“‘Healthcare shares rose on Monday as a bill to reform healthcare passed the first critical test in the Senate … Shares of Cigna rose 5.3 percent to $37.69. Shares of Aetna Inc rose 5.84 percent to $34.41. Humana Inc rose 3.79 percent to $45.17 and United Health Group Inc rose 5 percent to $33.14. Shares of Wellpoint Inc rose 3.8 percent to $60.51” — Reuters, yesterday, with this ironic headline: “Healthcare shares rise as reform bill progresses”.
“On the other hand, it’s hard to believe that American manufacturing has a chance of recovering unless business schools start producing people who can run industrial companies, not just buy and sell their assets. And we’re pretty far away from that point today.”—Upper Mismanagement | The New Republic
…here’s possibly the most interesting thing about him: He considers the fact that he’s sold three companies—and made himself and his investors hundreds of millions of dollars in the process—an embarrassment. That’s right. In a Valley where everyone obsesses over investing in the “serial entrepreneur,” Casares thinks it’s a sign of failure that he couldn’t take his companies the distance.
He compares those assembly-line-esque entrepreneurs who say they are just “the startup guy” to a 40-year-old man who still hangs out at a disco trying to pick up young girls. It’s fine at a point, he argues, but at some level a really good entrepreneur grows up. Indeed, the most successful tech companies are those where the founder stays well into the company’s life, ie Oracle, Apple, Amazon, Google or Hewlett-Packard.
If we think of Avatar and its ilk as white fantasies about race, what kinds of patterns do we see emerging in these fantasies?
In both Avatar and District 9, humans are the cause of alien oppression and distress. Then, a white man who was one of the oppressors switches sides at the last minute, assimilating into the alien culture and becoming its savior. This is also the basic story of Dune, where a member of the white royalty flees his posh palace on the planet Dune to become leader of the worm-riding native Fremen (the worm-riding rite of passage has an analog in Avatar, where Jake proves his manhood by riding a giant bird). An interesting tweak on this story can be seen in 1980s flick Enemy Mine, where a white man (Dennis Quaid) and the alien he’s been battling (Louis Gossett Jr.) are stranded on a hostile planet together for years. Eventually they become best friends, and when the alien dies, the human raises the alien’s child as his own. When humans arrive on the planet and try to enslave the alien child, he lays down his life to rescue it. His loyalties to an alien have become stronger than to his own species.
These are movies about white guilt. Our main white characters realize that they are complicit in a system which is destroying aliens, AKA people of color - their cultures, their habitats, and their populations. The whites realize this when they begin to assimilate into the “alien” cultures and see things from a new perspective. To purge their overwhelming sense of guilt, they switch sides, become “race traitors,” and fight against their old comrades. But then they go beyond assimilation and become leaders of the people they once oppressed. This is the essence of the white guilt fantasy, laid bare. It’s not just a wish to be absolved of the crimes whites have committed against people of color; it’s not just a wish to join the side of moral justice in battle. It’s a wish to lead people of color from the inside rather than from the (oppressive, white) outside.
What if copyright infringement were made completely impossible? What if we had perfect enforcement at the technical level? (I know this isn’t possible, but bear with me. It’s a “thought experiment”.)
Music and video sites would instantly and perfectly detect any copyright infringement in uploaded files and refuse to host them. People would be forced to create (or find) content that’s licensed permissively enough, such as under the Creative Commons, to allow their usage. We’d give the big music and video publishers exactly what they think they want. But it would actually demolish them.
It would be the best thing that ever happened to those who speak so strongly against “all rights reserved”-style copyright enforcement.
Today’s demand for permissively licensed content is nearly zero because most people can get away with small-scale infringement. If that were no longer possible, all of these infringements would be replaced by much more demand for permissively licensed content. Any publishers unwilling to satisfy the demand would be left in the dust by those who would.
I have not seen Avatar. Few have. Yet I keep reading these stories about it being a game changer that will revolutionize the industry. I have not seen Avatar, but I am fairly certain that it will not change anything.
Avatar is a big, expensive dinosaur of a movie in an era where major studios have less pull and less reach than they ever did before. It’s a huge financial gamble that depends on a world that no longer exists, where audiences are uninformed and choices are severely limited. It depends on the one-time spectacle of new, never-before-seen technology and effects.
Avatar is the polar opposite of the forces that are actually changing all types of media. It costs way too much, takes way too long to produce, and is still ultimately dependent on a massive marketing budget that forces it upon the public. It’s a business model that cannon sustain itself in the long term and frequently fails even in the short term.
Of course, Avatar may very well be a huge success. And it might be a fine film. But it won’t change much of anything. Powerful filmmakers securing massive budgets, using the latest technology and forcing their films on the public is par for the course. Game changers don’t come from the top. They come out of nowhere.
“if even this Democratic President, beloved by liberals, announces to the world that we have the unilateral right to wage war and that doing so creates Peace and crushes Evil, and does so at a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony of all places, doesn’t that end the argument for good?”—Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com (via ronmarks)