While I was away at a science fiction convention, the world stubbornly went on without me. Here’s what I think of some of what happened.
* South Carolina GOP Primary: Loved it. Dear Republicans: I think your current reignited fling with Newt Gingrich is fantastic. Definitely make him your nominee. He’s the only candidate still in the race who can win over independents! He’ll totally destroy Obama in the debates! He’s cuddly! I can see no possible way the “Newt as nominee” plan could ever go wrong. Please do it. Please please please please please please please.
Even better: Newt/Santorum 2012! Just think about it.
* Joe Paterno, Dead: I don’t find it too surprising. A man who spent his life doing one thing, and who had it taken away from him in the most dramatic and dispiriting way possible, is not a man who is going to be in a position to put up a huge fight against a life-threatening illness. Mind you, that last sentence appears to excuse Paterno from agency (or lack thereof) in having his life’s work taken from him, and I don’t want to do that. Paterno’s failures regarding the sexual predator in his circle are his to own, now and forever. I know it pisses off a lot of Penn State alumni and/or football fans that it will always be part of his legacy. I imagine in his last days it made Paterno sad as well.
* Giants/Patriots in the Super Bowl: On Super Bowl Sunday, I’m going to the alternate universe where the Ravens and 49ers are playing. That’s a game worth watching commercials around!
* SOPA shelved: Good, because it was a terrible bill. Maybe next time if Congress wants to craft a bill to deal with copyright violations on the Internet, it might actually ask the people who work on the Internet how to do it without potentially breaking the whole damn thing. I’d like to think it’s achievable.
That said, anyone who thinks that SOPA being shelved means that everyone’s suddenly giving up on dealing with copyright violations online are deluding themselves; one of the largely unmentioned aspects of the SOPA/PIPA protests is how just about every major player in the protest acknowledged that IP rights are a legitimate issue and have to be dealt with. It would be nice to think this is the inflection point at which everyone grows up a little and tries to build a framework that helps rightsholders control their IP and makes it easy for other people to legitimately own, share and enjoy create work from artists they like. Hey, shut up. I can dream.
* Megaupload shuttered: Inasmuch as I myself repeatedly found unauthorized copies of my work being made available via Megaupload, necessitating frequent missives to lawyers to have them do their DMCA dance, I’m a) willing to believe that the company was not working all that hard to comply with laws relating to copyrighted work, b) not going to cry huge, salty tears over its at least temporary demise. At least one other file-sharing site has changed how it does business in the wake of the Megaupload shuttering, and I suspect we might be at a point where file-sharing sites in general have a deep, introspective moment about how they do their business. I’m fine with that, although I wish it hadn’t taken the Feds seizing the domain name of a company and charging its principals with racketeering in order to do it.
There, now I think I’m all caught up.