aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Bankruptcy Bill signed
President Bush signed the biggest rewrite of U.S. bankruptcy law in a quarter century on Wednesday, making it harder for debt-ridden Americans to wipe out their obligations.
From Think Progress:
George W. Bush, 4/20/05: “If someone doesn’t pay his or her debts the rest of society is left paying for them.”
Amount added to the federal debt during the George W. Bush presidency: 2.2 trillion
Citizen journalism or citizen schlock?
Current will be looking for video submissions in three categories. “Current Gigs” wants to see the most incredible, bizarre, or mindless jobs in the world. “Current Soul” seeks videos on what connects people to the divine, whether it’s Jesus or Allah, yoga or tantra, churching or surfing. Finally, “Current Fashion” wants those with style to turn the cameras on themselves or others to show us what’s in, or what should be out.
Via Thomas Hawk.
UPDATE, Dan Gillmor is more optimistic:
The citizen-journalism movement is one of the great opportunities for the radio/TV news folks, because a new generation of audio- and video-fluent people will supply more material than we can comprehend today. Much—most—will be garbage. So what? The good stuff will be a vital part of how people see and understand the world.
We’ll see and hear it one way or another, whether via a truly bottom-up method like video blogs or peer-to-peer networks. Yet established media can, and I believe must, embrace the emerging citizens media.
I most certinaly agree.
I take it for granted that smart broadcasters make this a more common practice, in everyday news, just as the about-to-launch Current TV operation says it will do.
I don’t know that I’d take that for granted. Yes, the new talent is out there, but will the old-line TV people recognize and inspire it to something better? Or try to channel it into nothing more than what was?
Family Entertainment and Copyright Act
The House just passed the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, which is a classic DC compromise bill: on the one hand, it panders to the Hollywood filmocrats by promising mandatory beheading for people caught videotaping movies in theatres, and on the other, it throws the tiniest, most noncontroversial of bones to the copyfighters by legalizing tools that automatically fast-forward, audio-mask, and otherwise munge DVDs during playback, a technique largely employed by Christian companies that sell paranoid parents players that guarantee nipple-and-cussword-free playback of movies from the corner Blockbuster.
Weird as it seems, the Directors Guild of America and the studios hated the idea that viewers should be able to skip past the bits they don’t want to see while watching movies in their living rooms, proffering a bunch of self-serving, mystical crapola about the need for “artistic integrity” in the viewing experience you get from watching Police Academy n-1. This was transparent horseshit from the same groups that willingly redact their “content” for packaging by the censorious Blockbusters, airline movie providers, and TV broadcasters to eliminate toddler-damaging mentions of bodily fluids and glimpses of hoo-hahs, nee-nos, pee-paws, and other grotendous anatomical elements that no one needs to see more of.
Videotaping movies in theaters is so 1990s passÃƒÂ©. Give it to them. But I do wish this legalization of tools that trump Hollywood’s artistic integrity could turn out to be some kind of precedent with teeth. I won’t hold my breath.
UPDATE: Alan Wexelblat at Copyfight is asking, What, Exactly, Did Congress Propose to Legalize?
Jim Romenesko: journalism superhero
Improving the business may not have been Romenesko’s intention when he started his one-man-band site as “Media Gossip” in May 1999 or even when Poynter hired him to do the same job (with the same solo staffing) that October. For all I know, it may not even be his goal today. Collecting stories across the political spectrum, he never tips his hand to reveal his views or prejudices. I imagine him working diligently in his home office dressed in a fire-engine red body stocking, a matching cowl pulled over his eyes, a big white “R” embroidered on his chest. Every profession-lawyers, accountants, police, doctors, bankers, et al.-should have such a superhero keeping vigil.
Jim Romenesko’s site is irreplaceable because it gives honest reporters public leverage over their corrupt colleagues, their timid editors, their bullying publishers, and their craven owners. Let them transgress, the site seems to whisper. How badly do they want to see their names in boldface and linked to?