Funny take on bootlegging

The site for underrated singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke has an amusing take on bootleg traders who are so brazen that they show up on her site’s message boards looking to trade. Excerpt:

“It’s like I’ve invited you to a party at my house, you really dig some of my things say, some silverware, knick knacks, a couple of vases. So you take them. Then there’s another get together and you bring the stuff you stole back and start trading it with other people who were at the first party. Here, I’ve got five place settings, How about we swap for that blue bowl. Maybe I just never got the whole bootleg thing. “

A few points on media bias

All from Editor and Publisher.

First, a Nation writer who says the U.S. media have a “bias towards officialdom.” In these days of greater corporate influence, that’s certainly a possibility.

Here’s one that throws a wrench in conventional views (and mine!): GOP voters more likely to use newspapers. You’d think Republicans would be less interested in media that have time and space to be more analytical. And you’d think Democrats would be more of the “media elite” crowd that would shun TV for the dead-tree variety of news.

And the Wen Ho Lee case, which I’ve always maintained is an example of how the media are motivated more by scandal-chasing than by politics, even to the point of failure to exonerate those who deserve it.

Comfort in old tragedies

I’ve finished 11 episodes of the 15-episode A History of Britain set. It’s funny how I get more squeamish as we get closer to the present day. Terrible plagues, fires and medieval battles sadden me, but it’s somehow easier to see it as part of the great series of events that civilization has endured. By the time we get to slave trading and various massacres in India, it’s no longer as easy to set aside.

Still, I’m riveted to it, and I’ve thought of a few more reasons why. For one thing, I’m impressed that the British can be so honest about their history. In American schools, we’re get a sanitized version … or worse. We came over England, we beat the French (hooray!), we dumped the tea, and off we went. The good history books show the complexity of the Civil War, but most classes run out of time before we can get to Vietnam.

I’m thinking that my next project will be my VHS collection of Civilization, another compendium in which an art historian tells the story of everything that made that art what it is. From what I’ve seen of it (the host isn’t quite as compelling a storyteller as History of Britain‘s Simon Schama), it’s a sunnier version of things. Perhaps I need to see History of Britain, with its tragic tales, before I can appreciate Civilization.

And then I’ll go back and re-read Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, a hilarious love letter to the British people. Then I’ll re-watch History of Britain. And on and on …