July 13th, 2001

Eminem is *whacked* (or: Eminem likes Ex-Lax and Mountains?)

This is the strangest thing I've seen in a *while* -- but I guess anything is permissible these days in attempting to sugar-coat artists for "mainstream" distribution on radio... and if you're not playing on radio, you might as well not be playing (apparently).

Anyway, the lyrics to Eminem's latest song have been so *whacked* that (on radio) he seems to be "describing indigestion brought on by over-eager mountaineering" (thank you, NTK!). Take a read, I can't imagine how anyone lets this stuff play *at all* -- they lyrics are *so far* from even *plausibly* making sense in the rewrite version. Listen, folks: if the lyrics can't be played on the radio, then *don't play the song on the radio*. What's so hard about that?

I think this is the final sign that our society has become so paranoid about protecting our children from anything even remotely in the commons that we've lost our last bit of rationality.

See also Not In Front of the Children, a book by Marjorie Heins, excerpted on the EFF's Censorship page. I think I've come to the conclusion that effective parental *monitoring* of your children's radio-listening/web-surfing/book-reading activities is the *only* rational and effective solution. Not censorship. *Monitoring* -- and the magic of computers means that the review doesn't even have to be in real time!

Really disturbing.

I'm just going to quote NTK on this one:
...hasn't quite got the hang of that whole "thou shalt not kill" thing: http://www.christiangallery.com/hill3.html.
...although it certainly begs the question: if you *were* convinced that some individual X was responsible for the deaths of 30 others per week, would it be permissible to kill X to stop the killing? How about X's bodyguard? Okay to kill them, too?

Quickies.

Librarians are THE DEVIL (according to publishers)

It was only a matter of time before the copyright battles spilled over into the libaries: Library "radicals" targeted. Consider Richard Stallman's story The Right To Read: it is *inevitable* that "intellectual property" will begin to push against "core american values" (such as corporate profit?), and the libraries have always held the front of the field in the free-speech wars.

Incidentally, Stallman also has a timely article on electronic publication of academic research which may be interesting to the academics in the audience. I'm pleased that the ACM, which I belong to, seems to have a reasonable and rational system in place, which, although not *quite* as free as Stallman would like to see, is certainly a very good first step. And *much* better than that of the IEEE, which I'm oft ashamed to admit I also belong to.