Thursday, 20 November 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #193: Will Waxman Go Hollywood?

I don't normally talk about politics on this blog, but this is where politics, pop-culture, and the business behind pop-culture meet, sort of like an accident where two limos collide.

Nikki Finke thinks the studios should start to worry because Rep. Henry Waxman (D- California) has been named Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which oversees not only energy policy, but also the Federal Communications Commission and other elements of the entertainment business. The indefatigable Finke is pretty sure that Waxman will go after the studio bosses and their recent shenanigans over paying people what they owe them.

Now I've done a little cursory research on Rep. Waxman, and most consider him very partisan, aggressive, and, according to one Nikki Finke commenter who describes themself as a liberal Democrat, a "muckracker" who goes after "easy targets." My rough research seems to back up that description and it's also turned up some reasons for him to go after the Hollywood moguls.

1. Hollywood has made itself an easy target. As I described in a previous post Hollywood has been shooting itself in the foot over the years with its shoddy, inefficient, and sometimes borderline unethical business practises. Add the glamour of celebrities brought in to testify in Washington about how they've been screwed over, something the TV networks and news channels can't resist, even if they're corporate siblings of the studios being raked over the coals. It's a perfect storm of politics, publicity, and perfidy that very few people can resist, and I don't think Waxman can.

2. The people getting screwed are Waxman's constituents. Waxman's district covers all or parts of Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Malibu, West Hollywood, and other regions of the Greater Los Angeles Area. The moguls are wealthy, and no doubt major donors, but you must know, to a congressman, votes are what matter when it comes to keeping their job. With that in mind you must also know that there are very few moguls in relation to the vast numbers of people these same moguls screw over on a regular basis that live in his district. The moguls may have lots of money and status, but they can't deliver the votes.

Hollywood has dug this hole, and now they have to do something pretty dramatic to dig their way out of it, because if Waxman decides to go after them, even if only to feed his ego, because it's just the sort of thing to spark the interest of an ambitious prosecutor who thinks the path to high office lies at the end of a White Collar Perp-Walk Parade.

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