from the 211b-baker-street dept
It's always funny when people accuse demonstrators and protestors of "wanting" to cause a controversy or "knowing" they would get a bad reaction — because of course that's the case. There's not much point speaking out about anodyne, agreeable topics — demonstration is about starting a serious conversation, and serious conversations tend to get heated. When one commenter accused a California student, who was banned from handing out copies of the Constitution, of putting on a "staged" stunt that he knew would get shut down, DCX2 won most insightful comment of the week by explaining why that doesn't matter, and in fact was kind of the point:
So what if it was staged? That doesn't change anything.
The First Amendment does not say Freedom of Speech requires you to register ahead of time.
Of course, these days, a campus spat is like a vacation from the ongoing constitutional crisis of government surveillance. This week, when the DOJ openly told a reporter they were, to put it bluntly, fucking with him, John Fenderson won second place on the insightful side by giving backhanded credit where backhanded credit is due:
They are being more transparent!
After all, they're not even trying to hide their thuggishness or their complete disdain for the American people anymore.
I'm curious what the DOJ's definition of "unbiased reporting" is. I suspect it means "reporting only what we tell you to report".
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from MikeH, who picked up on a telling choice of words in Verizon's mockery of companies that pushed back against the NSA:
My favorite bit:
"I appreciate that the consumer-centric IT firms..." So by converse, Verizon is not consumer-centric. Explains so much of my interaction with this company.
And to close out the insightful side, we head over to our post about the ongoing battle over insight-and-deduction icon Sherlock Holmes. One commenter, who has made his dismissal of virtually all modern culture very clear in the past, accused creators who re-imagine old works of being "hacks" who "taint" the "source". In response, S. T. Stone provided a good breakdown of why such reuse is integral to culture:
Because that’s how culture works. We take the characteristics of a good story, character, film, song, etc. and work them into our own works, either directly or indirectly and in pieces or in whole. Fifty Shades of Grey started off as a Twilight fanfiction. Practically every modern zombie movie is spun off of the original Night of the Living Dead. We appropriate old culture and transform it into new culture in one way or another. If we had perpetual copyright, culture couldn't grow because culture would require people to create 100% original works every time they set pen to paper or strummed a guitar or picked up a camera.
Locking up culture behind a wall of control presents the most dangerous threat to culture. Copyright strangles culture. It denies us the right to grow culture and improve culture and create new culture.
That you oppose the public domain (the best resource for anyone looking to grow and create new culture) says more about how much you respect how artists work and create than anything.
As it happens, that same post is the source of our top two funniest comments of the week. In first place we've got Michael, who knew just the man to tackle the case of the immortal copyright:
If only there were a man that had such amazing deductive reasoning that he could unwind any mystery through logic. Then, we could have him examine this situation and determine if it makes any sense to continue to have these works remain locked up.
In fact, the story of that happening could make a great book! Someone should write about this character. He should have some kind of side-kick too.
And in second place, we've got another response to the aforementioned anti-culture commenter, this time coming from Colin and leaning on good old fashioned sarcasm:
I know, I hate that too! I hear a cover and them I'm all, "Shit, now that there's a cover I can't listen to the original anymore! It's been poisoned or whatever!" The fact that I can't enjoy the original because it's been completely overwritten by the new thing is awful.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start with an anonymous commenter who could revolutionize digital information laws with his method of returning an email:
This is easy to do, just send the email back, delete your own copy, then delete the information from your brain by repeatedly banging your head against the wall.
Sometimes you just need to use your head...
And finally, we've got Trails, extrapolating from the NSA's comments about terrorists favoring Gmail:
I heard that oxygen was the preferred inhalant of terrorists. In fact, vast swathes of terrorists use oxygen directly to further bomb making, grainy video production, and training others in bomb making.
That's all for this week, folks!