aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Love in Action v Zach :’(
I’m sure we’re all glad to see the blogosphere reacting to get Zach’s story out and hope something good can come from publicizing the plight he shares with too many people in this country.
Unfortunately, as I read & watched the coverage, I was gripped by a sudden horror that the folks at LIA/Refuge (whatever bullshit inaccurate name they
use to call themselves) could decide to make Zach an example...We’ve already helped put his identity out there (with the best of intentions), but based on the following, maybe we can broaden our future discussion of the topic to address at risk teens and additional programs.
The email asked that I remove the link to Zach :’( ‘s blog. I understood the request, and considered it seriously. A technorati search made up my mind. That particular genie was already out of the bottle.
I’m not as concerned that LIA/Refuge will make an example of him; I think they know that would make their unpopular position more so. But I am concerned that young Zach :’( is coming home now and the media attention will not help. We can’t really know what’s going on in that family.
I don’t think we want a Schiavo-style family saga. Zach :’( is a real person that personifies a real serious issue. The issue needs to be dealt with differently than the person. Be aware of what happens to the person, and be careful not to exploit him in the name of an issue.
Love In Action had a press conference today (news report / transcript / blog). It will provide plenty of ammunition for serious debate. And legal advocacy. Now that they’ve come out (in a manner of speaking), focusing on Love In Action’s John J. Smid and Steve Rice is the best way to help Zach :’( and all the other young people like him.
I’m sure there’s plenty to work with there. (Smid, “I am someone who has lived a life of immoral sexual behavior involved in inappropriate homosexual relationships.") We don’t have to, and should be careful not to, run with old and questionable quotes like “suicide is better than homosexuality” until they are definitively proved.
Custom cakes that violate copyright
Clay Shirky via Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing:
Here’s the sign I saw yesterday morning when getting the daily bread at College Bakery, our beloved local purveyor of pre-Atkins goodies.
Now the decor and ambience of College Bakery are echt Old Brooklyn, so it’s an unlikely front in the copyfight, but the staff said they had to bust out the magic markers because they’d been roped in as the front line of defense against non-licit images of Dora the ExplorerÃ‚Â® and Thomas the Tank EngineÃ‚Â®. I was struck enough by the sign to Flickr it immediately, and it’s stuck with me since then, for several reasons.
First of all, disappointing children is a lousy tactic for a media company. If a child loves Nemo so much she wants a clownfish birthday cake, it’s hard to see the upside in preventing her from advertising that affection to her friends. Second, and more worryingly, this is the very sort of chilling effect that has always been recognized as a significant risk in First Amendment protections. How cool would it be to do a drawing with your kid and have it show up as a cake the next day? Well forget it.
What College Bakery is saying with that sign is “The risk of being sued is so high that we’ll give up on helping paying customers create their own cakes.” This is Trusted Computing for frosting.
Read on. I bet they’d happily assess a per cake license fee… Grr!
UPDATE: WOW! The cake store was such a perfectly illustrative example that it set off a great back and forth thread. Counterpoint: “what you have here is one company (even though it is a small one) stealing from another company (even though it is a large one).” I urge you to read it. I quote only my favorite concluding comment from Eff‘s Jason Schultz in the extended entry. If you can read nothing more, please read it…
Morgan Spurlock’s new show on FX turns the 30 Days concept of Super Size Me into a weekly affair. The first episode was on last night. It follows Spurlock and his fiancÃƒÂ©e, Alex, as they move to Ohio and try to live off minimum-wage jobs.
Columbus just happens to be Brew’s hometown:
Morgan and his fiancee got a little taste of what the real working poor experience in Ohio these days. And it’s bad. They settle in “The Bottoms” - a poor Appalachian neighborhood on the western flood plains of the Scioto River. For 30 days, they struggle just to get by, confronted by crippling hospital bills, working two jobs - walking to save a couple of dollars a day in bus fares.
When I was a kid - most of Ohio was working class. A little down on it’s luck from time to time, sure. Things were pretty bad in the late seventies and early eighties. I remember my Dad working more than one job sometime around then. But it was always “gettin’ by” even if only just.
When I went back to Ohio in October - I was shocked. It’s bad, really bad. The economy has tanked, and places that were already a little rough around the edges are now veritable ghost towns - boarded up businesses, tumbledown apartments, scattered fast food joints hiding behind halogen lights and bulletproof glass.
We also do one about sexuality in America, where we take a guy who’s ex-military, somebody who has a very straightforward view of what homosexuals are—these are people who are sinning against God, this is a sin against nature, these are people who are going to hell because of the choices they make, they are choosing to defy God. And so we take this guy from Michigan, where he grew up, and we moved him to California, to the Castro [in San Francisco], where he moved in with a gay man and really got a firsthand look at what gay culture is like. The stereotypes that he had aren’t what it is.
The future of movie rental
Even before Murdoch completed his acquisition of DirecTV, he told financiers at Morgan Stanley’s Global Media Conference that he planned to marry the satellites above with TiVo-like home recorders below, explaining that “every subscriber will be getting either a free digital video recorder or one for nominal amounts of money.” And, to this end, he placed an order for 20 million digital video recorders for his customers.
Murdoch plans to digitally deliver movies and other programming from his satellites to home digital video recorders that would be the same quality, or higher (HDTV), than a DVD. Since there are not enough transponders on satellites to stream movies to individual subscribers on demand, Murdoch needs DVRs in every home to make his digital-delivery system work. With DVRs, the satellites can upload movies in the middle of the night in encrypted form onto subscribers’ hard discs without us having to do anything or even be aware of it. (One idea now under consideration at DirecTV is to provide these DVRs with an enormous 160-gigabyte recording capacity. The subscriber would only be told about 80 gigabytes, with the remaining 80 gigabytes reserved for encrypted movies.) Once the movies are placed on the DVRs, a customer “rents” them by clicking on his remote control.
There’s just one catch. To make digital video on demand work, Murdoch would have to overcome a formidable barrier-the 45-day head start that video stores have been given. This so-called “video window” is the result of a long-standing unwritten agreement among studios to delay the electronic delivery of movies for at least six weeks after video stores have had the opportunity to rent them.
Isn’t that called collusion?
What has prevented the studios from closing the video window is, as a top Viacom executive explains, “In one word: Wal-Mart.” Wal-Mart, the single biggest seller of DVDs, does not want to compete with home delivery. The company told Viacom’s home-entertainment division, in no uncertain terms, that if any studio does away with the 45-day video window for a single title, they would risk losing access to Wal-Mart’s incredibly valuable shelf space for all of its DVDs. In the face of Wal-Mart’s retail power (the antitrust term for it is monopsony) the studios have kept the window wide open.
Epstein expects Murdoch will win. Me too.