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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I'm still undecided about the legal aspects of Grey Tuesday. I think if you wrote the beat, you should be compensated. Now, I know that Danger Mouse made it for fun, and wasn't trying to make money, but now, after all the hoo-ha, he could. So the posturing about how this is "art" rather than "commerce" is of a relative nature. (And I know EMI could put it under Creative Commons, but they haven't). If his art is not commerce just because there's no "product," that's a pretty thin reed to hang it on, especially because today's "illegal art" is tomorrow's Warhol greeting card. If Danger Mouse becomes even more famous, and the Grey Album becomes a product, who should be compensated? Clearly, if I sell a beat you wrote, you have a right to get that money from me.

On the other hand, people say, Danger Mouse is not competing with either Jay-Z or the White Album, he isn't taking any money away from them, so is it really "theft"? See, I think it is. Which is not to say I'm not listening to a downloaded version of it (I am).

And I like it. It's making me interested in buying more Jay-Z, and I wasn't interested in him until now. One of the interesting side effects of the post-Napster-copyleft-DJ era is that more diverse music is available than prior, and is bubbling out in mongrelized forms. In this case, Jay-Z may sell cds to some old Beatles fans like me. It's like radio being re-invented as a mirror image of itself.

Ron Paige says disagreeing with Bush = terrorism. Are these guys all complete tools? And why does the media allow Bushies to rant about "lobbyists" without a reality check?

"It was an inappropriate choice of words to describe the obstructionist scare tactics the NEA's Washington lobbyists have employed against No Child Left Behind's historic education reforms."

Monday, February 23, 2004

No, Ralph, stop. I'm quite disapointed that chose to run. Will he actually build a movement? Will he form a coalition made of Greens and young Dean supporters? Will he change the political landscape? Well, no, actually. Super-lefts want a candidate that lets them feel morally superior to Dems, but their litmus-test ideology actually accomplishes the destruction of the very things about which they say they care most. Having George W. Bush win, only to appoint the next supreme court justice (who will undoubtedly be anti-choice and Ashcroft-friendly) is not my idea of "progressive accomplishment." When the American left trains its eye on results, moral purity will be seen for what it is, the luxury of the marginalized.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

This hit pretty close to home:

Another human dream was crushed by the uncompromising forces of reality Monday, when the restaurant day job of 29-year-old former aspiring cartoonist Mark Seversen officially became his actual job.

-- the Onion "Day Job Officially Becomes Job"

Monday, February 09, 2004

Great piece by the always suprising Michael Lind in the new Nation:

For at least two decades, in foreign policy the neocons have been wrong about everything. When the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse, the hawks of Team B and the Committee on the Present Danger declared that it was on the verge of world domination. In the 1990s they exaggerated the power and threat of China, once again putting ideology ahead of the sober analysis of career military and intelligence experts. The neocons were so obsessed with Saddam Hussein and Yasir Arafat that they missed the growing threat of Al Qaeda. After 9/11 they pushed the irrelevant panaceas of preventive war and missile defense as solutions to the problems of hijackers and suicide bombers.... David Brooks and his colleagues in the neocon press are half right. There is no neocon network of scheming masterminds--only a network of scheming blunderers. ... If they now claim that they never existed--well, you can hardly blame them, can you?

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Shins: Chutes Too Narrow Saw the Shins last night. The lead singer sings with humorless rigidity, in a David Byrne sort of way, but they put on a good show. Something about their airy/poppy sound reminds me of Men At Work, I don't know why. Maybe it's because their lyrics are kind of bitter, while the sound is bright and clean. Also noticed that the eyeglass frames I wear resemble frames worn by music geeks around the world. It's like the government hands them out to us.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I'm learning a lot from Near A Thousand Tables: A History of Food. I'm learning that I have this internal faith that certain foods "balance" each other, that eating greens balances meats, that eating grains balances greens, etc., a faith that is both ridiculous and time-honored: "The notion that diet should serve to preserve a balance between yin and yang is, essentially, a humoral theory: we have rejected humoral theories of Western origin, but those which come clouded with emanations of the 'mystic East' manage to retain their Western adherents."

More importantly I'm learning a lot about my own attitudes toward food. I'm afraid of my ignorance of what food is and where it comes from. Weird notion, but that's me.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Yes, yes, yes:

Identification and profiling don't provide very good security, and they do so at an enormous cost. Dropping ID checks completely, and engaging in random screening where appropriate, is a far better security trade-off. People who know they're being watched, and that their innocent actions can result in police scrutiny, are people who become scared to step out of line. They know that they can be put on a "bad list" at any time. People living in this kind of society are not free, despite any illusionary security they receive. It's contrary to all the ideals that went into founding the United States. -- from Bruce Schneier's IDs and the illusion of security

Monday, February 02, 2004

So we saw the new Lord of the Rings, and realized about half way through that although the LOTR films are spectacular, wonderfully-rendered, and tasteful as hell, they are not really great films. No one is going to watch them twenty years from now. They'll resemble Bible epics of the fifties, or big-budget musicals of the late sixties: craftsmanlike but hopelessly tethered to their era. I mean, when was the last time you watched The Robe or Hello Dolly? They aren't interesting to us now; they were "must-sees" in their day. Maybe Hollywood will always have movies like that, movies which are more about the shared experience of seeing movies than about the film actually being projected. Since the end of the studio system, the industry has relied on bigger and bigger "events" to draw people away from TV, and the advent of the post-Jaws blockbuster only sharpened that kind of marketing/distribution.

Nothing against Frodo, mind you, he and Sam were so brave.

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