Monday, June 12, 2006

Good-For-Something Hippie!

For a while at least, the good, honest people of Hollywood will keep their peace of mind. The cyber-dragnet spearheaded by anti-piracy enforcers at the MPAA has paid off at last. But the bandits do not rest, twisting their mustaches in smoke-filled living rooms, camcorders unsheathed. The menace even has the gall to show its sneering face in public and speak up for its loathsome trade. Just days after the Crime of the Century is dragged into the light of justice, cyber-bandit John Perry Barlow dueled with MPAA head Dan Glickman, who, astonishingly, appears to have sold his soul only after an interval in Bill Clinton's Cabinet. The edifying (or maybe stultifying) moment comes when Barlow recalls how much money he's banked as an unofficial member of the Dead, to which the callow Glickman responds, impressively, that entertainers aren't absorbing profits. Translation: the law should regulate media technologies up to that point at which the entertainment industry - that hailed egalitarian bulwark against common, vulgar American capitalism - belches from its own avarice. Apparently the "greed is good" axiom only lacks the heft of regulation and criminalization - what makes America great!

Barlow is a name fans of the Grateful Dead, including myself, know well as the semi-talented successor to Robert Hunter. Since leaving behind the acid-daze (or perhaps not) he has emerged as, arguably, the world's foremost spokeshippie for technological freedom and privacy. Sticking it to The Man is slightly more than schadenfreude, in this case at least.

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