Friday, April 23, 2010


The Downfall and Rise of Hitler (Meme)

Can't keep a good dictator down!  

Word broke on, of all days, April 20th -- Adolf Hitler's birthday -- that the often-brilliant YouTube parodies of the German-language "Downfall"  (chronicling Hitler's last days) were to be yanked off the Internets, after distributors, Constantin Film, claimed copyright infringement. YouTube got to work and the parodies started disappearing almost immediately.  

The entire thing struck more than a few people as strange, short-sighted and unfair.  Strange, given that these parodies have been running around the Web for at least three years.  Topics have ranged from Hitler "reacting" to the new Xbox, his car getting towed, Usain Bolt winning the Olympics and Jay Leno going back to "The Tonight Show."  The joke is exactly the same:  Some inventive soul comes up with new subtitles for the "Downfall" scene and -- Voila!! -- let the jokes begin. But Constantin decides to put a stop to this now? But, it's short-sighted too: the parodies actually introduced thousands of people to the existence of the original movie!  The director said that he enjoyed the parodies and realized that a more eyes would now see his work than might have before.  

But, it was also unfair:  Parody usually falls under the legal protection of "fair use." One would have thought that anyone who made a video would be on pretty strong grounds from any possible lawsuit.  

Well, it looks like You Tube itself is siding with the parodists:  The site is actively encouraging resistance by reminding users of its own policies
anyone who uploaded a Hitler video that has been taken down can dispute the takedown by checking a box that says, “This video uses copyrighted material in a manner that does not require approval of the copyright holder.” A dispute immediately restores the video, and the owner of the copyright may then decide to seek a formal takedown through the DMCA’s process.
And, yes, thankfully, Hitler has reacted to the initial banning of the "Downfall" parodies:

It's good to see that if folks decided to raise a little furor, some real change can be made!!

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Queer Eye Against Not Queer-Enough Guys

I think these articles fall into what Andrew Sullivan calls "the end of gay culture" or something like that:

Item One:  In Seattle, a gay softball league is being sued by three bisexual men who claim that they couldn't play in the league because they were "too straight."  

Item Two:  In Philadelphia, a pro-gay female State House politician -- presumably straight (she's a widow) -- attacks her male primary challenger for pretending to be gay (and charging that he later claimed to be bi) in order to attract gay votes (got that?).    

While there's not exactly an, um, straight corollary to other previously out-of-the-mainstream groups (blacks, Jews, etc.), it does seem that there's a similar "growing pains" aspect to political maturation that all outsiders experience.  At a certain point, there's a "crossover" or "tipping point" where the internal group politics end up being forced into the open.  Newer politicians on the scene try to figure out ways to get "in." I'm not aware of white politicians trying to "pass" as being partly black in order to get black votes (a reverse "passing," as it were), but there are certainly cases where they go out of their way to demonstrate various long-standing connections to the black community. (And similarly with overtures to the Jewish community).

Of course, both of these examples suggest there is an identity tension within the LGBT community that may have to be resolved culturally before it is politically. 


    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, April 19, 2010


    Two Drivers Asleep At The Wheel

    It can't bear repeating too often. Despite the adage about defeat/failure being an orphan, the parentage of the recent economic collapse is clearly discernible:  The names are Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  In addition to Clinton signing the legislation that overturned the Depression-era Glass-Steagall law that prevented commercial banks from getting into the investment business, it would appear that neither the SEC of "42" or "43" knew the difference between "oversight" and "overlook."  

    Josh Marshall's TPM has the details on the SEC's inspector general report on the agency's handling of Texas billionaire Allen "Madoff of the Southwest" Stanford: 
    "[T]he SEC's Fort Worth office was aware since 1997 that Robert Allen Stanford was likely operating a Ponzi scheme, having come to that conclusion a mere two years after Stanford Group Company ('SGC'), Stanford's investment adviser, registered with the SEC in 1995. We found that over the next 8 years, the SEC's Fort Worth Examination group conducted four examinations of Stanford's operations, finding in each examination that the CDs could not have been 'legitimate,' and that it was 'highly unlikely' that the returns Stanford claimed to generate could have been achieved with the purported conservative investment approach. 
    "Over the next 8 years"!?!?!

    Over two administrations, the Fort Worth office conducted these "investigations," and just concluded, nothing to see here, move along...Oversight, overlook? Same diff, right? 

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    Weblog Commenting and Trackback by AddThis Social Bookmark Button
    Technorati search
    Search Now:
    Amazon Logo
  1.  RSS
  2. Add to My AOL
  3. Powered by FeedBurner
  4. Add to Google Reader or Homepage
  5. Subscribe in Bloglines
  6. Share on Facebook