aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
The Fifth Estate shines
Bennett: Look, it’s a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a women.
Stewart: I disagree, I think it’s a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.
Then there’s this from Stewart at the Peabody Awards:
Thomas Jefferson once said: ‘Of course the people don’t want war. But the people can be brought to the bidding of their leader. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for somehow a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.’ I think that was Jefferson. Oh wait. That was Hermann Goering. Shoot.
That one via Steve Benen who points out Stewart was largely accurate. Both examples beautifully illustrate the point made by S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications professor and Center for the Study of Popular Television founding director Robert Thompson on Radio Open Source:
[34:45] Comedy has moved in as the Fifth Estate when the Fourth Estate had dropped the ball. The press, of course, as others have said, completely rolled over in the lead-up to the war and the only good commentators out there were all coming from the perspective of the support of the president - the Bill O’Reillys, the Rush Limbaughs and so forth and so on - and comedy moved into that vacuum with Jon Stewart, who really started to show his stripes in the coverage of the 2000 election, Indecision 2000 as he called it, now Colbert and even David Letterman has become politicized as a result. [...]
[44:46] When we first heard those polls that so many young people were getting all of their news from late-night comedy, we thought to ourselves, “oh, this is terrible.. how is our next generation of citizenry going to run a representative republic if all of their information is coming from Comedy Central.” You watch something like [Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner] and if you continue to watch Comedy Central shows you get a sense that boy, you know, maybe this isn’t a bad place to be getting some of our news information.
American branch of copyright reform party launched
More good news from Athens - Cory Doctorow reports that “Brent Allison, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Georgia has founded an American branch of Sweden’s ‘Pirate Party,’ a political party dedicated to copyright reform:”
All non-commercial copying and use should be completely free. File sharing and p2p networking should be encouraged rather than criminalized. Culture and knowledge are good things, that increase in value the more they are shared. The Internet could become the greatest public library ever created.
The monopoly for the copyright holder to exploit an aesthetic work commercially should be limited to five years after publication. Today’s copyright terms are simply absurd. Nobody needs to make money seventy years after he is dead. No film studio or record company bases its investment decisions on the off-chance that the product would be of interest to anyone a hundred years in the future. The commercial life of cultural works is staggeringly short in today’s world. If you haven’t made your money back in the first one or two years, you never will. A five years copyright term for commercial use is more than enough. Non-commercial use should be free from day one.
We also want a complete ban on DRM technologies, and on contract clauses that aim to restrict the consumers’ legal rights in this area. There is no point in restoring balance and reason to the legislation, if at the same time we continue to allow the big media companies to both write and enforce their own arbitrary laws.
Athens, GA non-discrimination policy includes gays
Georgia Equality sent out this email (not yet on their website):
“We are continuing to win and gain equality on the grassroots level and every victory is a significant one for us,” said Chuck Bowen, Executive Director of Georgia Equality.
Bowen is referring to the decision yesterday by the Athens-Clarke County Commission to include gays and lesbians in the county’s non-discrimination policy. The local community worked with elected officials and government leaders for several years leading up to yesterday’s decision. [...]
Other cities and counties in Georgia which include sexual orientation in non-discrimination policies are Bartow County, Dekalb County, Gordon County, Miller County, City of Atlanta, City of Decatur, City of East Point, City of Pine Lake, City of Tybee Island and the City of Savannah.
The addition of gays and lesbians to non-discrimination policies has been led by the business world. In Georgia, several companies not only include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies, but many also offer domestic partner benefits. Georgia based companies that include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies include: BellSouth, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Cox Communications, Delta Air Lines, Genuine Parts, Georgia Pacific, Home Depot, Inc., Mirant, Newwell Rubbermaid, Southern Co., Suntrust Banks, The Coca-Cola Company and United Parcel Service. AFLAC does not include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy.
Meet the Press in Hell
Absolutely positively dead-on brilliant! World O’ Crap:
Imagine if you will a network news program where the host believes that his obligation as a journalist is to place evil on the same footing as good (so that evil will stop complaining about how the media always favors good). Tonight on Media Twilight Zone, we will visit just such a program. [READ ON!]
Giving us what we want
The Times on what Netflix could teach Hollywood:
I visited Netflix in Silicon Valley last month. Out of the 60,000 titles in Netflix’s inventory, I ask, how many do you think are rented at least once on a typical day?
The most common answers have been around 1,000, which sounds reasonable enough. Americans tend to flock to the same small group of movies, just as they flock to the same candy bars and cars, right?
Well, the actual answer is 35,000 to 40,000. That’s right: every day, almost two of every three movies ever put onto DVD are rented by a Netflix customer. “Americans’ tastes are really broad,” says Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chief executive. So, while the studios spend their energy promoting bland blockbusters aimed at everyone, Netflix has been catering to what people really want - and helping to keep Hollywood profitable in the process.
I’m glad I wasn’t behind them in customs:
In a race to save amphibians threatened by an encroaching, lethal fungus, two conservationists from Atlanta recently packed their carry-ons with frogs rescued from a Central American rain forest - squeezing some 150 to a suitcase - and requested permission from airlines to travel with them in the cabin of the plane.
The frogs, snuggly swaddled in damp moss in vented plastic deli containers big enough for a small fruit salad, were perhaps the last of their kind, collected from a pristine national park that fills the bowl of El Valle, an inactive volcano in Panama.
The scientists were able to predict that the fungus - which is blamed for killing amphibians worldwide - would arrive in El Valle in a matter of weeks, so they stepped in to save as many different species as they could.
They went into the forest at night, since most frogs are nocturnal, slogging down a river in hip waders and carrying powerful flashlights. After four separate trips, some lasting only 48 hours, the two men, along with a native guide who possessed stealth and fast hands, managed to gather 600 frogs, shooting for 20 males and 20 females of each species to ensure good genetic variation in their breeding colonies.
To feed them, they rented a house and left piles of rotting fruit in the corners to attract flies. “It was pretty stinky,” Mr. Gagliardo said.
They got the frogs back here, while, as predicted, the fungus did hit El Valle. They expect 90 percent of the frogs there to be gone within 90 days.