aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Last call for questions
I’m in the interview lineup at Basil’s Blog. Today is your last chance to get your questions in. The interview will appear next Saturday.
Remember, the idea is that you who read this blog can ask questions too. If there’s something you’d like to know, now’s your chance!
A change agent
“We get into this stupid argument every four years: centrists vs. leftists,” he says. “That is not the argument today. It is change vs. status quo. In 1992, Bill Clinton was a change agent—he won. In 1994, Newt Gingrich was a change agent—he won. In 1996, Bill Clinton was a change agent to Dole and Gingrich—he won. In 1998, Democrats represented a change from the Republican drive for impeachment—they won. In 2000, George Bush was a credible change agent. In 2002, Democrats failed to convey change—and they lost. I want to be about change and reform to the Republican status quo.”
Via Kos, “It’s a great introduction to the general spearheading our efforts to retake the House in 2006.”
This writer wants in
Cory Doctorow—who makes money giving away his books and says “book" is a verb not a noun—points to this open letter from Meghann Marco, a writer who wants her book included in what Cory calls “the excellent, writer-friendly Google Print service:”
I asked my publisher, Simon and Schuster, for my book to be included in Google Print. I was told they did not do that.
Lack of exposure is the primary reason that a book like mine would fail in the marketplace. I spend most of my day trying to get attention for my book. Not for the money, but because I believe that it is well written and funny. Very few authors will become rich writing books. We do it because we have something to say. If we wanted to be rich, we’d have invented a search engine!
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. After all, it’s perfectly free to check out a book from the library. I have no problem with my book being indexed by your site. In fact, I wish it was!
Someone asked me recently, “Meghann, how can you say you don’t mind people reading parts of your book for free? What if someone xeroxed your book and was handing it out for free on street corners?”
I replied, “Well, it seems to be working for Jesus.”
Guns & Grokster
The gun lobby calls it the most significant victory since 1986:
The Republican-controlled Congress delivered a long-sought victory to the gun industry today when the House of Representatives, with considerable Democratic support, voted to shield firearms manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits. The bill now goes to President Bush, who has promised to sign it.
The gun liability bill has for years been the No. 1 legislative priority of the National Rifle Association, which has lobbied lawmakers intensely for it. Its final passage, by a vote of 283 to 144, reflects the changing politics of gun control, an issue that many Democrats began shying away from after Al Gore was defeated for president in 2000.
Wendy Seltzer dug up the 1981 Paul Conrad cartoon: “On which item have the courts ruled that manufacturers and retailers be responsible for having supplied the equipment?” She says it’s time to update it. She’s right.
John just discovered that Target’s CEO is a big Republican. Robert Ulrich gave $71,353 to Republicans, $3,660 to Democrats.
I’ve known for a while; and still shop at Target. My conservative pal Basil doesn’t.
My guess is this information won’t change things for either of us.
An ode to fans
Just as artists are an engine for creativity in our culture, so are fans. An artist on their own can make a work of art, but only fans can make it mean something in our society. Fans take art and translate it into culture. They invest in it, obsess over it, share it, and spread it to others. They turn it from an isolated item into a means of communication. (For more on this, see danah’s posts here and here where she breaks it down more eloquently).
But where is the recognition of this reality in copyright? Well, before the digital age, it was often in the idea that copyright was a public right and fandom was a private series of acts. Copyright would control public distribution of works and fans would collect them and share them and discuss them in private. More importantly, they would do so without making “copies” of them; instead, they would trade physical goods and have verbal conversations. Some would make costumes or their own art based on the subject matter, but those were generally kept private or only exhibited at limited forums like Comic Cons.
Yet now, in the age of the Internet, online fandom has become massively popular. There are huge communities of fans who are having millions of conversations about the copyrighted works they love. Not only are many of these conversations happening in public on the Internet, but because they are conducted over networks with computers, they are had by making copies—copies of the works, copies of clips and snips, and copies of images and sounds.
He concludes with a call for copyright coverage of fan-based work. I’m not so sure. I want copyright reduced not expanded.
Maybe the smaller government crowd will take on copyright. On the other hand, if they were equally successful we’d be mired in even more copyright muck.
Via Cory at Boing Boing.