Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Writers Guild Office Boy 1971 (xxii)

About the only significant difference in opinion that emerged between Norris and me during our afternoon chat in her apartment in early 1971 was that she thought New York City’s Channel 13 non-commercial educational television station had a chance of providing a real political and cultural alternative to the early 1970s cultural wasteland, political censorship and patriarchal capitalist commercial propaganda of the ABC, CBS and NBC television networks in the 1970s. I, on the other hand, expressed strong doubts that the patriarchal U.S. corporate elite would ever allow hip left anti-war radicals like me, who then authentically reflected New Left counter-cultural values, to ever be given equal access to New York City’s Channel 13 public television station in more than a token way.

In retrospect, I think my estimation of how non-commercial public television stations in the U.S.A. , like New York City’s Channel 13, would eventually become the victims of “creeping commercialism” and become corporatized media institutions, that pretty much excluded most grassroots counter-cultural left-wing activists like me, during the rest of the 20th century and early 21st-century proved to be a more accurate prediction than Norris’s prediction of what kind of difference establishing non-commercial public television stations in the U.S. would actually make.

Not surprisingly—given both how much I then despised the corporate media television network world of ABC, CBS and NBC, and given how much of my daily 9-to-5 slavery time was then being spent delivering scripts in and out of various network TV and radio offices—in early 1971 I also actually ended up writing a protest folk song titled “Paley, Sarnoff and Goldenson.” The “Paley, Sarnoff and Goldenson” folk song protested against their corporate television networks’ complicity with the crimes of U.S. imperialism in the early 1970s, in a way similar to how my 1967 “Bloody Minds” protest folk song had protested against Columbia University’s complicity with the Pentagon’s Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA] weapons research think-tank in the 1960s, during the early Viet Nam Era of U.S. history.

I no longer recall the exact lyrics to the “Paley, Sarnoff and Goldenson” protest folk song, since I never memorized it; and, after I recorded it on some homemade cassette “basement tape” in 1971, I pretty much forgot about the song and didn’t bother saving the page of lyrics. But my general recollection is that the “Paley, Sarnoff and Goldenson” protest folk song combined a denunciation of then-CBS board chairman/owner and then-Columbia University Trustee William Paley, then-RCA/NBC board chairman Robert Sarnoff and then-ABC board chairman Leonard Goldenson for their abuse of U.S. mass media power with a prediction that the people of the United States would eventually liberate CBS, NBC and ABC by non-violently occupying their television network studios—until the grassroots counter-cultural voices of the New Left anti-war, Black liberation and women’s liberation Movement were given daily full free speech rights on the CBS, NBC and ABC television networks.