Posted: May 16th, 2010 by Gadget42
I’ve always been an optimist, believe it or not. I write a lot of outraged rants, but that’s because I believe in fighting back and doing battle with the “Forces of Evil”, which in this bold new millennium are customer-hostile big business and government all married and happy, at our expense.
These past few days I haven’t felt so optimistic. Maybe it’s from being sick (flu bugs really are less fun than they sound), but I’m starting to think that trying to influence legislators is a losing battle. Because they keep upping the stakes, and it gets harder and harder to counter the tidal wave of big money sweeping over the hallowed legislative halls.
DMCA, Patriot Act, ACTA, and other attacks on free speech and fair use; the RIAA gets away with statutory damage claims of $750 per “pirated” song and never have to prove actual harm; patents and “intellectual property” double-talk swallowed and regurgitated whole by a gullible, uncaring tech press; the MPAA/RIAA (MAFIAA for short) get to order the makers of DVD-players and home theater systems to cripple functionality; kids perpetrating unimportant cracks get felony convictions, while it’s OK for Sony to install rootkits–twice–Amazon can reach into your Kindle and pluck your books back out; we can’t buy the most trivial item without it being plastered with safety warning stickers, while Microsoft and the “security” industry continue to get a free pass for their corrupt symbiosis; Sony can remove features from PS3s years after they have been sold, Apple has an elite taxpayer-funded police force for their personal use. Facebook, Google, and hordes of marketing companies get away with outrageous invasions and abuses of our personal data and privacies… And on and on…
I still believe in doing what I can: let my legislators know what I think, which anymore seems to be “I see through your crap, you don’t represent me you bought-and-paid-for-hypocrite.” I support the Electronic Frontier Foundation for their valiant legal work, and I support the Free Software Foundation because the FSF is the only organization that maintains a hard line on software freedom. You think Richard Stallman is icky? Well I think getting punked by big business is a whole lot ickier.
I’m putting more of my hopes for the future into getting away with as much as I can. Warrantless spying on my email? Fine, I’m encrypting all of it. Do they really think they can stop me from exercising my personal fair use rights? Good luck with that. Web-surf with Tor, Firefox’s Private Browsing mode, and delete Flash and text cookies every couple of minutes. Support independent musicians, and who needs mainstream movies? What kind of wussies keep on feeding the hands that beat them? “Oh I just can’t LIVE without paying my tribute to Hollywood and the MPAA! I have to have iTunes! I can’t live without cable TV! I must have a mobile phone even though they’re screwing me over every minute of every day!” Feh.
I boycott all abusive proprietary software companies, and I am finally learning to program, because if we don’t take matters in our own hands we’ll always be at the mercy of merciless interests who have nothing but contempt for us. (Hey, then we’re even, because I have greater contempt for them.)
What Really Disgusts Me
What really really really disgusts me about these shortsighted, vicious attacks on everything from the free market to free software to our civil rights is why they do it– to sell crap. Not even necessary crap, just stupid shiny widgets and overpriced crapware. For deity’s sake! What the hell is wrong with people? Messrs. Gates, Jobs, Rosen, Stringer, Glickman, Bainwol, and all the rest of you greedy fools who don’t care how much earth you scorch in your insane quests for money and control, I extend Jon Stewart’s invitation to Bernie Goldberg (Warning: not work-safe) to each and every one of you. Because you earned it.
The Jon Stewart clip is over eleven minutes long; skip to the 11:00 mark to cut to the main message. Though it’s all good.