Bumfights *and* KCBS can blow it out their respective asses
Almost ten years ago, I made a short video tape called "Donuts". It featured street people as the stars. I went out to the streets of Hollywood, West LA, and North Hollywood and paid bums to sing Jingle Bells for the camera. Then I spliced it together to create a three minute music video. I paid them $5-$10 each. There was no fighting involved, just singing.
I never really did much with it. I put it on a few public access cable TV shows, showed it at a couple video screenings I organized, and it was shown at a couple screenings organized by others.
Now you've got these USC punks who've made hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, doing something slightly similar. I never saw their video, but I hear that they paid one of the participants a donut. Could they have got the idea from me?
Unlike the punks, my intention was not to degrade bums for the amusement of the watchers. While I still feel a little guilty about any possible loss of dignity that might have resulted from shooting these street people singing, I also see lots of "normal" people degrading themselves on TV and in real life all day long. The guys I shot certainly had a fairly clear idea of what was going on. In any case, the goal was not to degrade the bums, but to make the audience feel really bad. That didn't actually work. Most of the response has been more boredom than disgust.
What peeves me as much as their video is the only TV report I've seen on this so far, from KCBS. They're trying to act as the high-minded stewards of community morals, at the same time as they and their parent corporation pour forth their swill on the populace, and at the same time as their colleagues at NBC are showing Fear Factor contestants doing this. And, at the same time as they concentrate on crap "news" like this instead of difficult stories like, oh, say, local politics and corruption.
While paying these bums who may not have been aware of the dangers involved or who may not have been completely aware of anything to perform stunts is really bad, and people being entertained by it is even worse, I really don't think KCBS or any other news outlet has any standing to try to be so high and mighty.
As I was perusing other blogs (oh god I'm becoming one of them. What's next, exchanging links or something?) I read about the "Bum Hunter" episode, in which they supposedly snuck up and attacked a bum, and then paid him? What? If true, that's certainly assault, no?
Did the punks at anytime consult with, like, one of those lawyer people to get their advice? Even the abogado who advertises on the back of buses would say "No, don't do that."
But, on the other hand, I can see these shady DAs salivating at the thought of bringing them to their brand of justice, fanning out in search of the victims (quotes or not? - ed.) Perhaps giving them a donut or two.