Jul 06 2010
I really didn’t have the heart to go out to a fireworks display yesterday, and so, in my worst form of thinking not so far ahead, this was my effort to keep the despair at bay. I live in New Jersey. I can’t really afford to live here, and not too far from now that’s going to become a desperate situation, which may mean I’ll need to move or find some other form of support in an economy where I don’t really expect any real solution, unless one appears by magic or kismet.
Making odd little videos is one desperate measure among many to keep the hounds in my mind at bay. Please feel free to pass this one along, if you find it amusing.
Too many of the jokes are in the video description, I’m afraid.
Since YouTube has redesigned their pages to make descriptions all but invisible to those who go there to look, I’m adding the description here as well:
Warning: THIS VIDEO IS VUVUZELA-COMPATIBLE
July 4, 2010 – Whackaninny County Court House, Gorp’s River, NJ
Whackaninny County Board of Supervisors regret to announce that, due to extreme budget cuts and a really fat governor, this year’s Fireworks display has been reduced drastically. We hope you understand. Jack’s nephew Walter has offered this video in place of fireworks. It’s about twice as long as the actual display, and contains special effects we could never afford to contract out, at least not in the state of New Jersey.
Please stop calling. Due to budget cuts we had to hock the answering machine and sell the receptionist into slavery. We tried to cancel the phone service but discovered we could not afford the disconnection fee.
Jul 02 2010
I probably shouldn’t pull punches here. I find some of the rhetoric and claims in this video a bit suspect.
Perhaps the oddest part for me is that the videomaker is using imagery that she considers disgusting at least, while arguing (it seems to me) that the ads for children’s clothing used by American Apparel are somehow pornographic.
Now there’s a part of me that sympathizes with this view. And then there’s the part of me that thinks… didn’t you just manage to make an unpaid ad for this company by using the same images as part of your critique? Aren’t you also exploiting these children by showing the images, and not only that, but unlike the company that paid the models and their parents, you’re exploiting them without any compensation. (Then again, by embedding this and drawing attention to it, perhaps I’m doing the same thing?)
It strikes me as a very slippery slope, to say the least. Before I sound like a pontiff from a religion that doesn’t institutionalize child sexual abuse, let me just embed the video I’m talking about, so you can make up your own mind before I continue my rant.
Don’t view the following video if you think it might contain soft-core pron.
Mar 15 2009
I just finished answering someone on YouTube (in a private exchange, not a comment section free-for-all) who seems to think that any use of copyrighted material in a political commentary or other context is de facto a violation of YouTube’s ToS. That may or may not be true, and I’m sure as a private entity there would be dozens of reasons YouTube’s management could give to take down or mute videos, or suspend an account on the basis that the video maker had used copyrighted material without express permission and licensing fees. That’s really not central to my interest in these musings, though perhaps it should be.
What is central is the net impact of something like the DMCA, and the muting of dissent that can spin off of its exercise, which more or less compels a site like YouTube to take down a video if an allegation of infringement is made by a copyright holder contending (possibly just by pattern matching software rather than any use of human judgement) that a particular piece of video is infringing.
I well understand at least the broad dimensions of the conflict of laws issues that are implicit here. Though not being an IP lawyer, my interpretations may be sketchy. But I’m really more interested in how this may be a contributing factor to the increasing irrelevancy of and difficulty in calling to task, those media conglomerates who may have played a huge role in the levels of distraction that led to the present shambles we seem (at least most Americans) to be awakening to in recent months. Yes, I could have made a video that spelled out in detail my response to Cramer’s statements and obfuscations in my own voice-over narration, and perhaps have presented Cramer and Stewart’s words as on screen quotes. But by my estimate, it would probably have been 60 minutes long or longer, had I chosen that course, at least to “say” what I think I’ve said by juxtaposing audio-only excerpts against images meant to elicit a critical response. That part may be a failure in editing or in concept… I don’t really know how anyone else will interpret my juxtaposings (if that is even a word) — in fact I’m kind of curious just how many disparate interpretations might come of it, if it’s even mildly of interest to any viewer. Please forgive my pretensions… put it down to my seeing too many Kenneth Anger and Luis Buñuel films in my misspent youth.
If you find the time, please tell me in your comments if you think the following video is or is not an example of “fair use” in a political commentary. I’ll grant you in advance that it may be overly subtle and the irony may fly over some heads and strike others as trite or annoying. But try to push away your personal views on this for long enough to tell me, is it or is it not a form of political speech? Also feel free to dismantle the “fair use” rationale offered below the fold, and if this is political speech, suggest anyone who might want to take the case, should Viacom issue a DMCA takedown demand based on the edited audio excerpts.
No need to have scruples about YouTube, the vimeo version is below.
Nov 04 2008
At first I planned to go to the polls at 10:15am, hoping I would wind up in some endless line, fearing that our local NJ polling spot would be its usual efficient self, and there would be maybe twice the usual number of stragglers there that I’ve usually found when I hit the polls mid-morning, after the pre-work crush — our polls open at 6:00 and the lines usually thin out sometime after 9:00 or 9:30, when most of the wage slaves have gone to work.
But I just couldn’t get to sleep, and found myself obsessing through the night, replaying Rachel Maddow bits, obsessively updating running comment fests that got started days ago in an effort to ease anxieties or allow me to obsess about other factors beyond the election.
I was still awake at 4:30 am, when I decided I wanted a crowd, I wanted to see others no matter what, and I wanted to know there were others doing what I was doing. I also wanted to be among the first to vote for perhaps the first Presidential candidate I can recall, where I was mostly voting for him, and not just voting against some heartless or dangerous loon. It’s been a long time in the Wilderness — I’ve voted in every Presidential election and nearly every “off-year”, school board and special ballot election that I’ve been eligible for, since I turned 18, at college, in 1977.
Nov 03 2008
There’s been a lot of smoke and noise generated about how Obama thinks he is Moses.
But I think he’s more like Joshua.
Think about it. Not just the broad, humanitarian left, but the Nation as a whole has been in a political wilderness for 40 years, ever since the impression of “disorder” and “chaos” in 1968 did so much to strike fear in the hearts of many Americans. The fearful were largely good-hearted Americans who wanted nothing more than to go about their business, with a flawed but seemingly fair tax system, a health care system that was largely private but seemed to work, and civil rights laws that seemed to promise that the Civil War might finally be over.