Yet another typical office conversation….
CW: I heard you can get such things as chocolate covered roaches. Is that true?
Me: Yes, it is true. It is real chocolate.
CW: Naah, what I said about the roaches? People eat roaches?
Me: You’d eat anything to stay alive. What would you rather prefer to eat? A roach or a human?
CW: A roach. I mean, could you imagine eating human flesh? I mean, could you imagine eating my flesh?
CW: I heard humans taste like pork.
What’s been happening?
Mmm. Not much.
Friday/Saturday was pretty much a time of pure self-indulgence. I watched way too many DVD’s (the entirety of Escaflowne) and wrote for several hours.
Sunday was a trip to the New York is Book Country festival, with a few friends. I saw an awful lot of books, which is the equivalent of catnip for me.
All good, all happy.
After that a small shopping excursion for some new tunes and a few books to read; I end the day curled up in bed without a care in the world.
My email has come back.
How much do I hate firewalls and people closing ports when they should’ve notified me? (Answer: Lots)
My good friend Anthony McCann is giving a lecture in DC in November.
Beyond the Commons: Intellectual Property and the Masks of Enclosure
Anthony McCann, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
It has become commonplace in recent social analysis to characterize the continued expansion of intellectual property as a process of enclosure. Drawing upon the analogy of historical enclosure of common lands, it is often argued that an increasing commodification and privatization of knowledge and information is leading to ‘enclosure’ of the ‘intellectual commons’ of the public domain, conceived as a store of resources that should ideally remain a place of free-for-all open access.
This phenomenon of enclosure, however, has been understood almost solely in opposition to the concept of the commons, or common property, understood as a pool of resources. As a result, discussions about enclosure and intellectual property have predominantly revolved around issues of access, control, and ownership. “Who owns it?” has become the prime question, with “What are we allowed to do with it?” coming a close second. Debates about enclosure and the commons have become debates about how we formally manage resources. This has had the effect of dessicating discussions to the point of presumed irrelevance for most people as they go about their everyday lives.
There is another way to understand enclosure, however. By taking analysis out of binary opposition with the commons we can come to an understanding of enclosure that goes ‘beyond the commons’. In this presentation it is argued that we can understand the processes and practices of enclosure on their own terms. Anthony McCann argues that enclosure arises from a pervasive underlying principle – a general expectation of the elimination of uncertainty.
Public Lecture, “Beyond the Commons: Intellectual Property and the Masks of Enclosure”, 1.00pm, November 6th, 2002, Dining Room A, Sixth Floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress, Washington DC
Sunday was a time of three individual moments that formed a glorious day.
The first was when I was shopping in midtown Manhattan at lunchtime. The woman behind the sales counter was very shy, but wanted to ask me if I was famous. I assured her that I wasn’t, but I think she thinks I was lying. What this meant was that I was either honestly mistaken for someone famous (an odd little ego-boo there), or that ‘famous’ people can mistaken for a scruffy bloke who really should dress better when in public.
The second joy was in the early evening. I made my way down to Union Square, where the 5th Annual Independent Short Film Festival was underway. I sat on the park grass, surrounded by hundreds of my fellow New Yorkers, and stared up at the screen as the images flickered and came to life. Sitting there, I became aware of how many times in my life I might be able to do something like this, and was thankful that I had such an opportunity.
The third and most important was when I arrived at the Lincoln Center and watched Spirited Away. Sheer brilliance unfolded on the screen. This has to be one of the most perfect films I have ever seen. (In a film of captivating moments, the scene on the train… that stillness – and the sadness/quiet determination it brought was profound) If anybody believes in the spirit of cinema and what it can bring, I ask that you support this movie by going to it and then by telling your friends.
Heading home by taxi, reflecting on what I got up to during the day, I realized something.
I’ve just had my perfect day.
It’s 1 am in the morning. Sunday has just started.
I’m sitting up in bed listening to music as I write. I’m alternating between business documents and some personal stuff in an attempt to fool my brain into thinking that it’s fresh and alert. It’s not working and I can feel it turn to mush. This is probably not a bad thing.
Last night I went to see The Doves play in Hammersmith Theatre. My friend Eric had a spare ticket and I had a spare evening, so that clicked nicely. The gig was pretty good. There were only two downsides (well, three, if you count the opening act). The first was that The Doves only played for over an hour. The reasoning may be that they’ve toured themselves silly of late and the set now reflects that. The other downer was that the bar service for the gig had done away with Red Bull and in it’s place serves a viscous, yellow, pus-like substance that tastes like aged tomato juice.
After the gig Eric and I popped over to a nearby bar that attempted to be Irish but failed miserably. There were two telling signs:
There was no smell of decades old stale beer
There wasn’t all that many Irish.
A trad music session was going on as we drank. With faint hope a sampling of Guinness was attempted. After that I moved onto the Vodka, as that way I knew they couldn’t muck it up.
Staggering home at 3 am I realized that life is actually quite good.
I have just been affirmed
Public Service Announcement.
My email server is having a tiff with me. I can recieve email, but I cannot send. Apologies to those who have sent me email over the last several days. As soon as it’s fixed, normal communications will be resolved.
For the last few minutes I’ve been playing it really cool. I don’t want to lose my game face, you see.
I can see horizontal streaks of light flashing before my eyes.
(I am waiting to see if anyone else in the office is noticing this. If they do, we are just subject to some weird atmospherics. If they don’t, I’m going to lie down for twenty minutes…)
Pirate Day is upon us all….
I am Mad John Read
Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Even through many pirates have a reputation for not being the brightest souls on earth, you defy the sterotypes. You’ve got taste and education. Arr!