something intangibly cheerful
Friday, February 13 2004
It's hard to focus on doing anything especially creative given my current state of low-level upper-gastrointestinal distress. So I spend a lot of time bouncing among a handful of websites in hopes of catching interesting news as it develops. Maybe the problem is really just the absence of caffeine and alcohol in my diet. Mind you, it's not that I feel more clear-headed living this pure Mormon lifestyle; the main effect seems to be an absence of creativity and drive. There is, however, something intangibly cheerful about experiencing the brain and the body in their stock state.
One of the web sites I ended up at, WhatsTheDownload.com was one that tried to convince teenagers not to download their music for free. It's full of the slangy language a thirty-something editor imagined teenagers are speaking these days. Since the site is obviously sponsored by a vested interest with a propagandistic purpose, the language tends to be upbeat, friendly, and maddeningly imprecise. I'm always amused by attempts made by adults to change the thinking of teenagers, since the cluelessness is usually palpable. On this particular site, the arguments presented contained a fatal persuavitorial flaw: appealing to people to not do something that is in their interest (downloading free music) for the purported good such abstinence will do society. Such useless arguments aren't even attempted in drug war propaganda. (Oops, I forgot about the expensive Superbowl ads warning us that drug use supports terrorists!)
A far more effective weapon in the war against music downloading is fear. There's a little of that on this site, and it's achieved through the blatant telling of a lie on a page called The Lowdown. See if you can catch the lie in the following copy:
Because of the impact that downloading has had on the music industry, the trade group that represents the biggest record companies, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has begun to bring lawsuits against people who illegally download and swap music files on the Internet.
The lie is the inclusion "illegally download" in the phrase "who illegally download and swap music files." That's a lie because the RIAA has not sued anyone for downloading a file. They have only sued people who share files. Sharing means making them available for upload. I've noticed repeatedly in the media (as well as in propaganda such as WhatsTheDownload.com) that what exactly the RIAA is suing people for is rarely specified, and this creates the penumbra of fear, uncertainty, and doubt around the use of file sharing software. The goal, of course, is to scare people back into the stores to buy $18 CDs, like the good consumers we know they can be when they're scared. A scared consumer is a good consumer!
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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