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stupidity

I should mention that the subtitle of my journal is taken from the punchline of a Far Side cartoon. It's hanging on my door, and I suppose I could scan it and post the whole thing, but here's the part I like. The cartoon is captioned "Classroom afflictions" and features math anxiety, Latin convulsions, chemistry conniptions, etc, and finally...basic stupidity.



Whether I should scan the whole thing and post that is trickier. Larson has said he doesn't want Far Side cartoons posted on the web, and I respect that he didn't just sic his lawyers on the guy, he wrote him a nice personal letter and explained himself. However, what's the difference, really, between posting a Far Side cartoon on the web and posting a copy on your office door? In both cases you've copied the cartoon -- whether by scanner or photocopier; indeed, there are many machines that will do both for you -- and posted the result in a public place -- your web site, or your office door.

The main difference is that the web allows copying of your digital copy with a speed, ease, and accuracy unmatched by the photocopy on your office door, but I see it as a difference of degree, not of kind: you can certainly surreptitously remove the photocopy, run down to a photocopier and make one of your own. (And then return the "original", if you're nice.)

If Larson doesn't want the Far Side copied and distributed without his permission, every office building in the country should receive a letter like the one hyperlinked above. Yet he hasn't, because of a nice symmetry: the reality of the analog world that makes effortless, large-scale photocopying of Far Side cartoons impossible also makes effortless, large-scale C&D letters impossible for Larson. Likewise, the ease of right-clicking on your favorite anthropomorphic insects and hitting "Save Image As..." and is matched by the ease with which Gary fired up his email program and sent his nice letter.

Hmmmm. I need to think more about this. I also need to figure out how to use the department's new scanner. Or maybe I don't.

Comments

how do you think Bill Watterson feels?

gary is trying to protect his trademark, albeit a bit heavy handedly. consider bill watterson, who penned the calvin & hobbes we all loved so much. c&h was unbelievably intelligent, at times, even when the order du jour was whimsicality.

...and this man must suffer the sight of redneck decals, displaying calvin pissing on everything in sight. i wouldnt blame larson for doing the same. one must also consider that a website has the potential for a LOT more traffic than one's office door. :-)

Re: how do you think Bill Watterson feels?

I feel for Watterson. I totally hate seeing Calvin peeing on anything (even, yes, a Bears or Vikings logo). The Far Side, though, doesn't really have any identifiable mascot or characters. And there's a difference between drawing Calvin in a non-Calvin-&-Hobbes setting and posting a copy of a Far Side cartoon properly attributed to Larson.

I think the "basic stupidity" is good enough, though, since basic stupidity is my main problem.
Hey! Where did you come from? And where have you been? I'm surprised you didn't jump on the bandwagon at Adam's party where EVERYONE except you and me were discussing their LJs. It took me a while to realize that, no they didn't really each have their own personal Lijesh.

Come to SFD5 on Saturday. All the cool people are gonna be there. Well, Suzy and Adam are out of town, but Dave and I will be there and who could ask for more?!!

And you probably already know about this. Are you gonna be able to make it for water park fun on Sunday?

whoa, free food!

Okay, I will totally be at SFD. I will bring some beer and some curry peanut butter (really). I can't make it on Sunday, though.

My friend Derek (g3kko) pushed me over the edge since he (and his wife) each have a Lijesh and I didn't think of either of them as blogging types. I expect that having a LJ is a gateway drug into Orkut and Friendster, just like getting an iPod last summer was the gateway drug into buying a Powerbook this spring.

Re: whoa, free food!

no orkut/friendster do not have any constant gravitational pull the way LJ has.
stupidity

July 2011

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