Tuesday, June 19, 2007

An outbreak of extreme stupidity, or perhaps malice, from the Spanish government

Imagine you run a business, already imperilled by new technology and the like, and the government comes up with the idea of obliging you to make 25% of your stock something that you do not believe there is a market for. Furthermore, you have limited space, and your business is very time sensitive.

And that is the extraordinarily liberal, laissez faire, well thought out, rational proposal that is threatening Spanish cinema operators.

Spain's cinema law "would oblige cinemas to ensure that one out of every four films they show is of European origin". Perhaps like the gems that the EU part funds. Possibly Madrileños are hideously frustrated that there is not enough Ken Loach being screened at El Odeon, but if so they are best off lobbying cinema owners to show more non-Hollywood (because that is *exactly* where this is aimed, isn't it folks?) films, or otherwise voting with their feet. There will always be would be arts commissars who think that it is acceptable to interfere with the market in entertainment as 'the proles' need to be educated for their own good, while lacking the courage to start businesses and take risks themselves. Perhaps if this is a 'success', next steps might include compelling shoe shops to make a quarter of their stock sandals, or for supermarkets to load up on organic / 'fair' trade / what ever is fashionable this week in the same way.

We have, of course, been here before. The French inflicted a quota of French language songs on radio stations, thus unleashing dangerous levels of Celine Dion on a blameless public.

Meanwhile, the Spanish cinema owners are protesting loudly, and 93% refused to open yesterday. I wish them every good fortune in fighting this cretinous bill.

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