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Archive for July 2004
Copyright originally extended the life of the author plus fifty years for individual works or seventy-five years after conception for corporate creations. The late recording artist and Congressman Sunny Bono, in his most valuable contribution to American democracy, sponsored a bill (The Sunny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, 1998) that increased the limit to seventy years post-mortem for men and ninety-five years post-invention for companies. The bill is also called the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” because it received heavy support from the Walt Disney Company which would have otherwise lost the rights to its trademark rodent some time between 2000 and this year.Though I favor the rights to intellectual property, I disagree with this bill. None of the people who are collecting royalties from Mickey, Donald, or George Gershwin made any contribution to these creations; moreover, they are mostly grandchildren, not children, so these artists did not work with the welfare of the current recipients in mind. These heirs should make their own fortunes.
To me, Disney’s vehement copyright warfare (it’s already looking forward to the next time it will have to fight to extend its rights) is another sign that the creative well has run dry at the Mouse House. EuroDisney is synonymous with “EuroTrash.” The animation department peaked in 1995 and now busies itself with insignificant straight-to-video sequels like “Cinderella II.” For every live-action success like “Pirates of the Caribbean,” there are two box-office failures like “The Alamo” and “Around the World in 80 Days.” Before this year, the CEO and chairman positions at Disney were always held by one man, but Michael Eisner has lost the latter; he is a lame duck, as was Ken Stopkotte when he “resigned” as head of the Carmel Swim Club but kept the high school job for a few tenuous weeks. The company’s top studio by far is Pixar, and a few months ago, it announced that it is leaving, as well. Quixotically, when Disney decides not to distribute a movie for fear of critical and financial backlash, it becomes a huge hit (“Fahrenheit 9/11.”)
Disney is not dead, but clearly, it is ill. Thus, it is clinging by its fingernails to the inventions of its namesake who has been dead for almost forty years. It has shown neither ingenuity nor growth; its strength and popularity slowly dwindles. I am reminded of Voldemort who could only keep alive by drinking the blood of unicorns. In 2020, the time will come to cut its lifeline. So it should be with all heirs who spend lavishly but contribute nothing to the fortunes of the family. Here’s hoping the Congress of our adulthood will show some fortitude in this case.
I just had a terrifying dream. It was a series of scenarios, each one worse than the last. If dreaming is the brain’s way of solving problems, I have some weird ones.First, I was at Prom with my Homecoming date. We were in the sun room of someone’s house, and it seemed to be 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Jessica, Christina, and the rest of the Senior Class student government enlisted my help in preparing a raffle for the students. They had printed the names of all the kids who attended (about 160) onto sheets of computer punch-card paper, each row separated from the others by perforated lines. Have you ever bought a game like Memory that printed a lot of cards on a single sheet and had to punch out each individual card? If so, you’ll understand what I was doing.
I did my job well. Then I realized that it wasn’t just perforated paper; it was sticky paper, and pulling off the back of each strip would reveal the stickiness underneath. (Car bumper stickers use this design as well.) That wasn’t a problem until some of the paper didn’t have anything protecting the backs. Everything got stuck to my fingers, and all 160 people watched and waited as I tried unsuccessfully to put the all the names into a neat little pile without making them all stick together which would ruin the raffle. Thunderclouds developed overhead.
In the next sequence, I was visiting a college. I walked into “The Importance of Being Earnest” late but still got a seat unlike Peter Parker. After the play but before the curtain fell, the female lead walked into the crowd and started speaking in a very loud and obnoxious manner to some of her friends who were visiting. It bothered me.
Then, I was playing Risk with Steven and Brandon Drake. I realized I couldn’t hold North America and decided to run to Australia. I developed a sizable force there but couldn’t take the continent because the number of countries inside it progressively increased from four to nine. I marched my army over territory which was getting larger and larger for no real reason. Then the people of the country itself rebelled against me to keep me from holding it. My competitors laughed at me. Eventually, I gave up.
While we were playing, we were watching a baseball game on television. Manny Ramirez was arguing balls and strikes, and the umpire retaliated by grabbing Ramirez’s bat and beating him with it. I immediately thought of the Rodney King incident. I waited for someone to stop the crazy umpire, but no one did.
That was surreal, but it paled in comparison to the final stage of my dream. I was emptying out a white cabinet on the side of my house. It was very tall, wide, and deep and thus could hold a great deal inside of it. After I removed some stickers from the cabinet’s sides and my VCR, I left. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney then snuck over to the cabinet. They laughed maniacally and gloated about how they would use it for world domination. They dumped some captive Australian boys into it and then cast a black magic spell which turned them into purple foam octopi with large, expressive, anime-style eyes. These beasts secreted a very clean and efficient type of oil which resembled gasoline. Bush and Cheney lowered one end a large tube into my cabinet and then stole away to connect the other end to one of their evil machines. I then returned to the cabinet and saw one of the octopi floating on top with a heartbreaking expression on his face.
The only thing better than one dinner is two dinners!
If a man’s friends take his love life seriously, he must return the favor.