January 8th, 2006

Letter to Carmike Cinemas, the headquarters of which happens to be here in my town

And so it begins:
To: CARMIKE CINEMAS, INC.
1301 1st Avenue
P. O. Box 391 (31902-0391)
Columbus, GA 31901
Phone Number: (706) 576-3400


I am a loyal patron of your theaters and a resident of Columbus. Recently it has come to my attention that there exists the possibility that the critically acclaimed Focus Features film "Brokeback Mountain" will not be shown here in Columbus. Local people I have spoken with on this matter have a myriad of speculations and doubts that your company will not bring this film to Columbus theaters. I feel it would be a grave disservice to not show this film for individuals to see should they choose.

At stake also is the larger issue that censorship in art is truly in direct objection to one of the fundamental principles and core values that went into the creation of this great country, that being the opportunity for us all as individuals to make choices for ourselves. I appreciate the controversial nature of this film, but the truth is that any film worthy of patronizing SHOULD be controversial and provocative enough to inspire us to think and question things. It can serve as a catalyst for dialogue between people, to reaffirm our existing beliefs and values or for changing our minds to something more agreeable for us as individuals. It is the purpose of art to give a broader worldview and force us to confront things that may push the limits of our collective comfort levels.

I, along with family and friends, have spent thousands of dollars in your theaters by our own choices to see many films I have both enjoyed and despised. Your company has shown films that I have stood in opposition of and would not spend money to see, but I have always respected the importance of providing the choice for others who do not share my viewpoint. Your company has shown films I have considered morally repugnant for their blatantly gratuitous violent content, but it is not for me to decide who should see these kinds of films or not. I know that many may disagree as standards of taste and decency run the gamut in these cases, but I do not believe in any form of censorship in art. It is each person's responsibility to make those sorts of decisions for themselves, all we can hope for is the opportunity to make them fairly.

Your company is a vehicle for many different kinds of expression, even unpopular expression, even subject matter considered by many to be taboo. It is my sincere hope that our support of your company over the years has not been in vain and that you will show this film in the spirit with which all films are created, the hope that the public at large will have the opportunity to make the moral choices and decisions on how it feels the subject matter as individuals.
Don't get your $25.00 worth of popcorn and sugary soda just yet! We'll see what kind of response I get, as that is going to dictate whether or not I start rallying the troops and campaigning against them.

Send Carmike Cinemas a message of your own here, let them know what YOU think!

Update!!

Dear Jude:

Thank you for your message. There is no controversy with “Brokeback Mountain.” The film’s distributor, the entity that gets to decide where, when, and to what theatres their pictures get released, has the movie in a very limited release. They have promised and expansion next week that should include Columbus. Although I wont be able to get that confirmed until late on Monday.

Sincerely,

Gary Green
WOOHOO!!! Wow, they wasted no time! I replied asking him to keep me posted.

How to Defend Atheism

Library: Modern: George Smith: How to Defend Atheism (1976)


[This speech was delivered before the Society of Separationists in 1976. It was transcribed from an audio cassette which had the title, "Atheism: The Case Against God." However, in order to avoid confusion (since Smith has published a book under that same title), I have retitled this speech as "How to Defend Atheism." --jjl]



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