It’s always fun to make fun of the MPAA, which, recently, has been trying to clean up its image with things like this bloodless interview with ratings board head Joan Graves, who doesn’t have much to say. (“I have two daughters, and they certainly let me know if they think we might have gotten a rating wrong.”)
The MPAA may, however, be on the way to becoming more credible, because they’ve appointed Bob Kerrey as their new chairman. And Kerrey is one fascinating guy.
Like his predecessors Jack Valenti and Dan Glickman, Kerrey is an experienced Democratic politician, having served as governor of and senator from Nebraska. But he’s the most substantive of the three, an administrative-minded outsider to the film industry, who’s used to being embattled, having spent the last nine years at odds with the faculty of New York’s New School, where he was president.
During Kerrey’s regime at New School, students occupied buildings and faculty effectively issued a vote of no-confidence — former professor Jim Miller said he’d done to the school “what Bush has done to America,” which is about the nastiest thing you can say in academia.
One thing Kerrey can bring to the job is a low tolerance for nonsense and a penchant for blunt honesty — he’s famous for calling Bill Clinton “an unusually good liar.” The MPAA is so mealy mouthed that it can be hard to tell what they’re offering; Kerrey is one of few people who’s apparently indifferent to public criticism and secure in himself that he could combat that. So fine MPAA: you win today — for now.
[Photos: Senator Bob Kerrey via Wikimedia Commons]