Friday, November 5, 2010

But Honestly Monica... What the Cook’s Source Magazine theft of intellectual property can tell us about Schwarzenegger v. EMA

Once again, Gen X and beyond is getting screwed by the Baby Boomers.

No, I’m not talking about the recent midterm elections, in which for whatever reason, over 65 voters turned out to vote almost 2 to 1 over the under 30 crowd. Once again it looks like younger people in America have (rightfully so) given up any inkling that their voice genuinely counts in any kind of open arena or community in which the baby boomers have entrenched themselves. Some of this comes down to life-style, with younger people tending to have jobs that are much less forgiving in terms of scheduling flexibility, and tend to be in sectors that have “election day sales” where entitled boomers argue about paying too much for a 90% off made-in-China thing they don’t need on their way to vote for “family values” while muttering about how the youth of the country don’t give the boomers enough credit for the “revolution” of the 60’s or the inflation-fest of the 80’s.




This subject is something I’ve talked about before, and anyone who likes anime or goes to a convention is used to the uber-wide social gap of understanding which is why your mother never understands your jokes or why she gets confused by the “I’m on a horse” ad and it’s various parodies.

Case in point #2, the “because I say so” self-important opinion gambit, where boomers often believe that because of their age and experience, their all too often ill-informed opinions are not only valid, but can somehow trump arguments that are in the right, just because that factually correct opposition comes from a gen-x or gen-y source. It is an insane trap of self delusion whose apex seems to be the notion that the “government is going to get involved in your Medicare.” ...yeah.

There’s a point... wait for it.

Take a recent real world example of this in media; Cook’s Source Magazine totally cluster-fucks it’s way into internet famous-ness (that’s totally a real word). Apparently, it’s not plagiarism if you and your old-media take it off that wacky internet that the kids use. TL;DR version of all that is; a food blogger Monica Gaudio posted a recipe/article for an apple pie or something on her own website. This was later found, slightly altered, and re-published by Cook’s Source Magazine with Gaudio’s name on the byline, however Gaudio was never informed or compensated. When confronted, Cook’s Source Magazine Editor Judith Griggs notes she’s got “30 years experience” in the publishing business, and then acknowledges the situation. Finally she follows it up with one of the most obtuse notions ever, that being that everything on the internet is Public Domain and perfectly usable as content in a for-profit publication. It’s a textbook example of both the baby boomer gap of understanding how new media and technology work while at the same time playing the “my opinion carries more weight than your argument simply because you’re too young to understand” or more accurately the “because I said so, child” maneuver. The belittling of importance of media, simply because it’s in a form that uses new technology that one can not understand, often leads the boomers to violate codes of behavior, and explicit laws out of a sense of self righteous ignorance, which almost always leads to the detriment to younger generations.

Another footnote in the making of “Making 'Generation Screwed;' a Baby Boomer Production” ...I just made that up.


Why is this important for an anime / Japanese pop-culture blog?

No this didn’t happen to me, my posts are simply too crunktaculatastic to be reprinted in old media. But recently, the issue of “violent video games” the replacement boogey-man that replaces Twisted Sister and the Tipper Sticker, has in fact made it to the Supreme Court of The United States of America. Scared by a medium of creativity they can’t possibly comprehend but believe they can adequately judge, the boomer generation is trying to regulate free speech by using scare tactics. Now, banning a violent game sounds as ridiculous as banning a violent book to those who can understand both of these mediums, but you have to be born after 1975 to be able to know that.


What should scare the crap out of everyone reading this, is that the panel of SCOTUS judges in this case has consistently demonstrated their inability to notice that it’s not the year 1970 anymore. Moronic questions demonstrating the lack of even the most basic knowledge of how email and cell phones work, the inability to correctly spell or pronounce Nunchuck, and a notion of under 18 year olds as non-citizens which do not have first amendment protection, are all things I except someone’s angry grandmother to spew forth, not something to come from the soo-preem-fuking-kort!

Yet it is this untouchable cabal of culturally and technologically illiterate bunch of boomer-mentality superiority of opinion judges, which will either strike down, or support a law which clearly violates the U.S. Constitution but for the fact it’s being applied to a medium which these people can not understand. Change out “video game” with “book” in this case, and we wouldn’t even be here.

Kotaku has put up a piece that gives a hopeful picture that the outcome won’t be retarded, but let’s not forget, if you're reading this here, you are coming into this with our own superior understanding of how this technology actually works, and how it is not bound by specific age groups (the “video games are for kids” notion). Conversly, the SCOTUS is fumbling around in the dark, putting their hands on inventions that they’ve never seen before, all while looking for the oil lamp to shed some light on the situation.

On the bright side, it seems that Kagan knew what Mortal Kombat was, although she relegated it to “something her clerks did,” thereby demoting it to a plebeian activity of the younger generation in her mind I'm sure.

This one could go either way.





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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I take umbrage with this quote:

"Once again it looks like younger people in America have (rightfully so) given up any inkling that their voice genuinely counts in any kind of open arena or community in which the baby boomers have entrenched themselves."

I don't think you can discount the younger set (myself included) are unhappy that the Messiah didn't make good on any of his promises (and nearly caused a tornado on his 180 with the about face on his other promises). Sure, there's nuance: a so called blue dog democrat is much more aligned with a butchered neo-liberal theory than your traditional blue state democrat. The Messiah didn't want to ram his agenda through; he wanted a general consensus. Democracy takes time. Blah blah blah.

So, there's a somewhat popular but ultimately self defeating practice of voting by not voting ("angrily abstaining"). It's like treating diarrhea by drinking less water instead of more. Hindsight is 20/20: if you're going to appeal to the younger demo and say 'things will change' and proceed to not change anything and justify the old boys' club in the process, younger people aren't going to vote.

Also this:

the notion that the “government is going to get involved in your Medicare.”

The Medicare program has become something of an NGO in that the competitive bidding program is no longer answerable to the government (nevermind the source of the money). Before I started working at the family business, I simply assumed Medicare was this standalone entity treating patients 65 and older.

Nope. Every decision Medicare makes affects every single commercial and private insurance company. A vast majority of policies enacted by commercial insurance finds roots in Medicare and Medicaid. They're power tripping, and they are literally answerable to no one (in an attempt to figure out how Medicare is enacting policies, Congress started an inquiry and Medicare has since stonewalled). So, it's a case of the over 65 voting against their self interest. HR 3790 died when Kendrick Meek and Joe Sestak were summarily defeated in their respective elections, which is a roundabout way to shift to .

...gives a hopeful picture that the outcome won’t be retarded...

Miller was decided before gaming and the internet and the crux of decision will rely on Miller. There'll be a Miller-esque approach to defining what can and can't be in video games, definitely. This largely has to do with games that wouldn't pass the Miller three prong test like Postal, or Rapelay, or any games of this vein.

It's a shame, but it was going to happen. In this post-Columbine world where all kids are apparently violent and the baby boomers know better, I'm surprised it hasn't happened already.

And speaking of which, you can bet that this decision along with Miller will be a justification for net neutrality. Just wait for it.

(p)

The Angry Otaku said...

The above comment at first looked like spam (use of the word "umbrage"... I've received many spam comments starting with that) but it's anon, and makes sense).

To respond to the interesting points brought up:
1)The Election. The reason I mentioned it here was simply to show that the level of participation was about a 2 to 1 ratio of 65+ aged people to 30 and under aged people. Participation was the only point I wanted to make, due to my stated premise that a large portion of what you could call Gen x or y do not feel their views, opinions, or political participation are taken very seriously or have the same impact as a boomer's. But for this post, that is a notion removed from any specific political platform of any kind. Often it is assumed that younger generations support a specific political platform over another, and the source article did take that assumption. That’s irrelevant. My point was that a) 65+ outnumbered 30- by 2 to 1, and b) the mechanisms by which those voters make decisions, whatever they may be, are inherently different, due to simply being significantly far enough apart in age, as to have a specifically different set of experiences and points of reference (one group might be effected by their memories of living through the Cuban Missile Crisis, while the other vividly remembers messaging their friends around the world during 9/11 over ICQ or MSM). Take all the Umbrage you want, but even if an under 30 and over 65 agree politically on everything in the universe, it is a necessity, because of a vast difference in social perspective caused by the passage of time, that the intellectual and emotional mechanisms used to arrive at such conclusions are very different.
2)I did not mean to suggest that this was a case of a conscious decision to "vote by not voting" any more than what happens in every election, and personally I abhor the practice. However, the numbers (if correct) are what they are, and to postulate an explanation, I think it's an opportunity cost perception issue, where the younger group contains more individuals who view the time/transportation cos/effort it takes voting as something losing out to "activity XYZ," while the other group places a higher value on voting, or their opportunity cost is perceived as lower.

The Angry Otaku said...

The Medicare thing; 1) Those people screaming "gov. hands off my medicare" ...don't know shit, and everything you wrote is a revelation to them. 2) No private sector entity would ever start something like Medicare. To say commercial medical business policies are rooted in Medicare is like saying the Navy's policies are designed around those big bodies of water out there. They are made to function in an environment in which Medicare exists, not to further the mission statement of Medicare. 3) For the purposes of this post; Fuck Medicare. It's big, it's important, and it's a major issue, but this is an anime blog. I only brought it up to illustrate the point that certain groups think that their opinion can trump fact, if that fact is delivered in an argument by someone younger than they. That happens, and the youtuber New Left Media is great at catching that when it happens when he interviews a boomer teabagger and they say "I don't like X" and he'll ask "Why don't you like X" and they'll just stutter and say.... "derp." I like pwnage regardless of political orientation and that's some good stuff.

On to the actual case... Miller is outmoded in terms of tackling this issue, and also outmoded are the mechanics of decision making of the justices. Take an image from a news source of someone being murdered in Afghanistan. Now put that image in Time Magazine, and also in a video game (non-interactive form). Under the challenged law, a 12 year old can buy that issue of Time Magazine, but not that video game... and the reason is because the people who made the law think there is some sort of difference in that media delivery system which somehow targets younger people, a ridiculous notion tantamount to assuming ALL magazines are for children based on the existence of Ranger Rick & Highlights. Ranger Rick & Highlights are Magazines, Ranger Rick & Highlights arefor Children; Magazines are for Children. Replace "Magazine" with "Video Game" and the titles, with something else... bubble-shooter, and see how stupid that also sounds.

The mechanisms of thought I mentioned earlier, are those of aged baby boomers, which can not make that leap from "magazine" to "video game" because there's a screen and a control pad involved. Most Justices are of the age where (if they were anyone else) someone my age would rather have dental surgery than try to help them use their cellphone. We trust them to forge national precedent regarding machines that create interactive stories on a TV by using lasers to play computer programs off of shiny disks.

Anonymous said...

Hey wait, I initialed it. In any case:

With respect to this quote:

No, I’m not talking about the recent midterm elections, in which for whatever reason, over 65 voters turned out to vote almost 2 to 1 over the under 30 crowd. Once again it looks like younger people in America have (rightfully so) given up any inkling that their voice genuinely counts in any kind of open arena or community in which the baby boomers have entrenched themselves.

The platform is relevant. Why did boomers stay home in 2008 and come out in 2010? You overstated the under 30 set and understated the over 65 set.

I think it's an opportunity cost perception issue, where the younger group contains more individuals who view the time/transportation cos/effort it takes voting as something losing out to "activity XYZ," while the other group places a higher value on voting, or their opportunity cost is perceived as lower.

So that changed in two years? Why?

Anonymous said...

Part 2:

They are made to function in an environment in which Medicare exists, not to further the mission statement of Medicare.

This is actually false. Medicare is more of a government contractor than a health insurance plan. Without understanding that, you can't understand health insurance industry is broken (I said insurance, not care - very important distinction).

But fine, that's unimportant.

Now put that image in Time Magazine, and also in a video game (non-interactive form). Under the challenged law, a 12 year old can buy that issue of Time Magazine, but not that video game...

That's inaccurate. Looking at Miller, Time magazine appeals to the prurient interest. Assuming the game uses that image in a manner that appeals to the prurient interest and has value, then no, it's not ban-able. If the image is used in an obscene manner (lets go with ero goro) then does that appeal to the prurient interest? Does it lack artistic value?

Anonymous said...

The mechanisms of thought I mentioned earlier, are those of aged baby boomers, which can not make that leap from "magazine" to "video game" because there's a screen and a control pad involved.

That's a self inflicted gunshot wound by the industry itself. Video games, like cable tv, appeal to the lowest common denominator. There are exceptions, but if we're being honest here, they are few and far between. In all due seriousness, does the GTA franchise appeal to the prurient interest? Does it have any redeeming value? It doesn't, but I'll readily admit that it's entertaining. Not hi brow by any stretch of the imagination, though.

The Angry Otaku said...

Annoying how Blogger has reversed the order of the comments when all are approved at once, but not much to be done about that at this point.

To quickly respond: Again, Medicare isn't mentioned here for political specifics. It is a system started and administered by the US Government to get health care to citizens who otherwise would be unable to obtain it. Ronald Regan hated it so much, he even released a spoken word album decrying its creation and how it would lead to the end of the world and shit. BUT, for the purposes of this commentary, Medicate is brought up for one reason; When (some) older folks who make those "government-hands" statements are informed that Medicare is a Gov. organization, they simply are incapable of handling it, and usurp the source of that information by asserting their opinion as more viable because of age status. And if anyone thinks that they are thinking about the specific procedural and semantic differences that may or may not qualify it as "Government Entity" and are willing to discuss the various nuances that make up that sound argument, then I have a bridge to sell ya.

As for video games, you are failing to distinguish between hardware and IP. My point is that regardless of content, the mere fact that it is delivered via hardware that is "alien" to many boomers, makes them simply fail to understand it, either by furthering a deliberate unwillingness, or by causing enough frustration.

Straight into slippery slope territory, we end up with appeal to the prurient interest which is where arguments fall apart because of enough malleability in defining what that is.

And finally on the emerging political flavor that seems to keep resurfacing like a bloated tea-bag in a travel mug, remember that those are ratios of the total vote, not actual numbers of voters. Though not unreasonable, to assume that because the ratio is different, that more under 30 did not vote rather than more 65+ did vote, is still a jump that need other figures to support it one way or the other. Those figures are not presented because this is an example of how age demographics are actors on behavior, not because this is a political post. It's possible to keep going on this a lot, but it would pull the tone away from what this is about, and eventually degenerate into the level of discourse that one would see from a self-professed libertarian making web comments about NAFTA while living in a dormitory of a state university and being oblivious to the irony of it all.

Anonymous said...

As for video games, you are failing to distinguish between hardware and IP. My point is that regardless of content, the mere fact that it is delivered via hardware that is "alien" to many boomers...

Disagree. Chief Justice Roberts' hangup is for a game that isn't even on a console (Postal 2). While the sitting justices are technology deficient, they know PCs are capable of more than violent games.

The basic premise of this case has nothing to do with hardware and everything to do with the content of the video game. Their line of questioning underscores this. You can simply watch someone playing GTA4, for instance, and ask 'are you controlling that character? are you pressing a button to make them shoot that gun? what did you press to make him steal that car?' There's absolutely nothing in this particular case that requires anyone to understand how the delivery system (PC, console, cell phone, browser) works.

That being said, the question is defining what is ok to regulate and what isn't. Should there be a distinction between aliens and humans? If GTA4 took place on mars and all specifics of the game were replaced with 'Martian' themes, does that appeal to the prurient interest?

Those figures are not presented because this is an example of how age demographics are actors on behavior

I disagree. Your original line could be phrased as such: "Once again it looks like the older people in America have (rightfully so) given up any inkling that their voice genuinely counts in any kind of open arena or community in which the internet and blogging generation have entrenched themselves." It's not a perfect fit, but the idea is there. Simplifying it to demographics alone doesn't explain why voters acted as they did, regardless of their experience. That would be willfully ignoring the political climate of the last four years. Did over 65 voters suddenly decide en masse that they, as a voting bloc, simply aren't going to vote? That their experience heretofore makes it a pointless endeavor, and should wait two years?

The Angry Otaku said...

The basic premise of this case has nothing to do with hardware and everything to do with the content of the video game.

If Postal 2 was a choose your own adventure book or an interactive film/audio book/otherwise, this case wouldn’t be happening. Although there is a level of variable control that is put in the hands of the user to control characters, environment, physics, and other elements, there still are limitations, especially when it comes down to the end user and not an engineer. To make a distinction between a player of a game and observer of a game play, is to make a distinction between a painter and one who observes the finished painting or even observes the painting being painted. Let’s look at the questions asked in the context of a choose your own adventure book; “What page did you turn to make him steal a car?” “Are you turning a page to make him Shoot a gun?” Remember (back to games now), every last bit of code necessary to have a game character do every single possible action that the authors sought fit to include in their work (from shooting up a bus full of nuns to giving pony rides to disabled children) has already been written: PAST TENSE. A game is a written work that is consumed by the reader/player in a semi-linear format made possible by specific technology. Even platform fighters all are finished code when they ship. A game and its code are fundamentally a static work, the ROM code that makes up the intellectual property does not change during play, and to think otherwise demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the media delivery mechanism. (actual point is coming I promise)



Therefore, it’s not a question of whether or not the justices can tell that PCs, Consoles, or frikkin holodecks are capable of more than “violent video games,” but a question of whether the justices will think that this static content known as “video games” can be subject to regulation that oversteps the already established protections of printed works. To even think that the content of a video game is somehow different from content of a book in anything other than the delivery mechanism, is a complete fallacy, as both are completed unchanging written works.

The Angry Otaku said...

It is my biased opinion that the panel will treat video games as different from printed material because they are old fucktards who are so technologically illiterate, think an iPad is a battery powered feminine hygiene device, and a “smart phone” is a cell phone with added fiber. The Ray Bradbury “TV is destroying humanity and must be stopped” mentality is very present within them and their ignorance proves their obliviousness to it.


If GTA4 took place on mars and all specifics of the game were replaced with 'Martian' themes, does that appeal to the prurient interest?

Let’s go further and look at a book where a savage murder of human with chainsaws up the ass and a savage murder of a “human-like being with some rubber shit on their ears” with chainsaws up the ass, making the same sounds and same facial expressions. Either of those are granted specific preponderances in being judged as appealing to the prurient interest. I fear that the same content, written as code and then displayed via technology other than printed paper, will be wrongly held to a different standard of appealing to the prurient interest by the SCOTUS because their tiny little old-people brains can’t handle video games. It’s bad enough that there is privatized for-profit censorship at work in the industry, but now (unlike most of the film industry ‘cept for pr0nz) there will be government sanctioned censorship as well. Why don’t we fire up a lawsuit blaming Pack Man for obesity while we’re at it?

"Once again it looks like the older people in America have (rightfully so) given up any inkling that their voice genuinely counts in any kind of open arena or community in which the internet and blogging generation have entrenched themselves."

I disagree that what you mention and what I mentioned have to me mutually exclusive. But if the old people had given up, they would have stayed the hell away from the voting booth now wouldn’t they?

The mere fact that they took the energy and time to vote (at a much lower opportunity cost to a young person) Like the aforementioned Bradbury hatred of TV and Radio, or previous generations feeling alienated because they can’t figure out them new-fangled tele-fones and e-letric lite bulbs, feeling left behind. The previous generation having an inability to understand how the fucking internet works fits with the forward progression of history, but in the contemporary case, the baby boom bulge renders such a phenomena a serious threat to the real progress of society.

Actual election issues aside (I am still wanting to stay in the realm of video games and manga and stuff), the general technological ignorance of the generation gap, coupled with the self-entitled mentality and damaging behavioral set indicative of the baby boomers, will cause Miller to be applied in this case differently, simply because these are video games which none of these justices will ever have a true perspective of.



Good sir, this is my blog-borne biased rant against the older generation of self-important technological morons who think their opinion trumps actual fact, and I shall have it!

The Angry Otaku said...

Actually, wait, fuck all that. Well not really but I just want to simplify the point.

Remember how in Jurassic Park that little annoying girl was somehow able to not only gain access to, but repair a trojan virus implanted by a PhD level programmer into a closed Unix system made to run an entire island facility that was basically a prison for fucking dinosaurs? Remember how she inexplicably utters "I know this" and then it took her like 5 minutes because she was a "hacker" and "good with computers"?

While I don't think I was the only one having a problem with that in the audience, but such a ridiculous and nonsensical statement as "good with computers" and the fact that boomers used that phrase all the time to describe not ability, but a simply literacy or a general "know what you're fucking doing" type of general knowledge. If I told you I knew someone who's "good with airplanes" you might be expecting a professional pilot with lots of flying hours under their belt, but when I sent over the head of design for Boeing or the top mechanic at McGuire AFB, would the description be wrong? A guy "good with drills" might be the foreman of an oil derrick or a board certified dentist. ...So the term "he/she is good with computers" eventually simply became code for "I'm an idiot and don't know how this thing works in the least, but this other person does and will do my/your task for me/you" and thusly the term was never actually used by the people it was always applied to (Gen x and younger) but only by those who were technologically illiterate (boomers).

My great concern, is that the Jutices are the exact type to have used, and perhaps continue to use the phrase "good with computers" ...which is very troublesome.

Everything else I mentioned/eluted to is window dressing... except the Cook's Source Magazine thing... Those people are just fucking d-bags.

Anonymous said...

If Postal 2 was ... mechanism.

Overly technical and completely disregards the difference in medium.

I fear that the same content, written as code and then displayed via technology other than printed paper, will be wrongly held to a different standard of appealing to the prurient interest by the SCOTUS because their tiny little old-people brains can’t handle video games.

You want to argue that video games are as static as film, tv, books and pictures because the code is static and linear; even if the latter is true, it still doesn't even remotely equate video games to those mediums.

In GTA, if I don't pick up the controller, what happens? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Without picking up the controller, the story doesn't happen. The game doesn't happen. The violence doesn't happen. So the question becomes: why does this person have the chainsaw? Why can he dismember a person with said chainsaw? Does this appeal to the prurient interest?

To look at it another way, video games are a combination of all media and invites the viewer to dictate the story. Simply speaking, there is no other media with anywhere remotely the same level of involvement.

The delivery system does not change the medium. Again: you don't need to know the technology to understand that this is a completely different type of medium.

Anonymous said...

As far as politics go, political science and economies of scale can go hand in hand, but your explanation was overly simplistic and very narrow in scope, and even then I don't agree that its application was accurate. We'll have to agree to disagree.

"While I don't think I was the only one having a problem with that in the audience, but such a ridiculous and nonsensical statement as "good with computers" and the fact that boomers used that phrase all the time to describe not ability, but a simply literacy or a general "know what you're fucking doing" type of general knowledge."

You don't need to have knowledge of what a GPU is to play, understand or be good at Halo or GTA or any other video game. What you do need is eye-hand coordination, which no other medium you've cited requires.

The Angry Otaku said...

Gonna go backwards in responses:
You don't need to have knowledge of what a GPU is to play, understand or be good at Halo or GTA or any other video game. What you do need is eye-hand coordination, which no other medium you've cited requires. Exactly. It's the inability to make that distinction which has me worried. Example; "Printer broken? Can't log into Ebay? Missing .dll file? BSOD? CPU Fan stuck? Oh, I'll call my nephew over, he's good with computers and can totally fix that." That statement shows a woeful ignorance of how these things work, an ignorance which is very much apparent within the SCOTUS.
your explanation was overly simplistic and very narrow in scope
Yes, it's an anime blog so I'm gonna do that.
In GTA, if I don't pick up the controller, ...the game doesn't happen. The violence doesn't happen. ...Does this appeal to the prurient interest?
Still no different from the worlds most violent pop-up book. Pull the tab, and bus full of nuns gets decapitated, don't pull it and "nothing happens", but the before and after panels have been drawn and printed. The reader has the choice simply to view or to not view an explicit (as opposed to abstract) work that by all definitions has long since been completed. Nothing new is being created, only existing works are being uncovered like pulling a tab in a pop-up book or turning a page in a novel. If I don't read "Silence of the Lambs," does that make it's content any less violent? Does it require me turning the page for those words to materialize in the order in which they are printed? No. Those works are there, and turning the page has only allowed me to see them, no differently than turning the channel on a tv set. To think of it otherwise is giving it a dimension that isn't there. For that conclusion that I have (as opinion), I do hold video games to be as static as a pop-up book, novel, or old the VHS tape of "I Spit on Your Grave." It's even more static than a DVD, because with a DVD you can fast forward right to the juicy bits, while a game sometimes requires a very linear progression of preexisting media