Mary Kalfatoric asks if it is preferable to have the individually
fascistic Walt Disney running the movie studio or the capitalistic
I bring up this issue in my class on Media Institutions when
we talk about the history of film. I argue that movies
have gone from a "Mogul Tyranny" to a "Market Tyranny."
The Mogul tyranny refers, of course, to people like Louis B.
Mayer of MGM; Harry Cohn of Columbia; Jack Warner of WB;
Carl Laemmle of Universal. Although certainly market forces
played a role, so did the individual influence of these men:
individual abuses of power, like nepotism and sexual
harassment were common, but on the other hand at least
studios had more on an individual character.
Now, with "Market Tyranny," marketing decisions stressing
economic predictability and licensing activity dominate.
I know all of this is very simplistic, but Mary Kalfatoric's
question gave me an opportunity for some feedback about the
view of movie history I present in class (although, obviously,
it is not an original view).