Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt
from the secrets-revealed dept
This week, all eyes were on the torture report and the government’s response to it. After Dick Cheney attempted to dismiss it with some empty rhetoric, DaveK won first place for insightful by elegantly correcting him:
Cheney is asking the wrong question:
“How nice do you want to be to the murderers of 3,000 Americans?”
The correct question is “How alike do you want to be to the murderers of 3,000 Americans?”
Torture, while the most severe, wasn’t the only exposed misdeed under scrutiny this week. We also saw leaked MPAA emails detailing plans to pay government officials to attack Google, who they called “Goliath”. This led to a thread about the meaning of that codename, in which Mason Wheeler was the clear champion, winning second place for insightful:
Historically, there was something of a rock-paper-scissors dynamic on ancient battlefields. There were three fundamental classes of warriors: cavalry, infantry, and archers.
Cavalry beat archers, with their ability to close quickly and overrun them before they could get many shots off.
Infantry beat cavalry, because they could use long spears to disrupt the heck out of a cavalry charge and panic the horses, throwing the whole group into disarray.
Archers beat infantry, because, infantry being much slower to move than cavalry (especially if they wore heavy armor) they were left exposed to devastating projectile volleys for a long time.
In the ancient tale of David and Goliath, we see the biggest, toughest guy around challenging the opposing army to a traditional rite of combat by champion: a “proxy battle” that avoided the wasteful slaughter of an actual battle. The record goes into great detail about his size and the size and weight of his weapons and armor. There’s no doubt about it: Goliath was heavy infantry through and through.
After much consternation on the other side, a self-selected champion stepped up. When the king tried to outfit him as a heavy infantryman to match Goliath, though, he demurred; it wasn’t what he was trained for. No, David was an archer, and he intended to fight as an archer. He used a sling rather than a bow and arrow, but that’s still an incredibly lethal ranged weapon.
He stepped out onto the field, and Goliath’s fate was sealed at that moment. People who don’t understand the tactics involved call it a surprising victory on David’s part, but in reality the only surprise here is that at no point did Goliath seem to understand just how screwed he was, until it was suddenly too late.
There is one aspect of his description that doesn’t fit the heavy infantry profile: he had a shield bearer go before him. But a guy used to fighting in close quarters doesn’t need someone else to carry his shield; shield bearers were for archers! Between that, his physical description, and the fact that he claimed David was attacking him with “staves” (plural), when he was carrying a single staff, it’s likely that he had severe problems with his vision–which is a known side effect of gigantism–and the “shield bearer” was actually a guide.
Goliath died because he faced an opponent who was playing by different rules than what he was expecting, and he was too blind to notice until it was too late. Now who does that sound more like? Google, or the MPAA?
For editor’s choice, we start with a short comment from Violynne suggesting an even better solution for Keurig’s “coffee DRM” than the scotch-tape circumvention:
Ingenious, but I’m sticking with my way to circumvent the DRM: Not buy the damn product in the first place.
Next, we’ll loop back around to the post about Cheney’s comments and that same question about “how nice” we want to be, where Rich Kulawiec offered up a beautiful statement of principles in response:
I want to be as “nice” to them as the law, international treaties, and centuries of American principles demand that I be. I want to treat them humanely. I want to see that if they are accused of crimes, they are told of those accusations. I want to see if they are tried, that such trial is held in a timely manner and that they are provided with competent legal counsel and thus a robust defense. I want them to be able to confront their accusers via cross-examination and to be able to present witnesses in their favor. I want them to be fully accorded their rights under the Geneva Conventions and under international law and under American law at all times.
Because that’s how it’s done. That’s how civilized nations behave. That’s how proud, strong nations that aren’t afraid of a few trifling “terrorists” act. That’s how countries who refuse to be cowed by a mere pinprick of an attack (which is all that 9/11 was) respond. They do not throw their principles out the window in panic and they do not whimper like frightened children at the threats of bullies.
This isn’t a matter of being “nice” to them or not — although I’m sure war criminal Dick Cheney likes phrasing it that way. It’s a matter of principle, pride and patriotism. It’s a matter of truly being American, not in the flag-waving anthem-singing sense, but in the sense envisioned by those who founded this country.
Not so long ago, the United States and allies tried and executed people for doing exactly what Dick Cheney did. Not so long ago, the United States decried renderings and mock trials and extrajudicial executions and mass surveillance and political persecution and torture and all the other things that we said the Germans did, the Japanese did, the Russians did, the Chinese did. Not so long ago, the United States said that it was important to defeat those countries — either militarily or politically — to stop those things from happening. And now we’ve done them all, thanks to men like Dick Cheney: weak, frightened, lying, sadistic and cowardly men in positions of power.
History will not look kindly on them.
Spain? Never heard of it. Is that T-pain’s son?
I’d love to hear how the people and politicians in Spain react to this news, but that’s not going to happen since my primary source is Google News.
For second place, we’ve got a comment from our post about record labels releasing flimsy collections of old recordings just for copyright extension purposes, where Michael noted something familiar:
Based on the Aereo case, I’m pretty sure that circumventing the law by following it to the letter means that these guys are a duck or something.
They’ll Steal Anything
Last but not least, we’ve actually got a team effort of two comments, back on the post about Google News in Spain. There’s one obvious joke that bubbles up whenever Spain is involved, and one anonymous coward gets props for making it…
Nobody expects the Spanish news tax
…but Crusty the Ex-clown gets double props for perfecting it:
No one expects the Spanish Requisition!!!
That’s all for this week, folks!