Stop the Copying, Start a Media Revolution
Subject:   Oram's delusional
Date:   2002-07-03 12:25:49
From:   toddsouvignier
Re. Oramís article of 3/8/02, ďStop The Copying, Start A Revolution:Ē Itís an interesting article, but not for the theories he espouses. Interesting because it is a flagrant display of mental and cultural retardation, combined with the foggiest type of pseudo-futurism.

Despite all of the (completely irrelevant) historical examples he throws in, Oram has not the slightest idea of what the true role of media in society is, nor has he any clue as to why the political rulers of this world are so slavishly in service of the media barons.

Oram naively thinks the media is "an industry that determines simply how people waste their free time" not realizing that it's actually an industry that largely determines how people view themselves, view their world, and experience every moment of their lives. An industry that enforces the types of internalized social control that the law enforcement and military are unable to achieve, and that religion can no longer provide.

Oram flaunts his disconnection from reality with the statement "How many significant and lasting pop songs have been released by major studios in the past 25 years? The number of worthwhile movies is probably even fewer. " This reads like an expression of pure nostalgia from a guy who probably hasn't bought a record or gone to a movie since the hippie days. Moreover, the sentence itself is absurd - lasting significance is not the purpose of pop music, quite the opposite, it is designed to be of the moment, and is entirely disposable; therein lay many of its charms. As for the equally specious notion of "worthwhile movies" one might ask Oram how many "worthwhile movies" have been made in the last century, according to his undefined aesthetic? From the (far more useful) industrial perspective, movies that are "worthwhile" are simply those that fulfill the goals of their creators. Movies that turn profits, or that achieve their propaganda aims, are worthwhile. Indeed, can one really distinguish between "Titanic" and "Triumph of the Will"? (Hint: TOTW is the one that looks cool.)

"These industries are close to rigor mortis" - Oh really? Then how do they wield so much influence in the legislative arena, in the courts, and in our daily lives? If they're so dead, how do they get their own special Internet taxes passed (c.f. CARP)? How are they able to crush or consume every new Internet business model that comes along (c.f. Napster)? How is it then, that the very fabric and texture of nearly every social dialog is infused with references to sitcoms and rap songs? For century-old dinosaurs, they're pretty darn lively (and dangerous, too).

Oram really runs into trouble when he starts theorizing about what new Internet media might look like. In this he proves himself to be a world-class bonehead, on a level with David Bunnell, in terms of being completely unable to think about the topic he's addressing. After weeding through all of the irrelevant asides about gothic cathedrals and commedia del'arte, one may deduce that Oram believes "new Internet art" is going to be:
- constantly changing/evolving
- authored through uncontrolled collaboration
- hard to monetize and subject to attack from the existing media infrastructure

Oram makes the amazing mistake of confusing "art" with "mass media." His thesis is essentially that collaborative conceptual art is going to become a mass medium. Somehow he believes that artists and creators (and their owners and sponsors) would allow members of the public to tamper with, alter and destroy their works. Somehow he thinks that the primacy of the "artifact" will magically evaporate. And remarkably he thinks (or wishes that) the purpose of ownership will be eliminated and that derivative works will be normalized, but provides no evidence whatsoever to support these fantasies.

Such delusions obviously run counter to all available evidence. Technology has never normalized derivative works or obviated the purpose of ownership, quite the opposite. Itís reinforced and expanded concepts of intellectual property and in doing so created new industries, such as the one based on suing musicians who use samplers. Oram goes on in the next section to contradict himself by admitting that the powers that run this society will probably sue the crap out of this "new Internet art." That at least has a ring of truth.

Oram is sadly confused, a poor soul who can't tell the difference between art and mass media, and has no business writing about either. It's his kind of foggy new-media mysticism that led to DEN, and I'm sure those cokehead scam artists would have loved this piece. Of course his real purpose is clumsily revealed at the end of the article - Surprise! - It's all an ad for another useless, self-serving industry conference. What is really remarkable is that he'd go to so much effort to tart up another sleazy little commercial solicitation.

I'll tell you what the new Internet art form is going to be: It's going to be litigation. And I aspire to be the first auteur of this form, I'm going to craft the biggest goddamn lawsuit ever seen, sue everyone on earth, and win. Imagine a lawsuit with the supernatural power of a biblical plague. All wages will be attached, forever, and bodies will stack up in the streets like cordwood. This will require the help of legions of attorneys, who will stomp up and down courthouse steps like rabid jackbooted stormtroopers.

And I'm suing Oram first, for being a dumbshit and wasting my time.

Todd Souvignier
Co-Founder and CTO
Exploit Systems, Inc.