For “Deadwood” exec producer and creator David Milch, what began as a lecture on new media at the Museum of Television & Radio’s forum luncheon Tuesday quickly turned into a diatribe on the media’s lack of spirituality.
“No matter the forum: Internet, cable, pay-per-view or network, whenever communication is received that is not blessed and privileged and instead becomes solely commercial, the work is gonna blow,” warned Milch. “And it’s gonna blow worse the more spirituality is perceived as perverse.”
He views “the influx of information that is not organized by emotional or spiritual principles as a strong demoralizing and corrosive process” and sees the media’s dramatization of danger as creating a passive audience trained not to react or be affected by the world’s tragedies.
And he blames commerce for dictating content.
“Shows that I have worked on have made billions of dollars and I have never thought of commerce in principle,” he said. Spirituality and commerce can co-exist in works, but you can’t have commerce first and then try to add spirituality, Milch said.
“We are flooded by disaster (war and Sept. 11 coverage) because it’s viable commerce.”
Milch noted that people spend more than half their waking hours watching television. “That’s kinda weird, since its shit we’re (televising everywhere else),” he said.
He credits the Rev. T.D. Jakes and “The Sopranos” — as well as “Deadwood” and his other past skeins — as the only example of spirituality-based content.
When someone suggested product placement as a way to increase commerce, Milch smirked and then went off on a rant.
“I don’t give a shit, let them all burn in hell,” he said, later adding, “If you can smuggle it in and not fuck up my story, than that’s up to you.”