Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Nothing to fear but.


Yesterday was the inauguration concert for Barack Obama, which featured a lineup of legendary artists performing for about a half a million people. It also featured an invocation by openly gay bishop Gene Robinson, which seems to me to have been a nice counterpoint to the presence of Rev. Rick Warren at the inauguration itself.

However, for what seems to beĀ increasingly unclear reasons, Robinson’s invocation was not telecast on HBO, at either airing of the concert. For that matter, there were apparently “sound problems” that made it difficult for most of the people at the event to hear the invocation, either.

HBO says the decision was made by Obama’s transition team, but I’m sure there will be other responses going forward that will muddy the waters further.

I don’t enjoy my cynicism, and would love to believe that this really was just the unfortunate and unprofessional error of, I presume, career sound engineers working a massive concert yet somehow unable to properly amplify the words of one man. I’d like to believe HBO when they say that they were just following orders; since I can’t quite fathom the idea of HBO, a network that has for some time prided itself on airing some of the most unflinching fictional and documentary imagery to be found on any television station, suddenly getting squeamish about the measured rhetoric of one controversial individual. I have absolutely no desire to believe that Obama’s transition team made this decision collectively, and find it only slightly more palatable if this were the result of one shortsighted individual making a poor decision in the stress of the moment.

I watch HBO and buy their DVD box sets because they have never been afraid to take chances on airing material that might not find a large audience or resonate with the proper demographics–there was a philosophy, it seemed, that if one focuses on the quality of the product that the audiences and the awards, logically, would follow. I voted for Obama because I saw and heard in his biography and vision a man who could stare into the abyss of our impending economic catastrophe and continuing wars with bloodthirsty militants and not be afraid of the work that needed to be done.

So the idea that the staffs of either HBO or BHO could maybe still be afraid of protests and boycotts from the usual gangs of huffing, indignant hypocrites, wailing and moaning about the arrogance it takes to deny God’s truth while conveniently ignoring the arrogance it takes to believe you can actually speak for Him; the idea that such people are worthy of anything but scorn just because they may one day represent votes or buying power makes the bile rise in my throat.

I don’t yet know who is responsible for this absurdity but I know I don’t want to read about more such incidents further down the line.

My cynicism tells me that this desire is likely to end in my disappointment, but again, I don’t like to listen to my cynicism, even when it’s probably right.

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This entry was posted on January 19, 2009 by in History, Politics, Society, Television.
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