aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Undercover, covert & classified
Before Valerie’s testimony on Friday the CIA had never put anything on the public record regarding her status. Yesterday the CIA came out of the closet. CIA Director Michael Hayden approved a statement that contained the following language:During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was under cover.
Her employment status with the CIA was classified information prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958.
At the time of the publication of Robert Novak’s column on July 14,2003, Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment status was covert.
This was classified information.
Got it? The Director of the CIA confirmed in public for the first time that Valerie Plame Wilson was undercover, was covert and that this information was classified. What is it about English that goober Congressman Westmoreland and ditzy Vicky Toensing don’t understand?
The Show is over
At halfway through the one year run, he was interviewed for On The Media and asked what he had learned:
ZE FRANK: What have I concluded? I would say there’s this notion that this space is sort of a quasi-reality space, right? - and that, in a sort of different way than television, you actually, there’s this sense that you and your audience are enmeshed somehow and that they know something about you and you sort of know something about them. And I guess one of the really surprising things is the degree to which that’s true. You know [LAUGHS], the kind of emotional investment that I have gotten from this, and, [LAUGHS], you know, the degree to which a single comment in a huge comment field can pretty much ruin my day is really, really remarkable.
BOB GARFIELD: You’ve got 100,000 people a day streaming your production, which is, you know, let’s say, a bigger audience than Tucker Carlson has, and he makes a lot of money and he’s pretty famous. To what extent have you been able to cash in on the success of your show? I mean, is this a money-making proposition?
ZE FRANK: You know, the amount of time and sort of personal resource that I spend on the show [LAUGHS] makes it very, very hard to call any sort of financial gain on my part “cashing in.” One of the interesting things now is getting involved in this conversation of what exactly is the business model? But it’s not really about finding the business model that works. It’s about, you know, a few really large key players starting to invest real money into this space, you know, deciding that there’s value in this space. So in the meantime, you know, I have all this sort of requisite Web money-making tactics in place. I sell t-shirts. I have text links. And, you know, probably the most unusual thing that I do is I work with Revver, which encodes a small click-through ad on the end of my video and gives me some of the money from that.
BOB GARFIELD: And are you making a living compared to what you were making when you were, you know, in the advertising business?
ZE FRANK: [LAUGHS] No. The answer to that question is no.
The Show may be over but Ze’s only just begun.
Impossibly cool transparent screen shots
Transparent Screen - AREA,Originally uploaded by w00kie. Full gallery.
“this is not a Photoshop trick, this is his REAL desktop image”
Mark Twain demystifies the authorial ideal
When, at the age of 12, Helen Keller was accused of plagiarism, Michael Anagnos of the Perkins Institution in Boston convened a nine-member jury that acquitted her of the charge by a single vote. His. He later turned on her calling her “a living lie.” Keller would remain defensive about plagiarism ever after.
I must steal half a moment from my work to say how glad I am to have your book and how highly I value it, both for its own sake and as a remembrance of an affectionate friendship which has subsisted between us for nine years without a break and without a single act of violence that I can call to mind. I suppose there is nothing like it in heaven; and not likely to be, until we get there and show off. I often think of it with longing, and how they’ll say, “there they come--sit down in front.” I am practicing with a tin halo. You do the same. I was at Henry Roger’s last night, and of course we talked of you. He is not at all well--you will not like to hear that; but like you and me, he is just as lovely as ever.
I am charmed with your book--enchanted. You are a wonderful creature, the most wonderful in the world--you and your other half together--Miss Sullivan, I mean, for it took the pair of you to make complete and perfect whole. How she stands out in her letters! her brilliancy, penetration, originality, wisdom, character, and the fine literary competencies of her pen--they are all there.
Oh, dear me, how unspeakably funny and owlishly idiotic and grotesque was that “plagiarism” farce! As if there was much of anything in any human utterance, oral or written, except plagiarism! The kernel, the soul--let us go farther and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances in plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are second hand, consciously or unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources and daily use by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them any where except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral calibre and his temperament, which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing.
When a great orator makes a great speech you are listening to ten thousand men--but we call it his speech, and really some exceedingly small portion of it is his. But not enough to signify. It is merely a Waterloo. It is Wellington’s battle, in some degree, and we call it his but there were others that contributed. It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a telephone, or any other important thing--and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite--that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that.
Then why don’t we unwittingly reproduce the phrasing of a story, as well as the story itself? It can hardly happen--to the extent of fifty words--except in the case of a child; its memory tablet is not lumbered with impressions, and the natural language can have graving room there and preserve the language a year or two, but a grown person’s memory tablet is a palimpsest, with hardly a bare space upon which to engrave a phrase. It must be a very rare thing that a whole page gets so sharply printed on a man’s mind, by a single reading, that it will stay long enough to turn up some time or other to be mistaken by him for his own.
No doubt we are constantly littering our literature with disconnected sentences borrowed from books at some unremembered time and how imagined to be our own, but that is about the most we can do. In 1866 I read Dr. Holmes’s poems, in the Sandwich Islands. A year and a half later I stole his dedication, without knowing it, and used it to dedicate my “Innocents Abroad” with. Ten years afterward I was talking with Dr. Holmes about it. He was not an ignorant ass--no, not he; he was not a collection of decayed human turnips, like your “Plagiarism Court,” and so when I said, “I know now where I stole it, but who did you steal it from,” he said, “I don’t remember; I only know I stole it from somebody, because I have never originated anything altogether myself, nor met anyone who had!”
To think of those solemn donkeys breaking a little child’s heart with their ignorant rubbish about plagiarism! I couldn’t sleep for blaspheming about it last night. Why, their whole histories, their whole lives, all their learning, all their thoughts, all their opinions were one solid rock of plagiarism, and they didn’t know it and never suspected it. A gang of dull and hoary pirates piously setting themselves the task of disciplining and purifying a kitten that they think they’ve caught filching a chop! Oh, dam--
But you finish it, dear, I am running short of vocabulary today.
Every lovingly your friend (sic)
Mark Twain had complex and contradictory views on creativity and copyright. For much more here’s the Mark Twain and the History of Literary Copyright chapter from Siva’s Copyrights and Copywrongs (pdf).