Uploaded by koolstrike. Contains some chunks of his Senate testimony, which I posted in its entirety as video and text last June.
Rounding it off.
Uploader koolstrike notes that he had to remove a couple of song cuts for copyright reasons, but the interview itself is intact.
Bit of a weird cut on this one; picks up some of the end of the previous video and cuts off mid-sentence. Ah well -- should finish up tomorrow.
Uploaded by koolstrike; the interviewer is Bill Roller, and it's from 1985.
I posted Zappa's Senate testimony last June; it's worth watching (or at least reading) if you haven't yet.
Yesterday I went to a Cory Doctorow book signing at Changing Hands.
He was promoting his new book, Homeland, but the talk he gave was more general. It dealt with his usual pet issues: overbearing copyright law and its impact on ordinary citizens, and spyware that attempts to control our computers and how it makes them and us less safe. A lot of it was about Aaron Swartz, the talented programmer who developed RSS, helped build Reddit up, spent the last several years of his life fighting charges from the US Attorney threatening a decades-long prison sentence for copyright infringement (when the copyright holders themselves chose not to press charges), and took his own life last month. It's a sobering story -- obviously depression is a complicated thing and it's foolish to blame a person's suicide on one single cause, but I think any reasonable person can conclude that (1) the charges against him contributed to his decision and (2) they were wildly disproportionate to his alleged crime.
Sobering stuff, but a good talk and mostly light despite ending on a heavy note. Nobody in the audience recorded it, but Doctorow said the talk's been recorded elsewhere and that he'd provide a link once it was uploaded to YouTube. (Edit 2013-02-13: Per Doctorow's blog, the version of the speech he gave the next day at ASU has been posted on ustream: part 1, part 2.)
Before all that, I was sitting in the audience waiting for him to come out onstage. I was reading a copy of Circle of Enemies; the lady sitting next to me asked if it was an urban fantasy novel and when I said that it was, she handed me her business card and said that she was an urban fantasy author as well. Her name is Kater Cheek, she's a former student of Doctorow's, and the urban fantasy novel advertised on her card is Seeing Things. I bought a copy when I got home; haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
I mentioned that I'd recently put out a few audiobooks; she hadn't heard of ACX so I suggested she give it a look if she's interested in producing any of her own.
I talked to Doctorow a bit about audiobooks, too, when it came time for the actual booksigning. The guy in front of me asked if Homeland would be released as an audiobook; Cory said there were no plans at present, because he won't distribute through Audible until they offer a DRM-free option, and Audible is 90% of the market. He said he's looking at options with the Humble Bundle; when I got up there I wished him luck on that, and added that a Humble Audiobook Bundle could be a great help to narrators like myself who don't really have an alternative to Amazon but don't like DRM very damn much either. (I mentioned that, while I sell books on Audible, I can't be their customer, because they don't support my operating system. Crazy.)
Anyway, I asked him to sign my Nexus 7 case, because that's where I keep most of his books.
Which is really a twofer, because now my case has not only a drawing of a skull and crossbones by Cory Doctorow...
...it's also got a drawing of an asshole by Kurt Vonnegut.
(For the record, I haven't opened it but I'm pretty confident that I can. It looks easier than my Mac Mini, Wii, or old 60GB iPod, and I've opened them.)
It's not the epic, classic performance of his 1986 "Fascist Theocracy" interview, but it's a pretty damn great conversation nonetheless: the government shouldn't get to decide what is and isn't art and determine funding based on politicians' personal tastes, and at any rate it's a pretty ridiculous sideshow given what an insignificant portion of the budget funding for the arts actually is.
Nightwatch, 1988. Charlie is enjoying himself.
Dear Senator McConnell,
Hi, me again. You presumably recall my E-Mail of two weeks ago, where, discussing Senate gridlock, I closed by asking you, "Are you going to start filibustering your OWN bills now?"
For the record, Senator, that was intended as a joke. I meant it as an example of ridiculous hyperbole, the sort of crazy, offbeat hypothetical situation that a person of average intelligence would see as self-evidently ludicrous. The kind of thing where someone would read that and think, "Haha, filibustering his own bill. That is humorous, because no rational, sane human being would ever do such a completely asinine thing."
In other words, I was not actually seriously recommending that you start filibustering your own bills.
Despite the misunderstanding, I am absolutely flattered that you took my words to heart, and if I may have a moment of your time I have some more suggestions I would like you to consider.
- Copyright -- please hire Derek Khanna, recently ejected from the Republican Study Committee, to address the subject of copyright reform. Unless you're as cozy with Hollywood lobbyists as your colleagues in the House, of course.
- Corporate personhood -- please revert to pre-Santa Clara v Southern Pacific policy and clarify that the equal protection clause is intended to protect actual human beings, not abstract social constructs.
- Science -- please acknowledge the existence of science, and pressure your colleagues to do the same.
- Women, black people, brown people, gay people, and disabled veterans -- maybe your party could show some basic human decency to these demographics. Just a thought.
- Filibuster -- please restore to pre-1975 rules, or eliminate entirely. The way the minority party has been abusing it recently is a joke. Literally.
Zappa on The Late Show with Joan Rivers, 1986(ish?).
I'd definitely say his conspiracy theories on AIDS are a swing and a miss, but everything else is pretty solid -- and hell, given that this would have been right around the time Iran-Contra broke, I can't say I blame anyone for believing the Reagan Administration was engaging in sinister and wildly implausible dealings.
Dear Senator McConnell,
I saw you on the news vowing that, if Harry Reid enacts filibuster reform, you will ensure that your caucus will dig its heels in and make itself even MORE intractable. I have a few questions regarding this attitude:
- I am in favor of filibuster reform, as I was in 2005, back when you were also for it (and Harry Reid was against it). Can you provide a reason why you changed your position on this issue other than your party losing the majority?
- You have previously stated that the sole purpose for your previous intractability was to ensure that Barack Obama would be a one-term president. Now that this strategy has proven, objectively and unambiguously, to be a failure, can you provide a reason why you believe you should become even MORE resistant to compromise?
- To tell the truth, your threat seems empty. How do you propose that your caucus could be any more resistant to compromise than it already has been these past two years? What do you propose to do that is worse than filibustering every single bill and nominee that your opponents bring to the floor? Are you going to start filibustering your OWN bills now?