Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the bring-on-the-funny dept

Well, here’s a first. In all these months of doing “funniest/most insightful” posts, we’ve never had one commenter score both first and second in one of the categories, but this week, it happened in both categories! Unregistered commenter MrWilson got both the gold and the silver in the “most insightful” category. It was an amazingly tight race, too, with about 6 comments within striking distance of the top spot, but MrWilson’s two posts edged out the field. The comment with the highest score was in response to an MPAA official claiming that he wasn’t interested in democratizing culture:

“And you’re talking about democratizing culture, this is not one of our interests.”

This is the key component. When they refer to culture, they’re referring to monetized, curated, one-way-broadcasted culture. So they’re really not talking about culture at all.

Taking a couple denotations from Wikipedia:

“An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning”

“The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group”

Note the phrases “human knowledge” and “shared attitudes, values, goals…”

Culture is shared. It can’t be one-way. It can’t be locked down by DRM or copyright. If it is, it isn’t culture.

Culture isn’t just buying Star Wars on DVD. It’s fans making ridiculously stupid cosplay outfits and going to Comicon to show off. It’s Robot Chicken and Family Guy making fun of Star Wars. It’s bad fan fiction. It’s modding Star Wars games to create your own stories and new characters or adventures. It’s mashing up Star Wars and Star Trek to prove that the Death Star could totally blow up the Enterprise.

If you can control culture, it isn’t culture. Culture is a dialogue and unless you have a split personality, you can’t be the only one speaking in a dialogue.

As for the second place one, it was commenting on the TSA’s claims that complaining about the TSA is a sign that you’re a terrorist. This comment also scored quite well on the “funniest” category rankings as well, so congrats to MrWilson on a week of comments people loved:

TSA strategy is simple. Make air travel as unbearable as possible for as many people as possible so fewer will fly. Thus, the thinking goes, the terrorists will realize that they can’t get as high a terrifying bodycount and will move on to targeting something else. Of course the airlines already tried this strategy for years, but it doesn’t seem to dissuade passengers from flying.

Scan em naked, grope em, take their bottled water, grope their kids, feed em plastic food, charge for peanuts, steal their luggage, skullfuck their personal dignity, expose their prosthetics, break their colostomy bags, throw away their shampoo bottles… American air travelers are nothing if not masochists.

On the editor’s choice side, I’m going to just go with one this week, from filmmaker Kevin Smith who kindly answered my questions about the financial model behind his new movie Red State. This comment was actually ranked fourth in “most insightful” anyway, and deserves more attention:

Once again, thank you for noticing what we’re doing over here. You guys make me blush.

To answer the question: once the $4 million goes back to the investors, all revenue above and beyond that recoupment figure gets split with the investors.

It’s a fairly common investment model in the movie business; but since industry math can be byzantine, investors rarely see their investment back for years (in some cases, a decade). Since we have no marketing to stand behind in recoupment (and since the budget was so low in the first place), once the DVD/BD/VOD/streaming deals close, we’re in the black. Basically, that means all money that comes in beyond the budget recoupment is now profit for The Harvey Boys to split with our two investing partners. So from now on – so long as we incur no future costs in releasing the movie, like television or outdoor marketing – the loot from every purchase of RED STATE (theatrically, VOD, BluRay, etc) now serves as the spoils of a small experiment that probably doesn’t really matter to anyone else but me.

As mentioned (lots), this next flick HIT SOMEBODY is gonna be my last theatrical effort (and believe me: I’ll be putting forth every effort to make it rock). Before I leave this business, I wanted to honor the curiosity of a frustrated younger version of me, who’d study the advertising costs and lament “I wonder if I could successfully release a flick with no traditional paid-for marketing?”

After years of trying to understand financial participation statements for the movies I’ve directed, I wanted the math on RED STATE to be so simple and easy to track, even a second grader could distinguish revenue. So far, so good…

Special thanks to Kevin for stopping by and sharing.

Now, onto the funniest comments of the week (perhaps next week, we can have Kevin Smith try for that category too… though, I guess he’d be something of a ringer). Once again, the winner for both first and second place this week is the Capitalist Lion Tamer, who responded to a different comment (which actually came in fifth in the funny rankings) of someone saying that “lawsuits gone wild aren’t nearly as fun as girls gone wild,” leading CLT to try to merge the two:

U.S. Patent No. 7,762,818 on “girls in various states of undress shouting “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

U.S. Patent No. 7,644,114 on a “method and apparatus for displaying said girls in various states of undress shouting “WOOOOOOOOOO!”

U.S. Patent No. 6,803,072 on “girls in various states of undress raising alcoholic beverages and shouting “WOOOOOOO!”

U.S. Patent No. 8,969,311 on “guys in various states of Abercrombie & Fitch raising alcoholic beverages and shouting “WOOOOOOOOOO!” at said girls in various states of undress shouting “WOOOOOOOO!”

U.S. Patent No. 6,174,915 on “exposed female breasts”

U.S. Patent No. 6,174,916 on a “method and apparatus utilizing a separate girl in a varied state of undress to expose breasts of another girl in a varied state of undress via a lifting apparatus [hands/arms]”

U.S. Patent No. 5,003,123 on a “bulletproof release/resignation of publicity rights form”

U.S. Patent No. 5,603,4543 on a “Rohypnol”

And, his second place post was one that had me kicking myself, because he suggested a much better title for my post on U2’s manager demanding more cash from the tech and telco industries, just as U2 was announced as having the highest grossing tour ever. My title was boring. CLT’s was perfect:

“World’s Richest Band Seeks Handout”

“The world’s richest musicians are not quite rich enough,” states manager Paul McGuiness. “More importantly, I’m not rich enough.” Recent 360 concerts have ended with Paul passing the hat for jet fuel money. The band members have been forced to get by on a per diem of $[insert unimaginable amount here].

When pressed for further details as to exactly why the internet in general owes Paul McGuiness (and by extension, U2) more money, McGuiness stated: “Because fuck you, that’s why,” before disappearing into a handpainted 767 filled to the ceiling with Cristal and potatoes.

Perhaps I should have him write my headlines. Of course, somewhat ironically, CLT had two excellent full on posts on the site this week… and I changed the titles on both of them. But, in case you missed it, he wrote the post showing how Napster’s correlation with stolen cars proves that Napster caused fewer cars to be stolen, as well as channeling the prophet of the new church of copying.

As for editor’s choice… we’ve got two of those. The first is about Apple’s patent lawsuit against Samsung, where el_segfaulto explained why we shouldn’t minimize Apple’s contributions here:

I have to agree with Apple on this one. How many decades of research and development did we have to go through to go from square corners to rounded? It was a quantum leap and Apple needs to be rewarded for that kind farsighted thinking. And how many of you armchair quarterbacks would have thought to line up your icons in a grid pattern? Personally, I had been doing it in ley lines on a Cartesian plane using the birthdate of the girl I’m dating at the time as a seed for a complex algorithm involving the closing Dow Jones average, the phase of the moon, and the number of times I have to unlock a user’s account because of sheer stupidity throughout the day. I don’t mind telling you that it was difficult, so huzzah Apple, huzzah

And, finally, we’ve got Ima Fish, who sets up the analogy of video games to restaurants after hearing yet another video game exec complaining that $1 mobile games means no one will ever want to buy his $60 console games again:

When fast food restaurants first came out, did the formal dining restaurants get together and whine about competition? I mean, who’d pay for an expensive fancy meal if you can get a burger for under a buck?

Another week down… and another week gets ready to start. Man, these weeks just keep on coming.

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Sweet zombie Jesus

but it’s quiet in here.

Personally, the whole comment thread for Kevin Smith’s success was full of WIN, not the least of which had to do with the man himself stopping by. The ongoing argument about how a personal appearance is somehow gatekeeping an infinite good was particularly entertaining. Generally speaking, if you’re going to pick fights with the kool-aid drinkers, it helps if you actually have something to stand on once the words start flying.

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