Christopher Walken Dances Don’t Worry Be Happy

Another one that’s been doing the rounds but I’ve only gotten round to checking it out now (videos and mobile data plans do not mix…also I much prefer text and images, videos can be real time sinks) and I was surprised by the greatness of this dance compilation of all the Christopher Walken films by Ben Craw. Walken is often employed in dance roles because he initially trained as a dancer, and also his unusual looks and dancing works very well for comic effect as well as scarier roles.

Also interesting that Huffington Post has a Movie Mashups wing? Shows how mainstream video mashups have become, with big companies using them to promote, like the Conan O’Brien using newreader clips to show how unoriginal they are – which is a steal off The Daily Show, in fact (although they have more of a political point, rather than viral clickbait).

Not sure I feel about this co-opting of an artform I have been heavily involved in – I mean when masters such as ThriftshopXL, Cassetteboy and Eclectic Method can’t mostly get a look-in, but NBC and HuffPo are stealing their style? Not cool. And obviously a lot less radical and easier for TV companies to use the footage, as they all have agreements especially about news. So not naughty or illegal at all (movies, less so…then again I doubt HuffPo would get the same aggro as a minor video masher)

When will we fight back?

A friend noticed the change in Cory Doctorow’s tone recently, he explains it as the anniversary of Aaron Schwartz’s death but a lot of us are despairing. Like Tim Berners-Lee warned middle of last year, there is an attempt to not only close up the Internet and make it some walled garden, a virtual shopping mall – but also there’s the current mass monitoring of people. Big Brother Web v2.0.

I suspect it’s similar to what I feel, that we’ve been pissing in the wind, we won SOPA but then like the hydra 10 others come along…and the majority didn’t give a fuck to put it bluntly. All of us have been trying to signal what was coming for many years, and were told we were being dramatic, that this was some Orwellian future that would never happen. Even writing to my representative as I have done many times (most recently wrote to Glenda Jackson opposing the Great Firewall when it was in the Commons – because I knew that LGBTQ youth would be affected…much use that it was).

Well no, sadly we now have been proved correct from what was derided as ‘tinfoil paranoia’ with mass NSA & GCHQ monitoring, ‘not really proper media’ Wikileaks and more recently to the mass blocking of Childline and Samaritans in the ‘who will think of the children?’ Great Firewall of Britain, ‘well won’t happen to me’ IPNAs (future crime? How Minority Report) and now the police (well the tinpot Banker army that is City of London, LOL) playing Judge Dredd with domains ignoring any form of, you know, due process. And there IS due process for ‘infringing’ domains, but it involves those pesky courts. This is where it’s heading, that due process is ignored, protest shut down with court orders, one law for the 1% and another for the rest.

Do we get a grudging thank you? No, but I’d not expect that. Does this mean at least people finally take arms in this fight? No, oddly too…apathy and cynicism reigns supreme. Posting cat gifs and Upworthy crap while The Titanic burns and Rome sinks (…And I Can’t Stop Laughing! You Won’t Believe What Happened Next! Click Here To See A Real Police State And It’s Warming Story Of Totalitarian Rule!). I mean look at the insane treatment of Stephen Gough, the Naked Rambler for an example of an IPNA/NSA future could look like – and this is under the current ASBO laws. The idea that someone who just refuses to wear clothes, rather than being given the classic Traditional British Eccentric treatment which is to raise an eyebrow then go back to your Times supplement is jailed FOR YEARS should be a wake up call for most…we are returning to a strange sort of Victorian values which actually don’t make sense, and don’t actually protect anyone at all, but give the semblance of some weird picket fence 1950′s lifestyle – or even worse a Keep Calm 1940′s cupcake austerity drag that never, ever, existed.

This is why Cory’s analysis is correct, it will get a lot worse before if it get better…if it does at all. It depends on all of you giving a fuck. This might be why the note of despair is here, given the history on that count.

There are signs of something in the making – the Day We Fight Back is an interesting step but like SOPA it needs a real push from everyone, not people sitting back liking pictures of Doge (wow! how appropriate! Apathetic unfunny disengaged version of the cat macro for the 2010s), then moaning when their rights are taken away – or they randomly get caught in a GCHQ/NSA sting, or not be able to find help when they need it because all the ISPs are filtered.

By the time everyone is saying ‘why didn’t you tell us?’ – even though many of them chose not to listen – then it’s already too late. Revolution or a new form of serfdom to major corporations and governments controlling what you see, hear and share – tis your choice. Go back to the 1950′s or actually join the 21st century? As John said last night, we’re entering a revolutionary period – well only if people actually stand up and make their views known, otherwise it’ll be a totalitarian period. Your choice.

Girls vs Boys: Fair use and advertising

I really liked the Goldieblox advert when I saw it, the attitude, the aim of getting more girls into STEM. I didn’t even think about the backing music much apart from thinking it was a slightly odd but subversive choice as a fun parody of Beastie Boys very misogynistic and not-at-all kid-friendly ‘Girls’.

It seems that Universal and Beasties approached Goldieblox, apparently threateningly although how much remains to be seen (Beasties claim it just was a nice cuddly approach, those of us who have been ‘approached’ before suspect that is complete bullshit) and Goldieblox pre-emptively sued.

There’s a lot of hot air on the internets about this, a lot which doesn’t seem to understand how fair use or parody works. No, MCA’s will does not somehow rewrite US law. No, fair use doesn’t have a ‘not for sale’ tag on it. Protected speech is protected speech, wherever it may appear…the contested bit is usually if or how it could cause commercial damage to the original.

So it was nice to be backed up by the EFF in thinking that this case is highly ironic and problematic for the Beasties. As many mashup artists since, they have used or tried to use fair use laws from the other side of the mirror from where they are now, to defend their sampling and commercial appropriation of other people’s creative work as transformative and ‘fair use’.

I think Goldieblox has a real case here, the usage fulfils what I understand as parody and social comment, flipping the misogyny of the original and making it into a positive anthem for young girls. Just because it’s in an advert does not automatically mean that speech is invalidated as not protected under the laws over fair use….nor does Adam Yauch’s will mean that beyond the grave he can send Goldieblox back to the workbench over this. The U.S. court system is full of surprises so who knows how this will play out, but having followed this sort of thing for many moons from a mashup/cultural appropriation angle, I think they have a very good case. I hope the eventual decision doesn’t damage fair use laws in the States though (I know it can’t til it gets to the highest court, but depends how silly UMG & Beasties want to be – although I suspect they wouldn’t dare. The big 4 have been avoiding court cases about these kind of uses for a very good reason – it could go the wrong way, legitimising a shedload of ‘grey area’ uses which they’d prefer weren’t legal).

I’m not going into a long rant as I did on Facebook about the complex relationship I have with the Beasties, let’s just say their past speech, and their very belated apologies for homophobia and misogyny leaves a lot to be desired. I never really understood why they got a free pass, actually…strange the defence of ‘immaturity’ when I knew not to be sexist, homophobic or plain rude as a twenty year old, and many other similarly aged people that were in the spotlight and outside manage it too. In fact if you’re not straight and white you aren’t actually allowed to step that far out of line as being allowed the space to act up, be obnoxious and being a brat is usually a male white middle class privilege. They aren’t the heroes you are looking for, over copyright, politics or otherwise. I always thought Run DMC and Public Enemy were better anyway!

Get Off Mah Lawn: BPI, Filters & Law

Missed this missive about the BPI…who from personal experience are a complete bunch of numpties, so I approve. All those royalties go to the highest sellers, not the actual poorer/smaller artists. It’s a complete protection racket, and true that the record labels loved underground scenes – like mashups – but publicly didn’t want to be associated while paying for remixes and mashups on the downlow – all those kids using cracked versions of Acid Pro and Ableton. Total hypocrisy.

And check out Dan Bull’s latest about the whole Web Filter Porn debate…yes Cameron is a wanker, and the idea is so flawed it’s not true.

What with the new Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill with it’s IPNAs and PSPOs (Public Spaces Protection Orders) the country is becoming more and more ‘Them and Us’ and I hate to say it, as it’s a complete cliche, but another step to a police state. I mean when you have the Ramblers of all people, not exactly radical kendal mint cake and parka types opposed, then you know something is completely wrong. You know rich types are going to use such laws to git the proles orf mah lawn – even if there is a public right of way there. And the new ASBOs – the less snappily titled Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance – apply to anyone over 10 FOR LIFE and along with the Dispersal Orders they can be applied only if you are ‘annoying’ someone or if they think you might annoy someone. Completely vague, and like the ASBOs they will be abused, probably to affect people’s right to assembly.

Can Haz Proper Constitution Plz?

As I said on Twitter I do think there should be a new Kinder Scout mass trespass if these laws come into effect and are used to protect the rich places. I would suggest the still closed Thames Path going through Windsor Great Park – yes Queen stopped those nasty scruffy walker types walking along her lawn. Even though everything she owns is actually ours, or she stole it from us…

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