08 October 2004

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai. Most of the English-language sources that I've found quickly have been rather facile; try the Frankfurter Rundschau's coverage instead for a more-rounded perspective.

The downloading wars have shifted more to Europe than to the US. It appears that neither side has learned a damned thing from the problems over here.

However, music producer Pete Waterman said Blur and Franz Ferdinand were welcome to give away their music if they wanted but to allow it to happen across the industry would damage up-and-coming artists. "There are many young bands out there who can't make a living. There are a few of us who are able to make outrageous statements like we don't want paying. They are the ones with a million in their bank account. This is not the NHS. This is music. You buy it. I've never had a problem with paying for my music."

Patrick Barkham, "Record industry sues fans for illegally downloading music from internet," Guardian (08 Oct 04) (fake paragraphing removed for clarity). Can you spot the reason that this is a misstatement of copyright law, at least in the US (hint: who actually owns the copyright in a phonorecording, see 17 U.S.C. § 101)? This kind of attitude reflects the misuse of economic power to exploit, not to advance, "the progress of the useful Arts." Well, in the UK there is no such constitutional imperative; but still…

Sometimes nonjudicial language is perhaps the best way to express outrage from the bench. Whether it was indeed the "best," I don't know; I wasn't in the courtroom. However, based at least upon what is in the article, it was appropriate in this instance. Remember—it was in Chicago. I guess it beats being a rattlesnake.

Speaking of strange things in Texas—although it could just as well be basketball in Indiana, or baseball in Arizona—Roger Ebert's review of Friday Night Lights contains this revealing passage:

[A]s Friday Night Lights unfolds, we begin to understand: The role of the team is to protect against the idea that the town is inconsequential and its citizens are insignificant. If Gaines can lead the Odessa Permian team to a state championship, that will prove that Odessa is a place of consequence, a center of power and glory. Well, won't it?

(typography corrected) I spent three years stationed in Oklahoma, and it doesn't appear to be any different there. I can watch what happens in Indiana from thirty miles away. On the other hand, winning more than two games in a year was a major accomplishment for my own high school football team, so perhaps I'm just a bit jaded.