'Twas Beauty That Killed The Beast
BushCo and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have a lot in common. An odd comparison? Not really. They share the same law firms, know the same representatives. They like to push little people around in pursuit of maintaining a status quo which favored them, but which is eroding, and they both like to employ overkill levels of firepower to that end, believing it has a deterrent effect. To them, firepower is cheap, and they want their wars conducted by the old rules. They want this to the point of delusion, so invading Baghdad equates in their minds to taking Berlin, and nailing grandparents of teens for pirating an $8 DVD imparts a rush akin to sailing triumphant into Tokyo Bay.
The problem is, the're dealing death out from outdated models which are no longer relevant. They don't understand the new world which has arrived, and they're in raging denial about it. Consider what they're up against: children hop with internet and cell phones paid for by Mommy or the University of Gimme-Hat State, can not only put up copyrighted content onto their MySpace page, they can actually form a band and compete against Britney Spears for people's attention, then sell their songs for 50 cents, over and over. Or they can agonize soldiers of the US Army, which calls their style of fighting "Net War."
BushCo, like the RIAA, is fighting people who won't toe its line, who refuse to live by Burger King's rules. Their establishment is really one and the same thing, and it's getting out-maneuvered and invalidated by people who put their own sweat and creativity into the game, and see the world in a fundamentally different way. Their distribution and aggregation models are entirely different and on a new order of complexity, and their concepts of property rights and fealty are entirely at odds with power structures they see as not just totalitarian, but more importantly, not relevant.
As I said in a post awhile back, "Predicting The Anti-Surge," two guys in a pickup truck in Iraq can tie down a whole platoon and have it running every which way all night long. Two kids with an iMac in Van Nuys can keep teams of $400/hr lawyers busy for a long time. This is a point worth some meditation. Those two sets of kids can lose that battle, and sometimes do with nasty consequences, but there's always four more guys the next night, and eight more the next, and just who do you think is going to win these wars?
BushCo and the RIAA are two manifestations of a far-ranging media totalitarianism. You need a decoder ring, or an Ethernet card, to say much against it. So we went ahead and built them. They want to enforce a world where if you're not safely inside the Denial Ring, you're Little People. But as my friend Still Life Living said, in a recent voice-mail, we're entering into an interlude like unto when Bob Dylan, iconic folk singer, eschewed the acoustic and went electric. SLF said, "Back then, Dylan going electric was a signal to everybody that they could start to think for themselves."
If you have a blog, and there are millions of us now, it forces you to think for yourself every once in a while. Sometimes every day. And if you think for yourself, you're part of a cultural insurgency. You've literally gone electric, and you're part of the cultural critque. You're down with the dissidents who have decided to share a new awareness, and there's no going back. It was shared awareness which brought down Stalinism, and they called it the Samizdat. It was people meeting and sharing their stories about what was or was not true, like we share information now about antiques and VCRs, politics and cars, and it is the awareness and shared understanding which decide the fate of systems. Welcome to the Samizdat.