02 July 2012

Link Sausages of Questionable Origin... and Age

Some of these are a bit older than usual. That's the price of being on the road, I suppose... and since the Court is now "done for the summer," I suppose acknowledging that the nation is now safe for mob rule for a few months is appropriate, too.

  • Some of these link sausages mix equal parts of dead artists with schadenfreude. On the one hand, it's a bit disturbing to consider the problems with identity raised by services like Spotify (which I do not use because it sends inappropriate information back to its servers). It really wasn't much, if any, better in the bad old days of FM radio as the only source of quasi-streamed music; playlists were inconsistently disclosed, and covers seldom identified as such beyond the core, public-radio-type classical broadcasts. At least, though, they weren't lip-synched dance tunes — and given the dubious contracting practices elsewhere at DCP, it's hard to have much sympathy for anyone involved in this mess.

    So far, Spotify is not returning data to users on "moral failings" of performers... or, if one is in a somewhat darker mood, their ethnicity, sexual orientation, or preference in hair styles. And that's a really good thing, too. Musical performers are at least indirectly trained to have somewhat consistent (or at least conscious) public images; imagine learning disturbing things about your favorite authors while you're listening to podcasts of their works... for whatever value of "disturbing things" you choose.

    The real issue here is the limits of what constitutes a "performance" (or "work"). Some of the more-ridiculous examples reached for in academic criticism could well be reflected in everyday memes, to the benefit of no one. Consider, for example, decreasing "viewership" of Marc Chagall's paintings because some tawdry fact (verified or otherwise) from his biography — for example, that he was a Jew — is almost inescapably attached to any viewing of copies of his work; or that every broad/webcast of Paul Robeson singing "Old Man River" or portraying Othello was labelled with "black" or "radical" or "commie traitor"... wait a minute... If the lactose-intolerance activists ever find out about Jay Lake's love of cheese, his career will be dead.

  • Sometimes too much growth/acquisition is bad, as even Emperor Rupert seems to understand. This understanding is far from universal in the arts, though — even if it should be chewed, slowly, along with the preceding link sausage.
  • If you've been on the 'net more than a day or so, you've run into the "404 error" when your system couldn't find a website. It doesn't matter why; it's a 404 error. There's a recent proposal to provide a bit more data by issuing a 451 error for sites blocked for legal (and perhaps political) reasons... but then, sometimes the 451 error itself would be blocked by a 451 error...
  • Things could be worse, I suppose: I could be writing great work in a language other than English. Any link between this problem and the preceding three sausages on this platter is far less than coincidental.
  • Is anybody really surprised to hear that Snoop Dogg got busted (by a drug dug) for pot in Norway? I thought not. At least it appears that he didn't act like a star...

More ground-up goodness to come... for some value of "goodness."