Thursday, January 15, 2009

Toothpaste for dinner

I've been thinking a lot about the fact that most of what we learn about media, or anything at all, comes from the Media itself. In class yesterday we talked again about Rupert Murdoch and the vast amounts of media outlets that he owns. The question came up, why does one need to own exactly that much? The first thing I came up with was power and control. Rupert Murdoch can use what he controls to make people think what he wants them to think about whatever he wants, and that's both pretty cool and pretty scary. Real post on this muuuuuuuuuch later (who knew school work takes up so much time?), but for now, look at the above cartoon from the awsomely cool website that kind of sums up what I was thinking of, and hopefully gives you something to think about too. If you can't read what the newspaper says, it says "Mass Media not Harmful: 'Read more newspapers', scientists said Monday". Very interesting newspaper headline, I think.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lawrence Lessig on The Colbert Report

Well, I actually thought I'd never update this blog again, but here I am with something to say. Not as academic or thought provoking as my other entires, since my brain isn't used to thinking like it used to after that long break.

So a few days ago, I was watching the Colbert Report like I do many mornings. And who should the guest be but that guy who wrote that book I had to read for class. You know the one, Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig. I paid a little more attention, because I actually wanted to know what he had to say.

He was talking about his new book, Remix, which has the same theme as most of his work, copyright laws, and how they're outdated. He told Stephan Colbert that his show was like taking other peoples' work, and remixing it to create his own. He also talked about how that's exactly what young people like to do , and he's right, I love doing that. As with how it usually works on the Colbert Report, Lawrence Lessig was interupted several times, but I believe he made his point pretty well.

One thing that stuck with me was how he said that copyright laws are making kids into criminals, and yet they still don't work. He talked about the war against illegal downloading that has been "fought" for such a long time, and yet everybody still does it. Of course, Stephan had to be his hillarious self and remark that Lessig was saying because of illegal downloading, 9/10 kids are now in jail.

Generally things like that leave the guests flabbergasted, but Lessig just remarked that it is a kind of a jail, because there are laws that trap them into not being able to be creative without breaking the law. Stephan Colbert then got into the topic of remixing (taking someone else's work and using parts of it to make your own). Stephan Colbert took Lessig's book and said that if he were to write his own name on the book and add some Mickey Mouse ears, it would now be his own work, and Lessig should let him do it. Of course Lessig said that was great, since that is after all the whole point of his book.

Stephan Colbert continued to see that he is not like Lawrence Lessig, and no one can ever ever remix anything of his. While this was an extremely funny segment, it couldn't have been done in a more appropriate venue. So why this long recap? Well, if I didn't just spend way too much money on tuition and school books, I'd want to buy Remix, and see what else Lawrence Lessig had to say. And if anyone who happens to read this isn't as monetarily challenged as I am right now, they should look into reading it.

P.S. If anyone wanted to remix anything in this blog, go for it. I like what I write to be enjoyed and possibly inspire other creativity.