Are We Totally Blowing Our New Media Freedom? My 10 Health Reform Videos

cross posted at The Huffington Post

As inspiring as it was to watch Iranian citizens risk their lives and use new media like Twitter and YouTube to fight for better lives for themselves, it was also impossible not to have a sense that of self-consciousness about how lax and lazy we are in America about our own lives and political system. We’re not afraid of getting shot for expressing our opinions – we just have other stuff to do.

That’s exactly how the corporate owned media and lobbyist funded politicians want it, of course. They don’t actually want us too involved in the political system on issues. If we all have a general sense of helplessness and cynicism, we won’t bother to make phone calls to politicians…even on an issue as vital as health care.

Until recently, that helplessness was actually somewhat justified. Yes, we had free speech but it didn’t do us much good when the media gatekeepers controlled newspapers, radio and TV stations. Every now and again, we would get noticed with a big march on Washington or something but by and large, any single person’s voice had no way to be amplified.

Now, technology has changed the equation completely but like a newly freed slave, just losing the shackles doesn’t mean we’ve thrown off years of the mental oppression of having no forum to speak our minds. We can be publishers, broadcasters and opinion makers. We just have other stuff to do.

All of this hit me last week and I decided to do something about it. In the course of about seven days, I made 10 short videos about health care reform. I wasn’t hired to do it, I wasn’t asked to do it. I just did it because the issue is important to me personally, to my family and to my country. And I did it because I could.

The ideas I focused on and the approaches I used are strictly my responsibility. I stand on the shoulders of people like Larry Lessig, James Ridgeway and fellow Huffington Post blogger  and friend Bob Cesca but one reason I was able to crank out the work quickly is that I didn’t have any committee to answer to. It probably makes the videos weaker in some ways; with no editor, I mispronounced Senator Max Baucus’s name, for example.

But this completely personal approach also gave me the freedom to experiment with form and content.  And it’s freedom you have as well, if you want to claim it. Use your voice and speak your mind.

If artists, activists or any citizen who can get their hands on a computer keyboard, camcorder or microphone doesn’t use our country’s freedom of speech and this new technology to speak out on issues like health care reform, we’re going to be beaten by the incredibly wealthy forces that want to keep the status quo in place.

In the last weke, I also learned to do something that a lot of artists have trouble with but that politicians seem to excel at – asking for money. Part of being a one person media machine is also being your own fund raiser, so I got comfortable with asking people to help out. I’m so comfortable that if you want to help me get the word out, you can contribute right here via PayPal.

Here are short videos I made. Most are about 30 seconds long.

This next video is a response to ‘the ‘Bulldozer’ ad by ‘Conservatives For Patients Rights" – doesn’t make much sense if you’ didn’t see the original.’.



(Note : I didn’t include my Not Safe For Work health care reform video I produced with my wife Lauren because it features frontal nudity and has proven to be controversial. However, journalist Tommy Christopher called it “the most compelling health-care-reform video I have ever seen“, so it’s here if you want to see it.)

Days Like These

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that these are fairly uncertain days. Lauren is pregnant, we still haven’t found a place to live and money is tight. We also just found out that we’re going to be grandparents; Lauren’s son Steven is expected a baby a few weeks before Lauren is due. That means Steven’s kid will have a younger aunt or uncle after Lauren delivers.

But every day is pretty okay, really. The future is unwritten and unpredictable but the predictable course I was going on wasn’t working a bit.  It was Jack’s birthday today and that worked out well enough, too.

I’ve been keeping busy; here’s a round up…

  • A couple of recent comedy pieces in HuffPost – one a few days ago was featured on the front page and got 100+ comments;
Republican Party Bankrupt; Reorganizes As A Church.
  • Then I just published another Republican attack…of the giggles!

    Researchers Discover Neurological Cause Of Republicans But Cure Is Years Off

  • Started a new BlogTalkRadio show tonight : FX Mogul Radio, a weekly podcast about Visual Effects. First guest was visual effects legend Ron Thornton and we also had a segment with Dave Rand, a Canadian effects artist who was part of a group of animators who weren’t paid for three months by an effects house.

    And I inally uploaded the very last segment of my Kevin Smith interview. It feels weird that the interview is done and all posted. This segment is a weird hodgepodge that includes Kevin saying hi to my kids.

    Fundraising : Please Help!

    A couple of months ago, I left my safe steady job and moved to New Mexico to make films and teach. I’m happy to announce the launch of one of the long term projects that I was planning : a series of films based on progressive economist Dean Baker’s book The Conservative Nanny State. 

    Now I’m asking for your help to get this project made. You can contribute or just learn more by clicking the link below.

    Dean Baker’s book is exactly the kind of project I love because I think it has the possibility of really changing people’s minds. Many people support the Republican party today because they believe the GOP is pro free market. That’s certainly how conservatives market themselves but nothing could be further from the truth, as these films will show using examples from CEO pay to offshore tax havens.

    Thanks for your support…