June 28th, 2005

flavored with age

What I Learned From Yesterday's Religion Poll

1. That I let so many dirty Jews post on my LiveJournal even though you murdered Christ, my Lord and Savior, shows what a tolerant and decent human being I really am.

2. People want more jokes about fingerbanging the Pope.

3. There is a 12:1 ratio of people on my friends list who are going to hell vs. going to heaven.

4. Calling agnostics "pussy-ass" proved more controversial than I anticipated.

5. People were nice to me about this poll even though it was flagrantly mean and inappropriate on every possible level.

6. No Muslims on my friends list.

7. A scary amount of Catholics, though.

8. People who were raised Protestant are more likely to self-identify as atheist; and people raised by strict Protestants, even more likely.

9. No one likes church.

10. It's time for another offensive, pointless, stereotype-laden poll.
flavored with age

There's two things you don't talk about...

...here's the other one.

Poll #521907 Another offensive, pointless, stereotype-laden poll

How would you categorize your political views?

I am a Republican
0(0.0%)
I am a Democrat
3(5.1%)
I am a social and economic conservative
1(1.7%)
I am a social and economic liberal
15(25.4%)
I am a social conservative, but an economic liberal
1(1.7%)
I am a social liberal, but an economic conservative
11(18.6%)
I am a socialist
6(10.2%)
I am a communist
1(1.7%)
I am an anarchist
0(0.0%)
I am a fascist
1(1.7%)
I am a theocrat
0(0.0%)
I am some other thing that generally skews "right"
0(0.0%)
I am some other thing that generally skews "left"
15(25.4%)
I reject all your restrictive, hidebound political definitions, pig
5(8.5%)
I am James Lileks
0(0.0%)

How did you vote in the last presidential election?

Republican
1(1.7%)
Democrat
49(83.1%)
Green
1(1.7%)
Libertarian
1(1.7%)
Other
1(1.7%)
I did not vote because I despise the sham of 'free' elections
0(0.0%)
I did not vote because I was not allowed to do so
0(0.0%)
I did not vote because I am lazy
0(0.0%)
I did not vote because I was too young
0(0.0%)
I did not vote because I am not an American citizen
1(1.7%)
I did not vote because voting is for sissies
0(0.0%)
I did not vote because no candidate adequately represented my interests
0(0.0%)
Like I'm gonna tell you who I voted for
2(3.4%)
I voted in the elections of a different country
2(3.4%)
In the what now?
1(1.7%)

Briefly describe your political self-identification.

Have you made significant changes to your political views in the last 20 years?

No
14(23.7%)
Not significant changes, but only very slight ones
7(11.9%)
Yes, I used to be more conservative but have become more liberal
13(22.0%)
Yes, I used to be more liberal but have become more conservative
8(13.6%)
Yes, I used to be more centrist but have become radicalized
3(5.1%)
Yes, I used to be more centrist but have become reactionary
1(1.7%)
Yes, but you have to guess how
9(15.3%)
I think this whole poll is gay and politics are for homos
0(0.0%)
I am a gay homo and I find the previous option highly offensive
1(1.7%)
Maybe
3(5.1%)

Check all that apply: are your political views at significant variance from those of your immediate family/loved ones/significant other?

No, our political views are largely identical
7(12.1%)
No, our political views are generally similar
13(22.4%)
No, we are all apolitical as a rule
0(0.0%)
I don't know/don't care/never bothered to find out
2(3.4%)
Yes, they are slightly more liberal than I am
0(0.0%)
Yes, they are significantly more liberal than I am
0(0.0%)
Yes, they are slightly more conservative than I am
10(17.2%)
Yes, they are significantly more conservative than I am
12(20.7%)
Yes, our political views are completely and totally divergent
1(1.7%)
I said, I don't have a family/loved one/significant other! Why do you keep torturing me?
0(0.0%)

In which political enterprises do you/have you participate(d)?

I vote
2(3.4%)
I attempt to stay informed about local and national political affairs
0(0.0%)
I am active in a political cause, party or interest group
0(0.0%)
I donate money to the political party of my choice
0(0.0%)
I volunteer for/work for the political party of my choice
0(0.0%)
I have run for office
0(0.0%)
I have worked for a specific political candidate
0(0.0%)
I have engaged in 'get-out-the-vote' programs
0(0.0%)
I have written letters to the editor about politics
0(0.0%)
I have written/called/spoken to my elected representatives
0(0.0%)
I am professionally involved in politics
0(0.0%)
I am an elected official
0(0.0%)
I go to the barbershop and complain loudly about that bunch of bums in Washington
0(0.0%)
I rate elected officials on a "Hot or Not?" scale
0(0.0%)
I think caring about politics is for Melvins
1(1.7%)

Since comparing people and things to Hitler or the Nazi party is clearly played out, what should be the next big rhetorical cudgel?

Saying something is worse than Stalin
4(6.9%)
Saying something is twice as bad as Pol Pot
2(3.4%)
Saying something is three times as bad as Genghis Khan
1(1.7%)
Saying something is at least five times less desirable than having one's face bitten off by Dr. Hannibal Lecter
7(12.1%)
Saying something is worse than Dracula and Galactus put together by a factor of ten
13(22.4%)
Saying that compared to something, the Great Depression wasn't so bad
3(5.2%)
Saying that compared to something, slavery was actually pretty good
4(6.9%)
Saying that compared to something, the Black Plague is like going to St. Kitts & Nevis for a beach holiday
5(8.6%)
Saying that compared to something, the invasion of Earth by hostile, powerful Martians would be like dying and going to Heaven where you would become God's best friend and doubles partner
5(8.6%)
Saying that something is worse than saying something else is worse than Hitler
14(24.1%)
flavored with age

Mature Artists Steal

Alas, Lileks has nothing for us today other than the unsurprising news that he shops at Guitar Center, so let's take a look at the AP wires. Oh, hey, this is interesting:

Musicians Welcome File-Swapping Ruling

Nice headline, that. Reading it alone, you might get the impression (certainly, big media companies want you to get the impression) that the recent decision by the Supreme Court that file-sharing firms can be sued for distributing copyrighted material is welcomed by the poor, hardworking artists who selflessly fill our lives with musical joy. Yes, a victory for the artist, for the CREATOR, this is!

Only if you bother to actually read the article do you hear who's standing up for this decision: Don Henley, Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks, Jay-Z, Jimmy Buffett, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Jones. All multimillionaire international recording artists, all promoted with gigantic marketing budgets by huge media conglomerates and signed to the most major of major labels. People like Tom Burris, Janis Ian, Chuck D, and Sananda Maitrey -- independent artists, people signed to small labels, people whose promo materials don't cover every corner of your local Borders -- they aren't so sure. For them, for working artists without the benefit of a gargantuan advertising and promotional budget, file-sharing is a good thing. They don't make their money from album sales anyway; they don't get played on the radio and they don't get hyped on MTV. They make their money from touring and selling merchandise. So the more people hear their music -- for free or otherwise -- the more people are likely to come to their shows, and the more money they'll make.

New York based pop-rock musician Tom Burris, who has released music on independent label Tomato Records, said the indie community would be hurt by the decision if it leads to free file-sharing sites like Grokster shutting down. "It's hard to imagine that distribution for indie music could be much worse than it is now," Burris said. "For those musicians who have no distribution, it will hurt their situation."

Hey, Mr. Crybaby Burris, whoever you are! If you don't like it, just get signed to Sony or Geffen or something!

For some independent artists, file-sharing networks have become alternative tools for expanding their audiences outside of radio, MTV and the major label system. Singer-songwriter Janis Ian said Monday the ruling would make it tougher for smaller acts to get heard. "This is going to cut off a lot of avenues, especially for startup bands," said Ian.

Hey, Ms. Whiny I Haven't Had a Hit in 20 Years Ian, there's still lots of venues for new bands and groups outside the mainstream! Like, uh, Making the Band! Or busking!

For smaller, independent acts, getting paid sometimes means people get your music for free but pay for T-shirts or to attend shows, Burris said. "When I go on tour, people who listen to my music online will show up to my shows, and maybe they'll buy my CDs," Burris said. "If not, they'll pay the cover to see the music."

Are you still here, Burris? Get a job! With one of the five media companies who own 75% of the record labels and 90% of the distribution in North America! This is about THEFT, plain and simple. Look at that headline again! You musicians WELCOME this ruling! Understand? You will WELCOME it.