives: 2007

Leni Riefenstahl: Female Movie Mogul

Former United Artists’ chief Steven Bach spoke at the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities yesterday about his new book on the infamous Nazi propagandist filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl. When asked what most surprised him about Riefenstahl, Bach mentioned two things: first, that she really did dig Mein Kampf (she always… More

Faking It

Postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard, who passed away last month, must be chuckling in his grave. In a flattering LA Times profile this weekend, LA’s promising new chief planner Gail Goldberg waxes poetic about her experience in San Diego, where she helped spearhead the movement to reinvigorate San Diego’s downtown. After… More

Fans Don’t Lie

Successful music marketers have always found a way to harness the enthusiasm of music fans for promotional purposes. Whoever decided to make the first concert t-shirt was clearly a genius. Enter the age of Internet video and — voila! — music companies can tap fans instead of professional TV commercial… More

‘300’ Reasons to Hate America

The Iranian government isn’t happy about the depiction of their ancient Persian ancestors in the blood-drenched American film ‘300.’ Neither is a group of Iranian filmmakers, who have protested to UNESCO. The knock is that the Persian ruler Xerxes is depicted as a decadent, freakish, 8-foot piercing queen, and that… More

Think Pink

It’s not surprising that R.J. Reynolds is introducing “Camel No. 9,” a cigarette aimed at women. After all, Reynolds’ job is getting people to smoke, and based on the statistics — smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, and lung cancer among women (as a New York Times editorial… More

The Elevator Pitch

The elevators in the Beverly Hills building where the Lear Center’s world headquarters is located are fitted with little screens provided by the Captivate Nework, where driblets of news are accompanied by dollops of advertising. “Captivate” is a good word for describing what players in the attention economy, from entertainers… More

Dumbing Down Democracy

A premise behind a lot of what we do at the Lear Center is the idea that a well-educated, well-informed citizenry is good for democracy. This Jeffersonian concept — it used to be called a “liberal” ideal, before partisan warfare made that word a left-right term — is especially relevant… More

Knowing the Difference

Plato took a dim view of artists. They were, he said, illusionists, imitators who fooled people into thinking that what they saw was real. A trompe l’oeil painting of a bunch of grapes could deceive a bird, who would peck at it; even if a person realized that it was… More