HEY! This Is Important: Vol. 11
HEY! This Is Important is a (semi) weekly series in which I examine developments in the past week that impact internet culture.
If you’d like to avoid sleeping well at night, I’d recommend a peek at the (accurately named) Megamouth shark caught in the net of a Philippine fishing vessel this week. It is an extremely ugly and deeply mysterious fish. This is only the 60th time on record that humans have come in contact with one of these strange filter feeders.
Ann Bauer keeps it real. She offers a frank glimpse at the financial advantages which allow her to pursue her career as a novelist. It’s a great discussion of privilege and creative work — she specifically calls out the disingenuous tendency of successful artists and intellectuals to attribute their status to sheer merit and grit.
Cellist Zoë Keating wrote about her some unilateral negotiations Google (via YouTube) wants to force on her music. The demands are absurd, and include a threat that Google will not share ad revenue when a third party uploads videos featuring her songs. I wonder how much longer monopolies like Google will be allowed to conduct business like this. (forever?)
And speaking of mis-steps from a certain information monopoly, Andy Baio writes about how Google has abandoned part of their original mission, to preserve writings from the past. Groups, Books, News Archive, etc. have been dropped in favor of “experiments with robotics and artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles.” Fortunately, a dedicated team of non-profit internet librarians are doing their best to save modern-day culture and history, from music to software.
There was much discussion on Jonathan Chait’s inane, self-pitying diatribe against “political correctness” this week, but I think Fredrik deBoer has the smartest take. Even when the messenger may be as mean-spirited and obnoxious as Chiat, it turns out there’s room for thoughtful debate.