assholes

A Real Solution to the Piracy Problem

Given that I recently went off on a bit of a rant about Cory Doctorow and his repeated failure to propose a workable solution for the problem of online piracy, I thought I would take a few minutes and suggest a possible solution that I think makes a bit of sense and wouldn't be that hard to institute. It has the benefit of also being a solution that fits with Bono's criticism of piracy that Doctorow used as his jumping off point on Twitter for his usual mindlessly didactic self-repetition.

The fact of the matter is that copyright of certain kinds of intellectual property is complicated. It is particularly complicated for music and with the rise of DVD sales and streaming video on the internet is poised to become much more complicated for visual media as well.

Why I Hate Cory Doctorow

First, yes I've read his books. Well, some of them. Well, part of one of them. I got fed up and stopped because it was stupid and poorly written. But that's neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that I hate Cory Doctorow, I hate Boing Boing, and it's time somebody called Doctorow and his cohort of yes-men what they are: a bunch of assholes.

Normally it's not something that I feel like wasting too much time on, the hate of all things Doctorow. I mean, live and let live, right? If people want to waste their time on his weird brand of egomania, that's fine. I'm not going to worry about it. Just like I don't worry about that douchebag from Wired who wrote the Longtail book justifying the hegemony of global capital or nutjob libertarians like Eric S. Raymond advocating for creepy lifestyles dedicated to polyamory, computer programming, and owning guns. By and large the creme de la creme of geek nobility are fairly safely ignored. Although I have written elsewhere of the danger of confusing "geek chic" with "being cool," usually these people are no threat to anyone or anything I care about because the things they care about (file-sharing, Linux, web pornography, SF fandom, memorizing monty python sketches) are not things that I give a damn about one way or another. Occasionally tho, these people cross over into my real world life and I'm reminded that they are out there, festering, and are even occasionally presenting the danger of being taken seriously by real people. That, my friends, is a possibility I find absolutely intolerable and so am setting aside my usual Laissez Faire approach to The Doctorow Problem to outline in detail why it is that I can't fucking stand the the man.

You Are Not an Oppressed Minority

So there's a rain a comin'. Like many things on the internet, it is fucking stupid.

So first of all, there's this group the societyforgeekadvancement.com who have apparently decided to coopt the word "geek" to mean something like "user of social media technology."

The people involved apparently weren't aware that the whole "take back the night" campaign about the words "geek" and "geekdom" had been ongoing since the late nineties.

So naturally, the real geeks got annoyed at these johnny come lately's popping up out of nowhere trying to co-opt their identity. Such as it is.

Which prompted a response on twitter and, naturally, tor.com defending "real" geeks who play D&D and watch Star Trek from "fake" geeks who just spend a lot of time Twittering from their iPhones.

The whole thing is a tempest in a teapot, and frankly everyone involved is an asshole.

First off, the attempt to reclaim the word geek is moronic and insensitive. It puts this kind of social pressure to be cool on the same level as campaigns by gays, blacks, and other groups to "take back" the slurs against them and remove their power to do harm.' This is ridiculous in that it places a word like "geek" on the same platform with a word like "nigger" or "faggot" or "dyke" when it belongs nowhere near them.

Let's take a brief history at what the word ACTUALLY means, and then we'll come back to the issue of why everyone involved in this controversy is a fucking asshole.