Neil Rogers has his childhood radio hero Joey Reynolds as a guest, along with his sidekick Bill Marshall for a trip down memory lane. Russ Oasis calls in. A Dave Graveline spy report, and Johnny Dark hangs around for lunch from Wayne Arnold. The 1-2 hour is Joey free.
Neil Rogers has a guest, and turns down another one today on WIOD. Sometimes I feel….Bill Calder on the radio for a short show due to Canes game at noon. Bill is feeling better and lets us know that WQAM is taping this show, King Paul took Bill to a small breakfast, and that Bill used to work with Joey Reynolds a long time ago in Houston. Plus the cast of Bill’s regulars and Gilbert. Now with 10 bonus minutes.
Miami Herald May 3, 1990
Author/Byline: Bill Cosford Herald Movie Critic
Section: Living Today
Moral crusaders, mount up! It’s time to ride again with John B. Thompson, defender of all holy and scourge of the dysfunctional. The target this time: “filth” in films.
Jack Thompson has been best known to date for his campaigns to curb the tongue of rascally radio talk-show host Neil Rogers and to ride the rap group 2 Live Crew out of town. But lust never sleeps, as Thompson well knows, and his latest target is the Film Society of Miami, which Friday night will show the latest film from the celebrated Spanish director Pedro Almodovar as a fundraising event.
Almodovar, the latest darling of the film-biz media, subject of a respectful profile in The New York Times Magazine just last month and an Oscar nominee for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, agreed to bypass New York and Los Angeles and attend the premiere benefit of Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! in Miami — where he was first introduced to American audiences during the Miami film Festival six years ago. And so the principals of the film society thought they had scored a coup with this adult, satiric look at a battle of the sexes.(Tickets to the fundraiser, 8 p.m. Friday at Miami Beach’s Lincoln Theater and open to the public, cost $20.)
But they had not reckoned with Thompson. Here on the film beat, we hadn’t reckoned with him, either — figuring, as we are wont to do in the face of nags, summer squalls and one-man moral crusades, that if we just ignored him he would go away. But when Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! received an “X” rating from the ratings board of the Motion Picture Association of America, Thompson swung into action.
He alerted local media and state arts officials that the film society, which has earned an international reputation for good taste, was using state arts funds to show “pornography.”
Of course, the film society has never trafficked in pornography, as Thompson, had he done his homework, would know. This time, however, it wasn’t so much morality that was at issue, but facts. And Thompson, whose hectoring increasingly catches the ear of state officials who should know better, got them wrong.
He began April 26 by distributing, largely by fax apparently, to “assignment desk — local, regional and national media” a warning that the premiere of Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! — which he called a “gala evening of pornography” — was “funded by the city of Miami, Metro-Dade government and the state of Florida.” A lengthy list of respected arts supporters credited on the invitation to the premiere included A.J. Barranco, Alfredo Duran Jr., Rosario Kennedy, Sergio Marti and Sheldon Palley. Not exactly porn czars.
The first problem with Thompson’s alarm: The state and local funds at issue are used to stage only the annual Miami Film Festival — not for special events.
So within a few hours of that first bulletin, Thompson had to issue a correction.
“There is now an indication . . . that taxpayer dollars,” Thompson faxed, “are not being spent directly for the May 4 showing of the above X-rated movie.”
His second letter asked the hot question: “Doesn’t a society that takes public monies owe it to the public to offer something that is not so filthy that minors cannot attend without violating the law?”
And the next day, Thompson wrote to Rep. Joe Arnall, R- Atlantic Beach, observing that it is “violative of Florida’s own grant regulations to dispense public funds for ‘art’ that cannot be seen by the entire populace.
“Obviously,” he went on, “an X-rated movie cannot be seen by anyone under 17. . . . ”
But an X rating is not a legal instrument; it is a voluntary label from an industry lobbying group. The rating alone carries no force of law whatsoever. An X rating alone doesn’t necessarily mean a film is obscene, pornographic, or “harmful to minors” — even if there is nudity and/or sex in it.
An “X” has never meant “pornography.” Makers of hard-core sex films, the kind you may legally rent at your neighborhood video store, do not submit their films for MPAA ratings as mainstream filmmakers do voluntarily. Why would they? A simple “X” — the rating given to Midnight Cowboy, A Clockwork Orange and Last Tango in Paris, all Oscar nominees — does not draw the hard-core audience. Even the consumers of “filth” know that an MPAA “X” doesn’t mean porn.
Thompson next wrote fellow lawyer Tom Spencer, co-chairman of the film society, promising to “review” the films offered at last February’s festival “as to content.” Sure enough, he found an offender — Peter Greenaway’s still-controversial The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, also once rated “X” and released without a rating.
Thompson’s next letter to Rep. Arnall, April 28, concluded: “Please strip the Film Society of Miami of its state funding.”
Thompson enclosed a copy of a review by The Herald’s Christine Dolen with the headline “Cook” is just disgusting.
Thompson wrote, “The philistines in our community, posing as literati, can produce other reviews, no doubt, proclaiming what great ‘art’ dog vomit and dog excrement are.”
Probably not. Even on the movie beat, we draw the line. But though Dolen’s view was by no means unique to her, there was this dissent in The New York Times review of The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover: “So aesthetically brilliant that it expands the boundaries of film itself.”
That’s the notoriously porn-happy New York Times, of course, not the newspaper so stodgy it’s known in the trade as the “good, gray Times.”
Just who are the “philistines?” According to my big Random House dictionary, they’re those “looked down upon as lacking in, or being hostile or smugly indifferent to, culture, aesthetic refinement, etc.”
Thompson can’t even get his buzzwords right. Speaking for the effete, the elite and the pseudo-intellectual, which is what Thompson really means, I can tell you this: I may not know a philistine, but I can tell a ya-hoo when I hear one. And I hear the howl.
Copyright (c) 1990 The Miami Herald
Neil Rogers is visited by Stan Major today on WIOD. Stan’s misfits call in about Milky Way Dark, Knots Landing, and more. Some Neil regulars call in like “Lester Greeen Shirt”. Marvin is sick again, and Rick N Suds still don’t have a contract, but that does not stop Rick from stealing Uncle Neil’s carts. Celebrities call in like Blowfly and Rick Sanchez, and a note from Dick Purtan.