Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dinosaur Music Execs Whine All the Way to the Bank

(((iTunes, Apple, NBC, Jeff Zucker, Music Downloads, Decrepit Music Industry Business Models, Sour Grapes)))

So, according to Terrence Russell, "[NBC Universal executive Jeff Zucker] claimed that Apple has made millions on its iPod 'off the backs of our content' and that the software maker "'destroyed the music business in terms of pricing.'"

Okay, never mind the millions Universal and other companies make off the backs of someone else's creativity. To say that Apple destroyed music pricing when the price of CDs, in stark contrast to the usual trajectory, has actually gone up since they were introduced, and that somehow in spite of that most musicians make diddly on their music. I wonder where all that money's going? Oh, right: into Zucker's pocket. So, Steve Jobs is picking his pocket. And I'm supposed to shed a tear for him?

No, if there's a problem in the business, it's that it's so hard in the first place for good musicians to make a living. But what else is new? Oh, there might be one other problem, and that's that all IP holders -- whether we're talking about music or drugs -- insist legislating their out-dated business models as a way of dealing with technological and other social and economic innovations, instead of, you know, coming up with new business models (aka, "adapting").

So instead of saying, huh, P2P and digital music in general changes the landscape of the business and we have to figure out new ways to make money, and maybe we need to stop gouging our artists (instead of gouging them harder so that they'll hate The Intarwebz more), they dig in their heels and cry foul when they get blown by.

Boo hoo hoo.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Progressives Can Red-Bait with the Best of Them

(((CampusProgress, Che Guevara, Socialism, Progressivism, Red-Baiting, Cultural Heroes and Icons)))

I'm not sure why we should reduce Che to his failures any more than we should reduce him to Guerrilla Warfare, but the thing that really struck me in all this was Ms. Steiger's final paragraph: apparently, she agrees that socialism (which I presume she also equates with the unflattering portait of Che she paints?) has been "discredited," but we can still work "to make life better for the working man [sic]."

It's really disappointing that her assault on what she deems a naive ideological oversimplification of Che takes fuel from and feeds into such a simplistic caricature of socialism and its history, both after the Cold War and before that. And to suggest in such a peremptory way that the dismantling of the Soviet empire somehow "proved" anything at all about socialism or communism is way more tendentious than anyone wants to admit, because the truth is that the US is still deeply anti-communist, so much so that it is necessary to discredit Che Guevara and distance progressives from him and from socialism in general, preferably all at once. Like in this article.

What's so distressing is that this political maneuver is put forth as an exercise in demythologization. Maybe it's time to demythologize "progressivism." I'd try if I knew what it was. Reading this sort of thing makes me think it's like Adam Smith or Peter Drucker's version of capitalism. Which would have been "progressive" in the 18th Century or so.

This sort of "exposé" seems to suggest that we can only admire or respect perfect people. And it always makes me wonder if we really want any heroes at all.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

CNN: Rudy Hearts Hillary-Haters

(((Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Socialists, Fascists, Red-baiting, Political Discourse, Construction of the Political Enemy as That Which We Most Despise)))

If American liberals and leftists often play fast and loose with "nazi" and "fascist," they are in that respect, as in so many others, only pale images of their right-wing antagonists in their use of "socialist."

Case in point—John Kerry and John Edwards were easily the furthest left of the Dems in the 04 primary, but you'd have thought that Howard Dean, a moderate at best, was the second coming of Lenin. Until, of course, they had run him out of the race for a spasm of enthusiasm in which the candidate seemed to forget that he would be on national TV.


A conservative voter visiting Georgia from Minnesota, Murphy said Clinton is his main motivation for voting. "She is a socialist," he said. "She is a dirty, rotten scoundrel."

Because, you know, socialists are, in fact, by definition, dirty rotten scoundrels, full of hatred and despicable disdain for The American Way of Life™.