This article in the Atlantic describes today’s reality: the tendency of this generation to get as much of their media — music, movies, games, books — for free.
I ask my students, and my children, to pay for that which they use. They scoff, and consider me old-fashioned. But what will become of all of us when the people making the music, and the movies, and the games, and writing the books, can no longer make a living at it?
“Sharing” should not equal stealing. Buy your own stuff.
Hmmm. . .I just downloaded a picture, as I always do, from Google images to headline my blog post. It is my understanding that if I post the link to the source, it’s okay. Any input?
I’ve been in Cleveland for a couple of days visiting 1st son; I have many things going through my mind that I’d like to write about, but it’s been a long day, and 2nd son is lurking on the next bed over in the hotel room waiting to watch a video on my laptop, so this will have to be short and sweet.
1. Why does Walmart insist on consistently inconsistent stocking practices? There are 7 packages of XLG black T shirts, 6 packages of LG black T shirts, and no packages of Med or SM black T shirts. Every single time I’ve been in a Walmart I’ve had to go somewhere else to get one basic item on my list. And I think I may have seen someone wearing one of those pairs of shoes I wrote about a month or so ago (the first pair in the blog, but in silver lamé. I’m not kidding).
2. There was more salt in the biscuits that came with my breakfast at Bob Evans this morning than I usually eat in a week. Is this necessary?
3. Who can be blamed credited for the bizarre unique street design of the Cleveland area? I have never seen so many intersections that consist of 5, 6 or even 7 corners. Then there is the tendency of whatever road you’re on to veer off in one direction or another as a new road springs to life, all in the absence of anything resembling a painted center or shoulder line. And apparently the city of Cleveland does not maintain a completely simpatico working relationship with the GPS satellite systems we have all come to rely on — “Emily” could tell me what road I was on, and what road I wanted next, but was frequently off in her estimation of its relative distance by anywhere from 100 to 400 feet.
4. Does anyone know of a humane way to restrain secure a 9-year-old’s legs in such a way that one can share a regular size hotel bed with her and not be beaten to a pulp by morning?
Secondo is getting (ha!) squirmy. Guess I’ll have to continue in the morning.
I know this may come as a shock to anyone who has spent the past 100 years at the bottom of a mineshaft. But to the rest of us, well, Duh?
As long as our system of campaigning persists, where a massive amount of money is spent for political advertising over extended periods, what hope do we have? Politicians need to make money, lobbyists and powerful corporations want to have their voices heard, and nothing speaks louder than a check for a large sum. Rather than merely paying lip service to the idea of, and assuming we really want a government of, equal representation, (not just on a state level but on an individual one), this part of the process needs to change.
I propose we adopt a Canadian system, which limits the amount of money that can be spent, and which therefore encourages substance, frugality, and efficiency throughout.
I can’t believe I gave up 6 years of my life watching this show, victim of its convoluted story lines and deliberately misleading plot twists, only to have the whole thing reduced to a simple triumph of good-over-evil culminating in a secular version of heaven.
Really? That’s the best they could come up with?
I feel cheated, robbed, and/or manipulated.
I had this whole ending worked out, where each character was given the opportunity to pick which of their two current manifestations they preferred, and allowed to live their lives out in that path.
But no. . .go towards the light! go towards the light!
I’m haunted today by this movie, which I watched for the first time last night.
Derek Vinyard, played with brilliance and subtlety by Ed Norton, is a skinhead, first encouraged in his racism by his father, who is killed by a minority in the line of duty as a fireman; and nurtured in his hatred by a leader of the local skinhead group, creepily portrayed by Stacey Keach. Derek’s intelligence and physical power (Norton supposedly spent a year in the gym bulking up for this role) make him a natural leader, and his younger brother, Danny (also played with beauty and subtlety, in this case by Edward Furlong, John Connor from Terminator II) idolizes, and idealizes him.
Derek brutally murders two black men with whom he has had altercations in the past, principally over the rights to a basketball court in Venice Beach, and who have come to his house at night to terrorize him and his family and/or steal his car (this part of it isn’t very clear, he seems to be being deliberately targeted, but this isn’t carried out in the action necessarily). Danny has witnessed the whole thing, including Derek’s proud defiance as he is taken away by the police.
Because the two men he murdered had come to his house armed, Derek is convicted of a lesser charge, and is imprisoned for 3 years and change. While in prison, Derek undergoes a gradual but dramatic conversion. He begins allying himself with fellow skinheads, but gradually realizes that the leader of this group is doing “business” with everyone, including blacks and hispanics, and Derek feels betrayed by this lack of ideological conviction. At the same time he has built a reluctant friendship with his partner in the laundry room, a gregarious black man who has been imprisoned for 6 years because he, in the process of stealing a TV from a store, accidentally dropped the TV on a policeman’s foot, and has been convicted of assault. When Derek acts on his disillusionment, and “cuts” the skinhead leader in “the yard,” he is targeted for a brutal attack and rape in the showers, and realizes that there is evil, and good, in all races.
When Derek is released, he sees that his younger brother, now 17, has continued on Derek’s path, and he realizes that he has some work to do; not only to help his family recover from their difficult financial and living circumstances, but to help save Danny from a life of prejudice and hate. Meanwhile, Danny is dealing with some race issues of his own at his high school.
I don’t want to spoil anything by giving away the end; I’ll just say that it is a movie that is well-written, well-acted, and simultaneously haunting and uplifting. Many beautiful moments (i.e. when Derek and Danny silently take down the posters and flags of hate from their bedroom walls, and then sit and look at the bare paneling), some really powerful narrative parallels and symbolism, no clichés.
Beverly D’Angelo and Avery Brooks do a great job in their supporting roles.
Put it on your list of must-sees, along with Crash, The Lives of Others, American Beauty and Amelie.
I’m sure it’s not just me; well, I guess I HOPE it’s not just me, but I have a really hard time sometimes keeping track of what matters.
Does it matter that I scoured my kitchen sink out twice and scrubbed the shower this morning? Probably not as much as it matters that I missed my husband so much tonight that I was impatient with my daughter. It probably matters that I worked really hard this past year and have been frugal enough to have set enough money aside that I can afford not to work again until mid-July, but probably not as much as it matters that there are probably people on my street tonight who don’t know how they’re going to pay their mortgage.
My daughter’s Korean, and has faced discrimination from her classmates who tell her she’s “fat” (she’s 4 feet tall and weighs 45 lbs soaking wet) or that she can’t play their sister game because her skin isn’t the right color. That matters. But no one’s telling her she can’t come to their school, or sit in those seats on their bus; no one’s telling her that she has to have clitoral circumcision or be sold into marriage, or that girls aren’t smart enough to be veterinarians. That would definitely matter.
My sons don’t always want to talk to me, or listen to me, but as far as I know they aren’t using illegal drugs and haven’t gotten anyone pregnant. That matters. Does it matter that my oldest isn’t working as hard as I wish he would so he wouldn’t have to borrow so much money for college, or that my 16-year-old gets straight As while barely cracking a book and refusing to take a single AP course because he doesn’t want to work that hard? This is the same boy who would rather eat cereal for dinner than boil tortellini and heat up jarred sauce for dinner because the latter constitutes “too much work.”
I left my house twice today with doors wide open. Does that matter?
In my former marriage life, I was a completely self-sufficient, independent, capable person. Now when my husband’s away for more than 24 hours, especially if he’s doing something more interesting than I am, I continue to function as a productive member of my family and of society, but I feel like a child.
I guess it matters to me. Does that mean it Matters?
I’ve had this happen to me several times in the past several years, and I become more and more incredulous as 1. the internet takes over an ever increasing portion of retail sales and 2. “local” business complain about #1.
What is “this” you ask?
It’s a situation where I require a minimum of service and/or fair dealing, and am rebuffed.
Some of these situations have been quite minor; for example, the personnel at “my” local yarn store can’t seem to be bothered to help me find a pattern or the appropriate-weight yarn in my desired color. Sometimes they start out helping me, but after just a couple of minutes wander away to tend to their other tasks such as re-organizing the sock-weight, which is apparently much more important than selling something.
Other situations might reflect a worthwhile and carefully thought-out store policy, such as, “Pay no attention to that woman with $1100 of computer equipment in her cart and a questioning look on her face. If she can’t figure out what she needs from the self-serving, enigmatic statements on the box she’s probably not qualified to purchase or properly use the equipment anyway.” (Best Buy, 2001)
One circumstance seemed particularly self-destructive. Local toy store, not part of a chain, has a wooden kitchen sink-and-stove set that I would like to purchase for my daughter for Christmas. I am told by the woman at the cash register that they would be happy to hold it for me for an hour while I investigate one other option. I call, in less than an hour, and ask if I can purchase the sink-and-stove over the phone, promptly giving her my visa number and telling her that someone will be there to pick up the said sink-and-stove promptly at 5:15. A couple of hours later, the owner (yes, really) calls to inform me that it is “against store policy to ‘hold’ items,” despite the fact that I’ve already paid for it. The sink-and-stove has now been resold to a present customer, and I am s.o.l. (Sandcastle, 2004)
And, again, today. I bought over $200 of trees, hanging baskets, perennials, and vegetable plants at a greenhouse (Flowerland) on Saturday (2 days ago). When I got into my car today, I noticed the receipt was still on the front seat, so I opened it up and looked at it, only to realize that I had been overcharged by $20 for the Japanese Maple I had bought. I know how this mistake happened: there were 3 varieties of Japanese Maples in a row, the Queen (becomes quite tall, wide, draping branches), the Prince (a little less tall, but with more of a shrub-y habit) and the Princess (smaller, umbrella-shaped, more narrow). I bought the Princess, with the help and advice of a very friendly employee. When I was putting the tree onto my cart, I noticed there wasn’t a tag, and the helpful, friendly employee bent over and picked one up off the ground, saying “this must be it.” Well, it wasn’t. And yes, I guess this is partially my fault, because I didn’t stand there after receiving my receipt (!) and read each line. In any case, when I stated my case to the woman at Flowerland today, as I stood there with $35 worth of hanging strawberry baskets, she looked at me suspiciously, and then went over and whispered to the nursery manager. Upon her return I was informed that I would need to drive all the way home, take a picture with my cell phone to guarantee that this was in fact the other tree, and return with the corroborating evidence to the store.
Okay, first of all, this tree right now doesn’t look all that different from the other tree. The difference is in what will happen when they grow. They are merely requiring this because they don’t believe that I will bother. Second of all, it was THEIR mistake, so if they want documentation, I think THEY should drive over HERE and take a picture with THEIR phone. The fact remains that I was a satisfied customer of theirs, and now I’m not; they would have earned that $20 back with the plants I was going to purchase today, and didn’t. I was treated with suspicion, which I resent, since I’m the kind of person to take something back to the store that I was not charged for and insist on paying. Now, rather than their greenhouse being the first place I would go, it will be the last.
Wonder what THAT was worth to them. Apparently not much.
In our election-obsessed culture, everything else going on in the world–war, hunger, official brutality, sickness, the violence of everyday life for huge numbers of people–is swept out of the way while the media covers every volley of the candidates. Thus, the superficial crowds out the meaningful, and this is very useful for those who do not want citizens to look beyond the surface of the system. Hidden by the contest of the candidates are real issues of race, class, war, and peace, which the public is not supposed to think about.