Friday, May 19, 2006

Free At Last!

So here's the 250 word essay that didn't get me into Yale.


The Recording Industry Association of America threatens a twelve-year-old girl with a multi-million dollar lawsuit for allegedly sharing music online.

The Motion Picture Association of America’s latest PR campaign equates downloading movies with stealing cars.

Sony BMG releases music CDs that secretly install virus-like software on customers’ computers. The software restricts file copying, but also leaves the computers wide open to attack by hackers. Attempting to remove it causes irreversible damage.

Bullies. Liars. Vandals.

Think of the public’s goodwill as a finite resource, like a well: renewable if properly managed, it can also be so thoroughly polluted as to become useless, even downright dangerous. Sony, the RIAA, the MPAA, are poisoning that well – a well from which they (and others) must still drink.

Of course, corporate arrogance, wrongdoing, and plain bad judgment are nothing new. What is new is that the balance of power has shifted. In this age of perfect reproduction and near-universal access, the outraged (and the merely annoyed) have strong weapons at their disposal.

In 1999, a Church of England pastor named John Papworth became briefly notorious by preaching that it was not necessarily wrong to steal from a supermarket, because “You can only have a relationship with a person, you don’t have a moral relationship with things. That is a power relationship.” Regardless of what one thinks of Papworth’s moral theology, it is seductive reasoning when corporations actually do begin to behave like people – people who believe they have rights, but no responsibilities.


I know, it's way too didactic, not an argument but an anecdote. And it didn't work, either.


At 7:12 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

I think you might have sent your Berkeley essay to Yale by mistake. Maybe you should toe a pro-corporate line for the first year at Boalt just so you don't screw up their diversity arrangements.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger rain_rain said...

Yeah, I guess. One way of finding your tribe is to see who you annoy by being yourself.This is the essay I didn't use, and maybe glib insouciance would have served me better...

Or then again, maybe it was my undergraduate GPA that did me in.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

Maybe. But maybe it's also a little bit the tribe of self-abnegating professionalism vs a loose coalition of casual-Friday & counterculture types.

At 9:30 AM, Blogger LibraryTavern Liz said...

Hey, I like your essay. I think murky may be right though. But don't follow that advice. Challenge the system.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger rain_rain said...

Stupid links.


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