the New Prometheans

AT A PRESS CONFERENCE following the $6.1 billion sale of MCA, whose subsidiaries include Universal Studios and the Yosemite Park and Curry Company, to Matsushita Electric Industrial, Matsushita president Akio Tanii was asked by an American reporter what Tanii would do if Universal wanted to make a Japan-bashing film. Tanii, perhaps taken aback, responded, “Something like that shouldn’t emerge. Filmmakers must create films that are inspirational. . . . ”

This set off alarm bells in Hollywood. Censorship! Positive-think! (All things the studios would never deem to practice on themselves.) The president of the western division of the Writers Guild of America, George Kirgo, said, “What does that mean, ‘inspirational’? To be told that there are going to be restrictions for writers is appalling.” The reporter’s question could of course have been put differently: What if Universal wants to make

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