August 03, 2005

Sony Fake Critic - Class Action Lawsuit Won

From not exactly a new music-related story, more of an indicator of things to come as industry embraces viral/subversive marketing techniques; another indicator of an industry OUT OF CONTROL!. Sony has been forced to pay $5 to any moviegoer who can claim they were tricked into seeing a movie based on a review by their David Manning, fake film critic. Not only do we have government producing fake criticism (US Agriculture Department, US Education Department), now industry is doing it to itself.

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Posted by jeff at August 3, 2005 09:08 AM | TrackBack

Hey Jeff, I've been enjoying our exchanges more and more for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we disagree about half the time, which I find inspiring.

This morning I read a review in Atlantic Monthly that so closely mirrored some of the tangential topics we've hit on at S21, the coincidence caught be off guard. I thought I would email it to you, but I haven't been able to find an email address, so here's an excerpt posted randomly as a comment on an unrelated post.

I don't entirely agree with much of this, because pretty much everyone I know is really nice, but I thought it was interesting in light of our discussions.

"…we needed a war to give up slavery, which the British, for all their economic stake in it, had abandoned much earlier without a shot….

Throughout our history we have been inclined to assume that all but a negligible (and by definition un-American) portion of our countrymen are decent folk. The few nasty ones, we like to believe, can be either screened out of positions of authority or somehow induced to behave decently. Neither the right nor the left will accept that our bullies are always with us. Rush Limbaugh dismissed the Abu Ghraib scandal in terms of frat-boy pranks, thus calling to mind the English critic Ian Robinson's remark that some forms of stupidity are indistinguishable from malevolence. But it was no cleverer for Susan Sontag to attribute the atrocities in Iraq to the influence of pornography and violent video games. European intellectuals tend to react differently to their own countrymen's outrages, because they harbor fewer illusions to begin with. One need only think of the essayist William Hazlitt expressing his aversion to Britain's rural folk; the novelist Henry de Montherlant attributing the worst possible instincts to the French; or the social reformer Alexander Herzen lamenting the ruthless element in the Russian soul. Even today Britons see hooliganism as the dark side of Englishness, and educated Germans rarely say the words "das ist typisch deutsch" except in a tone of despair. One can debate whether this sort of thinking is just an inverted form of nationalism, but it is undoubtedly one reason why Europeans are less likely to assume that their factory farms are treating animals "nice."

It's time we realized that for all the kindness of most Americans, we have enough thugs to warrant talk of a brutal streak in our own national character. Though limited to no region or ethnic group, our nasty pieces of work are similar in ways that distinguish them from their foreign counterparts. Unlike the British yob, for example, the American thug tends to be more dangerous when bored than when angry or drunk. The root cause of the horrors at both Pilgrim's Pride and the Baghdad prison was, we are told, the need to liven up a dull job. And unlike the radical Hindu thuggees who gave us the word in the first place, the American thug considers all living creatures fair game. A reporter asking around Lynddie England's home town for reactions to her unit's transgressions was told, "Every season here you're hunting something. Over there, they're hunting Iraqis." The quarry in question was shackled at the time, mind you; if Webster's ever needs an example of the true contemporary sense of the verb "to hunt," there it is.

But enough of the pathology. The important thing is that we cannot hope to keep such people out of positions of authority. Like the Europeans, we have to understand that when our fellow citizens are given absolute power, the worst types will assert themselves, and terrible things will happen. (Usually we won't hear about those things; it is no coincidence that thug is Sanskrit for "to conceal.") Our reluctance to grasp this banal fact has in the past made us slower than this or that part of Europe to step between the bully and the bullied: slower to abolish slavery, slower to reform mental institutions and prisons, slower to bring about female suffrage and civil rights..."

Posted by: lawrencedillon at August 3, 2005 07:31 PM