Boycott Hollywood!

Photo by Carlos Morales from LA Streetsblog

In a story that made international headlines last month the film industry voiced its disfavor with a bright green bike lane the City of Los Angeles painted downtown. Hollywood’s complaint? An editorial in the LA Times claims that “the green lane spoiled the shots that made Spring [Street] the perfect stand-in for Anytown, USA.” To add insult to injury, film production vehicles regularly block bike lanes all over the city, without film companies getting the proper permits to do so.

It got me wondering what, exactly, do we need film companies for? Do we need the advertising they produce? Do we need violent movies and TV shows? Do we need their opposition, through legislation like SOPA and ACTA, to internet technology? I appreciate that many of my friends and neighbors work hard in this industry and derive their livelihood from it. But maybe, as media theorist Daniel Rushkoff would say, it’s time for a break during which time we could rethink our relationship with mass media and its impact on our lives.

To that end I thought I would try an experiment and give up the products of the film industry for 100 days and use the spare time to study the classics and work in the garden. Maybe I’ll finally get around to making some of my own how-to videos and podcasts and distribute them on that big bad internet  the film industry is so afraid of.

Is anyone else up for joining me in forgoing Hollywood’s products for 100 days? Are you already on a media diet? Are you producing a new blog or podcast? Tell me your story in the comments:

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32 Comments

  1. This would not be difficult for me to do. My television watching already consists mostly of public stations, and I listen to independent podcasts and read for the rest of my media consumption. It will be interesting to see how difficult it is to avoid the rest. I think the hardest thing is going to be drawing the line between what is “Hollywood” and what is not.

  2. Actually, we’re supposedly in the middle of “Black March”, Anonymous’ month-long boycott of all media companies. I’m not sure if it’s really taken off enough to have an effect.

    I’ve been on a media diet for some time, simply because most of what Hollywood produces is predictable and boring. Murder, mayhem, violence, lawyers, cops and gruesome autopsy shows. For variety, “reality” shows that are anything but. I haven’t gotten rid of my TV but I’m now down to the most basic cable package and thinking about dumping that.

    There are decent shows on TV, but they’re few and far between and hard to find on a consistent basis amid the dreck. When I was a kid, TV shows came on reliably every week, same time, same day, same channel. Now they move them so much (trying to find an audience) I give up in frustration.

    The last movie I saw in a theater was the 3rd Indiana Jones installment. Expensive tickets, sticky floors, overpriced popcorn with “golden flavoring” (whatever the heck that is) in a warehouse style theater in a mall. Ugh.

    My media diet isn’t 100% but they sure don’t make much off me. I guess you could call me indifferent to Hollywood’s drivel.

  3. I find myself feeling more disconnected from mainstream media (Hollywood) productions over the last few years. Most of my movie consumption has been documentaries and Indie flicks, not out of some high-brow snottiness, but a relevance to my life. I’d much rather watch “The Revenge of the Electric Car” or “Dive” (about dumpster diving) than “Project X” or “John Carter”. I distinctly recall the first time I saw the trailers for these Hollywood productions(Project X and John Carter) and being unable to figure out if they were genuine or a joke. You can label me as already on a loose media diet and willing to join you for a stricter media fast.

  4. That sounds like a fantastic idea, I see media all over it is kinda creepy that people now have monitors they can walk around with, so now even when your walking you can still be watching what the media wants you to see. Modern media has thousands of ways to waste time without learning or accomplishing anything, I heard some one say that the more tech we have the lower our productivity gets, and I’m sure we have reached the point of diminishing returns with our media tech. I’m glad they can’t beam signals into our heads…. yet.

  5. Seven months ago, I discontinued our cable subscription. My husband & I were not sure we were ready for it, but we knew we could always sign up again. In our rural area, we can’t get any tv signal without a converter box (we still have an old tube tv) and a very strong antennae. It took about a week to get used to it and change our nightly habit of zoning out in front of the tv. We started reading, talking more, started having regular game-night (cards & board games) at a neighbors, picked up new hobbies, cooked at home even more and spent more time exercising together. We are a better couple and have a stronger marriage because of not having a tv. We can’t imagine ever going back to watching tv. We don’t miss it one bit!

  6. They can edit out the lane in post. What makes it even easier is that it’s a bright green. Hollywood will get over it, bunch of crybabies. ;P

  7. I am joining in with your boycott but I am also going to boycott major label music as well. I am a musician so this is a lot like Lent for me! Oh well, I’ll just make up my own entertainment. The garden, which I quadrupled this year by tearing out my entire front yard and about a third of my back yard, will be enough extra amusement.

    I do not watch any TV except when my boyfriend comes over. I hate TV.

  8. Isn’t that green the same color as a “green screen” which is used to film shots that will have the green replaced by a computer generated picture…meaning that color green could easily be edited out of any film shot and replaced with CGI asphalt? I mean.. I could do that in paint.net with my paltry photo editing skills. What does the film industry have their knickers in such a twist about it anyway?

  9. Great idea for a boycott. While we have TVs we rarely watch them. If anything it is to watch a documentary we hear about. (there is a new one called “Thrive” which was interesting)

    We are in a different time now. Freedoms are being fought for on a daily basis and we can either choose to sit back on the couch watching Dr. Phil or be an active participant in our own lives. Who has time for TV anyways? OK, if someone gave me a Bonanza or Little House DVD set I might watch a few episodes :)

    My dad has always been a cable or dish subscriber. 300+ channels and he would only watch one or two. Rates always went up no matter what. He cancelled about 6 months ago and could not be happier. It has forced him to get out and exercise, to find other hobbies, to “do”.

  10. Boycotting Hollywood would be a piece of cake for me. Last movie I watched was fascinating in a do-people-really -pay-money -to -see-this- kind of way and enlightening about what is called entertainment. I don’t have a working TV. I can skip the shows I watch on the computer for 100 days.
    Working the garden would mean shovelling snow right now and as for reading classics does “That ain’t Normal, Folks” count?

  11. I am one of those out here in Los Angeles that works in TV. I work with a lot of amazing people and a lot of scuzzy people. It’s an eclectic group of people to say the least, but I have to admit, I love it. The complaints about the green street are ridiculous and obviously they should just deal with it and cut it in post. Or use another street. Or something. I am afraid Big Hollywood are my livelihood. But I bake bread to bring to work, the key grip brings honey from his bees and sometimes set dec gives me eggs. It takes all kinds.

  12. I find TV great for when I’m knitting – I haven’t learned the knack of managing lace patterns while reading yet. ;) But most of my knitting TV is Netflix fare. I’m currently finishing up Season 2 of “Cheers”. I do also watch a couple of current running TV shows, but not via cable or dish subscription – the last time we had that was when my kid was tiny and my sister insisted on paying for a subscription for us so he could have Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street, and we went without for at least 6 years before that. Now that he has his own computer, his educational TV is often available online at HIS discretion.

    Documentaries are harder. If it’s well narrated it’s good for knitting, but anything with subtitles or silent text cards is fail because I can’t look at both simultaneously. Action films are right out. Costume dramas are also often fail – I want to see all the pretties!

    I only see movies in theaters when someone else takes me out.

    So, really, any media boycott I started would make no actual change to Hollywood revenues. At most it would mean dropping what is technically my BF’s Netflix subscription.

    • TV is the absolute best for knitting!! I don’t fully understand why, but with something fairly interesting on the telly (PBS), I’m able to concentrate much better on the knitting, lace patterns included AND I still manage to keep up with the program.

      Now if they’d just let me knit during jury duty . . .

    • What is it about needle work and a good movie? I love to crochet and watch, well listen really, to a good PBS or KNOW program. I confess a weakness for well done Agatha Christie mysteries. My husband does not understand how I can do both :-D

  13. Joined that bandwagon a LONG time ago. There is a reason they call it the “boob tube”.

    “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” -Groucho Marx

  14. I’ll take you up on that, though it’s not really changing the lifestyle around to do so. The wife and I are on a “whatever we aurally or visually consume has to be educational and/or non-mainstream” kick, which has been great. Kind of like the Paul Wheaton approach – forget about that which is out of your control and focus on the important stuff. Hollywood is no different. The most revolutionary thing we could do as a country would be to collectively turn off the television set (or films), and stop buying their pointless swag. And give that money to some farmers already! The payoff is way better anyhow.

  15. Many of my friends make a living working as grunts in the industry in order to support their modest lifestyles- not that I find myself watching any of the shows they work on- but its a living so many people depend on here in LA. One friend worked on a reality show about a guy getting penis enlargement surgery. This gig supported her volunteer gardening habit teaching urban gardening to inner city children.
    So it goes…

  16. I have not paid for cable for going on six years now, or something close to that. Not paying for cable enabled me to save up my down payment on the house we have now. It also enabled us to start keeping chickens, work more in the garden, and follow more meaningful pursuits like drawing up our plans to build a tiny house in our backyard. Boycott Hollywood? I am already doing that in my own way.

  17. To the folks who work in the film industry I have a lot of respect for you. In my experience most are very nice and VERY hard working. Film industry folks know how to get things done quickly and efficiently. My hope is that, someday, an alternate film industry will develop and quality uplifting and educational work will get produced. I think we’re already beginning to see the beginnings of that. But there’s a long way to go. My boycott may stay in effect until we build that new media world.

  18. Haven’t had a TV for the last 15 years. Virtually never go to the movies unless I know it will be some kind of valuable. Got the idea from The Artist’s Way – she suggests going on a media fast for a few days to understand how much information we are force fed, how re respond to it, and how little choice we actually make about what we feed our minds and our environment. It takes a lot of energy to be in a room with the TV going and constantly screen it out. TV news and many movies feed us violence, and teach that violence is a ‘fact of life’, but that is only so if we allow it to be so. Also, constant input overwhelms the nervous system, putting us into ‘fight or flight’, and the more this happens the more our minds cling to something solid to keep us sane, (ie religious fundamentalism) and the less we are able to think creatively or entertain new ideas. I could go on and on, but will stop here. There’s a lot to think about in this.

    • You are so right. It’s already been proven that our brains do not know the difference between a real event and one that is imaginary. It is processed the same way.

  19. I’ve already been on a nearly 3 year-long boycott. But you got me thinking….. Perhaps living where you do you could push for a reality tv show about urban homesteading. I think that could have a real impact.

  20. Is “mainstream media” only bad now? I’m a young guy so certainly correct me on this but it seems like the reverence for “the classics” is contradictory to any boycott of Hollywood. In the future the movies we are boycotting now will be considered the classics, right? I definitely have my gripes with Hollywood but I find it almost delusional to think that other forms of media and art (books and paintings) are somehow superior.

    • Mainstream media has always been a mixed bag where quality is concerned. When the ‘classics’ were being produced there were may other books being written of much poorer quality. We generally do not read them today as ‘classics’. Not everything from the past is worthy of our consumption and not everything from the presesnt will be concidered ‘classic’ in the future.

      This is not about media forms as much as it is about media quality and quantity. Never before have we been so inundated with information/entertainment/sales pitches; sometimes inextricably combined. This seems to me to be a call to excercise our choices wisely; a call that has echoed throughout history. Ecc.12:12 “To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion [to them] is wearisome to the flesh.”

  21. Our kids are on a media starvation diet. I finally managed to break the TV while scrambling programming during a commando takeover. I couldn’t have planned it better myself.

    Personally, instead of vegging out I prefer to make perfumes with all the gorgeous aromatic plants that grow in our midst her in LA. I dream about them, read about them, write about them on my blogs (one for natural perfumery, one for skincare), gather them, tincture them, extract them in various and sundry ways, photograph them, communicate online with other fragrance enthusiasts . . . Speak to your plants. They’ll offer themselves up for this cause.

    ps. I know many Hollywood families who don’t have tv sets in their homes.

  22. i recently saw a movie i think justin timberlake was in it, but it was great in that they brutally made fun of hollywood for shooting scenes that were meant to be from NY in LA and how the scenes were obviously not in NY. i thought that those parts of the movie were good.

  23. With the switch to digital, there’s a lot of good stuff available over the air for free on the new “subchannels” like 28.2 and 50.4. Plus, if you still want to watch sports and news, the HD quality is better.

  24. I’ve not gone to see one movie at the theaters nor bought one book, DVD, CD, magazine or newspaper for all of March. I want to see Hunger Games and my daughter wants to see The Lorax, but we’re waiting until April 1st.

  25. Friends,

    I just created a petition: Hollywood executives in film and television: Level the playing field for all people of color and for women., because I care deeply about this very important issue.

    I’m trying to collect 100 signatures, and I could really use your help.

    To read more about what I’m trying to do and to sign my petition, click here:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/hollywood-executives-in-film-and-television-level-the-playing-field-for-all-people-of-color-and-for-women?share_id=puKkkoHLMF&pe=pce

    It’ll just take a minute!

    Once you’re done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!

    Izzy

  26. Hello. My name is Lisa. I gave up television in 2008. I was a travel nurse in Pennsylvania and got to know the Amish culture very well. While I have no allusions of living on a farm with no electricity, I did envy the simplicity of their lives and what seemed to be close family bonds. I was also looking for ways to save money, as I am a single girl on a budget. So, I did exactly what you are proposing. I went on a TV diet for a month. And you know what, I and have never looked back and have zero regrets. I read more, my work hours are more productive, I took up several hobbies, some of which include exercise, and lost 32 lbs. I also made a lot more money that year by moonlighting on the side as a consultant. Add in the $125 per month I saved in cable fees, and you can see why one month free of TV turned into four years of TV free living. I took that money I saved per month and invested it, which of course turned into another hobby. It’s funny to watch people’s reactions when I tell them what TV free living is like. I usually get everything from a blank state to total shock. There are so many ways that not watching TV will enhance your life. However, let me tell you what the real prize is. The brain fog that gets lifted enables you to instantly see the drivel and prpaganda that gets thrown at us day in and day out. When you don’t watch TV for a month two, and then you watch a news program or sitcom, you will be surprised at how much more quickly you will pick up on hidden political agendas in all broadcasting. You will also be a lot smarter than most of your friends. This is because not watching TV forces you to seek news from reliable sources. I could go on and on, and I probably have. In any case, thank you for your time and good luck on your journey.

  27. Been Boycotting Hollywood for 10+ years and have no intention
    to stop. It wasn’t difficult to do at all. Don’t miss it and could live without the garbage they put out on a yearly basis. It has been absolutely the best thing I did in my life.

    I will continue the boycott now and in the future. I don’t need or want it. I have no interest to watch their shows/movies. Great article !

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