Posts Tagged ‘Roberto’

h1

The Stabbing Knife Vol. 5: Doubleheader Edition

January 15, 2011

Don't sweat it, Roberto. I'm completely made of Tuesday.

If it’s completely true that snitches get stitches then it’s doubly true that self-righteous idiots who attempt to sand down the world’s rough edges through censorship get the business end of Roberto’s stabbing knife. And it’s been awhile, so we’re having a doubleheader. On to the wetwork.

We’ve all heard the phrase “One person can make a difference,” and we’ve all nodded thoughtfully while thinking, “Bullshit.” Just like the eternally optimistic phrase “Every vote counts” allows us to feel like our voice matters in the political arena, the sad truth is that one person has no chance in hell to make significant changes, especially in well-established institutions with years of history behind them.

And then something like this happens.

An anonymous (to us, anyway) complainant has singlehandedly gotten Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing removed from radio airplay in Canada. As many of you are probably thinking, what the fuck for?

This anonymous complainant (hereafter “AC” for the sake of my fingers) was offended by the use of the word “faggot,” which pops up three times as the narrator critiques the hair metal dominating MTV at the time. If you’re not familiar with the lyrics, I’m not going to run them down for you here. Perhaps you can get in touch with AC as you are apparently the only other English-speaking person alive who has not heard this overplayed rock radio staple several hundred times in their life.

A homophobe and his headband rarely part.

Having heard this track 26 years after it was released, AC sprung into action. Assuming the role of spokesperson for the entire gay (or “gey,” as I assume it’s spelled in Canada) community, AC fired off a letter to the offending station demanding they remove the song from airplay.

“A song was aired, “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits, and included the word “faggot” a total of three times.  I am aware of other versions of the song, in which the word was replaced with another, and yet OZ FM chose to play and not censor this particular version that I am complaining about.

I find this extremely offensive as a member of the LGBT community and feel that there is absolutely no valid reason for such discriminatory marks to be played on-air.”

At first, they blew her off, albeit in a very kindly fashion, running down the reasons for keeping it in the rotation and citing precedent.

“In this specific case, the song in question has been played countless times in its original form, from its #1 release in 1984 to the present day, and continues to be aired on stations across the country in this form.  As this selection has been aired continuously for 25+ years, and the original version is regarded by many as an historically successful and essential rock hit in that form with these particular lyrics, management chose in this specific instance to retain the authenticity of this selection.”

“We understand the concerns you have raised regarding this particular selection and do apologize for any undue stress caused to you as a listener by the lyrical content of this selection, but based on the above reasoning, we have operated with the understanding that in this specific case, no editing of the material is warranted.”

That should have been that.

The C stands for "Capitulation."

Not good enough. AC was still perturbed and fired back, using a lot of words but mainly pointing out than anything less than removal or censorship of the track would be unsatisfactory.

“I am highly dissatisfied with the response I have received.  I do not feel the argument in favour of the unabridged version of the song was valid, and it is certainly not strong enough to justify playing such words on the radio.  This word carries an unavoidable connotation of hate.  By airing it unapologetically on the radio, this station is indirectly propagating hate.  Although I can see the value in a timeless classic rock song in its original form, I cannot help but feel that it does not overshadow the importance of ending discrimination.”

The CBSC, not wanting to be seen as “propagating hate” or not being really on board with “ending discrimination” through continued airplay of a 26-year-old song, consulted and decided in her favor, issuing a lengthy missive explaining their reasons for removing the track.

So, apparently, one person can make a difference.

Now, before you get all inspired and head out to start a carpool or become a locavore or write your Congressman in an attempt to rid hotels you don’t even patronize of PPV porn, take a good, long look at what this is.

This isn’t justice. This isn’t David triumphing over Goliath. Hell, this isn’t even the local repertory theater’s production of Pay It Forward.

This is myopic, narcissistic bullshit.

This is saying, “This song offends ME. Change it. Fuck everyone else.”

It’s not that I think Money for Nothing is a classic work of art or that using the word “faggot” is ok in all circumstances. But maybe, just maybe, this instance is alright because FOR FUCK’S SAKE, THE SONG HAS BEEN OUT FOR 26 YEARS AND YOU WANT TO CENSOR IT NOW??

For Christ’s sake (or so they say), the Parents Television Council is always trying to censor this or that offending bit of culture but at least they’ve got some sort of quorum and the signed petitions and email carpet-bombing to back it up. I don’t agree with them ever but at least it’s not just one person wheedling away with a 2-year-old’s sense of entitlement, moaning “I don’t like this! Changeitchangeitchangeitchangeit!!!”

Dr. Alan Gribben is unaware that his moustache is on slightly crooked.

This is no different than Twain scholar Alan Gribben who’s working tirelessly to crank out a version of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, free of the troublesome word “nigger,” which has coyly been replaced with “slave.” (Also on the chopping block: “Injun” and “Half-breed.”) Once again, lots of history but at least in this case he’s not the first person to censor or ban this book.

“The idea of a more politically correct Finn came to the 69-year-old English professor over years of teaching and outreach, during which he habitually replaced the word with “slave” when reading aloud. Gribben grew up without ever hearing the “n” word (“My mother said it’s only useful to identify [those who use it as] the wrong kind of people”) and became increasingly aware of its jarring effect as he moved South and started a family. “My daughter went to a magnet school and one of her best friends was an African-American girl. She loathed the book, could barely read it.”

His main issue seems to be that it makes him “uncomfortable,” especially now that he’s relocated to the South. If he can’t handle using this in its historical context then he probably shouldn’t be teaching. Obviously it’s too much to expect that he might provide his students with the historical background or engage them in a discussion of how hearing/reading this word affects them.

No, I guess it would just be simpler to jack Tom Sawyer’s brush and whitewash the shit out of an American masterpiece. Even worse, he’s teaching a new generation that if something offends you, you should get rid of it no matter its history or context or importance to other people who aren’t you.

In this era of self-victimization thousands of people are running around with a chip on their shoulder and hot tears of self-righteous humiliation in their eyes. Why should something that offends them need to disappear? Are these self-appointed guardians of our culture really that selfish?

If you think that you might be offended by the word “faggot” leaking out of your speakers in the near future, just shut it off or dial away when you hear the very distinctive opening of Money for Nothing. And if you think you might not be able to handle the word “nigger” in print then just fucking read/teach something else, you projecting bastard.

Stabbity-stabbity-stab-stab-stab.

Quick postscript: Reaction to the ban of Money for Nothing has been pretty much completely negative. Here’s a typical take from an actual gay man, Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall):

“Shakespeare would be rolling over in his g-word,” said Thompson, the 51-year-old actor/comedian best known for his work with the Kids in the Hall troupe.

When you ban a word, you make the word more powerful. All this banning that’s going on just makes (the hate) go deeper and deeper into the soul, where it festers. Let it it out. I want to know what you really think. I can handle it.

“It makes me feel like we’re five years old and need to go potty. The n-word, I guess, is number 1 and the f- word is number 2.”

Check on previous victims here:
ASCAP
Steve Dahl
Garth Brooks
Bono

-CLT

h1

The Stabbing Knife Vol. 4 – Bono

January 14, 2010

Not crazy. Just stabby.

[After a 2-month hiatus, the Stabbing Knife returns! And it brought presents! Nice, stabbed little presents! Awww… And yes, I have stabbed before.]

Once upon a time, there was a nice, earnest lad named Bono. He fronted a nice, earnest band who wished to make the world a better place. Or at least improve his own country where, when they weren’t warily eyeing their potato reserves, they were blowing each other the fuck up over religious differences.

Remember this guy? So young and idealistic. And turtlenecked.

But then he grew up. And so did his band. They discarded their veneer of Christianity and set out to become the Most Important Band in the World.

They sold millions of albums and made millions of dollars.

But still Bono’s heart ached.

When he wasn’t busy counting his money or shouldering the weight of the world or getting stuck in a malfunctioning lemon, he was alone in the back of his private jet, hunched over a MacBook writing screeds against Western conspicuous consumption and how to save the planet using his bold, Irish ideals and other people’s money.

And then Bono, head steadily inching its way up his own ass, caught a fleeting, non-anally blocked glimpse at the latest P&L for U2, Inc. and got righteously pissed.

And when he got angry, he got stupid.

We’re used to his manager’s stupidity. Paul McGuinness is an idiot. He’s made a number of dubious claims and attention-grabbing statements in the effort to wring a little more money out of everybody from MSN to random ISPs to Joe Downloader.*

*Not his real name.

Here’s a few choice quotes:

“I suggest we shift the focus of moral pressure away from the individual P2P file thief and on to the multibillion dollar industries that benefit from these countless tiny crimes. The ISPs [internet service providers] the telcos [telecoms companies], the device-makers.”

On Silicon Valley:

“Embedded deep down in the brilliance of those entrepreneurial, hippy values seems to be a disregard for the true value of music.”

Entrepreneurial? Hippies? ???

His theory seems to be that the Internet service providers need to pay because they’re making a ton of money trafficking in illegal downloads.

Let’s do some math: I pay $39.95/month for my internet connection. If I download 0 free music files, I pay $39.95/mo. If I download 25,000 free music files, I pay $39.95/mo. Granted, some ISPs do tiered pricing based on use, but they’re not very popular and they won’t last for long.

Here’s some more.

On Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want release:

“It’s important to remember the traditional worldwide star-making functions of the big record companies. There’s nothing on the horizon to replace that.”

Hmmm. We can just let that one go.

Here’s a beauty:

“I started to glimpse the politics of it at that stage. I hope that our politicians, our journalists, our media gain a sense of how much we stand to lose if free prevails. Ultimately free is the enemy of good. “

...and I said, "Google, find me a metaphoric picture for obtuseness..."

But now Bono’s gone and topped him. In his latest for the New York Times, Bono suggests that we look to China for the solution to pirated media:

“But we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content.”

Bono doesn’t need a manager. He needs an editor. He may have thrown the modifier “ignoble” in there, but he still wants the same ends, which will then allow him to justify the means. Or to put it another way, “ignoble” when it affects Bono’s privacy but rather more noble when it’s unleashed on the thieving hordes that are The Internet. 

At what point do you decide that it’s OK for you to hold up (however badly worded) one of the world leaders in “Human Rights Violated” as a solid business model, and even worse, a solid government model?

Who here thinks it would be a great idea for the government to install tracking software on every new computer? Who thinks that the government (and their best friends, big failing media) should have the keys to everything you do online? Does anyone actually feel this will turn out well? That the wrongdoers will be caught and punished and the Most Important Band in the World can begin stocking up on ivory backscratchers again?

Or will it turn into the tragic farce that is today’s mommy-state/fucked legal system that does immensely stupid things like turn “sexting” teens into child-porn possessing sex offenders?

Bono takes a moment to reflect on how truly fucked he is financially.

The overwhelming arrogance and crass stupidity of Bono’s article boggles the mind. Just because your business doesn’t run the way it used to is no reason for you to use your considerable wealth and power to try to legislate and litigate your way back into an acceptable profit margin.

Major labels: you lost. The battle is over and the only thing you can do is lash out by harassing, fining, suing and jailing random individuals. It’s not winning you any more fans and it’s certainly not cobbling together some sort of time machine to the mid-90’s jackpot that was CD sales.

And who bitches about this lost revenue the most? The richest, fattest artists. U2, Metallica, Garth Brooks, the Cure, KISS. All of them mention the “little indie bands” as if those were the ones affected the most.

The indie bands have moved on. The RIAA, ASCAP, BMI, etc. are all taking care of lining their own pockets and the top 5% of their stables.

Bono should know better. He said it himself:

“It’s not the place for rich rock stars to ask for more money, but somebody should fight for fellow artists, because this is madness. Music has become tap water, a utility, where for me it’s a sacred thing, so I’m a little offended.”

I guess he couldn’t help himself. And his advice to the movie and television industries, which he feels are next to be downloaded to death? Do the same shit that didn’t work for us, only harder and faster.

To reiterate: Bono, a singer from a country with serious anarchy leanings, recommends an all-knowing government should start following China’s lead into a bold, new era of human rights violations and privacy invasion. Just so that he and the other top 5% of musicians can finally get more of the money that they’re already getting a sizeable chunk of.

Fuck you, Bono.

Fuck you if for no other reason than you made me end a sentence in a preposition.

-CLT

h1

The Stabbing Knife Vol. 3: Steve Dahl

November 18, 2009

Roberto prepares to "cut a bitch," Chicago-style.

The Stabbing Knife is back after a brief resting period. [Wait for applause to die down.]

We’ve stabbed before here on Fancy Pants. Here’s a very brief list of the previous victims, whose asinine remarks made their stab wounds mainly self-inflicted:
ASCAP
Garth Brooks

Things must have been going too well. All was quiet and rather orderly until this jackass decided to take his frustration with his dwindling career options to take a shit on the entire Internet.

Ladies and gentleman: Steve Dahl, noted radio personality and columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

Steve Dahl: all the fun of NA beer with twice the water retention.

So what’s his problem?

Apparently, he hates the fact that due to Twitter, blogs and comment threads, ordinary people are allowed to voice their opinion.

“These days, a person only needs a computer to spew opinion across a variety of platforms. Healthy doses of outrage and narcissism are also helpful.”

This is unfair to Steve, although it is difficult to tell why. He doesn’t hold a degree in journalism as one would expect, based on the self-righteous bullshit he’s spewing. Let’s read a little further and see what entitles him to his opinion but not us to ours:

“Don’t get me wrong. I am also an outraged narcissist, but I had to work six-hour shifts in Bakersfield, Calif., to earn my stripes as a communicator.”

Holy fucking shit! Six hours! The man’s an animal!

How does he do it?

Who here works more than 6 hours a day? Yeah, that’s pretty much everybody. However, since you don’t work in the hallowed halls of a dying format like radio or newspapers, your opinion means fuck-all.

He goes on to insert his massive foot farther into his massive mouth by calling CNN out for reading viewer Tweets:

“Nowadays, having a Twitter page qualifies a person to give commentary on CNN. I am not interested in the take of @stinky on the Fort Hood shootings or any other current events. I am watching CNN because I expect them to gather the news, not act as a clearinghouse for any bonehead with a computer, a cable modem and a half-baked opinion.”

So, boneheads: how’s that feel? A dinosaur of the cable news industry is recognizing the shifting playing field and trying to connect with their viewers. Sure, not every opinion is going to be mind-blowing gold, but at least they’re trying. As compared to Stevie here, whose sense of entitlement is currently going at his brain like an enraged tumor and devouring anything useful.

Steve’s not content to stop there. Here’s a swing at Facebook:

“With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging and texting, now almost any fool can set up his or her broadcast hub.”

You hear that, fools? Your own broadcast hub! It’ll be like the heyday of pirate radio, only staffed with fools and boneheads!

This seems way, way more than hypocritical from a guy who admits to using Facebook and Twitter nearly constantly.

And, of course, he used it to send out photos of bikini-clad women whose pictures were taken unknowingly.

“I even started including bikini shots via Twitpic with my Tweets.”

Oh, and he has a blog.

For someone so connected with his readers, he sure knows how to marginalize them all in just a few paragraphs. This is why your average Internet user hates your average journalist. They all consider themselves to be better and more informed than the readers they cater to. But now there are too many options and rather than try to connect, they condescend.

Unfortunately, no one has any pity for all these small fish in a rapidly draining pond. No matter how much they splash around like big fish, they’ll still fit down the drain.

This is America, land of the running mouth. We all have opinions and we all like to state our case. For those who think a degree or a certain line of employment makes yours the only opinion that counts, prepare for a short lifespan of soul-sucking disappointment.

Your field has already been marginalized by the Internet, and all you can think to do is pour gasoline on your death pyre.

Of course, great thinking and open-mindedness is not to be expected from the “DJ-personality” who presided over one of the most celebrated public displays of racism and homophobia ever: Disco Demolition Night.

Well, it's no "God Hates Fags" but it does have a kickass lightning-y font...

So long, asshat. Enjoy the brief spike in readers from your troll-baiting bullshit.

From the blogosphere’s black heart, I stab at thee.

-CLT

h1

The Stabbing Knife Vol. 2 – Garth Brooks

October 17, 2009
Roberto prepares for Daylight Savings Time with several stabbing and thrusting exercises.

Roberto prepares for Daylight Savings Time with several stabbing and thrusting exercises.

Garth Brooks is back. Ending eight years of self-imposed retirement to start an open-ended run of shows at the Wynn in Las Vegas, Brooks has dusted off his hat, boots and false sense of entitlement.

Picking up where he left off in 1993, Garth is moaning about how he’s getting fucked by all his freeloading fans. Granted, he does mention other “artists” (of course, none by name) and breaks out his gold-plated hanky for a good old bitchfest.

Brooks prepares for his rigorous Wynn shows by "tripling-up" at their famous buffet.

Brooks prepares for his rigorous Wynn shows by "tripling-up" at their famous buffet.

Our government’s not doing anything about piracy. Until we can hear what a day of radio is like with no music, until this place sits silent because the music creators and the artists and copyright (holders) are not happy because they’re not being protected like everyone else is, then, yeah, I would like that power myself.”

First of all, what the fucking fuck? The government’s not doing anything about piracy? Where in the hell did he get that idea? Did he spend the last 8 years living in a tin-foil coated basement somewhere in Montana?

The government is spending a great deal of time bedding down with ASCAP and the RIAA to make sure that copyright protection continues its steady march to perpetuity. Just last week the House Judiciary Committee approved the hilariously named “Performance Rights Act” which will ensure that radio stations get to pay even more for the privilege of advertising the major labels’ artists.

On top of that ASCAP and BMI are pushing their respective legislators to increase the performance royalty fees that radio stations already pay.

So first the RIAA tags the stations for playing the sound recording and then ASCAP reams them again for royalties due to the musicians playing on the recording. A nice double-dip with all the subtlety of a revolving-door gangbang.

So, obviously Brooks is ill-informed or just genuinely stupid. Let’s flashback to his original enemy: used CDs.

Garth used his considerable weight to blackmail Capitol into blocking shipments of his latest album to stores that sold used CDs. This came back to bite him right in his label’s ass thanks to some anti-trust activity. Despite his best efforts to piss everyone off, In Pieces went on to sell 10 million copies in the U.S. alone.

The end result of 6 months of "cheek sucking" workouts.

The end result of 6 months of "cheek sucking" workouts.

Not content to rest on his huge piles of money, Garth continued to bitch and moan about his hard knock life until he was tossed under the wheels of pop culture with his ridiculous Chris Gaines “concept album,” which touted the soul-patched pop-country  pre=”pop-country “>chubster as a “conflicted artist” who was all angsted-up by life in the public eye.

So what is Garth Brooks’ problem?

Tough to say. According to the RIAA, he’s the best-selling solo artist of all time.

Brooks has sold more than 128 million albums in the U.S., according to the Recoding Industry Assn. of America, second only to the Beatles’ 170 million albums. Brooks has outsold the Fab Four — more than 68 million to the Beatles’ 58 million — in the 18 years since Nielsen SoundScan began monitoring retail sales in 1991, two years after Brooks released his first single.”

Couple that with his lucrative concert tours and the man has to have more money than Oprah Winfrey (or possibly U2).

So why can’t he shut the fuck up and enjoy his success?

Garth appears to be one of those (highly-stabbable) “sore winners” whose life revolves around concerns that his boatloads of millions may be leaking nickels and dimes somewhere. Apparently all the time off allowed him to mellow into a fat, bitter shit who wants everyone to pay for everything, like they used to in the good old days before people could decide what they wanted to do with their purchased property (CDs) or had any choice in how they got their music delivered (single-song mp3 downloads or *gasp* piracy).

Check out his “I showed them” take on his meeting with iTunes:

“Sweet guys. They’ve allowed me to come into their building several times and pretty much tell them how much I didn’t like the system. They listen. But iTunes won’t do what (it) needs to until (musicians) find a way to join together, and show them what an iPod sounds like with no music. … They truly think that they’re saving music. I looked at them right across the table with all the love in the world and told them they were killing it. Until we get variable pricing, until we get album-only (downloads), then they are not a true retailer for my stuff, and you won’t see my stuff on there.”

I cannot fathom how this must sound to him when it comes out of his mouth. I’m sure he feels he’s coming down from Mt. Sinai with the tablets but to anyone else who has actually seen how the real world (and music industry) work now, it must sound like the disjointed ravings of bitter retiree who’s sure the world would be better if we could just go back to the good old days of poodle skirts, lead paint, asbestos and the labels raping you out of $17.99 for a couple of good tracks and 50 minutes of filler.

“Album-only downloads?” I’m sure Garth is invested heavily in Time Machines of America if he thinks he can get a majority of Americans to welcome his “Buy One, Buy ‘Em All” plan. That shit went out with Discmans and Fen-phen.

Garth displays his vestigial opposable thumbs.

Garth displays his vestigial opposable thumbs.

But he’s not through yet. Garth’s mouth has unlimited foot space (possibly due to elective surgery). Here’s his contradictory and pure evil plan for getting back what’s his:

“I’d love to see us get it together, and that’s one of the things for the next five years is to try and figure out how. Athletics has it — anti-trust. That’s the only way these guys get the attention of the leagues they work for. Until we can unionize, until we can bond together, we have no power.”

Pause for breath and some oxygen to the brain. He likes anti-trust but wants to unionize into one group that would oversee the entire record industry, presumably with the power to set prices regardless of market demand and constrict delivery methods. Sounds like a monopoly to me.

Back to King Garth, RIAA mouthpiece and jackass supreme:

“I want us to be able to come together and represent as a whole to tell the nation. … It has to be placed in the right hands, so it can’t be one person, but a board that represents music, its creators and its content owners. I think that’d be more than fair to stand up and say, ‘Look, you’ve ignored us, because there’s 50,000 of us and 300 million voters. You’ve ignored us, and now to show you, we would like to just simply stop for a day,’ and see how dry this world gets.”

Wow.

Garth is no longer just interested in the music-buying public. He now wants 300 million voters to take it in the ass because starving artists like himself are outnumbered and outgunned by Joe Public and his considerable lobbying power.

Hey, public. Meet dictator-for-life Garth Brooks. He’d like to welcome you with a hearty “fuck you” in appreciation for your purchase of 128 million albums during the course of his career.

There is a silver lining to this colossal bullshitstorm: Garth is offering to swing his massive, platinum-encrusted weight around until he gets his way, even if that means pulling all major label music off the radio for an entire day, just to show us stupid “little people” what’s the motherfucking what.

To raise awareness for "totally screwed" multi-platinum artists like himself, Garth Brooks will eat all major label music for one day.

To raise awareness for "totally screwed" multi-platinum artists like himself, Garth Brooks will eat all major label music for one day.

I say let him.

I haven’t listened to the radio in years and there are millions of hours of independent music just dying to fill the void. It would be better for the radio stations, the indie artists and the world in general.

So please please please. Pull that shit off the air. Teach us a lesson, Garth, you spoiled 47-year-old brat. Smack us around with your superiority. Kick us right in our deserving asses with your size 3 jack-boots of cowboy justice (+1). Show your loyal customers that you made them, not the other way around.

Or better yet, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Go home and count your money, you fat bastard. Pile it all into huge stacks, knock ’em over and start again. Go wander your mansion or take one of your several cars (or horses… whatever) out for a spin. Go get a botched tonsillectomy and a good case of tetanus. Whatever shuts you up.

Go Roberto. Get him. Fuck you, Garth.

Sincerely,
Joe Fucking Public
300 Million Strong

-CLT

h1

The Stabbing Knife Vol. 1 – ASCAP

July 21, 2009

Roberto_jpg

Time to unpack the stabbing knife. Kids: don’t read any further than this unless a.) you really want to, or b.) no one’s stopping you.

Pity the poor music industry. Or don’t. Any group that claims to speak out for “poor artists” at press conferences while sending packs of lawyers out the back door doesn’t deserve your pity. Contempt, perhaps. But not pity.

Having long ago run out of sane ideas on how to maintain their wealth, ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Performers) has decided that everyone, everywhere should be forced to pay in perpetuity for listening to music. It’s just not enough to buy the album these days.

First, a little rundown on their targets. A rogue’s gallery of copyright violators and pirates of every shade. Here’s who ASCAP is billing now:

Anyone who embeds video on their website.
So pretty much everyone at every blog site and everyone everywhere else. Specifically, this goes after YouTube, which is a bit of a stretch, especially considering YouTube has already agreed to pay them $1.6 million for hosting the videos. Now ASCAP would like to collect again. And again. And again.

The town of New Milford, CT.
ASCAP would like $280 because the town center “sometimes has music playing.” The city council voted to ignore the billing, tabling it indefinitely. BMI and SESAC responded by increasing the amount of their claims to $3,000 and $1,500.

Everyone who owns a cellphone.
Well, maybe not everybody. Not if you’ve never purchased a ringtone featuring a popular artist. ASCAP is claiming that your cellphone, while doing its job of alerting you to an incoming call, is performing publicly and thus subject to royalty charges. Better put that phone on vibrate. Those easily excited can just set it to mute.

Hosts of open mic nights.
ASCAP and BMI have hit owners of small coffeeshops and bars with bills ranging from $350 to $6000 to cover “performance royalties.” Some have had to shut the open mic nights down, thus cutting off several fledgling artists from finding a venue in which to perform. Others have tried to get their acts to sign waivers stating that they will only perform original material. ASCAP has ignored these.

Here’s an incredibly arrogant and ignorant quote on the subject:

Vince Candilora, ASCAP’s vice president for licensing, says the fees are set at a “very good rate,” adding, “What gives anyone the right to use someone else’s property, even though they’re not making money on it? I can guarantee you the phone company’s going to charge you whether you’re making money or not.”

So… a band playing a cover song is like the phone service? Always on? Multiple lines? Phone companies bill for services provided. You’re charging the bar owner for what exactly? The music played? The instruments provided? The soundsystem? What exactly are you providing in exchange for this money?

Related: a nightclub owner in Vail, CO paid $40,000 to ASCAP because a band played 10 cover songs during its appearance. A real bargain, considering ASCAP originally wanted $30,000 per song.

Anybody who sings Happy Birthday.
Over 1% of the total money collected by ASCAP comes from this one song, arguably the most popular song ever. And that copyright claim they collect on may be completely bogus. But who needs facts and research when threats and intimidation will accomplish more in less time?

Bitches better have my money...

Bitches better have my money...

The Girl Scouts of America.
We can debate the propriety and taste of teaching the little cookie-pushers the Macarena, but really… threatening the Girl Scouts? A bunch of 8-year old girls who are now afraid to dance and sing… I hope you’re happy. Perhaps the lawyers will stop by and kill their pets while they’re away at camp.

In all fairness, ASCAP dropped the campaign to wring money out of a beloved American institution. But only after the public shaming. And what the fuck? Who greenlighted this action? If anything highlights the antagonistic entitlement these jackasses feel, this does.

And that just covers some recent stupidity from America. Here’s a very brief rundown on what’s going on in the rest of the world:

These actions mark performance rights groups as true bullies, never willing to go head-to-head with a comparable foe, but rather beat up on charities, small businesses and little girls.

You’d think that an industry so strained for cash would want to have as many people as possible exposed to their product. Apparently it would be easier for them if one person paid royalties over and over again via this business model:

  • Buy CD. ($10-15)
  • Play CD at work. (Pay public performance royalties.)
  • Play CD on car ride home with windows down and stereo up. (Performance royalties.)
  • Throw a little house party. Get new CD pumpin’. (More performance royalties.)
  • Sing a little of the CD in the shower the next morning. Whoops. Left the door open. (Performance royalties.)
  • Etc.

ASCAP continues its push, getting into bed with Congress (although, let’s face it, our representatives have all the self-restraint and self-respect as any “Girl Gone Wild”) in an effort to collect additional performance fees anytime a song gets played on the radio. This hypocritical gouging is covered in a delightful ironic sauce, as ASCAP and the RIAA have both been in hot water for paying the radio stations to play their music.

Awwww... a rescue shelter! Look at that dog with three legs! He's trying to jump. Awww... Anyway. Pay the fuck up.

Awwww... a rescue shelter! Look at that dog with three legs! He's trying to jump! Adorable... Anyway. Pay the fuck up.

Now the shoe is on the other litigious foot, and their favorite promotional vehicle has now become a sacrificial cash cow.

All that ASCAP will do is ensure that they and their lawyers get paid. Some of the top 5% of their stable of artists will get some trickledown (think U2, Rolling Stones, etc.) Those slightly below this threshold may see some tiny residuals. And everyone else gets jackshit. Nothing but fewer places to play and promote their music.

I haven’t sent one out for awhile but I think the time has come:

Fuck you, ASCAP. Fuck your ignorance, your false sense of entitlement and your abusive tactics. Fuck you just like you’re fucking 95% of the artists on your roster.

Stick it to the man. Play your music loud. Invite your friends over and play all the music you can. Promote your favorite bands. Embed their videos everywhere. Support your local cover band. Donate to your favorite charities. Buy Girl Scout cookies.

-CLT

h1

Profiles in Randomness: Roberto

July 4, 2009
Roberto, pictured here with beloved friend and longtime companion, his Stabbing Knife

Roberto, pictured here with beloved friend and longtime companion, his Stabbing Knife

One of the all-time great minor characters from anywhere at any time, Futurama’s Roberto is a stabbing robot. This is not a malfunction or distressing sign of sentience, but rather his whole purpose. Evidence exists in this clip, in which Roberto (and Bender) are both in line for a compliance upgrade, to better mesh with Mom’s (a worldwide monopoly) new 1-X Robot.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/69647/futurama-going-for-an-upgrade

Another appearance has him sharing a room with Fry at the local insane robot facility and terrorizing him all night long by practicing his stabbing.

How insane is he? Bender and Fry run into him while in line at the bank, which Roberto decides to rob (again).
Bender: I like your style. Robbing the same bank twice. Classy.
Roberto: The first time was to just case the joint and rob it a little.

And, of course, this interjection: You’re not made of Tuesday!

As is my style, I have completely and shamelessly co-opted Roberto’s love of stabbing to serve as shorthand for the irritants in life which make me feel a tad homicidal. Without further ado, an incomplete and disorganized list of the things in life that make me reach for my “stabbing knife:”

  • Centerfield by John Fogerty
  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia by the Charlie Daniels Band
  • Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders
  • Barbie Girl by Aqua
  • Nearly every piece of mainstream country that has been released in the last 10 years
  • Nickelback
  • Any time Bono opines about anything
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Child actors
  • Menthol cigarettes
  • Patrons who order complicated drinks in establishments that serve their drinks in plastic cups
  • Birthday songs in chain restaurants
  • The RIAA and ASCAP
  • People who have decided their pot usage is a “lifestyle choice” and are now sticking it to the man by being underemployed for life
  • Overuse of current slang, ironic or not
  • The ethanol lobby, in charge of lightening your wallet, breaking your car and shoving your food supply into your gas tank
  • Militant anti-smokers
  • Moral panics
  • People who get “outraged” at pretty much everything
  • Fox News – just because you’re louder doesn’t mean you’re correct
  • Jay Leno
  • The TSA (“They took my stabbing clippers!”) and anything other elements of our blossoming police state, all done under the guise of the “War on Terror”
  • Nearly every motherfucker in Washington, DC (except this guy, who has never taken an earmark)
  • Wacky morning DJs
  • The “comedians” of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour
  • The frat boy mentality
  • The New York Yankees
  • Warning labels
  • Paul Ehrlich

Feel free to add your own particular triggers in the comments. I’d love to see what you hate…

-CLT