Thursday, January 8, 2009

Once Upon a Time

The Atlantic was a prestige imprint. Now...

Discovery of the day:

Last night I was out with a friend, attempting to have a serious analytical discussion about the adult video porn industry, and various recent challenges to its business model.
We gave up after realizing that there is no way to have such a discussion without constant double entendres. This was amusing, especially after the second gin-and-tonic, but more than a little distracting.
I really don't want to comment.

Almost 700,000 jobs lost in December:
I recently realized that over the past few weeks, without really noticing, I've slipped quite naturally into referring to the current crisis as "the Depression". I also realized that no one I've spoken to has challenged that description.
700,000 lost their jobs last month and all Megan can notice is how people respond to her choice of vocab.

Economists beat philosophers on list of top jobs:
Or so says the Wall Street Journal. Those long, flowing beards itch.
To begin with, anyone who actually refers to themselves as a philosopher has likely written a "Philosophy of the Matrix" book or is Terence McKenna. It's pompous and bullshit. Today, philosopher is more like a title awarded to a select few, mostly posthumously, not a job description. (Though there are folk in Europe who work as general philosophers in a manner somewhat comparable to talk therapists. I doubt they're what the WSJ means.)
In any case, they presumably mean philosophy professors. Thing is, only the tenured, and tenure track, profs have it good in any sense, and even then academia is not really a fun place to be behind the scenes of. Committees and petty department politics and publish or perish suck. Not as much as risking your life for a shitty underpaid job, obviously, but the idea that "philosopher" is a great job is, as best I can tell, based on looking at old paintings and mistaking them for reality. Know how Descartes was able to sit around in his study pondering things? He was born massively fucking rich.
I don't really have a point to this rant, except maybe to say the WSJ should more clearly label their fiction pieces for the sake of mushbrains like Megan.

The end of property:
So it looks as if iTunes will be largely DRM-free by April. Will that save the music industry? I'm still not seeing a great deal of evidence that younger people who group up in an era when they didn't have to pay for music will start paying for it like those of us who grew up when the only way to get good sound without paying was to . . . er . . . steal it.
Or copy the tape. Or make a tape off a cd. Or listen to the radio.
I am assured by Larry Lessig fans that the bands will just make it up on concerts, and anyway, this is good for the smaller indie bands that right-thinking people like. I will be more convinced when I see an actual increase in the number of quality musicians who don't have to supplement their art with a job delivering pizza.
Apparently it's a new phenomenon for unsigned musicians to need a "real job", at least to Megan. That whole British music industry effectively being subsidized by the dole for decades thing must be made up. You see, a good friend of Megan's is a total guitar god who has all these beautiful songs and it's just so wrong that he isn't famous like Buckley was.
And only Megan has a friend like that, not every single human being in the western world below the age of 60.
She doesn't even realize she's worrying about the labels, not the artists.

See no evil, hear no evil . . . :
Meet Meaghan Cheung, the SEC investigator who missed the Madoff scandal. The friend who IM'd me says: "I almost feel sorry for this woman. ALMOST."
I feel sorry for her the way I feel sorry for everyone who does spectacularly stupid things, but it's hard to muster any special sympathy given her extensive whine that the Post ought to pick on someone else
Sure, Megan has spent her blogging career arguing against regulations, but so long as she has a lower level staffer or two to blame she'll never have to acknowledge the systemic failure the ideology she supported created.
And there's no obvious scapegoating going on when a rank and file member is blamed for a failure of these proportions. No clear failure of her superiors to take sufficient responsibility, no intentionally introduced flaws in the whole damned system that allowed and actively encouraged all manner of risky to clearly illegal behavior. Just one bad apple.

Expect many, many more individual bad apples to fall from the trees in the months to come. Megan has clearly established how she's going to respond to the Depression; claim she saw it coming and congratulate herself for it. Soon she'll be making a big deal of how she warned us all and we didn't listen. And everyone will get tired of me posting this.


Susan of Texas said...

*I'll* never get tired of it.

Megan also doesn't notice that the scapegoat is very often a low-level woman. She might want to remember that later.

spencer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
spencer said...

Yeah, but she doesn't have the self-awareness to realize that she, Megan McArdle, who is not Ann Althouse, is actually low-level herself.

Anonymous said...

"I will be more convinced when I see an actual increase in the number of quality musicians who don't have to supplement their art with a job delivering pizza."

This is hatefully glib and without credibility. I put it to you (all) that MM knows precious few "quality musicians," and preciouser fewer who, she knows, have to deliver pizza. It is incotheivable that she has enough musical smarts to know who's "quality" to begin w/.

May one coin a phrase? "Fuck HER."

(Should it be "whom"?)

Anonymous said...

"incoNtheivable," obviously.

Susan of Texas said...

I just read her latest output. You guys are going to be out of a job--she's become so trivial she's practically non-existent.

M. Bouffant said...

W/ few exceptions, "quality" musicians are forced to deliver pizza, or, believe it or shove it, hold down high-paying day jobs that help them support their "art," if we dare use the term, because "quality" in the world of aesthetics is almost never rewarding, especially in Western Civilization (& California) at least while the artiste is living.

(Whooo! Turned two paragraphs into one run-on sentence!)

And Susan, this isn't a "job," it's a labor of hate. We'll never be out of it. (Or grow out of it.)

Susan of Texas said...

Heh, it's not hate, it's incredulity. And dislike. Definitely distaste as well. Incredulity and dislike and distaste, the kind you get when you see a wealthy woman leave a tiny tip.