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Monthly Archives: January 2013

 reflect MGraphic by Mark Rappaport

Having waited for several months for Boston University to respond to the previous postings, and to the on-line petition, with indications that they were doing something, the latest word is that they seem to have taken the usual corporate route, and done a CYA move: they tossed it into the hands of their legal counsel, and latest word from Mark indicates as far as the the university is concerned it is a private matter between Prof. Carney and Mr. Rappaport.

As Boston University requested that I provide copies of correspondence which Carney had had with me prior to my blog posting, My Brilliant (Academic) Career, of March 23, 2012, done at the behest of Carney, and as Carney has not seen fit to reply to the emails I sent him when the Rappaport case came to my attention, I have decided it is appropriate to publish those letters.  I print them below, intact.  As they indicate, Professor Carney carefully orchestrated the publishing of his letter in the post of March 23, though he requested I make it appear I did so on my own.  The truth is that he had me wait to print his long screed as he re-wrote and edited what he wanted to say.  If you will read through, and consider Carney’s behavior and actions, one could fairly say he is an extremely duplicitous and devious soul.  In light of these letters, his actions with regard to Mark Rappaport take on a certain ill logic.

Nov. 11, 2011



Just an update on the general situation: Gerry Peary the BU booker turned me down on inviting you to speak and/or present a film. Just between us: I wouldn’t let it bother you. Gerry is only interested in chasing the latest fire engine in terms of media coverage and if someone is not on the “hot list” then it is almost impossible to persuade him of the value of an event. And (as can be predicted, and applies to people of his sort) he has NO OPINIONS/JUDGEMENT/INSIGHT of his own, but just looks in the Times or some Film mag for his ideas of what is hot or not. If you had an article about you in the Times, he’d suddenly be very interested!!

John Gianvito (I know you know him, but he’s been a friend of mine for more than 20 years at this point) told me that their speakers’ series at the College pays too little and would only be an insult to offer you something there, but did say that he was going to pursue thee idea of inviting you by approaching their booker for their professional-level subscription series arts program (something called ARTSEMERSON) and that that might or might not fly. Anyway, that’s still a possibility.

On my own private front: I’m still deciding how and when to “go public” with the BU stuff. Nothing has changed in terms of their treatment of me; in fact it’s prob. become a little worse than before. They have not only cut my salary and assigned my classes to awful rooms and times, but lately have issued all sorts of de facto censorship rulings against me. (E.G. when I travelled to Toronto about ten days ago, my Chairman said he “wanted to go on the record” that I was not to talk about anything bad about BU or the dept. or I would be in trouble with the university.) So they are actually shameless about the lack of intellectual freedom at BU. Suspending my web site (and screaming at me for hours and then lowering my evaluations and docking my salary about what was posted on it–where I actually uttered the heresy that “people who had spent their lives working in the industry might not be the best possible teachers for the next generation of artists”—outrageous, eh? but things like this were to them since they all came from “the industry” themselves….. Universities are big on supporting the expression of “liberal” opinions until they actually say something that affects or applies to them!!! Just like the US govt or a fascist regime.

So I’ll let you know about that one in a week or two.

Stay well. I’ll keep working the angles for you in the neighborhood. Another possibility is a retrospective at a local film festival in May. The Boston Indep. Film Festival. Really top notch and smart, and I’m on their board of advisors.

See you around.



Nov. 22,  2011


Hi Jon,

Sorry to have been out of touch…. but the term is over and I finally

have a minute. Here’s the deal (on several things):

1. Can you please use this email account, and only this account, in

the future for all mailings? I am convinced that BU is reading (or at

least considering reading) all of my university email. So use only

2. I finally had an hour to write out an account of the BU fiasco in

detail (about 4000 words, yikes!). But I did it carefully and it tells

the whole Godawful tale of torture and stupidity. I want to send it to

you as soon as I hear back that you can still post it in the

reasonable future. If you are able to do this, I will be in your debt.

3. Assuming you can post it, can I ask that you do it in the following

way? Just post the text that I am sending you (I wrote and will send

it in a MS Word docx file) as if it were merely an email I sent to you

that you decided to post. In other words, I would like the cover story

to be that I sent you and email and you decided it was important

enough to post and you just did it. I would like it if you didn’t say

that I asked you to post it. Is that clear? Is that OK? I am going to

be in a heap of trouble for this (when you read it, you’ll see why)

and don’t need to compound the felony by making it seem that I

deliberately had it posted. I’ll act like it was an accident of my

sending it to you. (These fuckers, like all professionals–doctors,

lawyers, etc.–regard the “going outside the system” as one of the

cardinal sins so I can at least say that I didn’t realize you were

going to post it, even as it will still scorch the proper parties.)

4. You can feel free to include a preface or note of your own to

preceded or follow it, whatever you feel moved to write. I leave that

up to you, but just don’t reveal that I wrote this particular email to

you asking that you post the material, just say that you received it

from me and thought it raised important issues that were worth calling

to people’s attention. Is that OK?

Finally, to repeat, use this account for all future

correspondence. If the BU fuckers are reading my university email,

that is why I can’t possibly write the above stuff on the

account or receive mail from you about it on that account or they will

bust me for certain…..

As you will see, the situation is almost unbelieveable and

unbelieveably horrible. It gives me insight into how close the Nazis

and Stalinists and Maoists are to all of us, or how easy it is for

even an upstanding institution to move down that road toward fascism

and censorship.

When I hear back from you, assuming the above is OK with you, I’ll

send on the MS Word file, which you can open and post to your blog. It

has italics in it, which sometimes don’t post well on the internet,

but I trust you to do whatever you see fit to make the posting

adequate. As I say I wrote it as a selfcontained email to you,

beginning with “Dear Jon” and ending with my name and signature box,

so you can just present it as a single long email on the scariness of

the American educational system…… or however you see it.

I may be out for part of tomorow afternoon, but whenever I am able to

access email again, I’ll send the file onto you, if the preceding is


Keep fighting the good fight. And thanks, Jon! You’re a mench!!


Ray Carney, Prof. of Film and American Studies


January 5, 2012


Good to hear from you!

I’ll talk to this Adam Roffmann guy (the Indie Film Fest) and tell him

to give you some moola and that it will be a bargain at twice the

price! But God knows if he’ll take the bait… I find the Film Fests

(even of indie work) are hardly different from the suburban malls in

their desire to sell tickets, get press coverage, and score names…..

why do they exist if they don’t want to be any different from the

mainstream theaters???? But I shall let you know what turns out.

Sure, have Buck send me anything you or he thinks is worth it from

him. I teach my Indie Film course this spring and am always looking

for new “discoveries!” My goal is to assault my students and destroy

their bourgeois complacencies…. but short of that, just to give them

a few new insights and experiences!……My home address (BU is

mailroom hell, so avoid that one) is:

Ray Carney

8 Clarkson Drive

Walpole, MA 02081

The pickup/station wagon trip sounds just out there enough to be

fun…… Did you ever see my pal Robert Kramer’s Route One? He

travelled from Maine to Florida and filmed scenes along the way for a

portrait of America. A vision of insanity. Four or five hours in all.

Pretty good stuff. (Not, never, of course, on video, but I show it

every four or five years in my courses. Another reason to remove me.

It drives the students and faculty nuts. Their punishment!)

Thanks for the quick response. Late here.


Feb 27, 2012


Jon, FYI, look at:

This State Dept. story of expelling someone for telling the truth and

saying waht he thinks is much closer to my situation than anything

I’ve seen in an academic setting. The only differences are in favor of

the State Department actually:

1. I am not just walking the halls, but having my pay cut, and being

retaliated against in every possible way (terrible schedules,

classrooms, verbal and other abuse).

2. This is being done not by a government body like the State Dept.

but by an institution (a university) explicitly committed to free

inquiry and open expression.

3. The treatment I have received is endorsed at the highest academic

levels by the President and Provost and even the Ombuds person is

afraid to speak out against it…..

For what it’s worth. Censorship is the preferred policy of those who

have no reply to what is being said.


March 5, 2012



I’ve been out of touch. Just checking in on whether you can see your

way clear to posting that email…… My main concern about the timing

is that Feb and March are the major months universities do hiring for

the following academic year and thus the best time for me to have any

leverage against them, if word gets out via my letter to you about the

anti-faculty, censorhip, retaliation policy in place at BU. If the

material goes up after that, they won’t care nearly as much since next

year will be in place.

But I totally understand and sympathize with your busyness. Just

thought I’d touch base.

Keep kicking against the you know whats!

Best wishes,


March 6, 2012


Thanks for whatever you can do, Jon. Of course your endorsement and

anything you can say on my behalf will count for a lot, but I

understand how much you must be in catch-up mode, particularly after

the operation.

All best wishes. Six forty AM here. I’m off to BU to teach and won’t

be done till around 10PM tonight. (Part of their punishment of me is

my awful teaching schedule!)

Best wishes and thanks,


March 8, 2012


Thanks, Jon, for sending me Jason S’s message and your mini-interview

reply. It all goes into the mill of my mind for thinking about you and

your important art. Some day maybe we can do a real interview for

publication in a major place, but not now when we’re both so damn

busy, you with your film and me with the semester (at its exact

half-way point this week).

Stay well. Keep going. And keep telling the truth, even if (and when)

people may not recognize it, or want to hear it. We have to both keep

giving our gifts, even if only a few people understand or want them.



March 27, 2012


Thanks, Jon. And most people who read it on your blog won’t even

think, one way or the other, about the permission issue in my view.

It’s only the shit BU administrators who would use it to fry me, and,

as I noted, to doge what I say by “changing the subject” from the

issues I raise to the fact that I raised them “in public.” (Of course,

as you know and I re-certify to you again, I have raised them dozens,

nay hundreds of times, in memos,meetings, emails, etc. with them

already.) I appreciate your respecting my judgment on this one.

Bureaucracy does anything in its power to “change the subject,” so

this will (in my view) disarm that tactic.




Following these letters, I wrote to Carney a handful of times, inquiring if there had been any result from the publication, but he never responded.  This termination of correspondence on his part suggests several things – that he’d gotten what he wished out of me and I was dispensable, &/or, that as the situation with Mark Rappaport had taken a sharp turn towards a legal confrontation, he was either too occupied with that, or surmised where I would stand if I knew of it.   On hearing about what had happened with Mark I wrote Carney a number of times, initially in a friendly manner, asking for an explanation and that he promptly return Mark’s materials.  These have been posted in the first Chained Relations blog.  I have never heard in any manner from Ray Carney since the last note he sent on March 27, 2012.

If this matter has not been resolved in the coming month, I will proceed to publish letters written by BU to Mark Rappaport, and to myself, and will publish a letter Mark has sent to the President of BU and the head of Carney’s department.

The Boston Globe has been working on a supposedly long and in-depth article on this matter which is supposed to go to press in February.  IndieWire also has said it would do something, and has interview Mark and myself, but so far nothing solid.

As the spring term has begun and Professor Carney is evidently still in the employ of BU, and teaching his class, I would suggest that students either boycott his classes or inquire in each class when he is going to return Mark’s materials to him, and for him to explain in full his stance in this matter.  Any time Professor Carney raises matters of ethics, corruption, integrity, honesty and truthfulness, which he seems wont to do, he should be aggressively challenged to provide an explanation for the ethics of his actions with respect to Mark Rappaport.  Should he assert that he was “given” Rappaport’s materials, it should be demanded that he produce a legally viable written letter/contract to that effect.

Those following this are encouraged to contact Professor Carney directly, at the following emails, or at his address.

 dblcarneyProfessor Raymond Carney, Boston University

Ray Carney

8 Clarkson Drive

Walpole, MA 02081

Tel: 508 668 3483


Also, emails to Boston University would be appropriate, especially from those with institutional ties.

Paul Schneider, Chair, Media

Noreen Trahon

Finance & Administration Manager

Boston University

Office of the General Counsel

125 Bay State Road

Boston, Massachusetts 02215

T:  617-353-4699

F:  617-353-5529

You may also make a complaint, regarding “ethics” to the following

HotLine system.

BU’s Ethics stance is published here.

You may also submit a report by telephone through the EthicsPoint Call Center by dialing toll-free 1-866-294-8451. Alternatively, you may submit a report in writing to the following address:

Boston University, C/O EthicsPoint, PO Box 230369, Portland, OR 97223

It is a bit curious that in classic contemporary manner, the corporate organism which is Boston University appears to have out-sourced its “ethics” mechanism to a company on the other side of the country.

woman man dbl


The last weeks, breaking my usual pattern, I actually went out and saw some films – 3 in about 3 weeks (!) – which is about what I might see in a year, at least if not going to a festival.  The first one I saw was rather an accident – Leos Carax’s Holy Motors.  I’d gone with friends to see Chasing Ice, but we arrived after the last screening of it, and I noticed the listing of Holy Motors, which I’d read some enticing things about.  Not being a cinephile, I hadn’t seen any previous Carax film.  Everybody agreed, and in we went.  Following the customary horror of bombastic trailers seemingly carefully designed to assure I would never go to them, the film unfolded in a very different mode.  I won’t describe as you can find much elsewhere which sketches it out, from academic analyses that suggest it is a kind of “stations of the cross” (somewhat persuasive argument given the title and the last sequence), to an examination of the wonders and price of the actor’s trade, and so on.  It is perhaps all of these.  Certainly on some levels it was both a celebration of the magic of cinema, and on some others a damning critique of it.  Whatever it was, for me it was a deliriously pleasurable romp, and quite funny as well.  I think I might have been the person who laughed the most in the cinema, particularly in the darker parts.  Gorgeously shot, wonderfully acted, and moving both swiftly but in a manner that left ample time for one’s own thoughts, it happily defied and up-ended customary cinema-theatrical expectations and demanded you just take it on its terms.  My only little reservation is that it was, at bottom, still way too conventional for my desires – I’d like to see Carax apply the same inventiveness he shows here towards coming up with a visual shift of gears as strong as his narrative/story-telling one.  Probably asking too much.

holy 2Holy Motors

A week later I was able to go see Chasing Ice as planned.  Having seen a trailer I more or less knew what I was going to get, and knew I wasn’t much going to like it, but I wanted to see the footage of the glaciers.  My guess was right.  The film follows photographer James Balog (whose photography is of the slick National Geographic kind), as he pursues shooting our vanishing glaciers with a panoply of time-lapse cameras stationed in Alaska, Greenland, Iceland and elsewhere.  Along the way the technical problems of building and placing the cameras is highlighted, which for a filmmaker like myself is of interest.   Unfortunately a larger part of the film is given over to a  Herzogian self-glamorizing of Balog, who becomes such a focus that it leaves the sour taste of a promo piece.  We see him descending into a crevice as the track tells us his doctor said he shouldn’t do such things owing to a bum knee acquired doing such things and (heroically) doctored up 4 times.  Like Herzog the images in front of his camera are supposed to either take on more importance because the filmmaker is there, or the filmmaker is supposed to be heroic because he is there.  My view is stuff it: you want to do this, so do it, and get your ego out of it.  Balog in this case imagines to side-step this as formally he wasn’t the director, but instead nominally one Jeff Orlog is.  But it is clear who was calling the shots as it were, and the fake dramas inserted with multiple camera people and helicopters all betray a certain kind of bad faith.  And the film not once acknowledges that it is the very technologies involved in making it which are directly, cumulatively, responsible for the complex range of human-made realities which are causing global warming and the collapse of ancient glaciers and ice shelves, and all the dire consequences the film notes.  This kind of bitter irony doesn’t fit in with the glossy look and intent of this film.  At the film’s end, a vast chunk of ice in Greenland is shown collapsing in a matter of minutes, and the scale is indicated by superimposing a line of the skyline of the southern part of Manhattan, the ice being much larger.  I suppose it is no irony that one of the consequences of this process flooded Manhattan a few months ago.  In their press blurbs, Robert Redford is cited as loving the film.  I bet he flies (a lot) first class.




item2.rendition.slideshowWideHorizontal.chasing-ice-ss03Chasing Ice

And then, at the prompting of Chris McConnell, who came out to Butte to help me in shooting Coming to Terms, I went to check out Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow’s genuflection to the macho world of war and all that.  Running two and a half hours, the film is never remotely boring, even if much of it is a paper-shoving (or video screen one) procedural, conducted for a good part in institutionalized rooms. Rather, despite one’s knowing the full story before the film begins, it pumps with tension.  Within this genre of classic Hollywood hefty “story-telling” with music dumped over scenes, kinetic camera movements, and all the rest, Bigelow has demonstrated she’s got the biggest balls in tinsel-town.  This is a smart, cerebral slice of filmmaking, loaded with, in the terms of this kind of work, great things – performances, CGI EFX, smart-ass dialog, and all the rest.  Gotta hand it to Bigelow, she has this game down.  Almost.  Actually I found the supposedly hard-to-take torture scenes which open the film for almost half an hour, to be a bit tame, and not quite believable:  Ammar, our victim, face bruised, whupped again and again, is hoisted up in ropes, hanging from his arms.  But, well, not really – instead his arms are limp and he’s sort of standing, which given the abuse he’s undergone doesn’t quite compute.  Other aspects of the torturing scenes – of which there are many – similarly don’t quite tally up as so awful (or is it believable?) as the critics suggested.  My guess is being movie critics they’ve spent their lives in a little bubble of cinematic falsity, and – as is often the case with their take, say, on costuming – they long ago lost any connection to reality and so have no means to judge these things.  Otherwise this film was mounted well, with what appears to be an awful lot of help from the US military, and if what I have read is correct, the CIA and friends.  Which brings things around to the big controversy, the one about torture, and whether the film endorses it, or not.  The filmmakers and some critics assert it does not, it merely shows what was done.  Sort of… it doesn’t show the internal objections made by CIA operatives, and FBI and other governmental agencies, who complained loudly about the torture.  Bigelow and scriptwriter Mark Boal (who is Madame Bigelow’s lover) each say it was creative dramatic license, and it would have gunked up the “story” had these elements been allowed in.  And they are perhaps right (though one can’t know), though what does occur in the film is that without actually saying so, the whole envelope which contains it all works to mount a clear argument that torture was the key to getting the information that led to bin Laden, and, well, heck, the ends justify the means.





After the film came out, administration figures and others quickly trotted out to say the film was historically wrong, and that it wasn’t torture, but good old fashioned gum-shoe that secured the information, and that, in the words of Obama, seen on a television screen during the film, “America doesn’t torture.”  Yeah, sure.

While not nearly as creatively inventive as Leni Riefenstahl’s films Triumph of the Will, or Olympiad, Ms. Bigelow, sticking to the tried-and-true techniques of Hollywood block-busters of our time, nevertheless has earned her right to stand on the same pedestal with the Nazi propagandist: in bed with the powers that be, making work which glorifies it and then ducking accountability.  If Ms. Bigelow really had any balls she’d tell the military-industrial complex to go take a hike.  But instead she’s done the opposite.  Small wonder she is not championed by feminists.

[For a fuller view on this stuff, see Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone review.]




tumblr_ls9b65Ivtd1qfs83po1_1280Triumph of the Will

Shifting to quite another scale, this week a little partial retrospective of my own work was scheduled in a nice Portland alternative cinema, the Clinton Street theater.  Yesterday, a Monday, a usual dead night for restaurants and cultural things found a grand total of 5 showing up for the screening of, among other things, Angel City (1976), which, among other things, has a scene which skewers Leni Riefenstahl, and as well Hollywood as a part and parcel of the interlocking corporate world which is the US military-industrial-media complex.  Youthful, hip Portland was buried in its electronic stuff in the nearby cafes.  Tonight, a Tuesday, I am told a whole 10 people showed up, of which I suspect most, as the night before, were friends of mine.  Which is to say, on this 50th year anniversary of my filmmaking – which began in Italy in January 1963 – I accept that the defeat at the hands of our corporate masters has been total and complete.  There was never any contest, but those powers have assured there will not be one – in a manner far more clever than Nazi ones.  Most Americans have no idea what has been done, and as good German burghers of the 30’s, they don’t really want to know.  I am sure most Americans do not know what the Homeland Security Agency, and FBI and CIA did to Occupy, or all the rest.



I hadn’t seen Angel City in some time, and was surprised how relevant its content remains, and how “lively” its cinema aesthetics are, even today.  And far more so that the lame output of our so-called “indies” in all their various guises in the last, oh, 20 years and more.   But it matters not at all.


The only consolation, if one may call it that, is that this system, unable to check itself, will in rather short order auto-destruct, dragging with it most the planet’s species.  It will doubtless be a rather unhappy and ugly affair of drastic shortages, famine, wars, plague, and, well, hell, the usual four horsemen.  And far sooner than we imagine.  I might just miss it.  Or maybe not.

Albrecht-Dürer-The-Four-Horsemen-Apocalypse-probably-1497-98-painting-artwork-printAlbrecht Durer