from the reading,-writing-and-arrested-development dept
When a high school principal went to great lengths to stop kids from reading Cory Doctorow's Little Brother — by all accounts an honest and insightful story about being a teenager — Silverscarcat won most insightful comment of the week by reminding them the only impact this is likely to have:
Don't these people remember...
What it was like to be a teenager?
The best way to get a teen to do something is to say "it's not allowed". They're going to rebel over this.
Meanwhile, thanks largely to John Oliver, there has been far more buzz than usual about net neutrality this week. When one commenter attempted to reframe the Comcast-Netflix dispute in a way that largely absolves the former, saying it is simply choosing not to add bandwidth for Netflix's sake rather than blocking or limiting them in any way, Rich Kulawiec won second place for insightful with a reframing of the reframing:
No. Stop. Wrong.
What Comcast is refusing to do is to support its OWN business model, which includes "delivering advertised bandwidth to the customers who have already paid for it".
Comcast has been paid. In fact, they've been drastically OVERPAID, given their miserably slow service and insanely high prices and appalling customer "support" when compared to the rest of the world. They're now refusing to deliver the service that they've been paid for unless their extortion demands are met.
Maybe if Comcast didn't pay their lying dirtbag CEO so much, or pay its lying dirtbag lobbyists so much, or spend money on sports arenas, idiotic rebranding efforts (the lame "Xfinity" because everyone hates Comcast), or on self-promoting commercials and print ads, maybe they could take some of those hundreds of millions of dollars and provide the services that their customers are entitled to.
But I doubt that will ever happen. That would be responsible and ethical, thus completely out of sync with Comcast's corporate culture.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we'll start out with a look at Netflix's overlapping and similar battle with Verizon, which recently sent the streaming company a Cease & Desist over its messaging about the failures of the Verizon network. As one anonymous commenter pointed out, this is almost certainly the definition of an empty threat — because imagine what would be revealed if it got serious:
I suspect Netflix would very much enjoy the discovery process if Verizon followed through on this.
For the next editor's choice, we're going to double-dip in two ways: another comment from the dispute over Doctorow's novel, and also from Rich Kulaweic. It lays out in no uncertain terms why any discussion about which books are "controversial reading" for children is pathetic and dangerous:
There is no such thing. Kids should read EVERYTHING: Homer and Aristophanes, Shakespeare and Jong, Asimov and Hunter S. Thompson, Sagan and Gould, Sun Tzu and Doyle, Faulkner and Rowling, Einstein and Thurber. The great, the minimal, the profound, the romantic, the tragic, the inspiring, the profane, the funny, all of it, as much as they can, as often as they can, whenever they can.
"Controversial reading" is the recent construct of uneducated, fearful people seeking to incite moral panics to suit their own political/social/economics/religious ends. (I find it instructive to note how many those behind these charades have no objection to children reading the major religious work of the western world: the bible. Yet it contains rape, murder, torture, sodomy, racial cleansing, bigotry, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, genocide, war crimes, pedophilia, etc., etc., etc.)
The burning of an author's books, imprisonment for opinion's sake, has always been the tribute that an ignorant age pays to the genius of its time. -- Joseph Lewis
Dort, wo man Bucher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen. (Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people.) --- Heinrich Heine
When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you may not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. ---Robert Heinlein
Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind. ---Virginia Woolf
Over on the funny side, first place is simple but well-deserved. When we wrote about an artist trying to stop people from the symbol for pi with a weak trademark, one anonymous commenter won the race to land the best pun:
He's a pi rat.
For second place, we head to our post predicting the usual "blame the internet" backlash following the disturbing attack committed by two 12-year-old girls, in deluded service of a character from an online horror story/meme. Coogan saw a chance to introduce some new mythology to the digital canon:
I heard if you stand in front of your bathroom mirror, turn the lights out, and say "James Clapper" three times, he'll appear in the mirror and accuse you of supporting the enemies of America.
Just goes to show that copyright isn't about protecting the rights of artists and creators at all. It's only about getting a bigger piece of the pi.
Last but not least, after the administration flip-flopped on its promise to release an important drone strike memo (despite having gotten what it wanted in return), That One Guy found an appropriate quote from a fictional villain whose cartoonish evil might be preferable to the DOJ at this point:
'I am altering the deal, pray I don't alter it any further.'
Hey, at least Darth Vader flew his own TIE Fighter, instead of ordering it to go kill people remotely.
That's all for this week, folks!