Don't Stop the ACLU

Monday, July 24, 2006

By that logic, Sen. Brownback is a vagina

Hello, strangers. I apologize for my long absence. I'm a little rusty at the hinges. Let's start with a video:

Round about 2:45 in the Daily Show clip above, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-[where else?] Kansas) makes a fool of himself and Jon Stewart has a little fun with bad analogies.

As some of you may recall from my earlier, less delinquent days at DSTACLU, I enjoy poking holes in faulty analogies almost as much as I enjoy my Constitutional right to privacy. I see pundits and party hacks at both ends of the ideological continuum cooking up terrible, inapplicable analogies pretty much every day now and I can't overstate how painful it is to watch.

Since it's my first day back in a while, I'm going to start with one we can all relate to. The Recording Industry Association of America says copying music from friends or downloading it for free from the internets is stealing. When on the offensive, they might ask a group of young music-downloading whipper-snappers if they'd ever consider walking into a record store and taking a bunch of CDs without paying for them. The ethical whipper-snapper says, "Of course I'd never do that" and the RIAA nods sanctimoniously and replies, "See?"

But the smart whipper-snapper will have none of it. She might point out that stealing a CD from a record store means one fewer CD for that store to sell, a smaller profit margin, a laid-off hourly worker. It does not hurt the record labels because the retail establishment still has to pay the label for the stolen merchandise. In contrast, she might continue, making a copy of an existing purchased-or-not song file *might* hurt the record label, but only if the person downloading it were the sort of person who could or would ever be convinced that spending sixteen dollars on a CD was swell idea. "For example," WSer might say, "I would never buy a CD. Never, not once, not ever. If anti-piracy technology progressed to the point that in three weeks I'd downloaded my last Britney Spears song, I would simply stop the downloading. I would not go out and buy anything. The RIAA will never get a dime of mine. That being the case, my downloading is not bad for business. I'm not cutting into anyone's profits. I'm simply enjoying the freebies while the getting's good. Like those people who graze on samples of organic fruit salsa at the Whole Foods but would never think of coughing up thirty-five bucks for a jar of it."

Unfortunately, no matter how cutting the WSer's analogy analysis is, the law is still with the RIAA. As many noted intellectual property law scholars have said, that intellectual property law is a motherfucker. But you see where I'm going with this. Keep your eyes peeled, metaphor warriors, and report all faulty-analogy pushers directly to me. I'll talk some sense into them. You'll see.
posted by Maven Swift at 10:19 PM


Blogger Maj. M.T. Rational XXXIV said...

Why is Jon Stewart not in charge of the entire world already?

July 25, 2006 12:00 PM  
Blogger Beaming Visionary said...

Senator Brownback is, in fact, as close to a vagina as you'll find in a supposedly sentient human being. Nothing against vaginas, you understand.

I guess the nimrods at Stop the ACLU took a pass on the stem-cell issue. The basic science is far, far above their collective head, but that's never shut them up in the past; assholes like Glib Fortuna are convinced that just-fertilized, no-implanting oocytes are "people," so I'm a little surprised that they didn't produce even a token burst o' bullshit.

July 25, 2006 7:00 PM  

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