April 2007 Archives

What Are You Protesting?

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Yesterday I went up to Denver to listen to Jonathan Letham read from his new book "You Don't Love Me Yet" at the Denver Library. It was fun; he's a good reader and the Q&A afterwards was interesting. I still wish I had asked about his apparent obsession with kangaroos though.

That, however, was the least interesting thing I did yesterday.

After the reading Melanie's friend Stephanie was doing an art project that involved about a dozen or so people, wearing fake hazmat suits and filter/gas masks marching downtown carrying signs with vague slogans on them while Stephanie photographed the reactions of the people nearby.

It was very interesting. Even though the signs all contained vague messaging that was not "against" anything, or really even about anything if you took them as a group, most people assumed it was a protest. Even stranger, many people vocalized their support for our unspecified cause. Others got the references to new-agey apocalypse memes in some of the signs and would say things like "Oh, the Mayan Calendar", as if that explained everything to them. The one sign that mentioned bee die offs got a lot of response with people mentioning the (almost certainly apocryphal) Einstein bee quote.

Overall it was just interesting seeing what meaning people read into an essentially meaningless event. My personal favorite came toward the end when a girl asked me "Why are you wearing the suits"? I lifted my mask enough to reply "For Protection". It was like a light bulb went off in her head. "Oh, duh. Of course, protection" she said to herself as she wandered off. I would really like to know what clicked in her head that made it all suddenly make sense.

Along the way (the whole march was maybe an hour and a half) we picked up five bystanders who suited up, put on masks and joined the march.

Oh, I am the one with the "Prepare for the Worst Hope for the Best" sign. I think my hazmat suit makes me look fat.

And The World Is A Little Smaller

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As you probably already know by now, Kurt Vonnegut died last night.

While I haven't read his last few books, I followed his essays over the last 5 years and found in them a voice of reason in a world that is increasingly insane and driven by fear. When I was younger, Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse Five, Cat's Cradle and Sirens of Titan changed the way I looked at the world and my place in it. Though I never met him, I think that I can honestly say that without Kurt Vonnegut I would not be the person that I am today. Surprisingly, I do not hold that against him.

(Is there something wrong with me that I eulogize both Don Adams & Kurt Vonnegut?

iTunes & EMI Drop DRM, Jack Up Prices

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Well, it looks like Steve Jobs was not just blowing soke when he ranted about dropping DRM. Sadly, it looks like dropping DRM will be used as an excuse to jack up prices as well, which kind of pisses me off.

I should not need to pay a 30-freaking-percent premium to be able to listen to my music on the device of my choice, even if it is at slightly higher (but still less than CD) quality. Imagine of Sony Music sold two versions of their CDs - a $14 version that only plays on a Sony CD player, and a $18.20 version that would play on any CD player?

At the same time I feel compelled to go ahead and start using iTunes to buy un-DRMed music that I can't obtain from emusic or legal outlets; I want to encourage un-DRMed music downloads. I really hate to encourage the pricing structure though - I am paying extra for them NOT to add DRM that they then have to support, and which does nothing to "protect" their music in the first place.

Ah well, one step at a time. I wonder if, when Apple extends the offer of un-DRMed music to other companies if they will also offer them the option of not increasing the price, or of simply not offering DRMed version at all?

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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