Nice Ad, Mr. Cameron. Now One Small Request


Four years ago, I wrote a book about Gov. Schwarzenegger and his use of ballot initiatives as governing tools. In the subtitle, I coined the term "blockbuster democracy." My point was that ballot initiative campaigns have become like movie campaigns, with similar marketing.

James Cameron makes my point with the ad (below) against Prop 23, the initiative that would indefinitely suspend climate change legislation championed by his friend and collaborator Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. (The governor shows up at the end of the ad for a little Hollywood-rich-guy joking with the man who directed him in the first two Terminator movies and in True Lies).

Cameron professes concern in this ad not only about climate change but about the California economy. Opponents of Prop 23, including Cameron, believe that the climate change legislation, known as AB 32, must be protected because it will make California the leader in new green energy technologies.

Which raises the question--has Cameron used his own power in service of the California economy? Yes, Cameron himself makes successful movies for studios based in California, though they are often part of multinational corporations that are based in a lot of places. And Hollywood productions benefit from tax breaks that have been enhanced under the current governor. To the good, much of Avatar was made in Los Angeles. But it was also shot in New Zealand and Hawaii, according to press reports. And Titanic was made in Mexico. If Cameron is going to wade into big California political fights -- as is his right, since he lives here -- he should be pressed to film more of his movies in the state.

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