Finding Time, and I mentioned Amanda Palmer's TED talk on "The art of asking."My daughter was within earshot and she asked in disbelief, "How do you know Amanda Palmer?" And I said, "She did the TED talk. How do you know Amanda Palmer?" And she named a band I'd never heard of that made "angsty" music.
The entire exchange had this weird vibe. Like she thought I ought not know who Amanda Palmer is, and that she thought I ought not know that my daughter knows who Amanda Palmer is. So, maybe there was something more than generational going on here.
After I saw the TED talk, I got to remembering that I'd heard about the "Kickstarter Scandal" of last fall. The TED talk was the perfect response. Someone says something nasty and snarky about what you're doing and you can articulate a response in a TED talk that more people will see than read The Newyorker.
I suspect that the Kickstarter Scandal was a faux flap caused by jealous people who didn't get a piece of the action. Or that was intentional obtuseness by people who prefer the current model of record companies, record promoters, etc. and would like to ape Microsoft's FUD strategy for fighting Linux. If you have a healthy income that comes from the status quo, any innovation that threatens to disintermediate you is a scary, scary thing. I think we saw that last year with the campaign of hate against Linda Chorney.
I think Ms. Palmer's Kickstarter scandal has something to say about humanity as a species and the USA in particular. In response to the flap, Ms. Palmer issued an apology. Not the "I'm sorry" kind of apology you normally associate with the word, but the "Socrates" kind of apology that consists of a reasoned explanation of one's actions. (I certainly hope she is not about to be force-fed hemlock.)
The Scarlet Letter that many want to sew onto Ms. Palmer's breast stands for "avarice." And they think she's earned this letter because she invites local artists on-stage to play with her. Doing so means that she is not paying union scale, nor FICA taxes, either. In her defense she said those exploited artists "like" doing it.
In her defense, I say, nobody holds a gun to anybody's head. Except the taxman.
When I was a child, evil, godless Commies had nukes aimed at us. We feared they would corrupt our precious bodily fluids. Happily, now I drink fluoridated water, those nukes are rusting in their silos, and the hammer and sickle flies over Pennsylvania avenue.
The advocate for redistributive economic justice covets the stuff of the 1%. S/he/it need not covet it for himself/herself/itself--as much as to buy goodies for the downtrodden. This helps buy the votes of the downtrodden, so everybody wins except the 1% who are moving to Singapore. The covetousness of the Socialist is insatiable as Monty Python observed decades ago with lupins.
The 10th Commandment is why Christianity and Socialism are contradictory. Try to remember this next time you're voting for Santa Claus.
And when Moses came down from that Mount the other tablet said, "Thou Shalt Not Steal." Stealing used to be easy to understand. You take one of Moses' stone tablets and he doesn't have it any more. He'd have to laboriously carve words into a replacement. This is stealing.
But what if Moses had the law on two CDs, and you illegally copied one. He'd still be able to boot up Judaism. Would that be stealing? No, it is not stealing. It's a violation of US Copyright law. It's an amazing thing that corporations have managed to confuse the two notions.
Part of Ms. Palmer's $1.2M went into the production of CDs. If you take one of those CDs from her, she no longer possesses it. But if you make a copy from your friend, your friend still possesses the CD.
When you violate US Copyright law, you diminish a bit of scarcity from this world. Publishing companies would prefer that you fill the silence of your life with music, ebooks, and software that they sell. As these things are scarce & in demand, you are inclined to pay more. As they are not-scarce or not-in-demand, you are inclined to pay less. Therefore, your violation of US Copyright law takes bread from the mouths of publishing companies.
Amanda Palmer has gone from being a musician with a record deal (from whom each violation of US Copyright law cost her money) to a musician with no record deal who encourages everyone to copy and share her tunes. But she asks her fans for help.
Ms. Palmer is comfortable with giving away value to her audience and asking for help. There's a sense in which she's like the waitress who quits the job where an 18% gratuity is added to every bill and taken another job where she earns tips on the basis of grace and not law.
I hopes she does well and I hope more people follow her example.