Let’s Talk about “Pickle Rick”

Yes, we no doubt live in a world where a lack of intelligence and a lack of awareness (self or otherwise) fail us at every turn. But intelligence is far from the savior of the basic emotional truths at the heart of the human psyche. Our inability to grasp our own capacity for fear, anger, disgust, sadness and joy is what so easily mars the engine of our selfhood. For the biggest truth always rests in our hearts and bodies. There is no outsmarting it. There is no outrunning it. And yet, we’d rather turn ourselves into pickles instead of facing the obvious darkness in our hearts.

— Let’s Talk about “Pickle Rick”

Fox News is Lamer Than I Ever Imagined

I’ve been working at a local coffee shop for the past hour, and for most of that Fox News (on the obligatory, hideous plasma television) has been showing a car chase in LA. But as far as I can tell, it’s, well, just a car chase. And over the entire thing there’s this inane discussion of jurisdiction, what his intentions are, etc. What I love is the little ticker: “Driver may be heavily tattooed”. And then the voice over, “Well, I guess he figures he’s getting his 15 minutes of fame.” Huh, ya think? And who’s providing that? And all the while the white on red ALERT pulsates. Maybe I’ve just missed the part of the story where he has a hostage, or, well, anything newsworthy. But no, it’s apparently just some guy who stole a shitty rusted out Camry.

Maybe instead of “Fair and Balanced” they could brand their news service “Sensationalist and Explotative.” Just a suggestion.

date:2007-04-27 13:48:40
category:culture, fox, News

And this suprises whom?

Since I’m traveling for two weeks and won’t get my hair did while on the road, I also won’t get my fix of People Magazine (and Teen People, natch). So I’m glad Ted is there to keep me up to date on breaking news: Lance is Gay. Must have been a slow news cycle if this is a cover story (even for People) — didn’t we see someone (anyone) paying a hooker this week?

And yes, the first time I saw NSync on MTV, I thought, “wow, that guy takes it up the ass.”

date:2006-07-27 12:00:54
category:aside, culture

Coolness Smackdown (or “How Much Does the Communist Party ♥ You?”)

Apparently I’m cooler than Mike — more accurately my domain is: yergler.net’s FCR of 2.86 easily best’s gondwanaland.com’s measly 0.95. Personally, well, not as cool as Mike (more accurately the set containing all Yerglers is less cool than the set containing all Linksvayers): 2.66 for Yerglers, stomped by 4.57 for Linksvayers.

date:2006-01-27 15:27:04

Uh, Bullshit

Hilary Rosen is guest-blogging for our esteemed chairman, and while it makes perfect sense in theory — CC is not about tearing down copyright, but about building a better system within it’s confines — I call bullshit.

Ms. Rosen posits:

I love the Warhol Campbell Soup example. I wonder if Campbell’s would sue him today. doubt it. in fact that is what is always so fascinating. the amount of people who face legal consequences for things like samples or parodies is so miniscule compared to the amount of their use. Music sample lawsuits, for example are really only done by successful artists against successful artists because it just isn’t worth it to pursue. Every once in awhile “artistic integrity” comes into play, but rarely.

First, I wonder why she thinks Campbell’s Soup wouldn’t sue Warhol today, especially if he chose to distribute his work in a digital medium (something that strikes me as plausible, although I’ll admit that I’m just pissing in the wind here). It seems to me like the atmosphere has shifted to a more litigous one in all areas, not just copyright. But that’s not the point — neither Ms. Rosen nor myself can speak for Campbell’s, of course. The point is with respect to the link she tries to draw between Warhol’s use of the Campbell’s Soup can, parody and sampling. And here’s where I call bullshit: if the lawsuits are so few, the “chillling effect” on creativity so minimal, and the damage to artists so slight, why not codify the right of artists to reuse, remix and sample in copyright law? What not provide real statutory protection for parody and sampling so that judges don’t have to decide how much a sample is worth, and possibly decide incorrectly.

And we were hung up. Hung up on the very issue you raised. What would happen when legitimate fair use needs arose and the required content wasn’t available in upprotected formats? While we knew it wasn’t a “dreamers” issue and that technology was moving rapidly enough that protected content could be a reality quite soon, it wasn’t yet at the time. And several of us, including most importantly by that time, the Committee Chairman who had heretofore been opposed to the Bill, wanted to get it done. So, I pulled out a long used legislative tactic and suggested we put a “study” in the statute.

Oh, right, I forgot — the Copyright Office and Commerce Department studied it, and found out its not a real issue. Thanks for that legislative gem, Hil — you’re a doll.

PS: Tell ‘Liz to get you a keyboard with a shift-key that works — you work hard for the money.

date:2005-08-18 14:41:29

Sandra D.! Say it ain’t So!

SCOTUS Blog has the report ; Sandra Day O’Conner is resigning. So I don’t necessarily agree with her on every case (hmm… Grokster), but she did defend the right of blue-blooded homos everywhere to take it up the ass, so she’s coo’ in my book. More importantly, though, I worry about a moderate, swing-vote being replaced by a far-right conservative. Say it with me: Bork.

date:2005-07-01 10:09:33

Everybody Wants You

I’m doing some research on reasons for opposing same-sex marriage. I’m trying to take a step back from my obvious emotional ties to the issue, and making myself read the Family Research Council’s website. But this was just too good to pass up:

Why does “defending marriage” and “defending the family” require opposing same-sex unions? How does a homosexual union do any harm to someone else’s heterosexual marriage? It may come as a surprise to many people, but homosexual unions often have a more direct impact on heterosexual marriages than one would think. For example, the Boston Globe reported June 29, 2003, that “nearly 40 percent” of the 5,700 homosexual couples who have entered into “civil unions” in Vermont “have had a previous heterosexual marriage.”

So am I to read this as “if we legalize same-sex marriage, 40% of all married men will realize that they just crave cock and leave their chilly, overbearing wives”? Damn, Vermont’s in trouble.

update (14 April 2005) Since writing this post yesterday, I’ve realized my interpretation of the numbers was incorrect. It’s not that 40% of straight men will realize they’re gay, but that 40% of gay men were once in heterosexual marriages. The real implication of the FRC statement is that it’s better to stay in a dishonest, un-natural (assuming homosexuality is the natural state for those men) relationship than to leave and allow everyone to live more honestly. And I can’t accept that conclusion, either.

date:2005-04-13 14:24:59

CC at Notacon

Yesterday was the first day of Notacon in Cleveland, OH. While there was one talk devoted to a brief history of copyright in the US, the most exciting talk, for me, was completely unexpected.

Jerry Rockwell presented a talk called “Evolution of a Tune: My process of arranging and composing in a Home Studio.” I went because I have a MIDI keyboard hooked up to my iMac that doesn’t get nearly the use it should. Jerry’s talk was absolutely amazing, and it was done without the use of any props more advanced than a CD player. While I expected him to talk about the software and hardware he uses in his home studio, he instead focused on how he starts with a basic tune or melody, and builds layers and tracks on top of that. Coming from a folk and jazz guitar background, Jerry plays guitar, dulcimer and synth tracks (“my evolved click track”) to create amazing compositions.

So what’s the CC connection? Jerry demonstrated taking the traditional tune “Skip to my Lou”, and building completely transformative, derivative works from it. The final product was a Latin 8-8 beat dulcimer/guitar number that sounded nothing like the original work it was built on. You could still hear the chord structures underneath it all, but there was no denying that Jerry had created an original composition, drawing from culture in the public domain. Talking to Jerry afterwards, I commented on how the final composition sounded nothing like “Skip to my Lou”, but how it could not have existed without “Skip to my Lou” to build upon. “Exactly! I chose Skip to my Lou because I hate that song, and wanted to appropriate it for something better,” Jerry enthusiastically responded. It was something of an epiphany for me: here was the reason CC is important, in the flesh. If “Skip to my Lou” wasn’t a public domain, traditional number, there’s no way Jerry would have come up with his composition. Or if he had, he would not have been allowed to contribute his work to our culture. CC is important in this respect because the Jerry’s of the future may have nothing to build on if copyright protections continue to grow unfettered. And that would be criminal.

date:2005-04-09 08:10:31
category:culture, notacon2005

Finding CC

We break from our continuing PyCon coverage to bring you this bulletin. Yahoo! has launched a Creative Commons search engine. You can search the Yahoo! catalog for CC licensed content, optionally restricting for either commercial use, or derivative permission.

I should note it was pointed out on Boing Boing that you can also restrict A9 search results for CC licensed results as well. For example, this search for eiffel tower.

date:2005-03-24 15:47:59
category:culture, geek