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Do As I Say

An interesting article at the New York Times about filesharing. I don't have a lot to say about this in particular (since I don't use things like Kazaa or whatever.) I'm more interested in the underlying issues of "intellectual property" and copyright. That sort of stuff.

There are a couple of telling quotes in the article (is it ok to cut and paste this in here?):

As their favorite musicians recombine digital samples to create new music, downloaders recombine digital songs in new contexts.

"I don't think they think of it as copying music," said Joe Levy, deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone. "It's a very individual experience for them. They want the songs they want in the order they want. Then it becomes not the new Mary J. Blige album, but their own mix. It's a much more individual package of music. Kids view it as an interactive and creative act."

Having it "your way" IS the american way. When are the record companies going to realize that their business model no longer works with the way that consumers want to listen to music? At least Apple gets it now (finally someone gets it...) What do they say at Burger King? "have it your way?" The american consumer has come to expect that they WILL have it their way. The record industry should be cashing in on this rather than sueing their customers.

Later there's a bit where a record exec is caught stealing intellectual property (doh!): ...discussing his research with an executive at a media organization that has been very aggressive about trying to discourage file-sharing. When Mr. Bernoff asked the executive how he had gotten the report, which Forrester sells for $895, the man hesitated.

"They got a copy from one of the studios," Mr. Bernoff said. "Here is an organization that's saying that stealing hurts the little people, and they took our intellectual property and they shuttled it around like a text file."

New York Times: Beyond File-Sharing, a Nation of Copiers


Stars Come Out To Fight

Earlier today I was looking at the New York Times and saw what seemed to be a bit of a jab at California. It's the kind of thing that I thought was more typical of The New Yorker. I guess if they have a police chase in Manhattan, it's either in the movies or on foot. Too congested for anything else.

Tonight I'm looking at their site again. Reading up on the big power outage they had. I like this quote from the end of an article about how a lot of people ended up in bars there (since the trains and all were not working):

Debra Nuss of Garden City, N.Y., was stranded at Mustang Sally's at Seventh Avenue and 28th Street.

"I'm standing here in New York and I have no way to get home," she said. "It is really disturbing." At one point, she looked at the starry sky and said, "That is amazing. It's something you just never would dream of seeing in New York."

New York Times: Absence of Lights Fails to Stifle Nightlife


When Everyone Looks Like Barbie

hentai7.pngThere's a funny article at the New York Times about the rise of the bare midriff. I guess the fashion section of the New York Times isn't held to the same level of journalistic integrity as the rest of the paper. Some funny quotes and some major hyperbole:

"It is a look that has transcended fad, transcended fashion itself, and now seems a deeply ingrained psycho-cultural impulse, one that flourishes across lines of ethnicity, geography and body type."

Give me a break. I have a mental image of a woman wearing a birka with her midriff exposed...

"The breast has become merely an accessory of the plastic body... When everyone looks like Barbie, that kind of body can still remain an aesthetic ideal, but it almost ceases to have an erotic appeal."

"Experts in this controversial field believe that men are hard-wired to be attracted to women who will bear healthy offspring."

Duh. They needed experts to reach that conclusion?

"Modern midriff-baring is arguably rooted in the Clinton sex scandal. If not for Monica Lewinsky, thongs might have remained absent from network news reports and ultimately from view. Suddenly an undergarment was imbued with the power to unravel a presidency."

Yeah, O.K.

New York Times -- CULTURAL STUDIES: At Gender's Last Frontier (registration required...)


Cult Figuring

Television.pngLately I've been getting up at 5:55 a.m. After I shower and stuff like that I put on the japanese news that KSCI (uhf 18) broadcasts between 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Maybe I can pick up more japanese vocabulary (and more culture) while getting a different perspective on international and U.S. news. They broadcast with english subtitles. I like the way the newscaster bows as the program starts.

One of the stories they have been following lately is about this cult that dresses all in white. The media has been following the cult around the countryside as they park by the side of the road in various mountainous regions. Almost a cult traffic report.

The cult drives around in twelve white cars and vans. They dress in white outfits that look like radiation suits. They even wrap neighboring trees and guardrails in white sheets:

"Wearing surgical-style white robes, flowing headgear and facemasks, the Pana Wave members have erected white fabric screens along the roadside and wrapped nearby tree trunks in white, claiming that white cloth can help them avoid exposure to harmful electromagnetic waves sent out by communists."

The interesting part of the story [for me] isn't so much the cult itself but the way it's being reported on. It's more of an upfront sensationalized zenophobic thing than it would be here. Although we do have trouble with religious intolerance here as well (can you say Waco?) To be fair they are just finishing that trial that came out of the subway gas attack. But surrounding a caravan of twelve vehicles with 300 policemen is going a bit far IMO. Even if they do look like they're from Mars.

Wandering Cult Befuddles Japan (ABC News)



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