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The Transformed Wife wages holy war against witches, grumpy people

The Transformed Wife is a blogger and a minor Twitter celebrity. In her profile she describes herself as

A wife, a mother, a grandma, and a keeper at home. Loves Jesus and is not afraid to speak Truth because it sets you free!

But I think she’s selling herself short here, because she seems to have forgotten that she is also a bold crusader against the evils of our age: feminism, witchcraft, and grouchiness.

Let’s roll the tape, or rather the tweets:

It’s just too bad God designed women to be so gullible.

Remember: Marriage and babies, good. Putting a hex on the Transformed Wife, very bad.

Apparently witchcraft and feminism are pretty much the same thing.

Uh oh, now she’s naming names!

Whatever you do, don’t dress like a slut, because that too is a sort of witchcraft.

This lady is doing it all wrong:

This tweet sounds a bit like a pitch for a fun rom-com — that is, if your version of fun involves burning in hell for all eternity:

And while you’re going about your non-witchy life, don’t be a grouch! Remember to smile or God will smite you or burn you in hell for all eternity or something.

And don’t worry about the end, which is near!

SMILE DAMMIT.

Follow me on Twitter.

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rabid rabbit
rabid rabbit
1 month ago

@Surplus:

Finally, which art tends to be better? Art motivated by whatever it is that motivates creative pursuits in people who don’t expect to gain financially by it, or art motivated by visions of dollar signs?

Yeah, the Sistine Chapel definitely isn’t that great. If only Michelangelo hadn’t expected to be paid! (See also: https://www.shortpacked.com/comic/david-willis-a-slightly-older-cartoonist39s-advice)

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ rabid rabbit

“If Michaelangelo had been straight, the Sistine Chapel would have been done in Artex.”

Allandrel
Allandrel
1 month ago

@Surplus

Nice to know that you think that I should stay in poverty rather than hope to supplement my income with my writing, because no one should pay me for it, and that my desire to be paid for it means that I have no real creative drive.

Last edited 1 month ago by Allandrel
Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
1 month ago

Ballet is an art, it’s a passion of mine. I have put in blood, sweat and tears for it. I have broken bones for it and deformed my feet for it. I have put my body through hell for it. and I love teaching dance to children, to give them the same passion for it that I have. To show them the ability to love something so much, you break your body into the shape to be able to do it. Ballet pays my bills, it saves me up for a house. It paid for my wedding. my dedication and love for it is not tainted because I make money off of it. It just means I have a skill and I can monetize it.

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ elaine

I have broken bones for it 

I used to train Krav with a ballet dancer and her feet looked like she’d been caught cheating in a mafia run casino.

Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
1 month ago

@Alan

that’s what they look like. I always wear socks

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
1 month ago

There seems to have been a misunderstanding here.

I don’t object to artists making money from art, especially from live performances of any sort (in which there is fresh marginal labor being performed by the artist(s) for each appearance). Nor do I think art that got paid for is invariably bad. The art that is likely to be mediocre and derivative (not quite the same as “bad”) is art that is produced solely, or primarily, to generate revenue, rather than because someone had an artistic vision. That tends to be corporate produced stuff. The umpteenth Jaws sequel sort of stuff, and bland paintings for walls in hotels and government offices, and Muzak, and so on and so forth.

So: Art the artist would have made anyway? Likely good.
Art the artist wanted to make anyway, but was only able to actually make because they had at least supplemental income from it? Likely good.
“Art” made solely and specifically to convert into cash, that wouldn’t have even been a twinkle in anyone’s eye absent the prospect of cash? Likely mediocre, and arguably not real art since it lacked that creative spark as its first motivation.

The third is the main sort of art that likely would not exist, or would be greatly reduced, without copyright revenues. The first would exist regardless. The only real question is whether some of the art in the second group would not exist, and again I expect there are better solutions that don’t involve artificial scarcity, especially things we ought to be doing anyway like a basic income guarantee. And all of that applies to fixed, copyable works, not to live performances or on-demand production. Note that Michelangelo was commissioned to produce an original, new work, and did not get a copyright of any kind, as copyrights hadn’t been invented yet. Paying someone to produce something completely new does not involve artificial scarcity and does not create the problems I previously described. I likewise have no objection to artists accepting Patreon donations or charging for live performances or being commissioned to produce a work for a particular patron or etc.; I don’t even object to them receiving royalties, but I do object to the imposition of these by force. (Though, without that, they’d become more Patreon donations I suppose: voluntary donations.) I do also object to appropriating someone’s art without credit, unless they’ve specifically okayed uncredited use. (Which happens; CC-zero licenses, etc.)

Note too that copyright inherently reinforces a class division, between consumers and small-scale artists the latter of whom must navigate a minefield of e.g. Youtube copyright detection false positives, on the one hand, and large corporations and highly successful famous artists, on the other. Copyright can only really benefit someone who can afford lawyers, after all, and creates barriers to entry if anything is not 100% wholly off-the-cuff new rather than building on existing culture in any way. Barriers to entry and a benefit only the middle-class-upward can realize will then tend to lead to centralization and oligopolization, and we can easily see that it has indeed done so. Arguably that was inevitable in the past, when it took a sizable capital investment to mass produce copies of anything, but not since 1995 or so has that been needed, and the only reason for a few giant corporations to continue to dominate is the monopoly-promoting effects of copyright. Eliminate it and you’d likely see a huge creative ferment of indie producers and numerous smaller-scale distributors, as well as new kinds of producer-distributor arrangements being formed. Though again I don’t advocate just abolishing it cold-turkey and without doing anything else. I’d suggest phasing it out by setting an end date a few years in the future and introducing other things, like a basic income, at the same time.

TL;DR: the remuneration of artists is not in and of itself problematic. The current systems for doing so are, and need major reforms. (Reforms that, in combination with some judicious trustbusting, would reduce the degree to which artists get exploited by megacorps.)

Last edited 1 month ago by Surplus to Requirements
Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ surplus

“Art” made solely and specifically to convert into cash, that wouldn’t have even been a twinkle in anyone’s eye absent the prospect of cash? Likely mediocre, and arguably not real art since it lacked that creative spark as its first motivation.

But a lot of what we now consider to be great art was created solely for mercenary considerations. Heck, even the Mona Lisa was a commission.

This argument though is not new. Lots of people stuck their noses up at Vermeer. He was just churning out tronies for the newly emergent middle classes. They were the equivalent of those Athena prints you get nowadays.

I am firmly in the camp that creatives should be rewarded for all their hard work. And that there should be no restrictions on how they choose to exploit their works.

No matter how much you may desire the product of their labour, you aren’t entitled to it for free. If I took a fancy to a piece of knitwear for example, I think people might agree that just taking it without the consent of the person who made it, or giving them appropriate consideration, would be unacceptable.

I don’t see why the same considerations should not apply to all creative works. Even when they are non tangible or easily reproducible.

I can understand your distaste of large corporations; but they fulfil a purpose. They take care of all the exploitation and marketing elements; and leave the artist free to concentrate solely on the creative side.

And if artists do want more control over the marketing of their works, there are options. A lot of previously marginalised artists are using blockchain and crypto to bypass the gatekeeping that’s prevalent under the traditional models. Smart contracts are a convenient way of dealing with things like artist resale royalties.

(Although there are a lot of issues as to how effective blockchain actually is for that; but that’s a huge discussion in itself)

Last edited 1 month ago by Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

With opportune timing, there’s a case out today that seems pretty apposite.

The epitome of punk*, the Sex Pistols rowing about commercial matters.

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2021/2322.html

In summary, all the members of the band want to licence some Sex Pistols material for a TV series. John Lydon was holding out on agreeing; but they argued he was outvoted under the band agreement. Which the court said he was.

(*Well, insofar as any project by marketing guru Malcolm McLaren can be)

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
1 month ago

Free? No. Marginal cost?

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ surplus

Free? No. Marginal cost?

I’m not sure I get what you mean there; but in any event I think I must disagree with you on this point:

I don’t even object to them receiving royalties, but I do object to the imposition of these by force.

The thing with that is, you’re essentially arguing that workers should only be paid at the the whim of the person benefiting from the work. I’m not sure relying on largesse is fair to the creators. What if Walmart took that approach with their workers? (I know they practically do).

Now, as it happens, I am giving serious thought to adopting a ‘pay what you think is fair’ approach to my legal work. I hate all the discussion of fees; I just find it really embarrassing.

It’s not that straightforward though. The rule here is losing party pays winning party’s legal costs. But there’s a thing called the indemnity principle. That is, they are only obliged to pay what the other party was legally required to pay under their retainer with their lawyers. If they can find a loophole the client could have used, they can rely on it too.

So the problem is, can they turn round and say “Well, you could have offered to pay nothing, so that’s the same for us.”?

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
1 month ago

The thing with that is, you’re essentially arguing that workers should only be paid at the the whim of the person benefiting from the work.

Actually, no, I’m not. If I am asking the artist to do additional labor (live performance; commissioning a work; etc.) then I fully expect they can ask for money in exchange, and as a condition of doing it. Just like any other worker.

On the other hand, making a copy of (or a sequel to, or etc.) a preexisting work in a way that does not require additional labor from its original author(s) is a different kettle of fish altogether. Charging for this is the bit that is problematic (and it’s the only bit that results from copyright law). The notion that artists should get paid every time their work is copied, derived from, or in some cases even viewed is really quite peculiar when you think about it. And again I will note that:

  • Very few artists make much, if any, revenue from this source. Mostly the big names, whose fame can be (and typically is) parlayed into cash in numerous other ways as well, such as selling merch.
  • Most of the money from this source lines the pockets of large, monopolistic corporations.

Again I would suggest that a basic income guarantee will allow artists to practice their art without as big a need for a time-consuming day job just as well as any royalties scheme, and without breaking half the internet to do it. It would give some wealthy people, many of them not artists, a sad, but c’est la vie. As for enabling distribution at scale, the internet has rendered that issue moot. It’s no longer necessary to partner with a megacorp with vast manufacturing and distribution channels to get a popular work out there. Just seed a torrent and get it indexed somewhere. And since there’s no need to partner with a megacorp there’s no need to worry about how that megacorp’s costs will get paid, either.

Last edited 1 month ago by Surplus to Requirements
Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ surplus

Charging for this is the bit that is problematic

That’s an interesting argument. I’m afraid I must still disagree though. I think it’s only fair that everyone who benefits from the work should pay for that privilege. And I think that applies regardless of numbers.

Consider the following, an artist does a live performance on stage. Can they charge everyone in the audience? There’s still the same amount of work involved whether one person is watching, or the venue is packed.

So currently they are rewarded proportionately to how popular they are; and that’s the same with royalties.

It seems to me that, under your view, once one person had bought a ticket and thus there was an obligation on the artist to perform, everyone else who wants to pop along should be able to do so free. After all, the artist will be doing the labour anyway.

I do very much get your point about how IP protection is seen as the province of the big players. I talk a lot about this in the art world. Now obviously I have a vested interest in recommending people at all levels use the law to protect their interests; but I also genuinely believe that to be the case. I, and some colleagues, do give lots of free advice to aspiring artists. And for our part if they ever do become rich and famous and can afford exorbitant legal fees I hope they remember who gave them all that free advice (I do actually say this explicitly at the seminars; maybe I should get them to sign something to that effect?)

As for collecting royalties, there are all sorts of issues there. Under EU law artists have resale royalty rights. That is to say, when a work is sold, they get a share of the proceeds. California had a similar scheme but that was ruled unconstitutional. How to enforce and claim those royalties is an issue. That’s one area where people are looking at smart contracts as that can be made automatic. (Although there is a massive loophole there too).

Allandrel
Allandrel
1 month ago

@Surplus

So when and how exactly DO I get paid for my writing, since apparently the months or even years of hard work that went into it don’t count, because once it is done I am apparently not doing any more work and thus don’t deserve any additional pay? I guess all that self-marketing that non-big-name writers do is just for fun, and not work in an attempt to get paid?

You yourself said that most creatives don’t make the big bucks, which is why we need every dollar we can get from it.

But then, apparently even live performances are only “marginal” work to you, and so only deserve “marginal” pay.

Again I would suggest that a basic income guarantee will allow artists to practice their art without as big a need for a time-consuming day job just as well as any royalties scheme, and without breaking half the internet to do it.

And I would suggest that working kidneys would allow me to support myself comfortably so that I was not dependent on things like a “royalties scheme,” but it ain’t gonna happen.

You are not being misunderstood by large numbers of people here, Surplus. You are being an entitled jerk by denigrating the hard work of creatives, a number of whom here have told you so.

You want the fruits of my labor, fucking pay me properly for it like for anybody else’s labor. And writing, like all art, IS labor, even if you don’t see most of it. The idea that “art made for art’s sake” is inherently superior is elitist bullshit pushed by pretentious asshats.

Don’t want to pay the price that I’m charging? No one is forcing you to consume my output. Go read through Project Guttenberg instead. You are not being oppressed because a new paperback costs CA $18.00.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
30 days ago

And the misunderstandings continue.

The live venue case is more complex than you are suggesting. In particular, the venue has a finite volume in space, and thus a finite capacity for audience. That makes places in the audience naturally scarce, and the venue can charge for places in the audience. The artists in turn can charge the venue as much as the venue can bear while still expecting a net profit.

This is not affected at all if copyright is abolished.

On the topic of supporting Allandrel’s writing, etc., ideally there’d be universal healthcare and a guaranteed basic income making all of this easier.

And the notion that everyone who benefits from something should pay appears to be zero-sum thinking, and impractical besides. Consider e.g. a carwash. Someone pays to have their car cleaned. Later on, they don’t get into a crash because their windows aren’t too dirty to see through. A bunch of other people don’t get hurt. Should they have to pay additional amounts to the carwash on top of what the car’s owner already paid? What about people who like seeing the car go by, all shiny and clean, and would have been ever so slightly worse off if it had been filthy instead? Do they have to pay? Where does the line get drawn? And for how long? Should we be paying the descendants of the pyramid builders a royalty to view them? Or even to see a picture of them on the internet somewhere?

The every-beneficiary-pays idea also seems to suggest that every view or re-reading or similarly ought to be paid for, rather than every copy, the implementation of which would quickly become a nightmare for everyone but the fatcats. It’s an idea that leads ultimately to madness.

All of this can be put into a different framework, where the same conclusion will get drawn. Benefiting from the product of someone’s labor long after the labor was done (and paid for) is a positive externality. Just as taxes and other public measures are used to make polluters internalize the costs of negative externalities, public policy can be used to subsidize activities that result in positive externalities. In effect this can be done by taxing the populace, in one way or another, and paying the producer of the positive externalities. Copyright can be viewed as such a tax, but it has key problems, starting with its being, essentially, a regressive sales tax rather than a progressively-funded tax where the wealthy pay more. Worse, it’s one that can only be implemented by surveillance and censorship to make sure nobody is distributing unpaid-for copies. Worse still, it lets each author set the “tax”, or just refuse permission for a use, rather than setting a fixed and sensible rate per word, or per minute of audio or video, or whatever (except in a few cases of “compulsory licensing”). Worse still, it varies a fair bit by jurisdiction, and everyone tries to claim jurisdiction over uses anywhere in the world, or else uses geoblocking to try to avoid that, which in turn results in even worse artificial scarcity problems, where someone in e.g. the UK might not be able to legally watch a film produced elsewhere even if they’re willing to pay.

We can also question whether payment should be proportional to popularity, rather than fixed above some threshold level of popularity. Art is supposed to be about expressing something, not entering a popularity contest. Popularity-proportional remuneration punishes authors of niche works and promotes the overproduction of works aimed at a general audience. This in turn is why there is a relative paucity of science fiction on a typical bookstore’s shelves, but 80 million Danielle Steele novels and imitators reading any three or four of which will pretty much obviate any reason to read any of the other 79,999,996 or so, and six hundred highly predictable and interchangeable romcoms for every film as innovative and thought-provoking as The Matrix or Inception. It’s why every specialty TV channel eventually gets overrun by wrestling, random popular-six-years-ago movies, and Big Bang Theory reruns, and then smothered by the super-cheap-to-produce “reality TV” kudzu, before succumbing to collapsing ratings and going out of business.

The smart thing to do is replace the whole boondoggle with a scheme for subsidizing the production of art that is funded out of general tax revenues, progressively obtained ideally, and is only somewhat sensitive to popularity. Perhaps works passing some minimum threshold of attention would result in a payment, supplementary to the afore-mentioned basic income, that was scaled to the size of the work and indexed to inflation but otherwise constant for a given type of work. Or to make the total payout more predictable, an amount of money would be set aside annually from the general tax revenue that was set by the legislature as some amount multiplied by inflation since that amount was set, and then divided up among the year’s eligible recipients with the proportions based on the cumulative sizes of their works that surpassed the eligibility threshold that year. Or something like that.

I expect any such system would need more thinking, research, and tweaking before it could be called mature; and that it would be vastly superior to the current one somewhat before that point of maturity was reached.

Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
30 days ago

… with a scheme for subsidizing the production of art that is funded out of general tax revenues …

Been tried. Several times by various nations at various periods. It worked poorly when it worked at all. If you want to get a subsidy to produce art, you’d better not upset the sensibilites of whatever minor functionary approves your grant – meaning “State approved art” is an insult for a reason.

As a writer, I’m going to say bugger off with this no copyright shit. No one is entitled to the fruits of my time and effort for nothing. I spent months to years writing something, so if you want to read it – you bloody well pay to read it.
I mean, you’d not quibble at paying me for performing the actions of my former profession, would you.

Last edited 30 days ago by Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Alan Robertshaw
30 days ago

@ surplus

I mentioned the live performance point by way of analogy, rather than an example of copyright in action. But to take your response further. What if the performance was screened on a pay per view basis? Then the issue of artificial scarcity wouldn’t arise. I still think the artist could expect everyone who wanted to benefit from their labour to pay.

I would also disagree that royalties are like taxes. Taxes are compulsory; and you don’t get much of a say on what they’re spent on. Libertarians pay for health care, pacifists pay for nuclear weapons.

But as Allandrel points put, no-one is obligated to buy art. If you think all the sweat, time, and effort Allandrel put into producing a book isn’t worth the value they put on themselves, you are free to take your custom elsewhere.

As for your other point, I’m all for state funding of the arts. However I wouldn’t want it to be the only source of income for artists; nor leave it up to the government, or even majority public, to decide who gets to create. Whilst there have been some great public art projects, I wouldn’t want the government dictating what art is acceptable. That has a sordid history (although ironically, Goebbels’ display of degenerate art is the best attended exhibition in art history).

But take Soviet Russia. Under the regime video games were only licensed if they fulfilled one of three conditions:

  • Encourage enrolment in the military.
  • Promote health and fitness.
  • Celebrate Russian culture.

Tetris was able to slip in under No 3 by adding that music and the background elements.

But imagine if that was the US. Would (think of a video game) have been improved by the addition of the star spangled banner? Also, what sort of public art would get approval south of the Mason-Dixon line?

Personally I am both in awe, and grateful, that people like Elaine, Stacey, and Allandrel put in blood, sweat, and tears, sometimes literally, in producing works. And for that they deserve total control over them. Whether that’s deciding who gets to see them; or how much those privileged to see them have to pay.

But as for government sponsorship of arts; I don’t think this can be beaten.

bumblebug
bumblebug
30 days ago

@Surplus
I am not an artist or creator so I don’t want to speak over those who are. But there was one statement in your comment that really jumped out to me:

Worse still, it lets each author set the “tax”, or just refuse permission for a use, rather than setting a fixed and sensible rate per word, or per minute of audio or video, or whatever (except in a few cases of “compulsory licensing”)

Why is it a bad thing that an author or artist can refuse permission for use? Artists and creators should have the option *not* to sell their work. They should have control over where their words and images are used – otherwise you get people using the art of a person to support ideas that the original creator does not agree with.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
30 days ago

I’m all for state funding of the arts. However I wouldn’t want it to be the only source of income for artists; nor leave it up to the government, or even majority public, to decide who gets to create.

You’ll note that the scheme I suggested would divide up a pool of funds to every work that received more than some threshold-sized audience, without reference to the contents of that work (beyond its size). The objections about state control are obviated if the legislation explicitly doles out money in a content-agnostic manner.

A basic income guarantee is even better there, since it pays everyone some regular amount, and is thus inherently unbiased. If it lets some people quit their day jobs and pursue art full-time, it will do so independently of who would or would not approve of the resulting works.

Meanwhile, what’s the status quo? You can’t get a work published to a large audience if it offends the sensibilities of private-sector corporate suit-and-tie types (I still have no idea how Roddenberry managed to sneak a nearly-overtly communist utopia past these guys, but I doubt it was easy) and in effect the majority public does get to decide who gets to create by voting with their wallets. They don’t like Waterworld? There goes Kevin Costner’s career … took about seven years for him to recover from that, didn’t it?

The internet promises to upend that status quo, but the gatekeeper corporations are fighting tooth and claw to delay that. Their biggest tool? Copyright laws.

Meanwhile I will note that there is a strange, almost right-wing streak in many of the responses I’ve gotten here. A lot of what amounts to “claws off my property!” (we’re technically talking about a revenue stream here only — i.e., future earnings, nothing that’s in one’s pocket already right now) and “no one should get any benefit they haven’t paid for or otherwise done something to specifically deserve”, which is basically what conservatives say when opposing public assistance programs and the like.

It feels a lot like turf-protecting, of a distinctly capitalistic and authoritarian flavor. Unusual for WHTM. The arguments for “control” especially disturb in that regard. I don’t agree that art should be used in a way that makes it look like the author is endorsing a position they don’t endorse, but there are non-copyright ways to deal with that edge case, namely trademark-type laws. The ideal outcome would be not to forbid display of a work (i.e., censorship) but to require a disclaimer in certain cases that the originator does not, or does not necessarily, endorse insert-thingy-here. Such disclaimers are already seen occasionally in various places anyway.

rabid rabbit
rabid rabbit
30 days ago

@Surplus:

In a socialist utopia where everyone got a guaranteed yearly income, you might have a point. In the real world, your position has… issues.

Allandrel
Allandrel
30 days ago

@Surplus

Yes, not wanting to starve is so very capitalist and authoritarian.

contrapangloss
contrapangloss
30 days ago

Yep, Surplus? Word of caution:

While socialist utopias with adequate ubi for everyone to be free of worries about meeting the bottom rungs of Maslow pyramid (or Star Trek utopias that have moved beyond the need for a monetary system because scarcity has been solved a’la replicator) and as a result everyone is free to pursue their heart’s call with regards to pursuit of art/culture/sciene sound really awesome and wonderful…

It’s still just a thought experiment. And a lot of the arguments you’re using are THE SAME ARGUMENTS writers, musicians, and other artists are beat over he head with by people demanding they do things for free, or for less than they need/deserve.

Nobody here thinks the system is perfect. But without the rest of the utopia, the stuff you’re saying is not gonna work out.

For instance, the “anyone should be able to use art with a disclaimer that the original creator disagrees with it”

I can think of a few cases where this would not be adequate.

Say a racist organization wants to give themselves legitimacy, so they decide to blow up a portrait of MLK produced by a recognized street artist to a 5-story building’s sized wall mural. That one brick on the lower left with the artists “the artist thinks racists suck and these people are super racist” is not going to mean much, against the scale of the work.

Note, that’s just AN example.

TL;DR: this is a sensitive subject, and your thought experiment is tromping all over people’s lives realities. Calling them selfish right wingers for wanting to afford groceries/poking holes in your dream utopia is kind of a jerk move.

Maybe focus more on the utopia and less on the “people in the current system are selfish/you’re all misinterpreting me!”

Note: Sorry if my tone seems harsh. I do think that the utopia and people being free to do stuff without regards to meeting basic needs is an amazing thought. I don’t think you intend to come off as a jerk… and I don’t think that base level Surplus is a jerk. I think you just are operating on the “cool thought experiment” level and are forgetting a bit about the folks with boots on the ground.

@Thread, thanks for the well wishes. Stuff’s still rough, but eh.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
30 days ago

I hope that things are smoothing out for you soon, @contrapangloss <3 Things, they are tough!

IgnoreSandra
IgnoreSandra
29 days ago

Under capitalism, the system we currently live in, artists & writers and the like require compensation in order to meet their needs. So long as that remains true, compensating such folks monetarily is the thing to do.

I can make a fairly convincing argument that we have no idea what fantastic art could be made if everyone could just make art if they wanted to, whereas the system we’re currently in tends to squeeze out people unless they make art that is sufficiently popular to receive compensation – which adjusts the definition of art to something commercial rather than being a cool thing that humans do…

but the argument is pointless at this time. People need compensation to meet their needs. Under that scheme, copyright during the lifetime of the creator(s) is one of the ways to go about that. It’s not even the worst one.

Certainly, though, Disney doesn’t need to still hold the copyright to movies that will be 90 years old in 2026 however.

Alan Robertshaw
29 days ago

With a nice bit of synchronicity, a friend had just posted this. It covers some of the topics we’ve been chatting about about how art is funded, and the implications thereof:

.45
.45
29 days ago

“You can’t get a work published to a large audience if it offends the sensibilities of private-sector corporate suit-and-tie types (I still have no idea how Roddenberry managed to sneak a nearly-overtly communist utopia past these guys, but I doubt it was easy)”

Oh. I am not qualified to discuss copyright laws and idealistic utopias per se, but I am a Star Trek fan…

First, suit-and-tie types are hardly a monolithic entity with a hivemind, so it might not as hard as all that regardless of the following points. (Not to mention people have a great tendency to ignore undesirable traits in something they like.)

Secondly, the Star Trek utopia most people think of AS Star Trek was TNG on up. TOS was far less so, and that was Roddenberry’s claim to fame, the series that cemented his position as a great artist. He was riding his own coat tails for TNG, and to some degree got a bit of a free pass.

Third, much of his new utopia vision (the arrogant self righteous “humans are super evolved and the bestest thing ever” for example) went away when he lost control over his own creation, and especially after he died. I would argue this was for the better, as he was definitely going for the commie version of the ugly American in the first season or so.

This in particular relates to the copyright thing though. Arguably Roddenberry was a poor writer and most of his scripts were simple and without nuance. For example, compare A Private Little War with Errand of Mercy.

Minor Spoilers ahead:

A Private Little War, written by Roddenberry, was a straightforward commentary on the Vietnam war. Kirk shows up and decides the right thing to do is to arm the group of natives opposing the Klingons. Spock basically agrees with him, the proxy war starts, roll credits. The implication: Just like the noble Captain, the US was right to get involved in Vietnam, no matter the cost.

Errand of Mercy however, is written by that other Gene, and is far more interesting. Kirk faces off against the Klingons and tries to do a similar thing, trying to convince the natives to rise up against the Klingons in exchange for Federation technology and support, the whole jeans and firewater thing. Not only does he fail, but in the end the primative Organians reveal they are actually very powerful and stop the conflict between the Feddies and the Klingons before it really starts. And Kirk is suddenly hit with the realization that he was pushing for war and even protested when it was stopped. He has a very human reaction, realizing that “Wait, I might be the bad guy here” and sputters a face saving excuse about the right channels. It is far more engrossing and complicated, whether or not you agree with the premise and what it says about the Vietnam war in real life.

In conclusion, Gene Roddenberry was a wonderful idea man and we should be greatful he shared his art with the world, but he was not so good in the writer’s room. Much of what we think of as his best work was essentially copycatting by more skillful writers, first with his willing permission, then as he deteriorated later in his life, without.

And that is really what relates: He had his art taken away from him against his wishes. Much of the resulting art was arguably better than anything he did, but how does all that factor into this discussion?

Alan Robertshaw
29 days ago

@ .45

You’re far better qualified to talk about Star Trek than I; so I’ll just reference Doctor Who instead.

The programme has always been famous (notorious?) for plagiarising other stories. But the staff are quite open about that. I like writer Ben Aaronovitch’s quote:

“Talent borrows, genius steals, and Doctor Who writers get it wholesale off the back of a lorry.”

SpleenyBadger
SpleenyBadger
29 days ago

As part of my trip through this life, all 52 years of it so far, I was a witch for a while. I was also a Christian (nominally), and sorta tinkered with Buddhism, and now I’m an atheist. Throughout it all, I’ve pretty much always been a feminist, even before I really knew what that was (thanks to a mother who raised me to be whatever I damn wanted to be). This idea that one falls in a direct one-way line from grace, to feminism, to witchcraft, just shows how overly simplistic her thinking is. The woman’s never had a complex thought in her life. Mind you, her husband probably won’t let her.

Alan Robertshaw
26 days ago

Sorry to necro (although bearing in the mind he subject matter, maybe that’s appropriate, pass me my Necronomicon.). This does though seem the most appropriate thread.

They’re cool pictures anyway.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/the-many-faces-of-women-who-identify-as-witches