Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tuesday Stuff

Herein, a post-holiday quick romp through some things that have caught our attention lately.

What's Changed? On World AIDS day, the BBC asks the question: have a half-million AIDS deaths in the U.S. in the last 27 years changed the country? The gay community, meanwhile, remains in an uproar over last month's Prop 8 vote in California, which outlawed same-sex marriage. It prompted this fellow to pen the memorable phrase "no more Mr. nice gay."

Need Help Decoding What Just Happened in India? The New Yorker's Steve Coll slices through some of the confusion.

Sex Spells Trouble. Says the Dalai Lama. But we already knew that, didn't we?

Watershed Moment. Digital sales finally surpass CD sales at one venerable record company. But I suppose we need to stop calling them record companies, now that that's a reference to technology used not just one but two generations ago.

An Eye-Opener. The Boston Globe illustrates how vanished cotton plantations in the south still drive voting patterns!

Former Brown Hocks His Heisman. Like many former NFL players, running back Charles White has had a tough go since retiring from football, though his situation seems to be particularly rough. Please include him in your prayers, if you're into that sort of thing.

The Slow Death of Alternative Weeklies & Newstands Continue. How sad this is. And this too.

Okay, Enough Doom & Gloom. We end on a high note. Tipping our hat to the latest Bond movie, now out in theatres (alas, it's not as good as most of its predecessors), we bring you a photo gallery of the famous "Bond girls." With all due apologies to his majesty, the Dalai Lama...

13 Comments:

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

"too much ups and downs"

Pardon me for giggling.

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Wow, I missed that. Good catch. I thought that was the weirdest marriage of subjects imaginable: the Dalai Lama on sex. Not unlike reading about how Britney Spears suddenly sounded off on particle physics.

 
At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Mike Q said...

Thanks for the interesting links, John ... Regarding Heisman winner Charles White, you have to admire his total lack of self-pity. Somehow I think he's better off than most of today's millionaire players will be when they reach White's age.

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Mike, that's a hell of an interesting point, now that you mention it. I never thought about it that way, but you're absolutely right. So thrilling to have such observant readers. Seems like only last year that he was playing for the Browns, doesn't it? But it's actually been quite a few years.

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Mike Q said...

John, at this point everything that seems like "yesterday" happened years ago.

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

You said it, brother. By the way, the other dynamic to which I was referring when it comes to former NFL players having troubles later in life is the appallingly frequent incidence of permanent brain damage that's been showing up. It's been increasingly documented by reputable medical institutions, which has obviously gotten the attention of the players' union and more recently the national media (I'll try to post links later today, but if someone finds them first and does that, great. I have in mind especially a couple of long front-page NYTimes pieces in the last year or so). Thus far, the NFL itself has been in stonewalling mode, sounding not unlike tobacco companies arguing for decades that smoking causes cancer. How'd that work out for them?

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

Let's just call them what they are: music distribution monopolies. Who BTW don't really care about their artists, only what their artists can earn for them.

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Except that I think their monopolies are largely in the rearview mirror, a thing of the past. They may well go away before too long.

 
At 9:43 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

I agree. I think their current attitudes towards online music, and the often severe litigation they've pursued since Napster came along, are all reflections of precisely the fear that they are losing their monopolies. You know, the extreme acts of desperation.

Just to be clear, as a composer I am a BMI member, and have a good relationship with them so far. But even BMI is looking into some of the distributors who haven't been the paying the artists what they should be paying them.

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, I forgot that you happen to have some special insight into all this as a musician. I'm utterly on the outside myself. Tell me, is BMI the group that collects royalties from restaurants and other public places that play recorded music?

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

BMi and ASCAP both do that job of collecting royalties. ASCAP is the original royalties collection agency, BMI came up later. But ASCAP sucks, and BMI rocks. ASCAP looks for ways to not pay their musicians, even though they've collected the money from the venues; they want to hold onto it. BMI is a lot more honest. As I said, I'm also aware that BMI lawyers are looking into other problems in the distribution circus that have become problematic; so I feel like they care about their artists more than the others. (Not that one should ever, ever blindly trust.)

What's cool about the new media of digital distribution, as you've mentioned, is that one can buy the music directly from the artist, now, bypassing all intermediaries. I do that, most of my musician friends do that.

The paradigm is in the process of completely changing, and becoming far more direct-to-sale.

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, ASCAP is the one I was thinking about. I've read a lot about them and their extreme artist-unfriendliness, so I was surprised that you'd be high on them. But of course it's the other group you're endorsing. Thanks for the education about a niche I know little about, Art.

 
At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Art clearly has no idea what he's talking about. ASCAP lobbies harder than any other PRO for digital rights. In 2008 they collected way more money than BMI on behalf of their artists, thus their artists got paid more. They have lower operating costs and better relationships with international societies...no wonder indie artists complain

 

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