SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



PBS' biased, inaccurate portrayal of people and events
By Iliya Pavlovich


January 03, 2006

Art washes from the soul the dust of every day life.
Pablo Picasso

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Edgar Degas

Looking is a gift, but seeing is a power.
Jeff Berner

To see we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at.
Claude Monet

Remember, the work of art lives in the experience, the journey within the process, not in the resulting monument to be presented in a certified art-place.
Eric Booth

It is terrifying to think of what a commodity art has become.
Audrey Flack

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.

Art teaches nothing except the significance of life.
Henry Miller

Great art picks up where Nature ends.
Marc Chagall

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Albert Einstein

Art is never finished, only abandoned.

Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.

Even the broadest and most whimsical view on art can not encompass the work of the film director John Waters into any art-form. Motion pictures are often called the seventh art but in the case of Mr. Waters this is as diluted as water can possibly be. Let's consult the classics here for a moment.

Based on the types of studies that were pursued in the Classical world, the Seven Liberal Arts became codified in late antiquity by such writers as Varro and Martianus Capella. In medieval times, the Seven Liberal Arts offered a canonical way of depicting the realms of higher learning.

The Liberal Arts were divided into the Trivium ("the three roads") and the Quadrivium ("the four roads").

The Trivium consisted of:


The Quadrivium consisted of:

Arithmetic -- Number in itself
Geometry -- Number in space
Music, Harmonics, or Tuning Theory -- Number in time
Astronomy or Cosmology -- Number in space and time

In explaining and commenting on Mr. Water's work his, Mr. Waters, and some of his stars were all very generous to state how this was the work of monumental importance, simply because it was largely non-conventional and avant-garde in the sense that there were many repulsive, obscure, perverted, uncommon, weird even deviant events and characters. His view was that these events and characters existed in real life, and he was inspired by the dreary surrounding of his hometown Baltimore, MD. and the typical puritanical lifestyle of an average family. Poor consolation if you're in the business of arts.

If anybody were to follow that logic and equally make motion pictures we would have a film where there is nothing but a stack of phone-books being leafed through for the full two-hours. That too is an event from a real life.

Yet another event that is quite frequent, but not commonly explored would be to mount a film camera in a cat s litter-box. That way we can have a two hour film of various cats using the litter-box. That too is rather unconventional, uncommon and not too widely accepted by the public at large.

Mr. Waters is not that much of a mystery. His films have a certain homo-erotic, gender-bender signature that could be understood.

It is the PBS television producers and programming people who are to blame for this brainless program.

In presenting the work of Mr. Waters, there was not one dissenting voice. This is quite contrary to my experience while I was a member of AFI (American Film Institute), were screenings of John Waters, and/or Abel Ferrara films were routinely accompanied with disdain, walk-outs, sharp criticism. But, not so with the PBS programming team. Watching this program seemed exactly like a well paid infomercial, where there is not one single criticism in spite of the fact that the topic is the work of a person who has been criticized, even ridiculed. The praising team included notable members of the modern American gay community like Michael Musto from the Village Voice (a NYC paper). There was a weak attempt to tie John Waters to the Stonewall riots in Greenwich village, NYC, where gay bars and clubs were being raided and closed. In the ensuing years the gay population was more aggressive and started coming out (another euphemism, meaning the gays were announcing publicly their sexual orientation). For my money, I don't really desire or wish to learn about anybody's sexual activities or preferences. To each his own. There is no need to do drum-beating on a public square, announcing that a person is heterosexual, so why make such a big deal of a gay announcing that s/he is gay? It is just one more of the sociological phenomena that has plagued the American society.

As far as PBS goes, it is not the first time that they chose to air some type of an infomercial or another. Having the common knowledge that PBS is a non-profit organization, that their programming is most often, in some fashion focused on the arts, science or education - we are caught off-guard when such highly biased, inaccurate and slanted portrayals are given.

Within the last few months they had another program within their "Targeted" series. It was called Arkan, the baby-faced killer . Arkan was a Serbian paramilitary leader who employed his privately organized army to fight to protect Serbian minorities among the Muslim pockets of Bosnia and Kosovo.

If we determine that there was an on-going war, it is fairly easy to deduce that there were killings and atrocities. The views on Arkan were provided by:

a) his Muslim victims (who just prior to becoming victims, victimized large numbers of Serbian minorities in their communities)
b) Richard Hallbrooke (a known Clintonite Janus who frequantly dined with the KLA terrorist, which were later established to have had close ties with Osama Ben Ladin)
c) Kosovar Albanians who enjoy the 90% majority in the province of Kosovo, in spite of the historical fact that Kosovo is to Serbians what Jerusalem is to Jews. Kosovo just happens to be the birthplace of Serbian civilization and culture. Kosovo is the home of the Studenica monastery built in 1181, with priceless relics from the Serbian history and adherence to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. During the 14th century Raska (town in Kosovo) was the seat of Tsar Stefan Uro IV Du an Silni. At that time Serbia was Europe s largest empire consisting of today s Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and parts of Northern Turkey (1345 to 1355)

Key points here are neither the historical facts which are not in dispute, but the PBS's choice of a biased, inaccurate portrayal of people and events with the grossest disregard for accuracy and fairness. Even the worst of tabloid publications will try a semblance of objectivity presenting opposing views. No such luck with PBS. I will have to think twice before I send any more money to their whining endless programming fund-raisers.

Iliya Pavlovich PhD
Boca Raton, FL - USA


About: Sociology PhD, frequent commentator at Baltimore Independent Media Center.



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Write a Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska