Stupidity rules, ok?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wireless in the city of brotherly love

There is a question here about whether the competition is fair when the government has advantages of borrowing money, owning and perhaps giving away real estate access, regulating and taxing us. If you are in a position where you can regulate and tax your competitor, it certainly gives you an advantage. That is a whole fairness question that I think ought to be worked through and thought about.

Eric Rabe of American ISP giant Verizon cries unfair as Philadelphia sets up a low cost wireless internet covering the entire city in a joint venture between the public and private sectors. Providing internet access for $10 or $20 depending on income didn’t come to the liking of the giants used to charge $45-60. The actions aimed at bridging the digital divide in American society have set the wheels of legislative manipulation in motion; the ISP industry have managed to buy politicians and pass laws banning local government from making internet generally accessible. Unlike many American cities the good people of Verizon “think the market has done a good job of addressing the issue [digital divide and public internet access] already”. So the reason the ISP industry’s trying to ban other cities from doing what Philly just did is because they don’t want the cities to waste their money? What? Something’s wrong here. That doesn’t sound like the Capital I know!

Stupidity rules the fair competition-mongers, ok?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A mug’s game

After a court ruling in Australia file sharing network/platform Kazaa’s been ordered to add filter to their services. Certain buzzwords or certain might not be the right word since the list of buzzword contains 3,000 items will now be filtered out when using their search engine. The courts and the rights industry alike believe that making searching on the Kazaa network all but impossible will stop or at least make a dent in the flows of sharing. The question we all are asking ourselves is - who are the biggest fools? The devious bastards who try to equate individual words with copyrighted material (and de facto claiming ownership of the words themselves) or the mugs still using Kazaa? It’s a close call but I would have to go with option number two. The first ones are at least trying to do something the other ones are just sitting there. Ah, for fuck’s sake, just change file sharing program!

Sigh, sigh, sigh! Stupidity rules, ok?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

There’s a riot going on

For a sixth consecutive night the suburbs of Paris were shaken by riots. The French police crack down on criminal youth gangs in the suburbs took a turn from bad to worse as two youngsters were electrocuted while they tried to escape from the clutches of the police. Riots sparked as locals took to the streets of the suburb of Clichy the night after the youths’ deaths, angered by the behaviour of the authorities. The police, being the police, admitted no blame but promised that an investigation would be launched once things cooled down. In the mean time they put the blame solely on what they labelled as thugs and criminal elements (considering the numbers of rioters the police obviously view the suburbs as nests of these anti-social elements). The fact that the suburbs of Paris are predominantly immigrant made the police’s no less surprising. But instead of cooling down, the riots of Clichy have spread to other suburbs and a massive series of copycat riots have raged the last nights (it seems as if multiplication does produce powerful numbers after all).

The attempts to label the populace of the suburbs as criminals only reinforce the fact that stupidity rules the police, ok?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Get stereotyped or die tryin’

On the poster of the fairy tale depiction (sorry, that’s true story based on really real events) of hip hop mumbler 50 Cent’s super rough ghetto life, Get rich or die tryin’, the rapper’s portrayed with a gun in one hand and a microphone in the other. It didn’t take long for various protest groups to start crying their hearts out; the poster, nevermind the film now, they claimed, promotes “gang violence, criminal behaviour and gang affiliation”. Why you might ask? The gun, the mic and the fact that 50 Cent, unlike say Schwarzenegger, is black. Of course they didn’t say the part about 50 Cent being black. Oh God no, that could be perceived as racist. The fact remains, there is no problem showing off guns on movie posters as long as the hand holding them are not racially stereotyped as criminals and “bad influences” on the kids. Leaders of the campaign against the poster thanked Paramount for showing “corporate responsibility”, Paramount thanked them for the free publicity and the rest of us thank the protesters for ... ehm ... I don’t know, unknowingly upholding a racial double standard, maybe?

Ey, forget about it ... stupidity rules yet again, ok?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The downward spiral

The business community and especially the advertisement sector have always looked upon football with jealousy in their eyes. Football possesses a highly desirable quality, one that all companies look for, loyalty. Fans of clubs are loyal; they stick with the club through thick and thin, hell and high water. The love of a club might be like a marriage from heaven (undying passion and an incredible sense of belonging) and hell (continual betrayal and relentless disappointment), but divorce has never been an option. With the emergence of modern football this loyalty have been put in question, the senseless greed of the clubs’ management (like charging half a weeks’ pay to see a game with your kids) have distorted the relationship between club and fan to a straight commodity based on. Modern football has, in many ways, transformed the fan to a customer and football to an entertainment commodity among many others. And unsurprisingly the loyalty is fading. In order to combat this decline of loyalty the business men of the club boards have turned to the ad agencies for help, trying to relight the flame of loyalty through shrewd advertisement. The full circle of modern football is nothing but a continuation down the downward spiral that takes football to constant new lows.

Stupidity rules the football executives, ok?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Business leaders of the world, unite!

It was a coming together of the top of the pops; leaders of some of the world’s mightiest software, entertainment and pharmaceutical companies stood up, side by side, proclaiming that they had joined forces in the never-ending war against piracy. Without getting their story straight even for the initial press coverage they claimed that the fight against piracy is essential for the survival of business (their businesses of course), the economy (because they suffer) and society as a whole (they being indispensable to us). The double tongued Eric Nicoli, EMI chairman and co-chairman of the new organisation BASCAP (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy), first claimed that anything can now be perfectly copied anywhere in the world and then countered by saying that piracy is dangerous, it cost lives, because it is not as good as their own original products. This was especially true when it came to medicine, car parts, toys and food (unsurprisingly four fields all represented at the meeting by leading companies). Dangerous to whom, one might wonder. Certainly not to the millions surviving on generic or counterfeited pharmaceuticals or food additives throughout the developing world. Hypocrisy always has a foul smell; and when it is, as in this case, powered by greed the stench becomes even worse.

Stupidity rules the greedy, ok?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The copy morons strikes again

The copy morons (anyone got a better name for them please let us know) once again show their utter lack of understanding for the processes of creativity. The latest victim of their campaign against … eh … art is self taught British painter Jack Vittriano. For once it isn’t the right industry banging its collective head against the wall; no, this time it’s the art critics of all people. So why do they batter against this artist? Well, they feel he doesn’t quite live up to their standard of uniqueness and originality. You see, some of his paintings are based on (or copies of if you like) a textbook on how to paint. He have never hide the fact, never denied it. Art is, among other things, rearrangement and retelling and that is just what he does. But this is obviously a no-no for the copy morons of the art critics. Why? Who knows? One would assume that they should know better …

I know, it’s a bit like saying that the sky is blue but stupidity really rules morons, ok?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The minority rules

The British comedy crew, sorry, that’s advertisement watchdog - Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – have just ordered an ad campaign for Sin City to be removed. Exactly what authority the ASA holds is unclear but obviously they are in a position to issue bans. So why did they do it? Well, Sin City ran this interactive campaign where you could watch clips from the film at bus stops etc. and out of 486,000+ viewings the ASA received one (uno, um, un, en, ein, jedno, 1) compliant about the content. That is all it takes, someone somewhere gets offended and then the ASA steps in, desperate to justify their own existence by condemning most anything. And of course they did it for the children. Always for the children.

Sigh, it never ends, now does it? Stupidity rules the moralists, ok?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Trouble at the playground

Two armed men get in a shoot out with the police and get arrested. Sounds strange, weird or even remotely unclear? Not really, now does it? Well, the British government likes to think so, because when this happened they just don’t seem to understand – why are they in jail? Why? Not because the reasons stated, no, there must be some underlining political reason. Because, you see, it all has taken place in Iraq – a place the British evidently see as their own playground.

For what must be obvious for all - stupidity rules, ok?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What's a little fascism between friends anyway?

All BAE Systems' employees are required to act with honesty, integrity and fairness. We will not tolerate bribery or other attempts to improperly influence the decisions of customers or suppliers. We are committed to conduct our business to the highest ethical standards. We comply with the law in all countries where we operate.

This is the statement issued by British arms dealer BAE when it was made public that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was on their secret payroll. By means of hidden offshore accounts in the Caymans and secret "slush funds" the BAE paid over £1m to Pinochet, who is still a major player in the Chilean military with lots of important connections. So why did the BAE pay the old fascist? But be sure, it wasn't bribes of any kind. No no, BAE is a good and moral company. And so are the external parties they pay. Come on, what's a little fascism between friends anyway?

Stupidity rules corporate morality, ok?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The old beats the obsolete

"Victory! Victory! Victory at last!" cries the IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industries) as the Australian court deliver the verdict in the industry's case against Kazaa. The court have found that Kazaa is used for, hold on to your hats now boys and girls, share copyrighted files! Believing that they just beat a leading actor on the "filesharing scene" the rights industry is now dreaming of meadows of gold and green. In their attempt to stop sharing they have missed the fact that most people already switched from costly (and ineffective) systems like Kazaa to the likes of BitTorrent. The armies of the right industry are still chasing after the shadows of the old, the reflections of themselves; still incapable to keep up with the pack they hunt down the weak strays who themselves haven't kept up. The old is feeding on the obsolete, and they call it a victory.

Stupidity rules the rights industry, ok?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Green Street moralist

There’s been some controversy concerning the film Green Street, which tells the story of an American student (that’s Frodo’s part) coming to London and meeting some well dressed men with a special interest in football. Or to cut it short, it’s about football hooligans. The thing that differs this film from other hooligan films (Football Factory, I.D. etc.) is the strong connection to football and the club, in this case West Ham United. The film makers were allowed to shoot at Upton Park during a match. And the club knew exactly what the film was about – the high concentration of young men wearing Stone Island, CP Company, Aquascutum, Lacoste and vintage Adidas pretty much gave it away. And after seeing the film the club felt happy about the end result. Sir Robin Wales, mayor of Newham (the home of West Ham), on the other hand, hasn’t seen the film. But that doesn’t stop the man from being strongly apposed to it. Claiming that it’s going to destroy the good name of Green Street, attract the wrong crowd to Newham and the film makers are only in it for the money. One would think that he should wait until he’s seen the film before denouncing it, but then again, sound reasoning has never been the strong side of moral outrage.

We’ve heard it all before, stupidity rules the moralists, ok?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Digital non-stop erotic cabaret, part 2

When delaying the triple x project the US government wanted the Icann to "ensure the best interests of the Internet community as a whole are fully considered." It sounds good (it usually does, doesn't it?), but since the government changed it’s mind in the eleventh hour after strong lobbying by a small but organized group of people and activists these words take on another meaning. This formulation projects the idea that pornography is something foreign and alien to the "Internet community" (whatever that is) and not an integral part of it. By internalizing internet while at the same time placing porn firmly on the outside a distinction is made between flows of "good" and "bad" information, between them and us. "We" must decide whether or not the porn industry should be allowed on the internet; like there is any question that adult content already constitute a major part of it (estimates show that 4-10% of all traffic is adult material and 20% of all surfers have visited porn sites the last month). Is the government taking in the concerns of the internet as a whole or those of noisy campaigner claiming to protect the children?

Stupidity rules populism, ok?

Digital non-stop erotic cabaret, part 1

In June this year Icann green lighted the project to create a virtual red light district on the internet by establishing the .xxx-domain. The plan was to make the domain a home for porn sites. And surprise, surprise, the moral outrage did not wait. Right wing religious groups teamed up net privacy campaigner who in their turn teamed up with net veterans of all kinds – the lobbying against this “obscenity” had just begun. It’s socially unreasonable, it’s legitimizing the porn industry, ensuring easier profits for pornographer, flooding our homes with filth – these were some of the views aired. And the US government, which still holds sway over the Icann, listened and the green light turned red. Maybe, just maybe, if we all hold hands and close our eyes really, really hard this time all the smut peddlers on the internet will just go away and people will stop wanting porn. Ok, on three now everybody – grab hands and close your eyes – one, two, three…

Sigh, stupidity rules moral indignation, ok?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Turning every principle on its ear

Google’s ambitious project to digitalize five of the world’s greatest libraries has been put on hold after the US publishing industry – the Association of American Publishers (AAP) - started to complain. Like always they’ve raised concerns over copyright issues, and like always they rather bury their heads in their hands, repeating in complete despair: “this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening”, than embrace the possibilities of digitalization. Unable to comprehend the benefits (yes, profits to be made not only the general benefits in terms of accessibility to knowledge and culture) they keep on clinging to the old. They keep sing the song of the nay-men (think Disney-like musical piece) : “It’s wrong! It’s bad! It’s got to stop! It’s turning the world on its ear!”

Stupidity certainly rules the copyright industry, ok?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Return of the blame game

When companies fail to produce profits or live up to market expectations the blame game often kicks in; it’s the world market’s fault, it’s the union, the lack of government support, the taxes, the foreign competition, the war, the terror, it’s the economy. Hey man, it’s the damn weather’s fault, I tell you! Oh well, you get the point. The blame game - the shifting of focus from the incompetence of the board to whatever scapegoat they can come up with. A good example of this is the video rental chain Blockbuster; when their largely out-dated business model (acting middleman between the consumer and the film industry) is running the numbers into the red they start blaming Hollywood for not producing enough hits. It’s Hollywood’s fault that people don’t want to pay insane prices for services they don’t really need. Yeah, that’s right. Keep fooling yourself.

Once again, stupidity rules the blame game, ok?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Grand theft idea

I felt violated, like somebody had broken into my head.

Filled with resentment and bitterness after seeing fellow author Dan Brown raking up millions with his international bestseller The Da Vinci Code, Lewis Perdue decided to take him to court on charges of plagiarism. Lewis had written a similar book a few years before Brown and felt entitled some of Brown’s millions. Lewis’ book, The Da Vinci Legacy, was based upon the same basic ideas about the Holy Grail and stuff. Lewis claimed that he came up with these ideas and therefore owned them. The judge thought otherwise, the ideas were too general and for that reason unprotectable. Maybe Lewis should have kept his ideas to himself if he didn’t want anyone to “steal” them, it’s impossible not to when he puts them on display like that. Or maybe he should go cry to his mommy instead.

Stupidity rules, ok?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Do it yourself, corporate style

It’s kind of horrible when nobody have anything nice to say about the fruits of your creative labouring. Sony Pictures knows all about this, all to well. But the people at Sony had a plan, “Let’s do it ourselves!” they said. If nobody would write good reviews of their films they would write them themselves. Or at least they wrote some good quotes for the posters and ads. A classic case of problem/solution, wouldn’t you say? Well, not everybody liked this creative solution; Sony got sued and they lost. And being a baby about it, Sony refused to take responsibility for their actions and instead singled out two employees to act fall guys and scapegoats.

Stupidity rules the corporations, ok?

Monday, August 01, 2005

A zillion trillion billion dollars

In another vain attempt to stamp out internet piracy the FBI launched a world-wide operation with the catchy name Operation Site Down. (They must employ someone to come up with all these names, right?) For a second time around they went for what they believe to be the root of file sharing, the warez groups, hoping that if the root is destroyed the tree above will wither and die. There are off course a couple problems with this approach; they are so obvious that it’s almost rude to point them out. First of all, warez groups are pretty much like the head of the hydra, cut one off and seven will take it’s place; secondly (and boy, this is a big one) there is no one root system, the whole tree analogy is flawed from start to finished, think weed or mushrooms instead, and rain instead of well. We could go on but what’s the point? Oh that’s right, after the raid was done the FBI proudly proclaimed that they had seized computers with $100 million worth of “stolen” immaterial goods. $100 million, why not 200, or 300? The value of multiplied and copied goods is just made up anyway so why not go big? I mean really, really big, like a zillion trillion billion. Sometimes I wonder if I’m a millionaire too?

Except the obvious stupidity of trying to stop the ocean waves, stupidity really, really rules the valorisation process of multiplied computer bytes, ok?

Friday, July 29, 2005

No drinking and no sex

When Capital takes upon itself to regulate its contents and practices it always takes the moral high road. And it travels this road dressed in the chastity belt of barely updated Victorian sexual moral. Yes, it proclaims, women are weak and they need protection both from the men they arouse and from their own needs and desires. In advertisements for example there must be no link between women’s drinking and sex, slams the Committee of Advertising Practice in their latest effort to turn the clock back. Women are according to CAP unable to control themselves, should they spot an attractive man in a bar: “We consider that the advert is in danger of implying that the drink may bring sexual/social success, because the man in question looks quite attractive and desirable to the girls.” Oh, I see, drinking and sex are bad for women. Hands on the covers now, girls!

Without a doubt, stupidity rules Capital’s self-regulation, ok?

Monday, July 25, 2005

With friends like these

After the recent suicide bombings in London the British police force have started implementing a new anti-terrorist policy - the shoot-to-kill-in-order-to-protect policy. The objective is to neutralize the suicide bombers before they get a chance to detonate. Reasonable? Well this policy assumes that the police can identify the bombers beforehand. And this is the problem; the recent attacks showed us that the bombers could be pretty much anyone and no one, they are invisible. So whom is the policy going to target? They will most likely keep on targeting working men from minority groups, men like Jean Charles de Menezes. Fausto Soares, a friend of Mr Menezes, pretty much summed it all up: "We are all terrified about the bombs, but now we are terrified of the police as well." Police Chief Sir Ian Blair on the other hand confirmed that the police will continue the implementation of their new policy and that more innocents might be killed at the hands of the police. You know, it makes you wonder; with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Stupidity rules the police, ok?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Boohoo goes the cry-baby

I think he went for the money. The answer is if he didn't want to come to a club like ours, which is a great club, then he went to West Ham for more money.

Bolton boss and obvious self-diluting whiner Sam Allardyce went to the press crying about why Israeli ace Yossi Benayoun snubbed his team. Bolton, a great team? Yeah right, keep telling yourself that. Keep fooling yourself. But the fact remains, who can refuse the opportunity of putting on the claret and blue shirt and play for the pride of London.

Stupidity rules good ol’ Sammy boy, ok?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Do you believe in magic?

After US government officials closed down yet another BitTorrent tracker Dan Glickman of the MPAA stated that this was: "bad news for internet movie thieves and good news for preserving the magic of the movies". At first glance you might believe that he be right. But once you start thinking about it you realize - what magic is he talking about? Not the magic of the people; creating endless number out of nothing, giving it freely and instantly to anyone how wants it or needs it. That, my friend, is the modern day equivalent of water into wine. That is magic of the truest kind. What Glickman is talking about are the cheap parlour tricks of the business world, the oldest ones in the illusionists’ handbook – making people pay for what they already have. And people keep falling for it…

Quite frankly, stupidity rules the suckers, ok?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The sound of inevitability

Consumers have an awareness of the scale of the problem and cost, but don't take onboard industry concerns or government messages. The researchers found that people did not equate downloading a game with the idea of shoplifting the disc from a shop. People are more accepting of it, even if they didn't engage it in themselves. They don't see it as a great problem on a social or economic level. They just don't see it as theft. They just see it as inevitable, particularly as new technologies become available.

Dr. Jo Bryce commented her findings in the study about people’s views on internet piracy, Fake Nation. Like most of us already knew, nobody shares the anti-pirates views on the matter. Michael Rawlinson, an ELSPA fat cat, came to the logical conclusion; if the people got the wrong ideas and views it’s up to the government to make them change their minds. Re-education camps anyone?

Here’s a gun, there’s your foot; stupidity rules, ok?

Complete control

One of the great illusions of our day is "the freedom of the internet". It is upheld both by net libertarians and control advocates alike; one side striving towards less meddling, prying and regulations, the other wanting to monitor in the name of security, property and morality. Internet is either being too controlled or not controlled enough; it should be returned to its “original” free state or at last placed under supervision. But internet isn’t free, it never was. How could it be? The 13 root computers are still managing and directing traffic, and they are controlled by the US government alone. The factual plug can be pulled, entire domains cut off. No freedom, only illusion. But as a myth free internet holds a greater power than it possibly could gain though the strengths of actual freedom. Myth creates movement, it makes our hearts beat harder and our blood boil, and it turns internet into a world of subversives, pirates and smut-peddlers. Perception is far more important in this case than the truth of the matter; complete control is only a mask, a believed state of stability. And it comes crumbling at the speed of myth. Internet remains free as long as we believe it to be. Pulling the plug is not an option. It never was.

Stupidity rules they who lack faith, ok?