the show: 07-28-06

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(Sings) Who likes the little little duckies in the pond? I do I do I do, a chick-a-quack quack

Good morning, Sports Racers, it's Friday July 28, knowledge says knowledge is hard, let's go shopping.

S-s-s-something from the Comments! Oh No You Didnt writes, "ZE Please stop bastardizing complex issues like copyright infringement. . . . [C]overing a topic superficially is just as bad as misconstruing it."

I'm not— (pants) You're the bastardizer! I bastardize you! You bastard!

I'm sorry.

Great points, Oh No You Didnt, and great job letting other people think so you don't have to! Unfortunately, I think it's a little more complicated than that. You wrote lots of words without providing any additional information on copyright and still appear like you know what you're talking about! The cool thing is, anyone can do that. Just say, "Well, it's a little more complicated than that," and the amazing thing is, no matter what you're talking about, you're probably right!

Here's Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell's proof that 1+1=2. My goddamn first grade teacher was a bastardizer! But I do appreciate her teaching me that it's not OK to take your penis out on the way to the bathroom. You just do that when you're there. Wait till you're there. Wait till you're there. Wait till you're there.

When I was a child, I looked like a massive sissy. (Asshole!) I didn't know much about anything, but if you put something in front of me, I would just start playing with it. When you don't know much and you just start playing with something, you quickly find the activity or idea that's at that something's core. Instruments are about moving your fingers and making sounds you like. Dancing is about moving your body so it feels good. And penises were for pulling out in public to make your friends laugh. (They still do.)

As I got older, people started telling me that everything was more complicated. Playing an instrument was about scales and theories, and getting laid. People started to tell me that, if I wanted to do something, first I had to learn about how complicated it was. I was told to read manuals written by experts. (Repelling Hard Chargers with a piece of toilet paper stuck to his face, stretching from his cheek to his lips.) The problem is that these experts are experts because they know a whole bunch of peripheral and random crap that had very little to do with the activity that I was actually interested in. (No more toilet paper.) The Photoshop manual told me that I should learn more about color separation and practice the gradient mesh tool, but all I really wanted to do was crop a JPEG and remove a zit from my face. Trying to understand the entirety of something before I started doing it or thinking about it became overwhelming.

Lots of people seem to experience this. When they fail to understand a small exception in eighth grade algebra, they spend the rest of their lives saying, "I'm not good at math." Even the 1992 Teen Talk Barbie came with a prerecorded voice that said, "Math class is tough. Let's go shopping!" The complicatedness of something can make people not want to do or think about it at all. The world we're in is changing pretty goddamn fast. By the time you finish the manual, the tool you were gonna use might not exist anymore. I kinda feel bad for all those people who became experts at Macromedia Director.

So in my adulthood I decided to go back to my childhood strategy: just start playin' with it! Very quickly you start to understand the activity or idea that's at something's core. 3-D software is about dragging and resizing shapes. Music software is about moving your fingers and making sounds you like. Video blogs are about turning a camera on and off and talking. And copyright is an agreement between the government and its citizens that creative work has value and that the creator has the right to protect or pursue that value. Once you find a core activity or idea that's meaningful to you, you can start searching out individual complexities that are directly related to the thing you're interested in instead of trying to tackle everything as a whole.

The fact is that all these online consumer-created videos are changing the media landscape. A lot of legal precedent about property isn't really working to define this space. People who have never thought about this stuff are becoming key players in the industry. And if they want to think about it, they have to start somewhere. But it's more complicated than that.

Hey everybody that signed up for the ORG! There's a little snack for you in the sidebar. Doin' it, ORG-style.

This is Ze Frank, shopping so you don't have to.

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