Harper's Publisher Presents The Platonic Ideal Specimen Of The 'I'm An Old Fogey Elitist Anti-Internet Luddite' Columns

from the witness-the-sheer-bogosity dept

Every few months or so we see some elitist from the "old way" in the media business pop up with some neo-luddite screed about how wonderful things were the way they used to be, and whining about these darn new media things that are happening. These are often fun in a sort of "batting practice" manner, as they offer up some easy fastballs to take some easy hacks on, but I have to step back and marvel at what I honestly think is the perfect specimen of the genre. This time it's a piece by Harper's own publisher, John R. MacArthur, in which he rants at epic length about this fad known as the internet. It really has almost every single silly trope in this species. Let's go down the trope checklist.
  • Claim that you're debunking the statement "information wants to be free"? Check. Plus bonus trope of comparing tangible goods to information goods and thinking you've made a point? Check
    Information wants to be free? So does food. But farmers aren't as stupid as certain publishers, journalists and ad salesmen.
    Okay, look, can we just set a rule that says if you don't understand what Stewart Brand meant when he said "information wants to be free" (which contained a lot more nuanced argument) that you're not allowed to bring it up again? Or, could you at the very least note that most of the people you mock don't even say that, and it's much more commonly stated by neo-luddites who can't debate what the internet generation is actually telling them?

  • Pretend that because you were not good at selling internet advertising that internet advertising is clearly forever pointless? Check
    We would all get rich as we gave it all away to as many people as possible. The opposite was true - the Web chopped up the market for online advertising so finely that there wasn't enough to go around for the biggest publications most dependent on ads. And it turned out that while Web sites may be great for classifieds, they are in general a poor medium for display advertising.
    Indeed. There was a lot more competition, and if you stupidly decided to just try to mimic offline ads online, well, then you're likely to fail. Just like if you merely mimicked radio ads on television, you would fail. But those who learn what the medium can actually do can do quite well. Last I checked, Google was making billions in online ads. So it seems that someone figured it out.

  • Bring up a story of your times as a hard-bitten reporter back in the good old days in Chicago to prove your bona fides? Check
    Decades ago, I learned how print on paper works without appreciating what I was being taught. More than 30 years ago, when I was a young general-assignment reporter on the Chicago Sun-Times, the copy-desk chief was a brilliant and acerbic man named Tom Moffett. Moffett thought that reporters were lazy wimps - he said that the really hard work took place on "the desk" - and he dared me one day at the Billy Goat Tavern (of "Saturday Night Live'' fame) to work for him. Was I man enough? Over my fourth Old Style I insisted that I was. The next day my city-desk bosses agreed, and I was loaned to the copy desk for six weeks as a kind of career-broadening internship.
    Hey, it's story time down at old man saloon. I'll spare you the details of the story whose ostensible point is that newspapers sell ads and the content is just what goes in between. He could have just said that. But he didn't because this is the kind of story old journalists love to tell, because they think it makes them look cool. It really just makes them look out of touch.

  • Assume that this ever-dynamic market is static and that advertising has "failed"? Check
    I have been radicalized, as both a publisher and a writer, and have instituted a "protectionist" policy in regard to the Internet and its free-content salesmen. In the long run, I think I'll be vindicated, since clearly the advertising "model" has failed and readers are going to have to pay
    First of all, the internet advertising model hasn't failed. For many folks it's doing quite well. So sorry to hear that Harper's is too clueless to learn how to use it effectively. Second, there are more models to make money beyond advertising and paywalls. He could hire some people to tell him about it, but he spends the rest of this screed railing against those who actually get the internet, so he may have trouble finding anyone who is that interested in guiding him out of his self-induced haze.

  • Mock the quality of some online content, and assume that proves that all online content is bad? Check
    However, as much as I object to free content, I am even more offended by the online sensibility and its anti-democratic, anti-emotional, even anti-intellectual effect. Devotees of the Internet like to say that the Web is a bottom-up phenomenon that wondrously bypasses the traditional gatekeepers in publishing and politics who allegedly snuff out true debate. But much of what I see is unedited, incoherent babble indicative of a herd mentality, not a true desire for self-government or fairness.
    Learn to internet, John. Just because you seem unable to navigate your way to the tons of intelligent, insightful and thoughtful commentary and discussions online, it doesn't mean they don't exist. It just means you don't know how to use the internet. Which, come to think of it, may be the root of your problems.

  • Set up some ridiculous arbitrary standard for what some random new media effort must do to be a success? Check
    Have WikiLeak's disclosures on Afghanistan moved us any closer to withdrawal from that country?
    So unless it meets your standard, it doesn't matter? Really?

  • Refer to your own rejection of popular social media? Check
    Long before I took myself off Facebook, I doubted the so-called revolutionary potential of the Internet.
    You see, we know he's got cred because he was on Facebook, but now he isn't. He's a man who means business.

  • Make sure you talk mockingly about the original dot com boom while showing you didn't understand it? Check
    Lewis was born skeptical, but when he heard the three men at the next table discussing in hushed tones what sounded like easy money [concerning a dot com opportunity], he couldn't help himself and he inquired about how we could get in on the ground floor. "It depends," said one of them smoothly, "on what kind of platform you want to establish, how you want to present your content." I said that I wanted to publish a magazine filled with sentences, not build a tree house, and the conversation came to an abrupt halt.
    Oh my gosh. You ran into three idiots in a restaurant. I recently met a moron of a magazine publisher. That must mean all magazine publishers are idiots. Generalizations make you look stupid.

  • Mention that the young people who work for you have suggested you get with the times, and then mock them in a chiding tone? Check
    These youthful members of my editorial staff - one of them now the co-editor of Mother Jones Magazine - were imploring me, demanding even, that I meet the Internet revolution head on by posting free what they also described as "content" on our brand new Harper's Web site so that it might be consumed by a huge reading public supposedly dying to read our longish essays, reporting and short stories.

    As all of you who attended my last Delacorte lecture, 12 years ago, can surmise, what I told the staffers was, essentially, forget it. The Internet, I told them, wasn't much more than a gigantic Xerox machine (albeit with inhuman "memory"), and thus posed the same old threat to copyright and to the livelihoods of writers and publishers alike.
    Perhaps your young staffers are going on to edit other publications because they want to work for publications that their friends actually read and which their peers have actually heard of. Increasingly, that's not Harper's.

  • Mock older technologies while clearly not understanding their impact? Check
    Photocopying had long been the enemy of periodicals - why buy a copy or pay for permission to reprint when you can copy one article or photo cheaper on a machine multiple times? - so I had good reason to beware.
    Why pay? Oh, I don't know. Perhaps convenience. Perhaps patronage. Perhaps because photocopying is a pain in the ass. Seriously, did this guy just wake up after a five decade nap? The photocopier is the enemy of periodicals? Is he serious?

  • Claim that an understanding of information economics means you're brainwashed? Check
    Worse, the early Internet publishing promoters had brainwashed my employees into believing that we should not even resist their wondrous new photocopier - that on the contrary we should join them in a mass Potlatch ceremony that would result in a virtuous circle of wealth creation beneficial to all. I invoke potlatch - the gift-giving ritual of certain Northwest Indian tribes - because the Internet salesmen claimed, in sly mimicry of the indigenous tribesmen, that they were actually engaged in a redistribution of wealth that would result in reciprocal gift giving in the form of huge amounts of paid advertising.
    Comparing information economics that you don't want to understand to an ancient Indian ceremony which you also don't understand does not constitute proving a point.

  • Think that because some online advertising is intrusive and annoying, it's clearly no good> Check
    Internet advertising is so annoying and obtrusive.

    When a display ad pops up on your screen and covers your free content, if you don't utter a profanity like I do, you delete it as quickly as you can or you switch to another Web site.
    Indeed. So maybe try not to use such crappy ads.

  • Talk up the wonders of paper? Check
    The advantages of advertising on paper become more obvious.

    Consider the behavior of ordinary people after the letter carrier makes what is increasingly an evening delivery. Once they've collected the mail, including magazines, catalogs, junk mail and newspapers, even the most ad-resistant, Web-addicted individuals will glance at some of the printed matter on the way to the garbage can.
    If you're basing your business model on the fact that some people might catch something out of the corner of their eye as they go to throw out their snail mail spam, you're in a dead business already.

  • Make bizarre and ridiculous statements that show you're totally out of touch with the internet generation? Check
    Customers may order online, but most of them are responding to a mailing or a printed ad and do not for the most part browse in online catalogs.
    Wait, what? I can't remember the last time I looked at a mailing or printed ad and that made me decide to purchase. No, when I need to buy something I *gasp* go online and browse online stores and then make a purchase. As does just about everyone I know. MacArthur might want to talk to someone who hasn't started receiving their AARP cards before making statements like that one.

  • Assume that because you still look at your paper mail, the younger generation does too? Check
    Out of physical sight, out of mind. At some point you've got to turn off your computer or your iPad, but the mail and the brochures and printed matter just keep coming.
    Actually, no, they don't. These days it's pretty easy to cancel a lot of physical junk mail, and even easier to dump it straight from the mailbox into the recycling bin. I see a lot more online advertising than print advertising. He follows up this statement by saying that advertising on the internet "is just too easy to avoid." That's true, but it assumes that advertising is the only way to make money -- and also assumes that there's no such thing as content-as-advertising, or advertising people want to see.

  • Pretend you're really concerned about the "common workers" who just can't make ends meet? Check
    But by and large, the condition of the freelance writer and midlist author is very bad. Ask any author or freelance journalist - even fairly successful ones - what's happened to their income in the past few years.

    The rationalizers will keep a stiff upper lip and talk about their wonderful Web presence and the number of hits on their sites. But honest writers readily admit their loss of income -- smaller book advances, fewer commissioned articles, slower payments -- beginning even before the latest recession.
    This seemed like an interesting challenge, so I sent an email to the most successful freelance journalist I know, Matt Villano. Just a few weeks ago, he'd been telling me about how he's got too much work to handle these days and I know that he's one of the hardest working, hustling-all-the-time freelancers out there. So I sent him that quote from MacArthur and asked for his reaction. After first asking if it could wait because he's busy working on one of his many freelancing gigs, he emailed back that he's easily "earning six figures (even after deductions) as a full-time freelancer." But part of that is because he puts in the effort, is constantly networking (especially online via his Twitter account) and isn't waiting for someone to just hand him work:
    "There's plenty of work out there for freelancers. They just have to work hard to find it. Another key: Being nice. So many people get into this business with a sense of entitlement. That's the wrong attitude to have. Our job is to make life easier for our editors (whatever business they might be in). That means bending over backward to rework a piece, not complaining at ordinary edits, and doing whatever it takes to see a project to completion. Anyone can get a gig once. Not whining will get you gigs repeatedly."
    Matt's work regularly appears in all sorts of publications -- the NY Times, the WSJ, Entreprenur Magazine, Parenting Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and tons more. Maybe MacArthur should try hiring him, rather than his usual crop of folks. He might learn something.

  • Pretend that content creators today still need the old middleman or they flail around and die? Check
    Book publishers are happy to exploit the distress of writers - they won't spend a nickel on promotion and very little on copy editing - but they will introduce you to a Web site designer and twitter your appearances at the local bookstore - that is, if there still is a local bookstore.
    Yeah, see all that says is that the book publishers -- like magazine publishers -- are clueless old dolts, hopelessly out of touch. And it's why authors like JA Konrath and Barry Eisler are finding alternate routes to publish. They recognize that publishers don't promote much, and so they took matters into their own hands... and profited nicely because of it.

  • Make a clueless statement about SOPA? Check
    [Peter] Lerangis is a children's book author, his wife a musician, and their livelihood is directly threatened by online piracy, as well as the downward pressure on writers' income exerted by the huge amount of free content available online.

    As he correctly notes, "The anti-SOPA bluster has been framed by deliverers who give us the dazzling technologies that make our lives cool and their pockets deep.... To me, the anti-SOPA movement was nothing but a big corporate campaign in the guise of populism.... Big Tech's nonchalance about copyright violation tramples over people like my wife and me, who strive to make a living in the great tradition of the creative calm."
    Oh my! A single quote from a clueless individual? Hey John, if I quote a content creator who was against SOPA -- or, say, a whole bunch of them, can we just pretend you didn't really assume a single uninformed individual is the be all end all of this debate?

    Or, just for fun, what if we bring up someone, like Louis CK, who found that it's possible to compete with "piracy" not by passing a stupid law that wouldn't help, but by not being a jackass to his fans.

  • Pretend that because a few old line companies haven't made the transition to the modern era well, it means that an entire profession is doomed? Check
    The New York Times and other companies did great damage to the cause of writing for a living with their free sites
    No, basic economics took things away from an ivory tower world of gatekeepers and revolutionized it. More people make money today writing than at any time in history. That's an amazing thing.

  • Insist that anyone claiming to make a profit online is lying? Check
    One of my major magazine competitors is peddling the falsehood that it is now profitable thanks to a boom in online-advertising revenue. You have to know the economics of direct mail and the cost of mailing magazines to know how preposterous this contention really is.
    I'm guessing he means The Atlantic, a publication that has run rings around Harper's over the last few years -- and (more importantly) actually matters to folks of my generation. It's also a publication that, yes, is profitable -- and got there by embracing not just the web, but lots of smart business models and revenue streams.

  • Insist that profitable online publications don't exist? Check
    As far as I know, there isn't a single profitable online-only magazine or newspaper in the United States and there isn't a single profitable newspaper or magazine with an online edition that is seriously considering dropping its print edition.
    I realize that perhaps he's making an artificial distinction here between "magazines" and other online publications like a mere "blog", but I can assure you that Techdirt is profitable. And I know folks at an awful lot of other online publications that are also profitable. I guess we don't count.

  • Totally economically clueless arguments? Check
    The Internet "idea" of universal, democratic and free access to "content" unhindered by borders or fees corresponds with the 19th Century British economist David Ricardo's and political theorist's Richard Cobden's notions about a tariff-free world in which all people produce what they're best at, and as a consequence won't be motivated to start wars because they're so justly compensated for their labor.

    No such world has ever existed, and never will, but on this preposterous theoretical platform are built such "free-trade" pacts as the North American Free Trade Agreement that drive manufacturing to the cheapest labor locales along the Mexican side of the border, where no one is justly compensated, or to even-cheaper China, where labor racketeering (a conspiracy to fix the price of labor) occurs on a grand scale.
    Ricardo's theories on comparative advantage still do make a lot of sense today and have actually been proven time and time again. But holding up NAFTA -- which has been anything but a true "free trade" package (even though there have been many benefits that came out of NAFTA, contrary to MacArthur's typically ill-informed claims) -- and insisting that that proves Ricardo's theories are wrong is like pointing to a single snowstorm as evidence that climate change (in either direction) does or does not exist.

  • Insist that people online are not meaningful in policy and political movements? Check
    I suspect that the passion that drives successful political crusades is attenuated on the computer screen. All those millions of eyeballs glued to Facebook do not a revolution make, or even a reform movement. The energy devoted to the Net is an astonishing waste.
    Yeah, because that whole Arab Spring thing never happened. And the SOPA/PIPA protests -- in which millions of people reached out to contact their elected officials (something he mocked earlier), clearly that didn't happen either.

  • Mock any potential to change society by internet startups, because they're also for profit? Check
    To see how empty is the "social" promise of Facebook, read Zuckerberg's interview not long ago in the Financial Times, which is all about making more money: "Every industry is going to be rethought in a social way - you can remake whole industries."
    Since when are these two things mutually exclusive?

  • Point to just a couple of print publications that focus only on print as proof that the internet is a fad? Check
    But in my opinion, the strongest case against Web publishing currently resides in France, where two general-interest publications are defying the trends and the trendiness that has cost our business so much money and so many jobs.
    Well, clearly, because those two specialist publications -- one a satire mag and the other a high-end quarterly -- have made a go of it, then that whole internet thing is over. Might as well just shut it down. He later cites Monocle magazine as well. We've actually used Monocle as a good example of giving people a reason to buy. They've designed a beautiful magazine with all sorts of unique physical features. If you can do that, then sure, physical is for you. But there's a limited market. I love how all internet advertising must be a failure, but a couple of offline publications succeed so that's our future.

  • Vague anecdotal story about sullen young people behind laptops, rather than happily frolicking with paper magazines? Check
    A few weeks ago, in a column headlined "Screened out and Isolated," he described the scene in a cafe in Venice Beach, California. Twelve similarly dressed customers, all with Macbook Airs, and half wearing headphones for silence. Not a single paper publication in site. "Everyone looked extremely serious," wrote Brule, "no sunny smiles on this stretch of the California coast. There was little looking up from their screens, a lot of manic typing and even more twisting of stray locks."
    Well, damn. I was on the subway the other day, and a homeless dude was reading a crumpled up discarded magazine. He didn't look very happy. Clearly, print is dead.

  • And, finally, a really dumb suggestion that everyone put up paywalls? Check
    Put up paywalls on blogs, if you must blog, for pennies if that's all the market will bear. But at least hold fast to the principle that writing is work, that writing has value, and that writers should be paid.
    This is a blog. It doesn't have a paywall. But we make pretty good money because of it. A paywall would kill this site. Perhaps some of us have figured out ways to make money online that MacArthur hasn't thought of yet.

    Of course, we're happy to help him think through ideas on how to make money. But, you know, since he says that people should be paid, he'd have to pay us to share those ideas...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Mr. Smarta** (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    'Elitist'?

    'Elitist'? Try Obsoletist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    out of curiosity, what was his response to people that were doing things in the way that preceded the way that he was/is doing things? did he find those 'old' ways laughable? did he ignore those old ways and the consequences? did he carry on doing things in his 'new' way? funny how people quickly forget what happened before, until it's their methods that are challenged and their income that could reduce if they dont adapt, that is!

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    Referred:

    Anything which exists before you're 20 years old has always always existed and is perfectly natural. Anything which is invented between when you're 20 and 50 is new and exciting, and if you're lucky you'll get a career in it. Anything invented after you're 50 is strange, unnatural, and likely to bring about the doom of the human race.
    (heavily paraphrased) Scott Adams

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 8:56am

    Did he just describe Indians as 'sly?' Is he an ACTUAL surviving colonist? How many blunderbusses does this guy own?

    If he's really from the 17th century, as far as I'm concerned he gets a pass (as long as he lets me try on his hat).

     

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    jakerome (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:00am

    Does anybody else...

    Long for the days when every Techdirt post was one paragraph? FFS, I don't have time to read & form my own opinion, that's what I used The Masnick for!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:08am

      Re: Does anybody else...

      Ahh yes, nothing like admitting that you are lazy and cannot stand to even pretend to form an educated opinion?

      Winning!

       

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      jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:33am

      Re: Does anybody else...

      That's only because the Harper's guy is a windbag. I got a quarter of the way through is article before I realized how much more there was left to read, and promptly stopped reading.

      He obviously hasn't learned the first rule of internet writing: Get to the point.

       

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    Joe Publius (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    John MacArthur's article for the TL;DR crowd:

    BAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

     

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      Joe Publius (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:09am

      Re:

      Geez. Normally I try not to be this dismissive, but I have to agree it's full of classic anti-online arguments that have already been debated in the past with better eloquence.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re:

        The Internet, I told them, wasn't much more than a gigantic Xerox machine


        I'm having a hard time believing the whole thing isn't satire. It's like Farnsworth was based on this guy.

         

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    VMax, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    I'm surprised

    He didn't finish the piece with "Now, get off my lawn!"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    Wow, Mike. Could you be any more of an asshole and a douche?

     

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      weneedhelp (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      Could you?

       

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      TDR, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:22am

      Re:

      Speak for yourself, AC 10

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:31am

      Re:

      Are you the pot or the kettle?

       

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      weneedhelp (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:31am

      Re:

      So point by point rebuttal makes someone an asshole?

      What about profanity laden comments with no substance?
      Would That be a douche or an asshole?
      My vote is for Dick.

      Have a nice day AC :)

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:37am

        Re: Re:

        So point by point rebuttal makes someone an asshole?

        Ironic hand-waving, name-calling and finger-pointing, in which masnick habitually engages, doesn't magically become a "point by point rebuttal", if you format it as unnumbered list.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          ...actually it does...
          It doesn't mean it's necessarily an on topic, well thought out, or good point by point rebuttal, but it is a point by point rebuttal.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            In the Kindergarden School of Rhetoric - may be, it does.

            But those with access to a dictionary of English are aware, that "rebuttal" is a synonim of "argument".

            Calling MacArthur "old" doesn't count as an argument. It counts as cheap rhetorical shot, and as playing to the herd of techdirt's "independent thinkers".

             

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              Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It's amusing you rant about [insert whatever here] isn't an argument after winning with the supper effective argument Wow, Mike. Could you be any more of an asshole and a douche?.

              Ah the wonders of the Troll Nation. Thanks for providing a good laugh, as for all the other comedy and/or serious debate from my part, browse through this comment section. Or, if you work at Harper, I may mail you physically. Expect it to take over a month though, I'm not in the US =/

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yes, ninja, you hit the nail on the head. All anonymous contributors here are the same person. And he is employed by Harper's, too!

                 

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                  techflaws.org (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:32pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  From the quality of their input it sure seems like it.

                   

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                  bratwurzt (profile), Mar 15th, 2012 @ 3:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  AC, even normal users with no administrative right on this blog can see your gravatar. Mike has deeper insight but is not one to abuse that knowledge. He could. It's his site. But he doesn't. At least I havent seen him do it...

                   

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:32am

      Re:

      Of course he could! When you aren't...the only way is up.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:47am

      Re:

      Successful troll is boring.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:49am

      Re:

      Wow, Mike. Could you be any more of an asshole and a douche?

      Hmmm, I'll grant you that Mike was being sarcastic and even a bit snarky, but that's about it. Besides, Mike's reaction was a hell of a lot more controlled than what mine would have been. MacArthur is so far out of touch, he doesn't know how far out of touch he is. His comments are maddening.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      Wow, Mike. Could you be any more of an asshole and a douche?
      Of course he could - instead of the thorough debunking the essay he could have just said "Wow, John. Could you be any more of an asshole and a douche?"

       

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      Trails (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:22am

      Re:

      We should go easy on this AC, I'd be pretty irrational if someone showed my grandad's ignorance so comprehensively.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:34am

      Re:

      MacArthur wrote:
      the anti-SOPA movement was nothing but a big corporate campaign in the guise of populism.

      Masnick is exhibit A for those who agree with the point. Anyone who read his pompously manipulative output for the last year can't help noticing, that he is a spokesman of Big Corporate Tech, and not a populist. Just a last week, for instance, he stated, that he considers outrage at executive pay in America misguided.

      In all his output, Masnick is curiously silent about financial aspect of his, as he says, profitable blog site. And one of the ways to be profitable, he says, is "content as advertising". That seems like a fancy name for shilling under the guise of journalism. Is it really mistaken to believe that SOPA was defeated by Google, and not grassroot internet democracy?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re:

        Yes, it really is mistaken to believe that.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Because you and masnick said so? Because it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside?

          The US Congress ignores without any difficulty a lot of issues, on which there exists genuine grassroots majority. You really think SOPA would have been any different in the absence of corporate backing?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The 14+ million people that contacted congressmen and senator's on the 18th? They were all Google employees trying to earn a bonus.

            Since then Google apparently has started a new company sponsored travel plan. They are packing up all their employee's at the same time and taking them on a tour from city to city in Europe to give the appearance of a populist protest against ACTA?

            One question for you: Did you see Wag the Dog one to many times and now your Alzheimer's thinks it's part of reality?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              *too many times

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And yes I think that would make a wonderful Onion article. :-)

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The 14+ million people that contacted congressmen and senator's on the 18th? They were all Google employees trying to earn a bonus.

              No, they were all independent thinkers who just spontaneously decided they need to call their congressmen.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Independent THINKERS (this being the operative word) that could make the decision to contact their representatives on their own instead of the usual LEMMINGS that the Content Cartels perceive the public to be. Wow I didn't know a little black box on a website could be so powerful as to have a mind control properties?

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Welcome to democracy. Sucks, don't it?

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  When you write "democracy" you actually mean "flash-mob quietly coordinated by the tech corporations". But you couldn't quite write it, because polysyllabic words make your head hurt.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Google is successful at their business because they listen to and understand what the people who use their service want instead of trying to manipulate public through draconian special interest legislation and attempts to exert control over the information available to the public through censorship and spin-doctoring that ultimately is detrimental to the best interests of the public.

                    Here's a simple test for you. First take all of the lobbying money spent by Google for all of the laws that they have tried to have enacted (or haven't tried to have enacted) and compare that to the same by the MPAA and RIAA.

                    Did Google lobby congress, to counter draconian laws that threatened their business and the interests of the public that were being introduced as a result of the lobbying efforts from the Content Cartels. But were are the draconian laws being introduced by Google? If Google is an evil agenda on the public, surely there will be evil laws that they are trying to get enacted to support this agenda?

                    Next, find all of the official public statements made by Google on the issue AFTER January 18th. Find the place on the prominent place on their site where they are pushing this agenda on people? Now compare what you found (if anything at all) to all of the official public statements on the issue made by the MPAA, RIAA and other major players in the content industry.

                    They made a came out publicly against SOPA and PIPA but ultimately when calls for the blackout to protest came from Reddit (not Google) they showed solidarity by not blacking out at all but rather replacing their logo with a black box and a link to a page that told people why it was there and gave them information on how to contact their representative if they agreed leaving it up to the public to decide if they agreed with their position. A lot of people I know initially saw the blackbox on Google that day but weren't sure what it was all about until I explained it to them. That seems to me to be a really weak attempt at manipulating public perception if you ask me, when people use your site, and the part that "pushes your agenda" is so subtle in it's placement that some people barely notice it. And since then we have speech after speech, article after article, rant after rant from Chris Dodd and Cary Sherman and others spouting the same old rhetoric that they have been spouting for decades. Where are the continued rants from Google executives?

                    Now after looking through all of that you tell me who's pushing trying to push an agenda on the public?

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Sorry should have been...

                      "Did Google lobby congress? Yes, to counter draconian laws that threatened their business and the interests of the public that were being introduced as a result of the lobbying efforts from the Content Cartels."

                       

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                      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 1:55pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      And should have been...

                      "They (Google) came out publicly against SOPA and PIPA..."

                       

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                    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Democracy is a polysyllabic word, you ignoramus.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      LOL!Don't you love it when people try to use big words in an argument to make them sound smarter and just end up showing that they have no idea what they are talking about? "Better to remain silent and thought a fool..."

                       

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                    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 15th, 2012 @ 7:30am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    please stop it. My finger's getting sore clicking "funny" on all your posts. (Dammit, still haven't found that "bat-shit insane" button)

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Another independent thinker heard from. There're 14 millions of you, and everyone completely independently came to think the same thoughts and share the same opinions!

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        14 million+ independent thinkers looked at the arguments on the issue, compared the actual facts (as opposed to the crap coming from the Content Cartels) and decided that the Content Cartels were bat-shit crazy.

                         

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        Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, obviously Techdirt isn't profitable, can't you see Mike is living under a bridge begging for money to maintain TD online? Think of the children Mike, your children!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          See, that's what happens when you limit yourself to techdirt and don't read any good, thoughtful writing - you lose the ability to understand a simple argument.

          For instance, you read somebody questioning the ethics of deriving income from advocating a particular point of view, and understand it as doubt in ability of a paid shill to make money.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I eagerly await the disclosure of your funding.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              My writing on techdirt is not profitable. Masnick's, by his own admission, is. One way to turn a profit on a web, Masnick says, is "content as advertising".

              Apparently, the brave new web 2.0 world left such old fashion concepts as "journalistic integrity", "full disclosure" and "avoiding conflicts of interest" on the refuse heap of history, together with steam engines and horse buggy whips.

               

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                TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 3:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Half a century ago Marshall McLuhan said "the medium is the message" which, essentially, is the same as "content as advertising". McLuhan painted with broad brushes, mind, and he'd have loved the Internet and the Web.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:52pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Somehow doubt Techdirt is the profitable part of his business. You might want to check into his other businesses. The ones that support Techdirt, for instance.

                 

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                DC, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 6:44pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Wow. You obliviously are refusing to disclose. You obliviously have conflicts, you obliviously have no integrity.
                come clean on your conflicted interest.

                 

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                fairusefriendly (profile), Mar 15th, 2012 @ 6:09am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Apparently, the brave new web 2.0 world left such old fashion concepts as "journalistic integrity", "full disclosure" and "avoiding conflicts of interest" on the refuse heap of history, together with steam engines and horse buggy whips.

                As compared to the establish media channels who did 47 articles about the British royal family for every 2 they did on sopa.

                the same media that did 41 articles about "tim tebow" for every 2 articles on sopa

                Hell even kim karadian divorce beat out SOPA 9 to 2.

                And both those broadcasts addressed any of the negative consequences of the bill.

                Is that the objectivity you are talking about.


                http://mediamatters.org/blog/201201130015

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2012 @ 6:52am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I'm sorry, but without full disclosure of your financial interests, we have no way of knowing if "my writing on Techdirt is not profitable" is a lie or not.

                 

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 8:25pm

        Re: Re:

        Anyone who read his pompously manipulative output for the last year can't help noticing, that he is a spokesman of Big Corporate Tech

        Anyone who actually read what I write can't help but notice that I actually criticize "Big Corporate Tech" quite a lot, especially when they do things to stifle innovation and entrepreneurship. I can't think of a big corporate tech company that I haven't criticized.

        The only way to think that I'm somehow a "spokesman for Big Corporate Tech" is if you don't actually read the site or you're a liar.

        In all his output, Masnick is curiously silent about financial aspect of his, as he says, profitable blog site.

        I've discussed in the past. We make some money from advertising. We make some money from research/consulting via Insight Community and our other platforms. These days, thanks to our traffic growth, more than half of our revenue is advertising. Not too long ago we made more from the research side.

        And one of the ways to be profitable, he says, is "content as advertising". That seems like a fancy name for shilling under the guise of journalism.

        Only if you don't understand it. The actual blog content is not for sale, because that's not content as advertising in any way shape or form. If we were to ever use the blog space to post content that was paid for without revealing it -- and that later came out, we'd lose our credibility, which is the key to our business model.

        You don't seem to understand what we're saying when we say content is advertising. We don't mean that the content is for sale. We mean that the content itself acts *as* advertising. For example, the content we write on the blog shows that we're insightful and understand trends and can explain them well (I know you'll disagree, but plenty of companies don't). Because of the content on the blog, we get hired to help companies understand trends. That's what we mean by content is advertising. If we posting advertorial that actually *destroys* our business, because it takes away our credibility and makes it impossible for us to sell our research/consulting.

        So, have no fear. The blog content is not driven by any "Big Corporate Tech." If it were, they'd probably want a big freaking refund considering how much we criticize them.

        Is it really mistaken to believe that SOPA was defeated by Google, and not grassroot internet democracy?

        Uh, yes, it would be totally mistaken to think that. Because it's not even close to true, and the longer you cling to that conspiracy theory, the more you just demonstrate that you have absolutely no clue what actually happened.

        Trust me. I was there.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2012 @ 2:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The big corporate tech won't pay for research that it dislikes or considers harmful to its interests. It won't pay for the research by people who do not display the proper rightthink.

          Users of this site do not pay for its content. Somebody does. Those entities are not charities.

           

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            fairusefriendly (profile), Mar 15th, 2012 @ 6:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            hello pot

            your black

            sincerely kettle.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2012 @ 11:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Actually, lot of corporations pay for research about something where they don't know if its harmful/neutral/beneficial to their interests , in order for the research to be done so that they can find out.

            What they actually do is decide whether or not to make said research public based on the results. This is one of the areas where industry grants tend to get criticized in academia because of the restriction of useful knowledge it can create ,the pressure to find the "correct" answer, or the papershopping that is sometimes done (you pay a bunch of different people to do the research and then only allow the one that puts you in the best light to be published).

            I'm willing to bet there's a bunch of companies do research into things that are harmful to their current interests too, to be kept on the side, if they can see a change coming, power companies certainly aren't researching more efficient/cleaner fuel because its in the interest of their current bottom line now but because they can see it might well be worth it for their bottom line in the near future.

            TL:DR: Yeah, corporations definitely sometimes do research against their current best interests. Sometimes accidentally, sometimes for future proofing.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 1:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            >The big corporate tech won't pay for research that it dislikes or considers harmful to its interests.

            Oh, and Big Content does? If you're going to accuse "big corporate tech" of the above how about you level the same accusations at the Big Content-paid studies that Big Content refuses to have citations or explanations for?

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2012 @ 7:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Although I understand and agree with you that content not intended to contain advertising can in fact act as advertising in the way that you describe and generate revenue, however this not the traditional the concept of "content as advertising" (which is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to do with journalism content without turning the content into the advertorial which is really just an ad disguised as journalism.

          The traditional view of "content as advertising" refers to embedding references to products in otherwise unrelated entertainment content such that the ad cannot be separated from the content such as product placements in major motion pictures. So in this regard I can see where he could easily misinterpret your meaning.

          However, as I previously addressed his misguided belief that Google killed SOPA, he's clearly a delusional lemming (or shill) of the Content Cartels.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 2:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I just want you to remember, every time you feel like replying to Masnick - he is not talking to you. He is advertising his "research"

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2012 @ 2:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Masnick-

          Your pathetic attempts at pretending you criticize your sponsors- via emasculated wrist slaps over minutia no one cares about, is transparent and pathetic.

          Anyone can look up the web stats that demonstrate that your site isn't worth shit, and you make very little every day.

          You do not make squat on all the other silly shit you pretend you do.

          You're an intellectually dishonest slimeball, and watching you slowly self-immolate as everyone becomes aware that you're a buffoon, has been nothing less than a karmic treat.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

      Re:

      Wish there was a "report" button to flag this imperious and insulting article so that it too would be hidden from view.

      Mr. Masnick, your article and its criticism of one man's opinion based upon his personal experience is so far past the word "arrogant" that I cannot even begin to come up with what I believe would be a more accurate word.

       

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    Are you sure he wasn't trolling?

    "But much of what I see is unedited, incoherent babble indicative of a herd mentality, not a true desire for self-government or fairness.

    Learn to internet, John."

    To add to what Mike said; if you are looking for intellectual discussion or quality content on the internet, you can find it. If all you find is stupid stuff then you are looking for stupid stuff.

    "Out of physical sight, out of mind. At some point you've got to turn off your computer or your iPad, but the mail and the brochures and printed matter just keep coming. "

    At some point, the magic of the internet is going to allow me to do everything I want/need. Pretty soon I am going to replace my mailbox with a trashcan with a slot in it, because anything coming thereby won't be important to me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    Consider the behavior of ordinary people after the letter carrier makes what is increasingly an evening delivery. Once they've collected the mail, including magazines, catalogs, junk mail and newspapers, even the most ad-resistant, Web-addicted individuals will glance at some of the printed matter on the way to the garbage can.

    Umm...not me man. I don't check my mail more than once a week, if that. It just piles up. I then grab it, get my bank statements/bills/whatevers (all of which are paid and tracked online anyway) drop them in a filing cabinet for "record keeping" (they'll make good tinder one day I'm sure), and drop the rest in the trash. The ads don't matter, don't get a second glance, and don't match what I can find online as far as deals go.

     

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:34am

      Re:

      But...but...you still touched it! Didn't you feel warm and fuzzy inside!

       

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      A Dan (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:49am

      Re:

      I use the promo codes (on the coupons that pizza places send) when I order online. So I guess some of the ads do make a difference. These coupon codes don't tend to appear on RetailMeNot.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    whats his point here:

    "A few weeks ago, in a column headlined "Screened out and Isolated," he described the scene in a cafe in Venice Beach, California. Twelve similarly dressed customers, all with Macbook Airs, and half wearing headphones for silence. Not a single paper publication in site. "Everyone looked extremely serious," wrote Brule, "no sunny smiles on this stretch of the California coast. There was little looking up from their screens, a lot of manic typing and even more twisting of stray locks."
    So, no one is reading a magazine - they are all reading stuff on the internet? Doesn't that disprove his point? Or that they are working in a lovely setting, individually earning becasue of the internet - also disproving his point?
    Or is it just that everyone was busy?

     

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      dwg, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

      Re: whats his point here:

      No way 12 people in the cafe at the same time had MacBook Airs. Like, absolutely no way. Deduct points for hyperbole in guise of factual reporting in service of weak argument.

       

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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    No need to read past

    "As all of you who attended my last Delacorte lecture, 12 years ago, can surmise, what I told the staffers was, essentially, forget it."


    He is stuck in Y2K, and has not broadened his horizons since, in my opinion, much longer than that.

    "So many people get into this business with a sense of entitlement." - And you are not the exception, although you think you are.

    Ahh enough of this, it's too easy.

    Kids, lawn, off. Yeah we get it old man, move along now.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    I'm not going to read his diatribe - my time has value and I really don't care what some old brick of shit has to say. I'm not even going to read your whole critique. Quite frankly, it bores me. The guy’s a fucking dope – I get it.

    But I will take the time to say this:

    Since I first used the World-Wide-Web about 16 years ago (I used the Internet for years before that), it has turned from a mind-expanding information resource and exchange into little more than a time-sucking money-grubbing shithole.

    The cause of this complete corruption of the web? Commercialism, of course. Every money-grubbing bastard on the planet has tired to bilk people who have a thirst for knowledge

    The Internet itself is now primarily a spy-trap for businesses and police/governments (primarily the United Police States of American Paranoia) and a shopping mall for Joe and Jane Six-pack so they can waste money and sit at home in their underwear and get fatter at the same time. The Internet has gone mainstream and it sucks worse than cable TV and telephone combined.

    Perhaps the "prediction" (warning?) made ca 2008 is becoming true: 2012 is the year "that the Internet becomes just like cable TV". What they forgot to say is "and cable tv is a wasteland for exploitation of the mindless masses by the money-grubbing bastards form hell".

    To fellow techies: it's time to start again. The same stupid buggers ruined the old one. Let's get working on something new and stay ahead of them.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:31am

      Re: Heartily!

      Whilst I agree with your premise--the conclusion of building another one will simply lead to repeating the cycle of waste & stupidity.

      What needs to be addressed is why did the interwebs become a 'wasteland of exploitation'? And I do not mean a trite, easy answer like "commercialism" but what is the real, underlying cause?

      Sadly, the only conclusion I've come to on it is a matter of culture and social philosophy--and these need to be changed before we'll ever achieve a long-lasting betterment of our future anything.

       

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:40am

      Re: the Problem is You!

      If you can't find that same mind-expanding information on the internet then the problem is YOU! It is all still there, but now there is a lot more for what others consider "mind-expanding" and are willing to put up with the commercialization. The internet is a tool, if you use it wrong that is your problem.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

        Re: Re: the Problem is You!

        "If you can't find that same mind-expanding information on the internet then the problem is YOU! It is all still there"

        But now you can get it printed onto a tshirt or a coffee mug if you choose.

         

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      Baldaur Regis (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:05am

      Re:

      Since I first used the World-Wide-Web about 16 years ago (I used the Internet for years before that)...

      I'm going to go out on a limb and assume this is brilliant satire (8/10: well played, sir!). Otherwise, what I'm hearing this fellow saying is "Get off my Internet lawn, you damn kids!"

       

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      Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:47am

      Re:

      It's worth reading for Mike's comments in the middle. Pure comedy, fine sarcasm and spot on. With citations ;)

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

      Re:

      A small of things I have perused on the internet in the last hour:

      - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

      - Marble sculpting, including http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Veiled_Virgin and http://www.spanierman.com/Ives,-Chauncy-Bradley/Undine-Rising-From-the-Water/1/1/

      - Discussions on system architecture, useful blogging features, and cpu overclocking

      I never go more than half an hour on the internet without learning something new (or disproving something I thought I knew), and it's unclear to me how this means I am an exploited mindless drone. Any kind of participation is possible, and I still use the internet as a mind-expanding information resource every day.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:24pm

      Re:

      I've been using the web since the early to mid 90s and, to be perfectly honest I don't recall a whole passel of mind-expanding information resource or exchange back then, It was out there but you really had to look and you had to get by all those vanity web sites that suddenly appeared with pictures of person it belonged to with their dog or cat or significant other at some beach or other.

      What you're looking for is still there on the InterWebs, still difficult to find at times and buried under the commercialism you complain about but still there. At least the Web is two way cable TV if you want to use that analogy.

      I first heard that analogy somewhere around 1997, actually with the rise of JavaScript and Java in an attempt to bring on Web 2.0 (may you forever cursed for that phrase Tim O'Reilly) in before its time. So interactivity was limited to waiting for some applet or other to download at 48.8KBps and swearing at it when it did.

      Personally I dodge as much of it as I can when I'm poking around and move on after a popup or two.

      There's more chaff to winnow out but there's more grain, too. And so what if Joe and Jane Sixpack can wander around Amazon or EBay to buy what they want between BBQs? Because I'm a techie doesn't make me better than them just, perhaps, more selective. Not to mention that digs at the "working class" get tiring after a while.

      I think we can both agree that there was less of a fuss about infringement back then but it was coming and soon that bit of nirvana would get caught up with the silliness of SOPA/PIPA/ACTA/TPP.

      Just as MacArthur seems to long for the good old days of the 1950s, 60s and 70s we can't turn the clock back in the Internet either or start it again. Just as "the money grubbing bastards from hell" want to make this a carbon copy of what they're used to we can't start over in the hopes they won't find us. They will. (I absolutely guarantee you that the porn industry will find the "new" internet the day the lights go on!)

      At least the way things are now "we the people" get to beat the "money grubbing from hell" at their own game every now at then witness PIPA/SOPA and with some luck ACTA in the EU.

       

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    Lowestofthekeys, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:27am

    Oh, old people

    It's disconcerting that MacArthur completely ignores the one consistent trend with business...convenience, and then tempers his argument with that irrational fear of change brought about by the decaying grasp of senility.

    People are more likely to invest their time in information they can receive right here, right now.

    For example, it is much easier for me to obtain content from a website than to drive my Model T Huckster down to the 'ol neighborhood pharmacy for a nickel newspaper.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:38am

    After reading his article I'm a little confused... Why did MacArthur deign to post his article on the intertubes and not publish it only in his self-evidently superior magazine?

     

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      Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

      Re:

      He got confused with all teh techie stuff and hit send to the intertubes thinking he was hitting send in an e-mail to the magazine staff. Now he'll lose billions in lost sales because of this =((((

       

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    Sounds like this guy needs to change his Depends. They are probably causing serious skin inflammation, which has now infected his brain. Some people reach the condition of reactionary coot-ism sooner than others, as this case proves.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Matt Villano

    In an instant:
    John R. MacArthur - proves himself a fool, and loses potential readers.
    In that same instant - Matt Villano gains some (at least one)fan.

    See how that works?
    "There's plenty of work out there for freelancers. They just have to work hard to find it."

     

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    blatanville (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    I used to finish Harper's issues in plenty of time

    before the next issue arrived. Now I've got a six-month back-log of barely-skimmed issues in the bathroom, a new issue arrived yesterday, and I've received three snailmail pieces in the last two weeks BEGGING me to renew my subscription four months before it expires.
    1) I would re-subscribe in a heartbeat if I could get a discounted price on ONLY an digital copy to read on my tablet. Save the trees, save the money, save the time of printing and mailing me a print copy, just give me the content (As a subscriber, I get instant online access to the current issue, which the "plebes" have to wait a full month to get (or did, maybe they're shut out permanently? I don't know.), but I still get mailed the print copy, which I'm feeling guilty about not reading at this point)
    2) MacArthur needs to foreground the fact that his magazine is run as a not-for-profit enterprise, financed by a foundation that believes Harper's Monthly has a sound cultural and critical reason for being. They don't make money, they consume it. Their advertising and subscription dollars are merely helping keep it afloat: they're not critically dependent on it. In this sense, we politely say that any of MacArthur's economic points are "disingenuous".

     

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    Trails (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:59am

    My fav

    "The Internet, I told them, wasn't much more than a gigantic Xerox machine (albeit with inhuman "memory")"

    Oh wow. The largest computer network which allows people to work and collaborate together all over the world (I'm currently in Canada on a webex with someone in Guatemala and someone else in India and we're working on something for a company in Florida), and has sparked things like the "Arab Spring" is a... Xerox machine?

    That basically screams "I'm too stubborn to listen to anything new." It also screams "fire me from my media job right now, as I'm killing your business".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:11am

    Mike, what is truly funny when you do stuff like this is that you are missing the point:

    If the guy thinks it's a good business model, if he thinks it's workable, then LET HIM DO IT. You don't have to rag on about it not working (especially when you are wrong), let him go out and fail soundly. Call him out as a dick when it fails.

    Until then, his opinion is at least as valid as your own.

     

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      Trails (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:27am

      Re:

      "Until then, his opinion is at least as valid as your own."

      No, it isn't. RTFA.

       

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      Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:41am

      Re:

      Actually, no1 is trying to stop him from shooting his own feet by refusing to adapt. Mike is just commenting on this singular suicidal specimen.

      Actually, you, my dear AC, is probably another very interesting and funny specimen.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 2:24pm

        Re: Re:

        No, he is not "commenting". He is "insulting", a characteristic trait as of late, and taking great glee is putting others down because they happen to express opinions that run counter to his ideology.

         

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    Jake, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:13am

    That was unusually acerbic for you; I'd normally only expect that level of withering sarcasm from Tim Geigner. Rough day at the office?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    What is clear is that anyone with any sort of investment in the business that this guy is a spokesman for needs to push for his immediate removal, a coup de tat if necessary. This business is doomed with this guy at the wheel. With all the divisions of News Corp shooting themselves in the foot over the Internet, I'm picking up more 2013 puts in News Corp. Good old Rupert is making me a millionaire!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:32am

    Did anyone read the last paragraph of the original article?

    Put up paywalls on blogs, if you must blog, for pennies if that's all the market will bear. But at least hold fast to the principle that writing is work, that writing has value, and that writers should be paid. True, I didn't get paid to write this but I'm going to translate this speech into French for a speech I have to make in Montreal in September, for which I will be paid.

    That's one heck of a Chuck Norris Violent Face Palm of Irony!

     

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      Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:45am

      Re:

      What is more violent, what he said or the fact that any1 actually pays to listen to him?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:47am

        Re: Re:

        The fact that he figured out how to write something for free and still make money off it...

         

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          Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm inclined to say it's the fact that some1 is actually paying for that bs but considering all his rant against free I'll agree with you ;)

          I'd understand ppl paying him if it was some sort of stand up comedy show...

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:01am

    I have not read harpers magazine in a very long time now I know why.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:58am

      Re:

      Because you're an illiterate dittohead?

       

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        dwg, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:38pm

        Re: Re:

        That's probably not the answer. I was a subscriber for 10 years and let it lapse because Harper's refused to stay relevant--and I don't mean technologically, I mean content-wise. It's a relic, and that makes me sad--but not sad enough to support it through its refusal to work for my money.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:07am

    One problem...

    Mike, this isn't a chance to take swings at fastballs. This is slow pitch.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:35am

    Speak like Master Yoda. [check]

    All those millions of eyeballs glued to Facebook do not a revolution make, or even a reform movement.

     

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    Chris Hoeschen (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    When you are born everything in the world is how it has always been.

    When you are in your 20's anything new is awesome and you fully embrace it.

    When you are in your 40's anything new is wrong and against the vary nature of the universe.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 12:42pm

    Translation

    "We are failing absolutely, and it's absolutely not our fault."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

    Never heard of Harper's magazine but the article made me curious. So let's see - I go their website and it's chock full of invitations to subscribe. And they make it very clear what's the value - access to ALL past issues since 1850!

    So what's their target audience? Historians? I mean who else would pay to get access to past issues?

     

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    lexieliberty (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    Best thing I read all day

    This man, oh my god he is such a joy. Are we sure he's not some time traveler? Seriously, what he wrote was the most amazing thing I've read in months. The sheer lunacy and how out of touch he is is simply comical.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    This post is much more enjoyable if you mentally narrate MacArthur's blather in the voice of a doddering old man. I recommend either Wilford Brimley or Abraham Simpson.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    I was going to mock this guy for talking about "deleting" popups (I'm guessing he meant "close"?), but after thinking about it for a bit, I just feel sorry for him.
    Here I am, practically able to zip around the internet in my sleep, finding whatever I'm looking for in seconds (popup-free), and this poor guy can barely do anything, and he's so frustrated by it that he ends up venting his spleen in this "I hate the internet!" rant.

    If I could, I'd show this guy how to install Firefox and use NoScript.

     

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    Chris, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 2:31pm

    Don't be too hard on us old way luddites. As far as I see it progress is the problem. 50 years ago there were no anti-circumvention laws and it was much clearer that you owned what you bought.

     

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    Nighthawk Foo (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    Amazing. Simply amazing. Content like this is the reason I read this site almost daily. I can see why Techdirt is profitable if the quality of the writing is continuously this high.

    Keep up the good work!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:05pm

    Oh Mike, leave the poor old guy alone; let him dig himself into his (professional) grave.

     

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    Clark Humphrey, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:03pm

    Show me an online content model where the writers/artists (not just coders and executives) actually get paid. In money. Not just in "exposure."

    Until then, I'll remain convinced you're more of a "young fogey" than Mr MacArthur is an old fogey.

     

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    techflaws.org (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 11:38pm

    When a display ad pops up on your screen and covers your free content, if you don't utter a profanity like I do, you delete it as quickly as you can or you switch to another Web site.

    Has never heard of Adblock - check.

     

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    god is a list creator, Mar 15th, 2012 @ 4:10am

    .........

    .
    .
    .
    best checklist eva !

     

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    Richard (profile), Mar 15th, 2012 @ 5:30am

    Out of physical sight, out of mind.

    Once famously mistranslated as "Invisible Idiot"

    and I'm sure that this idiot will be pretty much invisible if he ignores the internet...

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Mar 15th, 2012 @ 11:00am

    Responding to paper advertisements? Really? I can only buy so much life insurance, pizza, car insurance, cable, internet, satellite and get so many credit cards before something has to give. (I guess the credit cards are for paying for the rest, but eventually I'll run out of money paying it back, yes?)

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Mar 15th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Luddite comments

    Do you really think people have the time to read stuff this long?
    An old man went to Church. When asked by the pastor how he liked the (very long, tedious) sermon, he said "if you want to sell me a lot of hay, bale it first".

     

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    AllisonK (profile), Mar 15th, 2012 @ 11:27am

    Such a shame - Harper's often has really good content. I picked one up randomly at a train station once and was hooked. Too bad they're not giving more people a chance to discover that.

     

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    John Abraham-Watne (profile), Mar 15th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

    An epic takedown

    Wow, just wow. I've been lurking Techdirt via the invaluable daily emails from Mike, et al, but this post has finally caused me to come out of the woodwork and comment.

    I have been a print subscriber to Harper's Magazine for a few years now and find the journalism there second-to-none among the vast amount that is available in this day and age. That being said, I have always been stymied by the fact that their magazine content has been off limits on their website to non-subscribers; I would love to be able to share the brilliant work to others on the internet who may not be aware. This all makes much more sense now after witnessing this tone-deaf speech by the publisher. Disclosure: I did not read the transcript of the speech in question (perhaps MacArthur wishes I pay him for the privilege?), given that Mike's take down of said speech seems to be a much greater contribution to this discussion.

    I'm not going to cancel my subscription or anything; Harper's provides too much food for thought for me to do that. But this whole thing explains so much about the way the magazine has approached the internet, and how the "older generation" of media barons sees this technology with such horror. Truly an example of the "doesn't know how to work the internet" crowd if I've ever seen it. Mike, thanks for your brilliant work, as always, and keep up the great work.

    JAW

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

      Re: An epic takedown

      What is keeping you from "sharing"? Seems to me that telling a friend about a great article and encouraging him to buy a copy would do just as well.

       

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    Ryan Hoody, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    Quite the thorough analysis of his book Mike. Not everyone can escape the banal stereotypes done by so many others, but then again, pointing out those faults is pretty platitudinal in itself. It's always easier to criticize than create, and if no one is criticizing your work, you're doing something wrong.

    Thanks for the post,

    Ryan

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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