Do I Have To Say That I Found This Article On The Drudge Report?

David Carr reports from SXSW on a new "Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation" forming, which will attempt to curb the body snatching effect of link zombies like the Huffington Post. It's good to create guidelines — or even best practices — for how much content is OK to steal.

(I reprinted an entire article once — it was back when didn't permanently save all their City Section articles. I know that's weird to think about, but this was actually the case back in 2005. I won't even mention, except that I just did, the fact that the City Section itself is no longer part of the paper. Anyway, I was interested in this particular story because our old apartment overlooked the place that the story was written about, and I wanted to pin the article to my digital bulletin board — hmmm . . . what a concept! — so I copied the whole article. If it upsets someone I'll be more than happy to take it down, but in a way keeping it as is says a lot about the history of the site, right?)

The obvious solution is to ban advertisements on aggregator sites. I'm pretty sure this wouldn't work though. And if it did work, they'd just find some other way to make it lucrative — like sell your demographics to third parties or something like that. But seriously — removing the remunerative component would remove the main reason most of the bad-style of aggregators are in business. That's just a modest proposal though . . .

I'm curious what the guidelines will look like. I sort of assume it's going to be difficult to set up good guidelines though. The only explicit one I ever saw used to be printed in online stories for the Brooklyn Eagle, which — regardless of whether it was original reporting or (ironically) a summary of a blog post — always featured the following disclaimer (until recently; they're updating their website and the disclaimer isn't there anymore):

All materials posted on are protected by United States copyright law. Just a reminder, though — It's not considered polite to paste the entire story on your blog. Most blogs post a summary or the first paragraph, (40 words) then post a link to the rest of the story. That helps increase click-throughs for everyone, and minimizes copyright issues. So please keep posting, but not the entire article.

I like the Brooklyn Eagle OK — sometimes they will have an interesting article that I would like to link to on the blog, or maybe even excerpt, but I'd always scratch my head when I'd see that strict 40-word limit. For one, that previous sentence is 40 words (41 if you include the long dash), and I could never figure out what a good excerpt that short would look like. Could we fudge a little the way that people like to fudge in the express lane? Or would I be impolite? Or if not, how far could I go and not be impolite? Such is the problem with guidelines.

Have you ever looked at Fair Use laws? I'm looking at this educational materials example from Stanford: I like, in particular, the 250-word limit for poems. Has any poet ever purposely done 251-word poems? Then the class could play Where's Waldo with the missing word in the excerpt . . .

And then Carr reports on 'the "Curator's Code of Conduct" which, by operationalizing link etiquette, seems to really indulge people's latent Eureka! complex:

The Curator's Code will use a symbol resembling a sideways S to express that a piece of content came directly from another source, and a different figure — a curved arrowlike symbol — to signal what is commonly known as a "hat tip," or nod to a source that inspired a further thought. The Curator's Code supplies the appropriate symbol and then the blogger or writer simply puts in a hyperlink behind it as they normally would.

[Maria] Popova, who spends hours a day scrounging the Web for remarkable artifacts, has noticed that many idiosyncratic discoveries suddenly become ubiquitous once unearthed. And the source of that little gem, or the credit for someone else who dug it up, often disappears when it is reposted.

"Discovery of information is a form of intellectual labor," she said. "When we don't honor discovery, we are robbing somebody's time and labor. The Curator's Code is an attempt to solve some of that."

Setting aside the richness inherent in the idea that people on the internet are somehow being robbed of their intellectual labor by reposting or summarizing or linking to someone else's intellectual labor, the platform that really prevents this tipping of hats from taking place isn't so much the Huffington Post as it is Twitter, where attributions easily fall by the wayside when you're only limited to 140 characters. Maybe someone way smarter than myself can figure out how to fix that one. Good luck, pard'ner.

Y'all come back now, yahear? [Tip of Hat]

Posted: March 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: FW: Link | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

You Only Get One Abbreviated Clip Of Entrance Music To Make A First Impression

MLC sent along this link about Jonathon Papelbon ragging on Boston Red Sox fans. Well, to be fair, he didn't quite rag on them, he just said they were "a little bit more hysterical" than Philadelphia Phillies fans, who "tend to know the game a little better." That's provocative enough.

Two things: One, it's important to suck up to your new masters, and if nothing else, Phillies fans love to be told they're intelligent. Now, Philadelphia will never be mistaken for Oxford or Cambridge or Alexandria or anything but they'll always have sports intelligence.

Believe me, I'm not trying to minimize this form of intelligence: As a Diamondbacks fan, I freely admit that the fans in Phoenix could use some remedial baseball classes. Mom always talks about how the D-Backs fans not only like to do the wave but they also do it at the wrong time — I can't quite make out when there is a correct time: Is it meant to distract the hitter or the pitcher? Doesn't it distract both of them? The mind reels.

And two (I almost forgot that I said there would be "two things"), given all this, what does it mean to be intelligent about baseball in the first place? I mean, when people praise a town's collective baseball intelligence, aren't they just saying that it's nice that the fans rise to their feel on an 0-2 pitch? And how smart do you really have to be to count to two?

Now look, I've watched enough Joe Morgan to understand that there is much I don't understand — or at least wouldn't immediately put together — about baseball. (Funny, I didn't realize there was so much animosity pointed toward Joe Morgan; Tim McCarver I almost understand, but Joe Morgan? Guess I haven't been paying that much attention.) But people talk about "baseball intelligence" like it's a matter of not going apeshit over a lazy fly to short right, or maybe being able to explain the infield fly rule without having to Wikipedia it.

But like I said, I'm just being a goof — I definitely value and respect a municipality's baseball intelligence. Clearly, I'm just jealous.

But that's all neither here nor there. The buried lede in the ESPN piece is actually this:

Dropkick Murphys front man Ken Casey caused a bit of a stir earlier in the week when he said Papelbon, whom he calls a friend, couldn't come out of the Phillies' bullpen to "Shipping Up To Boston," the popular Dropkick tune Papelbon used for years with the Red Sox.

Papelbon on Thursday would not reveal his new entrance song, but did say it wasn't by the Dropkick Murphys.

Setting aside the foolishness of Papelbon continuing to use a song titled "Shipping Up To Boston," he can't do much worse than Ryan Madson's entrance music from last year: Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'". Because nothing says "game-tying base hit to center field" like this namby-pamby bit of 1980s nostalgia. (And I say this "believin'" that this YouTube video of that song being played during the 2010 NLCS Game 5 is the greatest one of all time.)

So if Papelbon is looking for some good-timey, vaguely intimidating entrance music that also contains some sort of local reference, there are some options.

If he wants to build on Madson's namby-pamby 1980s nostalgia — and I'm not suggesting he do this — he could use Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger", which isn't the worst guitar riff in the world, and also has a nice Rocky tie in.

Some other local favorites might include the Dead Milkmen's "Bitchin' Camaro" or perhaps even "Big Lizard In My Backyard". The Hooters' "And We Danced" (the open sort of evokes the bagpipe in "Shipping Out To Boston," though ultimately this might be too pussy, although the league needs a new Eric Byrnes). How about Cinderella's "Nobody's Fool" (I totally didn't know they were from Philadelphia)? And then there's P!nk's "So What", an idea so dumb it might actually work.

Another bank-shot idea: Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy wit It". Not exactly "intimidating," but doesn't Joe Morgan always say that it's important to stay loose or something?

And then there's Boyz II Men's "End Of The Road", which although on the face of it lacks an intimidation factor is actually a bigger "fuck you" to an opposing team's 3-4-5 hitters. In addition to the obvious lyrical content, there's kind of a quiet brilliance in a player coming in to shut down the visitor's side of the ninth to a song you'd hear at a middle school dance. It's got a sort of Quentin Tarantino vibe going.

Another outside-the-box idea: Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom". Another "fuck you" in the sense that you're so convinced you can shut down the opposing team that you are comfortable enough to enter to Elton John. If I were an opposing batter, I'd be pissed. Another reason I like this idea — the lyrics scream "high-priced free agent":

I used to be a rolling stone
You know if the cause was right
I'd leave to find the answer on the road
I used to be a heart beating for someone
But the times have changed
The less I say, the more my work gets done

You could always get a harder-rockin' band to do a cover of "Philadelphia Freedom" — we could get something done during Spring Training. Maybe even the Dropkick Murphys themselves? Just a thought . . .

Posted: March 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: FW: Link, Jukebox, The Thrill Of Victory And The Agony Of Defeat! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We Built This City On A Robust Thesaurus

You know how developers like to oversell projects? Sometimes they might have a video piece with a bunch of irony-free copy and pat, stock images. Yes?

Looking back on these can be fun — they're time capsules from a different era. Here's a portion of a promotional film featuring Shea Stadium, for example:

More recent examples show the limits of what stadia and arenas can really do for a municipality. Toledo's Huntington Center merits about 31 seconds worth of excitement, for example:

As time goes on, these promotional videos look fairly ridiculous. And then there's this promotional spot for the Barclays Center, which already looks ridiculous (via):

It sounds like it was written with the thesaurus on the high-treble setting. Some of the highlights:

0:06 "Brooklyn, the word itself resonates — it is a lifestyle it is an attitude." Except that "Brooklyn," the word itself I mean, is a little clunky — especially when it's only two syllables, the last of which you sort of swallow at the end. "Toledo," on the other hand, really does resonate: It's like when Humbert Humbert sang the mellifluousness of "Lo-lee-ta" . . . "To-lee-do: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. To. Lee. Do." Brooklyn? Not so much . . . and like so much of the rest of this video, it sort of ruins it once you call something "a lifestyle" and "an attitude."

0:36 "The transformation of its residential and business areas has prepared this great borough for an even greater future: It has prepared Brooklyn for the Barclays Center." I suppose you could call what happened "a transformation" though I imagine some might object to the euphemism.

0:57 ". . . all to achieve a cultural and environmental synergy." Again with the thesaurus . . .

1:18 ". . . the next great Brooklyn landmark providing all those who visit the opportunity for a truly landmark experience." A "landmark" experience? Now this is just starting to sound like the summer intern's first draft . . .

1:46 "The Barclays Center will be more than just a venue, it will be a destination." See 0:57 and 1:18 above.

2:02 "Brooklynites will be able to stand proud behind its new landmark venue." I know this is just intern gibberish, but the symbol of Brooklynites standing proud behind something is interesting, no? Why not "next"? Or is this a veiled dig at the people who live behind the arena?

2:19 The montage that begins "getting to the Barclays Center couldn't be easier" sort of looks like an Al Qaeda planning session. Creepy.

3:13 "A perfect mix of the now, the then and the next that you will only be able to capture at the Barclays Center." I like the rhetorical balance of "now" "then" and "next" — now if I could only figure out what it could possibly mean, and more importantly, understand why I will only be able to capture it at the Barclays Center . . .

Posted: March 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: FW: Link | Tags: , , , , , , ,