Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On the Internets (and NBA conspiracies)*

(NOTE: The first half of this post is a rant about the future of the Internet; the second half is a rant about NBA conspiracy theorists. I'm not sure if the two are at all related, but hey, it's a blog! Peruse at your leisure.)

And my point is this: the major content businesses of the world and the most talented creators of that content -- music, newspapers, movies and books -- have all been seriously harmed by the Internet....Freedom without restraint is chaos, and if we don't figure out some way to prevent online chaos, the quantity, quality and availability of the kinds of entertainment, literature, art and scholarship we need to have a healthy, vibrant culture will suffer.
--Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment

It is not often that I find myself concurring with the general philosophical principles of a CEO, especially when said CEO happens to be blogging for the Huffington Post. Lynton's primary complaint is about Internet piracy, since it is piracy that most directly affects his own business, but I think the argument could be extended to include what he refers to as "changing business models," and this notion that the Internet has so completely changed the rules of our culture that--hey!--none of the old ones apply anymore. Of course, those of us who point out the danger of such an attitude are merely corporatist Luddite left/right-wing Jewish homosexual pornographers whose only interest is in impeding modern progress by stealing away your ability to read Thomas Friedman gratis while illegally downloading Nickelback songs and second-rate comic-book adaptations starring Tim Riggins.

I'm not quite sure how this is all going to end. But if we all believe that mainstream media and popular culture is mired in mediocrity and subjectivity, how is it going to improve by removing the financial incentive to create anything objectively worthwhile?

*One in a series of poorly informed (and mercifully brief) rants that have little or nothing to do with sports, except in an extremely tangential fashion.**

**However, let me add: I do find it amusing that the Internet has given the people the power to explode anything remotely controversial into an unquestioned conspiracy. Most notably, I am thinking of NBA officiating--which would seem to have certain legitimate conspiratorial elements. Therefore, given even the hint of an actual conspiracy (and granted, the Donaghy situation was not a great thing), it has now become an absolute given that the NBA is fixed, that is utterly rigged, that David Stern is a Nike-owned puppetmaster (ah, those commercials are one big metaphor!!!), and that Stern and his band of merry troublemakers (led by Joey Crawford) are pulling the strings for an L.A.-Cleveland NBA Finals.

Except, what happens if we do wind up with Orlando-Denver? Does this mean that Dwight Howard and his granite shoulders have somehow foiled Big Brother? Does this mean that Walt Disney and John Elway are in fact involved, in a much greater conspiracy than anything Nike could ever imagine? Does this mean David Stern has been ejected from the Bilderberg Group? Are the lizard people in charge? Is Rick Reilly somehow involved?

This sounds like a Warren Beatty movie waiting to happen!

But then, what do I know? I am just a corporate tool.

(Photo: Timothy A. Clarey/AFP/Getty Images, via

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