The Motion Picture Association of America’s selection of Chris Dodd as its new head is a puzzling move.
Obviously, Dodd brings no industry expertise to the table, but this is immaterial. The job was shaped by the long tenure of Jack Valenti, LBJ’s political fixer par excellence, who functioned as the industry’s ambassador to Washington, using its wealth to influence the tribunes of the people and its glamor to seduce them.
Valenti’s successor was former Democratic Congressman and ex-Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, who decided a year ago that he wanted to spend more time on other interests, without waiting for the end of his contract. The stories at the time said the industry thought his anti-piracy efforts insufficient, but it is hard to know in what way, and he did last six years in the job.
Glickman’s unglamorous Kansas demeanor seems a more probable friction point, and Politico speculated that his reasonableness may have hurt him. Valenti was fiercely partisan and the industry liked that, and may have grown impatient with anything less. This explanation makes sense. Hollywood is a land of emotion and illusion, not logic and reality, and on the intellectual property and social issues at the top of its priority list, it is fiercely self-righteous and contemptuous of all dissent.
In this framework, Dodd makes sense, because he certainly fits the mold of being self-righteous, contemptuous, and devoted to emotion and illusion rather than logic and reality.
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