23 May 2024

Tortured Sausages Department

It's election season: I'm afraid there's no poetry (or poets) here.

  • The gummint — and not just teh feds — finally filed the (anticipated) antitrust complaint against LiveNation/TicketBastard today (PDF, 128 pages). Keep in mind that this is:

    • Only an accusation,
    • That includes neither actual evidence nor a response,
    • In a highly technical (and all-too-often easily distorted) area of law,
    • In the context of what is largely a first-world problem (however culturally important): Live large-scale performances, almost entirely of popular music,

    which nonetheless pleases me a great deal. If the money was flowing through to either the performers or the frontline staff (especially those dealing with mobs of screaming fans… and cleaning up after them), that might be different. If the actual result was a uniformly better and safer concert experience, that might be different. It's not; and it's hiding some particularly dark conflicts of interest and quadruple dealing, some of which is going to get into the record (and much of which will not for Reasons).

    This is yet another First Amendment rent that has instead been treated as a safely-ignorable externality. I did warn you that there's no poetry here.

  • As confusing as that link sausage was (and if ever there's a part of the law that no one should want to see made, it's unfair-competition law), consider staff changes in other parts of the entertainment industry — which bear a disturbing resemblance to many other hypercorporatist personnel changes in larger businesses. On one hand, there's something to be said for adapting an organization's leadership skillsets to conditions faced by that organization; on the other hand, that gets a bit awkward when outsiders (or conflicted interests) impose not different conditions but weltanschauung on the organization — especially relating to how the organization's success will be measured. (Not that I've ever seen that before, not even after having sort-of-survived the end of the Cold War — on the inside.)
  • That's especially so when the imposed weltanschuung is "ownership" in culture and the arts. It's particularly ironic when the fight is between the designated successor to conquistas of two millennia past and a present-day museum, an ocean away, endowed by the particularly dubious oil barons. And even then, it devolves to conflicted courts of questionable jurisdiction talking past each other. No poetry here, either — just my sick sense of humor.
  • My sick sense of humor, however, slides close to exceptionally gleeful schadenfreude when a court stands up — again — to a serial human-rights violator who managed to get selected to high government office. I'd suggest recalibrating policy preferences, but that would definitely be an unrealistic expectation, especially given the sociopathy and narcissism that seem necessary résumé entries for "high government office" these days. Which is not to say that's never been a problem in the past; it's just that it has evolved from a bug to a feature.
  • Or we could just ponder less-expected places to find bigoted fascists and their aftermath — like anatomy books.
  • Last, and far from least: Go Gladis! Once I saw the word "yacht" in the story, I knew whose side I was on…