Sunday, April 30, 2006

Revisions to Article

Many of us have a strong bond with music. For me, music is my muse, my motivator, my habit, my vice, my virtue, and my love. It has been my constant companion. I remember carrying around a portable radio as a kid, calling in to request songs that had recently titillated my emotions. Sometimes, however, I didn’t catch the name or artist of songs that had me jumping around my room. Such was the case with my brief encounter with the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds on WINK 104.1 FM at the age of eight. Even at that young age, the lyrics spoke to me and the rhythm intrigued me. Change is an ever present motif in a child’s life, so The Byrds’ expression of time and its constant motion really comforted me, especially since my family was moving within a year. I never heard it again until years and years later, because the radio failed to introduce the song. I bought tapes and CDs as a child, but I had nobody to introduce me to music, nobody to guide me. The radio was my only source of exploring unfamiliar tunes, but half the time stations failed to inform their listeners about the music they played. Eventually, a new revolutionary phenomenon overtook these musical mediums in my life and sent me down a long journey of self discovery, addiction, and appreciation. At the dawn of the digital age, I discovered file sharing and through it I discovered myself.
I first witnessed file sharing after receiving a frantic call from my best friend and neighbor, Hank, one cool spring afternoon during middle school. I headed over to his house and was directed into the computer room, which was flooded with the afternoon sunlight. I walked over to Hank with his brown hair glistening under the window, while he slouched in a leather arm chair, glued to the computer screen, with a zombie like stare. I looked at the screen and found a free music network named Napster with a logo bearing a white cat wearing head phones. Hank excitedly explained how simple it was to download songs, any songs, through this amazing new network. Isn’t it illegal? I wondered, but Hank could care less having just downloaded the entire soundtrack of “Run Lola Run.”
I asked how it worked, so he typed “Madonna” into a search bar and hit enter. In seconds, “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl” popped up on the screen, followed by multiple other songs by Madonna and several duplicates of nearly everything. He clicked on three different “Like a Virgin”s and moved over to another screen where we watched as the MP3s connected, waited, and downloaded. Finally, one of the choices reached 100%. Hank deleted all the duplicates and moved to another screen, “the library,” where all his other downloaded songs were located. He doubled clicked “Like a Virgin” and soon I heard Madonna’s saintly song drifting through his speakers. That’s amazing. In the time it took for the sex symbol’s best hits to travel through the matrix, I no longer cared about the ethics of this new technology anymore…I wanted it. I ran home and downloaded Napster for free through the Internet and, with the help of blank CDs, all my downloaded MP3’s were being transferred to a more practical medium within minutes.
Napster, the spark that ignited a digital revolution in music, was created in 1999 by a Northeastern University student named Shawn Fanning, in an effort to improve the file swapping he observed in Internet Relay Chats, a system of live chats on the internet with multiple participants (Kusek 100). The result was a widely used file sharing system through which music-philes, like Hank and I, transferred music files to and from Napster’s central server to their network computers. This free exchange of large amounts of music provoked varying reactions from the music community. Typically the advertisers, publishers, and labels profiting from CD sales were disgruntled by this growing community of file sharers. Some top-selling artists, such as Britney Spears and Eminem, disapproved of all illegal file sharing, while other artists in the music community did not feel threatened by this new technology (Digital Age 2). Some even directly benefited from it, such as fledgling artists who typically enjoyed the ability to distribute their music through file sharing to increase awareness of their songs and create a fan base. Hot new artists, such as Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Sufjan Stevens, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah all have this grassroots community to thank for their success (McBride 1). File sharers everywhere began to view such file sharing as a harmless way to discover music.
The file sharing medium allowed me to dabble in all kinds of genres. Influenced by high school friends, I downloaded punk rock, indie, and emo bands. These are what I call the ‘cut yourself and kill yourself’ genres of music. Needless to say, I ultimately learned there was a limit to my eclectic taste. I managed one CD of enjoyable tunes from each of these genres before moving on. I had no problem listening to tons of bands over the internet who would never receive a dime from me; because, in actuality, without file sharing, I would have never even considered buying any CD from these unfamiliar genres. In that respect, file sharing allowed me to explore, discover, and experiment with music. Unlike prior methods of musical exploration, my digital quest allowed me to efficiently and effectively understand my own musical taste. I went through musical phases that would have been completely foreign to me had it not been for this technology. I entered a classical music stage in junior year, downloading Tchaikovsky and Mozart. During senior year, I entered a jam band phase, downloading Phish, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin. Most recently, I have journeyed into my sixties phase to experience what Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison produced amidst the purple haze before passing on.
Mark Katz demonstrates this unending world of genres in his book Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music, which explores the effects of modern musical technology on modern music. Katz searched on a file-sharing network for two obscure genres: Swedish funk and Vietnamese hardcore rap. He was quickly presented with the “Electric Boys, a Stockholm quartet formed in 1988… [and] their album Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride,” as well as the “California-based Vietnamese group inexplicably known as Thai” (166). These somewhat silly genres prove the versatility contained within file-sharing networks, compared to the limited shelves in CD stores and the narrow assortment within radio stations. Napster was full of unfamiliar territory for me to explore.
Hank and I readily accepted our new roles as determined explorers of this new and strange world. We felt as if we were going where no man had gone before: deep into the darkest corners of the overgrown matrix. . I thrived on what I found, what I received, what I heard, and what I craved. Hank and I were swapping burned CDs as if our life depended on it. My old purchased music became lost amidst a heap of colorful unmarked CDs.
Napster had been integrated into my life.
It was a source of creativity, discovery, and joy. My lust for music was insatiable once it became so readily available. Our music libraries grew considerably, hindered only by an occasional slow network connection or errors during downloading. Music began to have a powerful effect on me. It could shift my mood, empathize with my feelings, or enhance my emotion. If I was sad I could play the fun cheerful dance songs by Junior Senior and become happier. If I was angry, I could slip in Nirvana and find a similar frustration in Kurt Cobain’s scratchy grunge songs. And, if I was calm, I could drift into a transcendental stupor with the whispering melodies and passive murmur of an Air song. I was a music junkie, relying on mp3s to get through my day. I injected music to regulate my emotions and keep me sane. Napster was my drug, and little did I know, but I was about to be cut off.

Hank and I experienced the decline of Napster almost as unexpectedly as its ascent. Napster’s fast growing exchange of free copyrighted music threatened the recording industry’s previously unchecked ability to dominate format changes and availability of merchandise in the music world. So, led by the Recording Industry Association of America (or RIAA), major recording companies, such as Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, and EMI, joined forces to sue Napster out of business (Kusek 5). By 2001, a high profile legal battle waged by the RIAA shutdown Napster, as it was, forever.
Because Napster had sparked so much in my life, I felt defeated personally. Napster was my introduction to the extent of human creativity and feeling. I never appreciated the imagination and talent of individual artists until I was exposed to so many. I recognized their experiences and often lived through their music. However, like any other addiction, when you quite one, you often start another.
I wasted no time replacing Napster with another network called Limewire, while Hank chose Ares. At this point, it wasn’t hard to replace Napster, because a new wave of peer-to-peer networks, also known as P2P networks, developed, which included Limewire and Ares. The newer P2P networks provided a base for computers to transfer files directly from one computer to another, rather than using central servers or directories, which Napster had employed. Limewire didn’t look as cool as Napster, but it operated in the same manner. Changing networks didn’t slow down my file sharing habit in the least.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Descriptive Exercise: "Chop"

He raised the axe a second time and brought it down with the strength of Hercules to finish the job. Stained with warm crimson blood, the royal head finally dropped from the chopping block onto the cold stone below.
It took two axe strokes.
A royal death indeed.
He picked up the head by its hair. It slipped from the wig and hit the stone with a muffled thump.
Her cold grey eyes, reflecting the amused people gathered around her, rolled back into her head. Her chapped lips parted and dripped saliva onto the ground. The tears she shed just before her execution mixed into the blood still gushing from her exposed neck.
Her body slid to the left and sprawled onto the ground on the other side of the wooden block. Her right hand crept down her stomach and lay on the stone, twitching. Her finger nails had small scraps of wood underneath them from the forceful grip she had on the chopping block just moments before.
She was no longer a threat to her majesty.
Beheading was a common occurrence during the reign of Elizabeth I; however, taking the life of a royal didn’t sit as well with the Queen. The life was that of her cousin, Queen Mary of Scotland.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Lesson Ten: The Ethics of Style

There are certain ethical issues that both writer and reader must observe when dealing with style. Readers must acknowledge the benefits of complex language and sentences when they are appropriate to a paper. Writing in simple clear language does not always get across the complexity of ideas. At the same time, writers must acknowledge that a reader’s time is precious and filling that time with unbearably difficult wording is disrespectful and obnoxious. Those who claim that complexity is good for us have no evidence supporting their declaration. In the world of complex styles, there is innocent ignorance and intended misdirection. Innocent ignorance produces obscurity in a work without the writer’s knowledge of his or her mistake. Intended misdirection, however, must be identified by the reader as a stylistic measure of self-interest for the writer. Certain questions, concerning the motivation and audience of the work, must enter the reader’s mind soon after reading suspicious work in order to analyze its ethics. Clarity, in this respect, lies in the ability of the reader to recognize unethical use of style and language. Clarity in and of itself, however, should be strived for in most work, because clarity alone is not unethical.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Commentary and Analysis of "Civilization and Its Discontents"

Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents explores the psychological and social aspects of humanity that are ubiquitous throughout the creation and development of civilization. Freud begins by breaking down our understanding of life into specific forces driving our perception of the world and our actions in it. He then identifies the purpose of life as the achievement of happiness and thus, the avoidance of suffering. In doing so, Freud sets up a lengthy discussion on human instincts and the oppression of these instincts under the restraints of civilization and the internalized guilt of man. These complex interactions between aspects of humanity ultimately lead to the frustration of obtaining happiness. All these factors help shape the interactions among and within civilizations throughout history.
In the initial chapters of the book, Freud introduces what he believes to be the basis of psychological development: the human understanding of the “ego” and its distinction from the outside world. The ego is anything other than the outside world, essentially one’s inner autonomy and feeling. The boundaries between an individual’s ego and the outside world define their interactions between nature and their relationships with those around them. This idea can easily be broadened to reflect the identity of civilizations and their interactions with surrounding peoples throughout history, which Freud later discusses. For now, however, Freud stresses that the ultimate goal of these boundaries is “to create a pure pleasure-ego” [1] that forces “unpleasure” to the outside world. Therefore, human beings seek happiness; however, this goal is inevitably frustrated by the structure of life.
There are three general sources of unhappiness according to Freud. The first is from our own bodies, which are destined to decay. The second is from the external world, in terms of its potential for destruction. Finally, and many times the source of greatest suffering, are our relationships with other humans. The last two sources derive from the outside world, and therefore are the very events that shape history, such as war, famine, disease, and natural disasters. This unavoidable suffering associated with human life is dealt with according to three measures: “powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it.” [2] The causes of unhappiness are omnipresent throughout history, but so are the products of the methods to combat this unhappiness. Art, a notable part of history, is a major product of substitutive satisfactions. In an attempt to forget or lessen suffering, humans create beauty by escaping into a fantastical world of art through drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc. Religion, also an important part of history, can often be an easy answer to the problem of pain, due to the convenient paths to happiness they typically propose. Freud, needless to say, believes religion is effective at preventing certain people’s neurosis, but hardly anything more.
Freud refers to religion again when describing civilization’s apparent responsibility for human suffering. Freud maintains throughout the book that primitive cultures must have had at least an easier time attaining happiness, because their existence was before man decided to place the community ahead of the individual by suppressing primal instincts. As examples of this oppression formed by modern civilizations, Freud highlights the victory of Christendom over heathen religions, as well as the destruction of primitive peoples by European settlers. Although he admits happiness is subjective, Freud points out that humans feel inherently uncomfortable within present day civilization, despite recent advanced technologies that achieve almost god-like feats. Our industrial and technological advances do little to reinstate our suppressed instincts. Freud clarifies his findings later on in stating: “Primitive man was better off in knowing no restrictions of instinct. To counterbalance this, his prospects of enjoying this happiness for any length of time were very slender. Civilized man has exchanged a portion of his possibilities of happiness for a portion of security.”[3] In modern civilization, taboos, laws, and customs continuously suppress man. In primitive civilization, however, the obligations to survival made enjoyment of indulging in human instincts fleeting. Considering this information, one must wonder whether humanity has improved despite its many achievements.
In the final chapters of the book, Freud discusses how man came to suppress primal instincts, mostly sexual and aggressive in nature, in order to shift importance from the happiness of the individual to the good of the community. Mostly this originates from a sense of guilt, which develops from fear of an authority and, more importantly, fear of the super-ego. The super-ego acts as a conscience, among other things, to the ego by instilling a sense of anxiety or sinfulness when a “bad” act is merely thought about. Restraints on society in the form of governments, religions, and customs all have imposed this sense of guilt among their communities throughout history. The guilt of not supporting ones country amidst the wave of nationalism during WWI led many men to sign up as soldiers for an experience that would in no way produce happiness. The guilt of sinfulness and obligation to an abstract being fostered by religion led to countless crusades and massacres of innocent peoples throughout history. These manipulations of civilization are directly related to the actions of our super-ego and our fear of an authority.
Civilization and Its Discontents analyzes the structure of history through Freud’s understanding of human psychology and the developments of civilization. Man’s struggle to obtain happiness has pitted him against the values and institutions of the present civilization surrounding him. History has provided an overwhelming amount of evidence in support of the aggressive nature of man, which runs contrary to the passive nature required by present day societies. Guilt is a major factor in man’s ability to suppress primal urges for the good of the community. Freud’s work and the history of mankind remind us that civilization is largely at odds with man’s true nature and that humanity is still very far from obtaining true happiness.




[1] From Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents (pg 14)
[2] From Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents (pg 24-5)

[3] From Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents (pg 73)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Half of History Paper

Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents explores the psychological and social aspects of humanity that are ubiquitous throughout the creation and development of civilization. Freud begins by breaking down our understanding of life into specific forces driving our perception of the world and our actions in it. He then identifies the purpose of life as the achievement of happiness and thus, the avoidance of suffering. In doing so, Freud sets up a lengthy discussion on human instincts and the oppression of these instincts under the restraints of civilization and the internalized guilt of man. These complex interactions between aspects of humanity ultimately lead to the frustration of obtaining happiness. All these factors help shape the interactions among and within civilizations throughout history.
In the initial chapters of the book, Freud introduces what he believes to be the basis of psychological development: the human understanding of the “ego” and its distinction from the outside world. The ego is anything other than the outside world, essentially one’s inner autonomy and feeling. The boundaries between an individual’s ego and the outside world define their interactions between nature and their relationships with those around them. This idea can easily be broadened to reflect the identity of civilizations and their interactions with surrounding peoples throughout history, which Freud later discusses. For now, however, Freud stresses that the ultimate goal of these boundaries is “to create a pure pleasure-ego” [1] that forces “unpleasure” to the outside world. Therefore, human beings seek happiness; however, this goal is inevitably frustrated by the structure of life. There are three general sources of unhappiness according to Freud. The first is from our own bodies, which are destined to decay. The second is from the external world, in terms of its potential for destruction. Finally, and many times the source of greatest suffering, are our relationships with other humans. This unavoidable suffering associated with human life is dealt with according to three measures: “powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it.” [2] The causes of unhappiness are omnipresent throughout history, however, so are the products of the methods to combat this unhappiness. Art, a notable part of history, is a major product of substitutive satisfactions. Religion, also a significant part of history, can be viewed as an easy escape from pain due to the paths to happiness they typically offer. Freud, needless to say, believes religion is effective at preventing certain people’s neurosis, but hardly anything more.
[1] From Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents (pg 14)
[2] From Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents (pg 24-5)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Letter for Article

Emily Ford,

I really liked your descriptions of George and his relationships with his family and town during the initial paragraphs of your essay. However, your purpose was confusing, because you seemed to be presenting the controversy again rather than focusing on one aspect of it. Other than the beginning paragraphs, the essay is mostly informative. Try to subtly, yet effectively, display your attitude toward the issue. It seems like you are leaning toward allowing homosexuals to worship freely in Presbyterian churches; however, your information deals primarily with the controversy as a whole. Throughout the essay, you talk about how homosexuality is perceived in church communities, how homosexuality is perceived in the Presbyterian church in particular, why Christians struggle with homosexuality, and gay rights in various states. Add some testimonies from homosexual church goers and gay rights advocates to give these topics a argumentative spin.
---no identified audience--
You convince your reader that you are knowledgeable about your subject by referencing credible sources and naming sources you are pulling information from. Through paragraph four and five, you show that you have a comprehensive understanding of the Presbyterian Church’s struggle with homosexuality, as well as Presbyterian Church itself. Although your essay could be a little more argumentative, the overall neutrality (rather than harsh judgment) provides the reader with a sense of trustworthiness.
By the end of the narrative introduction (beginning of paragraph four), I understood the article to be on the struggles of the Presbyterian Church concerning homosexuality. You led up to this information effectively by describing George coming out to family without the support of any organized religion. You integrated religion into the narrative early by explaining George’s dad’s reaction to his gay son as prayer, as well as juxtaposing this reaction with George’s reaction to his father’s prayer. One thing that might be prudent to clear up is: Was George a Presbyterian?
I didn’t feel like I received the message properly by the end of your draft. Why is it ok to be homosexual in the Presbyterian Church? What are the misconceptions held by many churchgoers? What are some of the forms of prejudice homosexuals who attend the churches deal with? You don’t have to be overtly arguing for one side, but informing us about the struggle with one side in mind by using quotes, facts, and statistics that back that opinion would create a clearer message for your readers.
For your conclusion, consider returning to George and discuss whether his choice to live a discrete life, was really a choice or rather an obligation based on societal expectations like those driving the Presbyterian Church to ignore the homosexual community.
As always, I continue to learn more and more from your topic.

Good job,
Kim

Monday, April 24, 2006

First Complete Article Draft

“But there's something special about the notes that he hearsThose scales are redemption, unraveling repressed memoriesAnd when he breathes, a new energy enters and consumes himTo heal his wounds and unseal his doomIf only I could make you understandBut words are just words so I can'tThe universe's deepest art form keeps my heart warm with influenceI tell ya
Ain't nothing quite as beautiful as Music”

-Excerpt from “Music Music”
by Eyedea and Abilities

Many of us have a strong bond with music. For me, music is my muse, my motivator, my habit, my vice, my virtue, and my love. It has been a constant companion throughout most of my life. Tapes, radio waves, CDs, and mp3s all allowed me to explore music, but once I got into file sharing, the journey got intense. However, I certainly didn’t start out knowing good music.
My primordial CD collection quickly became what people now consider atrocious. Spice Girls, Kris Kross, Hanson, and Chumbawumba were among the chosen to grace my ears during middle school. Eventually I realized my juvenile mistake and decided to update my awkwardly uncool music taste. I decided to go to my exceptionally cool brother with Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley posters in his room, but jumping from Hanson’s repetitive two minute long pop songs to Phish’s thirty minute long jams sessions proved more difficult than I expected. I took a break from jazz and jam bands and decided to try something else. I headed over to see my best friend and neighbor, Hank, who had recently discovered a curious new music feature on the internet.
Entering the computer room, I found him slouched, glued to the screen, with a zombie like stare that overrode the chic sophistication exuded by his outfit that day. I looked at the screen and found a free music network named Napster with a logo bearing a white cat wearing head phones. Hank excitedly explained how simple it was to download songs, any songs, through this amazing new network. Isn’t it illegal? I wondered, but Hank could care less having just downloaded the entire soundtrack of “Run Lola Run.”
How does it work? He typed “Madonna” into a search bar and hit enter. In seconds, “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl” popped up on the screen, followed by multiple other songs by Madonna and several duplicates of nearly everything. He clicked on three different “Like a Virgin”s and moved over to another screen where we watched as the MP3s connected, waited, and downloaded. Finally, one of the choices reached 100%. Hank deleted all the duplicates and moved to another screen, called the library, where all his other downloaded songs were located. He doubled clicked “Like a Virgin” and soon I heard Madonna’s saintly song drifting through his speakers. That’s amazing. I didn’t care about the ethics of this new technology anymore…I wanted it. I ran home and downloaded Napster for free through the Internet and, with the help of blank CDs, all my downloaded MP3’s were being transferred to a more practical medium within minutes.
I later found out that this network was the spark that ignited a digital revolution in music. Napster was created in 1999 by a Northeastern University student named Shawn Fanning, who was simply trying to improve the file swapping he observed in Internet Relay Chats (Kusek 100). Fanning ended up uniting an enormous group of music fans, like Hank and I, who transferred music files to and from Napster’s central server to their network computers. This free exchange of large amounts of music provoked varying reactions from the music community. Typically the advertisers, publishers, and labels profiting from CD sales were disgruntled by this growing community of file sharers. Some top-selling artists, such as Britney Spears and Eminem, disapproved of all illegal file sharing, while other artists in the music community did not feel threatened by this new technology (Digital Age 2). Some even directly benefited from it, such as fledgling artists who typically enjoyed the ability to distribute their music through file sharing to increase awareness of their songs and create a fan base. Hot new artists, such as Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Sufjan Stevens, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah all have this grassroots community to thank for their success (McBride 1). The music fans, otherwise viewed as the music consumers, have a wide rage of opinions on the matter. Many file sharers view their habit as a harmless way to discover music.
The Internet allowed me to navigate through musical selections and explore numerous genres that offline venues will probably never be able to present so readily. Mark Katz demonstrates this in his book Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music by searching on a file-sharing network for two obscure genres: Swedish funk and Vietnamese hardcore rap. He is quickly presented with the “Electric Boys, a Stockholm quartet formed in 1988… [and] their album Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride,” as well as the “California-based Vietnamese group inexplicably known as Thai” (166). Napster was full of these hidden jewels and unknown territory for me to explore.
Soon, Hank and I were swapping burned CDs as if our life depended on it. Through Hank and Napster, I developed a taste for hip hop, dance, ambient, alternative, and electronica. My pop roots became a distant memory in the wake of new mellow trance tunes and harsh hip hop beats. My old purchased music became lost amidst a heap of colorful unmarked CDs.
Napster had been integrated into my life.
It was a source of creativity, discovery, and joy. My lust for music was insatiable once it became so readily available. Our music libraries grew considerably, hindered only by an occasional slow network connection or errors during downloading. Music began to have a powerful effect on me. It could shift my mood, empathize with my feelings, or enhance my emotion. If I was sad I could play the fun cheerful dance songs by Junior Senior and become happier. If I was angry, I could slip in Nirvana and find a similar frustration in Kurt Cobain’s scratchy grunge songs. And, if I was calm, I could drift into a transcendental stupor with the whispering melodies and passive murmur of an Air song. As I later tried to explain to one of my good friends, music keeps me sane.
Hank and I experienced the decline of Napster almost as unexpectedly as its ascent. Napster’s fast growing exchange of free copyrighted music threatened the recording industry’s previously unchecked ability to dominate format changes and availability of merchandise in the music world. So, led by the Recording Industry Association of America (or RIAA), major recording companies, such as Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, and EMI, joined forces to sue Napster out of business (Kusek 5). A high profile legal battle took place and in 2001 the RIAA succeeded in shutting down Napster.
Napster had sparked so much in my life. It was my introduction to the extent of human creativity and feeling. But, no matter how I felt, the RIAA still won. I could no longer type in Madonna and get multiple songs and several duplicates. At first, I could just misspell her name somehow, like “Madona,” in order to avoid the apparent recall of all copyrighted music, but soon I had to admit Napster’s defeat.
I replaced Napster with another network called Limewire, while Hank downloaded one called Ares. At this point, it wasn’t hard to replace Napster, because a new wave of peer-to-peer networks, also known as P2P networks, developed. The newer P2P networks provided a base for computers to transfer files directly from one computer to another, rather than using central servers or directories, which Napster had employed. Limewire didn’t look as cool as Napster, but it got the job done. Changing networks didn’t slow down my file sharing habit in the least.
The file sharing medium allowed me to dabble in all kinds of genres. Influenced by high school friends, I downloaded punk rock, indie, and emo bands. These are what I call the ‘cut yourself and kill yourself’ genres of music. Needless to say, I ultimately learned there was a limit to my eclectic taste. I managed one CD of enjoyable tunes from each of these genres before moving on. I had no problem listening to tons of bands over the internet who would never receive a dime from me; because, in actuality, without file sharing, I would have never even considered buying any CD from these unfamiliar genres. In that respect, file sharing allowed me to explore, discover, and experiment with music. Unlike prior methods of musical exploration, my digital quest allowed me to efficiently and effectively understand my own musical taste. I went through musical phases that would have been completely foreign to me had it not been for this technology. I entered a classical music stage in junior year, downloading Tchaikovsky and Mozart. During senior year, I rediscovered by brother’s musical taste, by entering my jam band phase, downloading Phish, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin.
That same year, I heard about lawsuits against file sharers and decided to revise my sharing options for Kazaa, my file sharing base at the time. I took my own library off the network, so nobody would download my music, but I could still download from other people on the network. Essentially, I wasn’t sharing anymore, just taking. I later discovered that these lawsuits were a product of a court case between the RIAA and Grokster. When the RIAA took the P2P service to court, the judge ruled that there are, in fact, legitimate applications for these new P2P networks due to the lack of a central server (Adegoke 1). This ruling ended the RIAA’s opportunity to fight file-sharing by going directly to the source, which caused them to start filing lawsuits against individual network users. Their targets were so-called “supernodes” or “significant uploaders of pirated music” (Adrianson 2). The RIAA has claimed it generally goes after those who have downloaded more than 100 songs, but they refuse to reveal any other criteria (Knopper 2). The lawsuits “demand up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages – and even the few defendants who can afford to pay are more inclined to settle for $3,200 to $4,000 than fight a costly court battle against music-industry lawyers” (Knopper 2).
Many, including those sued by the RIAA, believe that this method of dissuasion is ineffective. Charli Johnson, “a twenty-one-year-old student in Winfield Kansas, who settled for about $3,000 last summer,” stated “‘Personally, I don’t think it’s going to stop anyone from downloading. All my friends know I got sued and how much I got sued for – and they’re still downloading music’” (Knopper 3). Even the file sharing statistics according to BigChampagne, among other researchers, do not support the RIAA’s method. BigChampagne tracks file-sharing trends and compiles the most widely accepted file-sharing data for a variety of uses, including for the record companies’ marketing purposes. According to a recent BigChampagne study, “the lawsuits have failed to stop, or even slow, illegal file-sharing. An estimated 8.6 million Americans were trading copyrighted songs at any given time in April 2005 – up 100 percent from 4.3 million in September 2003, when the suits began” (Knopper 3).
In 2005, Terry McBride, the CEO of a Vancouver-based record label and management company called Nettwerk Music Group, decided to pay the legal bills of an RIAA lawsuit victim and father of four, David Greubel. McBride explained that “the passionate message of music is in the magic of the song. The more it is consumed, the more it nourishes. Music is ubiquitous; it is a utility like water…We need to stop treating music like a product that needs to be controlled” (McBride 1). McBride adds to evidence building up against RIAA’s campaign by pointing out that “this litigation is forcing the music fans to use technologies that are not measurable or traceable...So, in fact, we are not deterring file sharing, just deterring our chances of monetizing it” (McBride 1). McBride’s observations reveal the importance of file sharers as a new market to be embraced not forced underground.
So why did the RIAA begin this seemingly useless and unpopular campaign? In 2002, when the recording industry leaders began to discuss initiating individual lawsuits, the music industry was experiencing a severe downturn, “slashing rosters and laying off thousands of employees” (Knopper 3). As one major-label source put it, “‘It’s one thing when you’re looking from the outside and saying how stupid this is -- but it’s another thing when half your company gets laid off’” (Knopper 4). Their financial set backs, along with the ruling that the P2P service Grokster could not be sued, settled the matter of whether to begin suing dowloaders. But, was file-sharing really the culprit?
Many have offered other causes for the decline in record sales. The Oberholzer-Strumpf study, which criticized the correlation between declining CDs sales and file sharing, listed several alternative causes for these numbers including: “poor macroeconomic conditions, a reduced number of album releases, growing competition from other forms of entertainment, a reduction in music variety due to radio consolidation, the cost of independent promoter fees to gain airplay, and possibly a consumer backlash against record industry tactics” (Holland 1). Former Sony Music Executive, Steve Grodon, blames the Internet Service Providers and the manufactures of computers, blank optical disks, CD burners, and MP3 players,” all of which are “facilitating unauthorized file sharing and CD burning” (Paying for Music). Terry McBride listed four reasons for the decline of CD sales: “a) stiff competition for the entertainment dollar from formats like videogames and movies…b) the replacement cycle is over -- digital music does not scratch or wear out like past formats; c) one now has the ability to purchase and listen only to the great songs without filler; and d) mass merchant retailers today carry only the current hits, with little to no catalog” (McBride 1). Nevertheless, the recording industry supporters maintain that the upholding of copyright laws ensures that the artists and producers continue to make a profit, which essentially preserves the music market.
The RIAA and the music industry are not the only ones ignoring these other possibilities by focusing on file sharing. The most recent addition to the anti-file sharing artists are the very creators of viral marketing themselves, The Grateful Dead. The Dead, long know for allowing, even encouraging, fans to record concerts have requested that a large online library called archive.org block access to over a thousand Grateful Dead concert downloads. The ticket sales from concerts in their hay day allowed the Dead to be passive about their fan’s exchange of free music; but now, since the Dead can only tour sporadically, Grateful Dead Productions must rely on CD and merchandise sales (Simon 72-3). According to Richard Simon, writer for Relix magazine, “the spirit of free-flowing information that they helped engender may be limiting their ability to make music available on their own terms. At the same time, changing the rules of the game some 40 years on could well alienate the very fans they need to keep their legacy alive” (73).
There is so much paradox and counterintuitive actions surrounding the file sharing business that one must wonder, Isn’t there a better way? One option is the “technical fix,” which means that a technical solution will be designed to avoid unauthorized copying. One technical fix is the Digital Rights Management option, which suggests placing “a special code into digitized media that prevents copying” (Adrianson 4). However, if knowledgeable pirates overcame the protective codes, all digital media players would have to be fixed to play only media with a DRM code. Therefore, these technological fixes may restrict innovation and place boundaries much more than the RIAA’s current policy.
One of the current options in effect is to expand and exploit the online music market by developing legal downloading networks like Apple iTunes, Emusic.com, and Listen.com, which typically offer songs for 99 cents each. The RIAA states that the simultaneous development of this legal market and the abundance of lawsuits was no accident. Jonathan Lamy, a spokesperson for the RIAA, explained, “‘The idea is to bring [illegal file-sharing] down to a level of control where legitimate services can get a foothold in the marketplace and eventually flourish’” (Adrianson 6). Their new hold on the market may already be displaying growing power over consumers and competition. National Public Radio announced that the U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating anti-competitive practices like price-fixing within online music networks for four global music companies (Marketplace Report). The most successful legal downloading site, Apple iTunes, is using their success to endorse their other products, which gives them an “unprecedented amount of control over the record business and the technology business.” There could be a “tying violation,” applied to Apples’ music sales being linked to Apple technology. A smaller feud is occurring between Apple’s CEO and the music industry about Apple’s refusal to force customers to pay more for hit songs than “B-side songs” (Marketplace Report). These incidents reflect the growing competition and corruption within this new market.
Another option would be to adopt a blanket license system, which “could authorize copyrighted material to be traded on the networks while providing compensation for the artists and the record labels,” much like the radio licensing system (Adianson, 5). Some P2P networks, such as Grokster, are pushing for this solution. In an interview on NPR, Steve Gordon the former Sony Music executive and current music attorney, explained the advantages of one such blanket license system called the statutory license law trying to be passed through Congress: “Record companies limit the release of millions of older songs, which puts the record company at a severe disadvantage with the unauthorized services that can allow anything…the statutory license triumphs this problem” by permitting the use of all copyright material in exchange for a predetermined payment to the copyright owner (Paying for Music). In addition to this, the “fees would be paid by those directly profiting from file sharing -- that is, the makers of CD burners, including computer manufacturers, and the ISPs (Internet Service Providers), whose subscribers already pay in part for access to such services as Kazaa” (Gordon 1). The major drawbacks to this option reside in individual artist contracts and their personal feelings. Some artist contracts prohibit record companies to put the artist’s music online. Many major artists are simply reluctant to put their music online out of fear of inadequate compensation (Gordon 2). The recording industry must look more closely into these alternatives, because “without a compromise,” Steve Gordon warns, “everyone will loose” (3).
During my second year in college, around the time NPR interviewed Steve Gordon, I received two E-mails from Thomas Copler, the CIO and Director of ITS at RMC, detailing incidents of file sharing law suits on my campus, which brought the Recording Industry’s message close to home. By this time, I was nearing the end of my self-exploration through online networks. Thus, I was largely using legal means of obtaining and exploring new music. I was finding new bands through audioscrobbler, which recorded what music I played and suggested what else I might enjoy. I had a single, free, and legal library under iTunes, instead of my previous scattered music files and misplaced CDs. I transferred literally about sixteen days worth of music onto my computer through my brother and friends. I also started purchasing CDs again. I started all of this after looking over the last sentence of the RMC e-mail: “The RIAA is obviously taking a closer look this year so everybody needs to be aware of their chances of being tagged for music copyright infringement violation” (Copler 1)! I considered the $3,000 fine in relation to my life and decided to take a break from my file sharing days. If I hadn’t been so well stocked with music (5,404 songs on my iTunes…not to mention my CD collection), I would have let the RIAA’s threats drift past my ears yet again, like millions of other Americans.
Bound emotionally and psychologically to whatever drifts past my ears, I am a product of the digital revolution of music. Napster and the networks it generated had opened my mind to new sounds and created an infinite collection of music to nourish my passion. For better or worse, they nurtured a rabid music appreciator. Even though I now buy more CDs then ever, I don’t think the RIAA had much to do with it. I believe that the act of file sharing allowed me to better understand my own musical taste, which, in the end, made buying music more practical. Whatever the future of file-sharing networks, the digital age has left its mark on the music industry. The data surrounding CD sales amidst file sharing appears to be surrounded by hidden prejudices. However, even among this confusion one can see file sharing is not only sticking around, but growing and developing.
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Roman writer of Fundamentals of Music around 480 AD, once wrote “Music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desired” (Storr 1). If we cannot be free from music, then why not make music free for us?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Half of Article Draft

“But there's something special about the notes that he hearsThose scales are redemption, unraveling repressed memoriesAnd when he breathes, a new energy enters and consumes himTo heal his wounds and unseal his doomIf only I could make you understandBut words are just words so I can'tThe universe's deepest art form keeps my heart warm with influenceI tell ya
Ain't nothing quite as beautiful as Music”

-Excerpt from “Music Music”
by Eyedea and Abilities

Many of us have a strong bond with music. For me, music is my muse, my motivator, my habit, my vice, my virtue, and my love. It has been a constant companion throughout most of my life. Tapes, radio waves, CDs, and mp3s all allowed me to explore music, but once I got into file sharing, the journey got intense. However, I certainly didn’t start out knowing good music.
My primordial CD collection quickly became what people now consider atrocious. Spice Girls, Kris Kross, Hanson, and Chumbawumba were among the chosen to grace my ears during middle school. Eventually I realized my juvenile mistake and decided to update my awkwardly uncool music taste. Who better to go to than my exceptionally cool brother with Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley posters in his room? However, jumping from Hanson’s repetitive two minute long pop songs to Phish’s thirty minute long jams sessions proved more difficult than I expected. I took a break from jazz and jam bands and decided to try something else. I headed over to see my best friend and neighbor, Hank, who had recently discovered a curious new music feature on the internet.
Entering the computer room, I found him slouched, glued to the screen, with a zombie like stare that overrode the chic sophistication exuded by his outfit that day. I looked at the screen and found a free music network named Napster with a logo bearing a white cat wearing head phones. Hank excitedly explained how simple it was to download songs, any songs, through this amazing new network. Isn’t it illegal? I wondered, but Hank could care less having just downloaded the entire soundtrack of “Run Lola Run.”
How does it work? He typed “Madonna” into a search bar and hit enter. In seconds, “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl” popped up on the screen, followed by multiple other songs by Madonna and several duplicates of nearly everything. He clicked on three different “Like a Virgin”s and moved over to another screen where we watched as the MP3s connected, waited, and downloaded. Finally, one of the choices reached 100%. Hank deleted all the duplicates and moved to another screen, called the library, where all his other downloaded songs were located. He doubled clicked “Like a Virgin” and soon I heard Madonna’s saintly song drifting through his speakers. That’s amazing. I didn’t care about the ethics of this new technology anymore…I wanted it. I ran home and downloaded Napster for free through the Internet and, with the help of blank CDs, all my downloaded MP3’s were being transferred to a more practical medium within minutes.
I later found out that this network was the spark that ignited a digital revolution in music. Napster was created in 1999 by a Northeastern University student named Shawn Fanning, who was simply trying to improve the file swapping he observed in Internet Relay Chats (Kusek 100). Fanning ended up uniting an enormous group of music fans who transferred music files to and from Napster’s central server to network computers. This free exchange of large amounts of music provoked varying reactions from the music community. Typically the advertisers, artists, and record companies profiting from CD sales were disgruntled by this growing community of file sharers. Top-selling artists, such as Britney Spears and Eminem, disapproved of all illegal file sharing (Digital Age 2). However, some artists in the music community did not feel threatened by this new technology, while others even directly benefited from it. Fledgling artists typically enjoyed the ability to distribute their music through file sharing to increase awareness of their songs and create a fan base. Hot new artists, such as Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Sufjan Stevens, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah all have this grassroots community to thank for their success (McBride 1). The music fans, otherwise viewed as the music consumers, have a wide rage of opinions on the matter. Many file sharers view their habit as a harmless way to discover music.
The Internet allowed me to navigate through musical selections and explore numerous genres that offline venues will probably never be able to present so readily. Mark Katz demonstrates this in his book Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music by searching on a file-sharing network for two obscure genres: Swedish funk and Vietnamese hardcore rap. He quickly is presented with the “Electric Boys, a Stockholm quartet formed in 1988… [and] their album Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride,” as well as the “California-based Vietnamese group inexplicably known as Thai” (166). Whether I was discovering obscure mixes of popular songs and strange offshoots of familiar bands or exploring unheard of genres, Napster was full of hidden jewels and the unknown territory.
Soon, Hank and I were swapping burned CDs as if our life depended on it. Through Hank and Napster, I developed a taste for hip hop, dance, ambient, alternative, and electronica. My pop roots became a distant memory in the wake of new mellow trance tunes and harsh hip hop beats. My old purchased music became lost amidst a heap of colorful unmarked CDs.
Napster had been integrated into my life.
It was a source of creativity, discovery, and joy. My lust for music was insatiable once it became so readily available. Our music libraries grew considerably, hindered only by an occasional slow network connection or errors during downloading. Music began to have a powerful effect on me. It could shift my mood, empathize with my feelings, or enhance my emotion. If I was sad I could play the fun cheerful dance songs by Junior Senior and become happier. If I was angry, I could slip in Nirvana and find a similar frustration in Kurt Cobain’s scratchy grunge songs. And, if I was calm, I could drift into a transcendental stupor with the whispering melodies and passive murmur of an Air song. As I later tried to explain to one of my good friends, music keeps me sane.
Hank and I experienced the decline of Napster almost as unexpectedly as its ascent. Napster’s fast growing exchange of free copyrighted music threatened the recording industry’s previously unchecked ability to dominate format changes and availability of merchandise in the music world. So, led by the Recording Industry Association of America (or RIAA), major recording companies, such as Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, and EMI, had joined forces to sue Napster out of business (Kusek 5). Soon, a high profile legal battle took place and in 2001 the RIAA proved victorious in shutting down Napster.
Napster had sparked so much in my life. It was my introduction to the extent of human creativity and feeling. But, no matter how I felt, the RIAA still won. I could no longer type in Madonna and get multiple songs and several duplicates. At first, I could just misspell her name somehow, like “Madona,” in order to avoid the apparent recall of all copyrighted music, but soon I had to admit Napster’s defeat.
I replaced Napster with another network called Limewire, while Hank downloaded one called Ares. At this point, it wasn’t hard to replace Napster, because a new wave of peer-to-peer networks, also known as P2P networks, developed. The newer P2P networks provided a base for computers to transfer files directly from one computer to another, rather than using central servers or directories, which Napster had employed. Limewire didn’t look as cool as Napster, but it got the job done. Changing networks didn’t slow down my file sharing habit in the least.
The file sharing medium allowed me to dabble in all kinds of genres. Influenced by high school friends, I downloaded punk rock, indie, and emo bands. These are the ‘cut yourself and kill yourself’ genres of music. Needless to say, I ultimately learned there was a limit to my eclectic taste. I managed one CD of enjoyable tunes from each of these genres before moving on. I had no problem listening to tons of bands over the internet who would never receive a dime from me; because, in actuality, without file sharing, I would have never even considered buying any CD from the ‘cut yourself and kill yourself’ genres. In that respect, file sharing allowed me to explore, discover, and experiment with music. Unlike prior methods of musical exploration, my digital quest allowed me to efficiently and effectively understand my own musical taste. I went through musical phases that would have been foreign to me had it not been for this technology. I entered a classical music stage in junior year, downloading Tchaikovsky and Mozart. During senior year, I rediscovered by brother’s musical taste, by downloading Phish, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin.
That same year, I heard about lawsuits against file sharers and decided to revise my sharing options for Kazaa, my file sharing base at the time. I took my own library off the network, so nobody would download my music, but I could still download from other people on the network. Essentially, I wasn’t sharing anymore, just taking. I later discovered that when the RIAA took P2P services like Grokster and Kazaa to court, the judge ruled that there are legitimate applications for these new P2P networks due to the lack of a central server (Adegoke 1). This ruling ended the RIAA’s opportunity to fight file-sharing by going directly to the source, which caused them to start filing lawsuits against individual network users. Their targets were so-called “supernodes” or “significant uploaders of pirated music” (Adrianson 2). The RIAA has claimed it generally goes after those who have downloaded more than 100 songs, but they refuse to reveal any other criteria (Knopper 2). The lawsuits “demand up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages – and even the few defendants who can afford to pay are more inclined to settle for $3,200 to $4,000 than fight a costly court battle against music-industry lawyers (Knopper 2).
Many, including those sued by the RIAA, believe this method of dissuasion is ineffective. Charli Johnson, “a twenty-one-year-old student in Winfield Kansas, who settled for about $3,000 last summer,” stated “‘Personally, I don’t think it’s going to stop anyone from downloading. All my friends know I got sued and how much I got sued for – and they’re still downloading music’” (Knopper 3). Even the file sharing statistics according to BigChampagne, among other researchers, do not support the RIAA’s method. BigChampagne tracks file-sharing trends and compiles the most widely accepted file-sharing data for a variety of uses, including for the record companies’ marketing purposes. According to a BigChampagne study, “the lawsuits have failed to stop, or even slow, illegal file-sharing. An estimated 8.6 million Americans were trading copyrighted songs at any given time in April 2005 – up 100 percent from 4.3 million in September 2003, when the suits began” (Knopper 3).
In 2005, Terry McBride, the CEO of a Vancouver-based record label and management company called Nettwerk Music Group, decided to pay the legal bills of an RIAA lawsuit victim and father of four, David Greubel. McBride explained that “the passionate message of music is in the magic of the song. The more it is consumed, the more it nourishes. Music is ubiquitous; it is a utility like water…We need to stop treating music like a product that needs to be controlled” (McBride 1). Even with mainstream statistics already against file sharing lawsuits, McBride adds to evidence against RIAA methods by pointing out that “this litigation is forcing the music fans to use technologies that are not measurable or traceable...So, in fact, we are not deterring file sharing, just deterring our chances of monetizing it” (McBride 1). McBride’s observation reveals the importance of file sharers as a new market to be embraced not forced underground.
So why did the RIAA begin this seemingly useless and unpopular campaign? In 2002, when the recording industry leaders began to discuss initiating individual lawsuits, the music industry was experiencing a severe downturn, “slashing rosters and laying off thousands of employees” (Knopper 3). As one major-label source put it, “‘It’s one thing when you’re looking from the outside and saying how stupid this is -- but it’s another thing when half your company gets laid off’” (Knopper 4). Their financial set backs, along with the ruling that the P2P service Grokster could not be sued, settled the matter of whether to begin suing dowloaders. But, was file-sharing really the culprit?
Many have offered other causes for the decline in record sales. The Oberholzer-Strumpf study, which criticized the correlation between declining CDs sales and file sharing, listed several alternative causes for these numbers including: “poor macroeconomic conditions, a reduced number of album releases, growing competition from other forms of entertainment, a reduction in music variety due to radio consolidation, the cost of independent promoter fees to gain airplay, and possibly a consumer backlash against record industry tactics” (Holland 1). Former Sony Music Executive, Steve Grodon, blames the Internet Service Providers and the manufactures of computers, blank optical disks, CD burners, and MP3 players,” all of which are “facilitating unauthorized file sharing and CD burning” (Paying for Music). Terry McBride listed four reasons for the decline of CD sales: “a) stiff competition for the entertainment dollar from formats like videogames and movies…b) the replacement cycle is over -- digital music does not scratch or wear out like past formats; c)one now has the ability to purchase and listen only to the great songs without filler; and d) mass merchant retailers today carry only the current hits, with little to no catalog” (McBride 1). Nevertheless, the recording industry supporters maintain that the upholding of copyright laws ensures that the artists and producers continue to make a profit, which essentially preserves the music market.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Freud Strolls Magnolia Street

Today, I began Sigmund Freud’s “Civilization and Its Discontents” and I watched the movie “Magnolia” – Risky, I know, having an abundance of work in this class alone, not to mention my other class work. But, sometimes I feel that a sane mind produces better work throughout the week. So, I watched a movie – a depressing movie, but a movie nonetheless.
Freud’s work detailed the origins of religion and the validity of his colleague’s understanding of an “oceanic” feeling that constitutes the basis of organized religion. Freud wasn’t buying it. Freud discussed religion as an aspect of our want for paternal protection reflected in father figures, such as God, which we develop and maintain from childhood.
Leading up to his argument, Freud discussed the ego as it relates to the outside world and the boundaries that oppress happiness. Those of you who have seen “Magnolia” may already see where I am going with this blog. “Magnolia” weaves together the lives of a gay former child-star, an exploited current child-star, a dying old man, his womanizing son and cheating guilty younger wife, a cocaine addict, her troublesome parents, and an exceedingly moral cop. The mechanisms that counter human suffering, according to Freud, are planned and artistic distractions from reality as well as intoxicating substances. This analysis rings true throughout the movie. In terms of substance use to avoid both physical and mental pain, the movie displays cocaine abuse, morphine use, pill abuse, drinking, and smoking. These substances all distance us from our surrounding reality in some form or another. The distractions that Freud refers to are also presented in the movie through voracious studying, seminars on seducing woman just for sex, dutiful police work, silly crushes, and frivolous game shows. Throughout all of this is an underlying meaninglessness that culminates in the movies overall message: “It’s not going to stop / Till you wise up.”
Unfortunately, Freud seemed to imply that humanity had created a society that manufactures unhappiness in favor of community. Can individual human beings go the Dr. Phil and Yoga class route to get their messed up lives back on track or is suffering and unhappiness inevitable due to the structure of society? I guess that begs the question has there ever been a truly happy individual?
I think there is truth to both the Magnolia message and Freud. Maybe humanity is doomed to unhappiness because of societal structure, however, each individual has the ability to regulate their own extent of suffering and balance it with happiness. Even Freud describes one instance in which societal boundaries and suffering dissolve: Love.

So, wise up.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Lesson 9: Elegance

Elegance is acquired over time after studying the work of elegant writers and revising one’s own work. There are, however, several characteristics that define elegance: “simplicity of characters as subjects and actions as verbs, the complexity of balanced syntax, meaning, sound, and rhythm, and the emphasis of artfully stressed endings” (172). Balance and symmetry within a sentence are striking features of elegant prose. Ending a sentence with effective emphasis, stress, and importance can determine the rhythm and grace of a work. One can achieve this by four methods: ending the sentence with a strong word, a prepositional phrase introduced by of, echoing salience, or by using a chiasmus. The length and rhythm of a sentence can be stylistically modified to accomplish things, such as striking urgency, setting up terse certainty, or exuding passion. Metaphors can also enliven one’s prose. The risk of attempting elegance is that one can bury the meaning of a piece or fail spectacularly. This can only be remedied with practice and the examples of notable writers.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dellella

This is a tale of college debauchery weaved into a classic fairy tale.

Once upon a time there lived a college student. She worked and worked for haggard old men and wicked women who piled books onto her frail arms as they cruelly plotted her next assignment. The only time she found for herself was late in the night when she read by the light of her computer. She often woke up with the laptop’s logo printed to her forehead, which is how she got the name “Dellella.” Two of her step-teachers, Gregzilla and Patastasia, took a keen interest consuming the hours of her life with stacks of papers to read and pages of assignments to type. Dellella would often dream of going to campus frat parties, but her constant flow of assignments kept her very busy. One day, an invitation to a giant frat party reached both Dellella and her evil step-teachers. As soon as they heard, Gregzilla and Patastasia dumped thick novels on Dellella’s desk to be outlined before the end of the weekend. The step-teachers then drove off to pick up the best rum and vodka they could buy. As Dellella neared the end of Gregzilla’s thick tome on the history of pepper, her computer flickered and went black. Dellella leaned closer to the computer and was startled by a sudden white light that burst onto the screen.
The laptop buzzed and then said in a steady low tone, “Good evening, Dave…I mean Dellella.”
Dellella stared into the white light, her mouth agape, finally managing to mutter, “H-h-hello, umm…laptop?”
The room was quiet.
Just when Dellella began to think she was hallucinating from lack of sleep, the computer responded: “You have been working too hard. I am your guardian A.I. Lay your books on me and I will process the information for you. You must take this money” [a wad of $20 bills popped out of the disk drive] “and buy everybody at the party Bacardi. Go get shit-faced and make out with a guy that looks way hotter after you throw back five shots.”
Dellella could hardly believe what was happening. She slapped her face, and upon feeling the pain, she picked up the money, lay her books on the laptop, and got up.
“Wait!” said the laptop in a louder tone, “You must disguise yourself from Gregzilla and Patastasia.” The white light faded for a moment as a series of images flashed on the screen, too quickly to distinguish the content. All of a sudden, the images ceased and a picture of a bottle of hair dye appeared on the screen.
“Take it,” said the laptop.
Dellella reached through the screen and picked up the bottle. She ran into the bathroom and quickly changed from a blond to a dark brunette.
Dellella ran to the store, got a case of Bacardi, and headed to the party.
---
She woke up the next morning, passed out in someone’s lawn, with permanent marker on her stomach. Dellella raised her throbbing head and breathed a sigh of relief. “What a night,” she thought, “I got so trashed.”

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Greek History Book Analysis

The Last of the Wine Analysis:
The Generation Gap

Throughout The Last of the Wine, Mary Renault uses the tumultuous relationship between Alexias and his father to illustrate the ever growing generation gap within Athens during the Peloponnesian War. From Alexias’ early fascination with Sokrates to his remorse over the decay of Athenian democracy, Alexias’ father displayed a noticeable opposition to his son’s values. Their initial disagreement over sophist ideologies proved an important factor in their later political positions. After the Battle of Arginusae, Alexias and his father exhibited very different reactions to the resulting loss and political blame. Once Athens surrendered, Alexias mourned the decay of democracy, while his father welcomed and participated in the new oligarchy. These two generations, one born prior to war and the other during, clashed against the shifting atmosphere of Athenian society and politics.
During his childhood, Alexia’s education was hindered by his father’s moderate views; however, Alexias soon overcame these traditional boundaries and formed his own ideas under the teachings of Sokrates. Alexias’ tutor, Midas, was appointed under strict orders to keep away suitors, sophists, and rhetoricians. Alexias’ father felt that sophists would encourage him “to quibble with [his] elders and be wise in [his] own conceit” (21). This disregard for the value of philosophy conflicted with Alexias’ growing love of Sokratic teachings. At first, Alexias sought father-like approval from Sokrates, but it soon developed into a devout respect for his teachings. Sokrates sought to expose logical fallacies and promote Athenian democracy in its most honorable form, even in the face of large crowds of opposition (as displayed later in the book). Renault posed this conflict to portray the rift between democratic ideology and actual political happenings. For example, in order to be accepted into Alexias’ father’s exclusive club, one had to have money and a moderate ideology, which is quite contrary to the Athenian idea of rule by the people that Sokrates held so dear. Alexias’ father is playing the political game, recognizing the faults of democracy and doing what he must to maintain timè. In rejecting sophists and philosophy, Alexias’ father is attempting to raise him to conform to the political atmosphere and not cling to silly ideals. As Alexias’ city is increasingly threatened, however, Alexias realizes that those ideals provided a source for Athenian identity and established a respectable society. Sokrates’ constant questioning of ones own logic and that of others became increasingly contrary to what was politically accepted as democracy broke down.
After the Battle of Arginusae, Athens lost many men due to Athenian errors, which caused turmoil within the city concerning the trials of the generals. Alexias initially fell into his father’s footsteps by supporting a collective trial, but as soon as he heard of Sokrates’ opposition, he questioned his own motives and surrendered his position. His father approved of the collective trial, which was favored by the masses, but opposed to Athenian democratic law. Alexias’ father maintained his moderate stance even when the two people who survived the disaster, Alexias and Lysis, demanded democracy in the form of individual trials. When Alexias inquires later in the novel if collective trials will become a precedent in the new oligarchic government, his father responds, “That we have already, since the trial of the generals who left you to drown” (327). His father pushes aside emotion in favor of a business-like logic, while Alexias processes everything that goes on about him and seeks the best response while following democratic ideology, even when it means cutting slack to the people that nearly drown him. By using this historical battle, Renault effectively displays the initial corruption of the democratic society prior to the Spartan victory. The Athenian tendency to seek out a scape-goat overpowered the right to individual trials leading to the death of Athenian generals. This friction between democratic supporters and oligarchic supporters comes to a head as the Peloponnesian War ends.
Upon the official end of the Athenian empire, Alexias’ father embraced the developing oligarchy and even integrated himself into various political positions. Alexias continued to oppose the counterintuitive laws and values embodied by the new government. In the end, however, his father proved as moderate as ever by opposing the developing tyranny under Kritias, who eventually murdered him for it. This turn of events was depicted well in the remaining chapters of the novel. The two political extremes and the moderate individuals were portrayed well amid the intense political struggles leading up to the eventual democratic victory. With Spartan direction, the internal conflict, and the rebuilding of society, Renault pieced together an accurate description of Athenian politics during the height of its turmoil. Alexias and his father remained at odds politically until a tyranny began to form, because public policy became so contrary to their society.
These three father and son issues in Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine, are echoed throughout the novel. Alexias’ father came from a time that valued maintaining a happy medium, not allowing either extreme to dominate. Alexias looked at politics in a more moral fashion, following ideologies when they reflected logical and honorable thinking. This tension continued throughout intense historical events accurately depicted by Renault.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Part of Annotated Bibliography

1. Engleman, Eric. “Music industry takes song swappers to court.” Puget Sound
Business Journal. 25:16 (Aug 20, 2004) 3. ProQuest. 2/20/2006

In this article, Eric Engleman describes the lawsuits directed toward people swapping song illegally. He gives estimations relating to recording industry losses and number of people sued for illegal file sharing. The results of these suits are also discussed in terms of the average amount of people who settle and the average settlement sums. This article is very straightforward and concise. It is directed to inform not persuade. It appears in a business journal, so the primary audience is those associated with the business world.



2. Storr, Anthony. Music and the Mind. New York, NY: The Free Press, 1992.

This book is a comprehensive study on music, its psychological impacts, and its social implications. Storr attempts to define why music is so important and prevalent among mankind. He sheds light on scientific and philosophical reasons behind the bond connecting humanity to music. In providing such insight on the importance of music, Storr indirectly acknowledges the importance of the file sharing debate. Storr examines the origins of music, its functions, its characteristics, and its connection to our mind and the world around us. The audience is more scientific in mind; however, it also reaches those learned in philosophy and the arts.

3. Gordon, Steve. “Licensing could solve Internet piracy: Technological advances have
led to a market breakdown.” Billboard. 115:31 (Aug 2, 2003) 11. Thomas Gale.
Expanded Academic ASAP. 4/16/2006

In this article, Gordon describes the Internet piracy problem and presents a logical solution to it through a statutory license. He begins by presenting the impact of declining sales of recorded music. After introducing statutory licensing, he thoroughly describes how the system would work. He discusses who pays the fees, how the funds get distributed, and why this solution makes sense. He also highlights some potential problems if the situation is implemented, as well as some of the road blocks preventing it from getting initiated. Gordon closes with why a compromise among the competing communities is so desperately needed. The article is directed toward business(wo)men who can potentially change the current response to file sharing. It also is used to inform the business community about the potential for compromising with the music community.

4. Knopper, Steve. “RIAA Will Keep On Suing: The music industry has targeted 11,456
illegal downloaders -- has it done any good?” Rolling Stone. (June 9, 2005). 4/17/2006.

This article details the lawsuits filed against illegal downloaders. Knopper interviews some of the unlucky winners of the “bad-luck lottery” and shares their struggles with hefty fines and legal papers. Through their stories, he criticizes the RIAA’s methods, but he does not ignore their reasons for implementing such a harsh system. He describes the financial loss and laid off workers within the record industry that lead up to the decision to sue music fans. This article also presents data relating to the impact of the RIAA’s lawsuits on the file sharing community, as well as providing quotes from the president of the RIAA (both past and present). The article is meant to inform the music community about the RIAA’s decision, its impacts, and the future.

5. McBride, Terry. “P2P suits make no sense for music business.” Billboard. 118.9
(March 4, 2006) 4. Thomas Gale. Expanded Academic ASAP. 4/16/2006

This article, found in the Editorial/ Commentary/ Letters portion of Billboard, is from “Terry McBride, a CEO of Vancouver-based record label and management company Nettwerk Music Group” (McBride 1). McBride offered to pay the legal bills of file sharer David Greubel, sued by the RIAA. Throughout this letter, McBride details why he thought it was important to help out Greubel. From the RIAA’s misconceptions to the importance of music and online music networks, McBride makes a compelling argument against the RIAA’s lawsuits. The audience for McBride is the subscribers to Billboard, which targets business oriented people. He may have been responding to an article defending the RIAA, in which case he was evening the playing field.

6. Weinberger, Norman M. “Brain, behavior, biology, and music: some research
findings and their implications for educational policy.” Arts Education Policy Review. 99:3 (Jan-Feb 1998) 28. Thomas Gale. Expanded Academic ASAP. 4/16/06

After introducing himself as a knowledgeable university educator, Norman Weinberger discusses the lack of cohesive data from different fields relating music to psychology and biology. Pulling together several comprehensive studies, Dr. Weinberger establishes the deep biological and neurological roots of music. He presents the benefits of music to infants, children, students, and people. Essentially, Dr. Weinberger establishes the often overlooked importance of music on several levels of society and humanity. His findings are targeted toward educators to stress the significance of music programs for students and higher levels of musical creativity within schools.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Argument Proposal

The RIAA has been suing online music network users for years, but has yet to see positive results. There must be some sort of unwritten rule the RIAA has broken by criminalizing music enthusiasts. My article will target a broad demographic of music fans, embodied by the audiences of popular music magazines, like Rolling Stone. I plan to persuade those already passionate about music to take a stand against the RIAA’s unsuccessful methods to dissuade online file sharing. I will attempt to convince my audience that the best method of combating file sharing is not to place restrictions on it, but to recognize its potential.
Using my own experience living through music, I hope to express that the people’s demand for music outweighs corporate greed and legal squabbles. Music has a universal feeling that transcends other aspects of humanity. It is ubiquitous and should not be restricted. Whether improving learning abilities or revolutionizing therapy, many studies have proven the positive effects of music. People have come to depend on music more and more for a variety of reasons. The online music networks are providing a valuable and beneficial service to society. Whether it is illegal or not, the future of music lies with file sharing. By presenting countless genres of music to a broad group of consumers, the file sharing community has spread music appreciation and launched the careers of many fledgling artists. Online music networks have broadened listener’s interests and provided a substantial music source for growing numbers of music fans.
In this article I will explain the benefits of the statutory licensing system and explore the issues keeping this method from being instituted. It is time the music industry worked with the digital generation by initiating a statutory license, rather than maintaining their “bad-luck lottery.” A statutory license, working much like the radio licensing system, acknowledges the financial pressures of the recording industry, while maintaining the free exchange of music. Those that pay the fees under this system are the ones directly profiting from the current file sharing phenomenon, such as ISPs, computer manufacturers, and producers of CD burners. Labels and artists are paid, while listeners maintain free music privileges, without being forced underground. Through discussing this more appealing response to file sharing, I also hope to break through misconceptions about the file sharing community.

Possible Basic Outline:
I. Intro
II. The Importance of Music
III. The Importance of File Sharing
IV. Faults in the Current RIAA Methods
V. Benefits of Statutory License
VI. Road Blocks to Implementing a Statutory License
VII. Conclusion

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Partial Draft of Proposal

The RIAA has been suing online music network users for years, but has yet to see their numbers decline. There must be some sort of unwritten rule the RIAA has broken by criminalizing music enthusiasts. Writing for Rolling Stone magazine, I plan to persuade those already passionate about music to take a stand against the RIAA’s unsuccessful methods to dissuade online file sharing. Using my own experience living through music, I hope to express that the people’s demand for music outweighs corporate greed and legal squabbles. Music has a universal feeling that transcends other aspects of humanity. Whether improving learning abilities or revolutionizing therapy, many studies have proven the positive effects of music on the brain. People have come to depend on music more and more. It is time the music industry worked with the digital generation by initiating a statutory licensing system rather than maintaining their “bad-luck lottery.” The statutory license, working like radio licensing systems, acknowledges the financial pressures of the recording industry, while maintaining the free exchange of music.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Review and Comments on Brokeback Mountain

(Like you haven’t heard enough about it)
P.S. This is a spoiler. So, if you haven’t seen it, don’t read this!!!

To completely stereotype myself, I am what is commonly referred to as a ‘Fag Hag’ or, as I like to call it, a ‘Fruit Fly.’ Many of my gay friends said that the newest portrayal of life as a gay man, “Brokeback Mountain,” was “good, not great, but good.” Curious about their reactions to this controversial and somewhat shocking film, I sat down and watched it last weekend. I typically have one of two reactions to sad and moving films. The first, and most common, is the cold-and-dead-inside stare. The second, and very rare, is the uncontrollable sob (or quiet whimper if someone else is in the room). Brokeback Mountain spurred a new reaction. I performed the cold-and-dead-inside stare throughout most of the movie, right up until its abrupt end, where to my surprise a single tear slid down the side of my cheek. No muffled whimper, no blinking to spur the tear, just a random tear. My physical reaction paralleled the encouraging indifference expressed by my gay friends relating toward the film.
To critique the movie, I picked two aspects of the movie that I would change. First of all, the scene that solidifies the two main character’s sexual orientation is not friendly toward conservative audience members. I am a raging liberal hippie, so it didn’t bother me in the least. However, I felt that this movie was an opportunity to reach a broad audience clarifying the many misconceptions relating to homosexuality. The prompt sex scene may have put off more conservative viewers, which may have closed their minds to accepting new ideas for the rest of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the sex scene was entirely necessary [especially between Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal], but the transition could have been slower. The second concern relates to the emotional scenes at the end of the film. I felt like the scene where Ennis learns of Jack’s death could have been a true tear jerker, but the movie made it very passive. This movie had so much potential to make me sob like a bitch, but it drew out one single tear. The film felt very consistent, but I think it could have picked up some shock value and drew out more emotion from viewers by the end.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Style Lesson Eight: Shape

Lengthy sentences are not in and of themselves writing mistakes. Often the structure and meaning of a lengthy sentence gets lost and confused; however, lengthy sentences can be long and complex as well as clear and shapely. By spotting the lengthy sentences in a piece of work and reading them out loud, one can typically identify candidates for revision. The beginning of long sentences should first be addressed by identifying the subject of the main clause and getting to the verb and object of the main clause quickly. In order to get to the verb and object quickly, try revising lengthy subjects into short ones, as well as avoiding interruption of the subject-verb connection or the verb-object connection. The body of information shaping long sentences often must be reordered to avoid sprawling. Sentences sprawl when a series of subordinate clauses of the same kind are tacked on after the sentence’s verb and objects. There are three methods of reshaping the body. First, cut some excessive clauses, or reduce them into phrases to eliminate who/that/which/, etc. Second, modifiers, like resumptive, summative, and free, can replace clauses to shorten or clarify sentences. Third, use coordination to design elements to go from simple to complex and short to long. Even with the structure of long sentences correct, they can still be at fault for faulty coordination, unclear connections, and misplaced modifiers. Make sure the connections are clear and ideas are coherent within sentences.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Primitive Ideas for the Journal Article

But there's something special about the notes that he hears
Those scales are redemption, unraveling repressed memories
And when he breathes, a new energy enters and consumes him
To heal his wounds and unseal his doom
If only I could make you understand
But words are just words so I can't
The universe's deepest art form keeps my heart warm with influence
I tell ya
Ain't nothing quite as beautiful as Music

-Excerpt from “Music Music”
By Eyedea and Abilities



A small circular blue light, illuminating the play button of her CD player, penetrated the utter darkness condemned by the dismal night sky. The door was locked and the desolate landscape of her future intimidated her every thought. Armed with Radiohead’s “The Bends” CD, she pushed play, skipped one song, lied back, and let the music manipulate her mind. The opening chords crashed through the deserts of her mind, filling the barren land with familiarity and relief. Her stress and emotion grabbed onto the music, clinging to the rising and falling riffs, until their grubby fingers dropped off the edge of notes.. She triumphed over her anxieties, embracing the lyrics, shouting out “I want to live, breath. I want to be part of the human race…” But then, the enthusiasm drops off, and the song sullenly adds “Where do we go from here?” …We go on. She turns on the light, opens the door, and walks away, but she’ll be back.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Journal: Fast Food Nation Analysis Part Two

"On the Range:"
In the sixth chapter of Fast Food Nation, entitled “On the Range,” Schlosser leads us critically through the current ranching realities that are finishing off the old cowboy and rancher images embodying freedom and independence. Schlosser lays the foundation of this chapter with a narrative of his off road tour with a personable rancher detailing the breakdown of old time-worn ranching methods and the ever present destruction of nature surrounding and embodying endangered ranch land. The rich details of his bumpy car ride with Hank lead up to the unexpected news of Hank’s suicide, which drives home the message concerning the negative transformation of the ranching industry. Schlosser’s essay packs in a lot of information concerning the meatpacking industry, the poultry industry, grower and processor relationships, etc., but he begins and ends with Hank. This method allows the reader to process all the information while keeping in mind a familiar person affected by Schlosser’s facts and information. His harsher tone is appropriate for the very serious and very real situation presented by the end of the chapter. Due to its severity, this is a very effective method of persuasion. In my own paper, the tone of the paper will be hard to draw from, considering my essay is about file sharing; however, there are other elements of this chapter I can incorporate into my work. The narrative basis of this chapter I could use in a similar method, depicting an experience concerning music or file sharing.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Journal: Fast Food Nation Analysis Part One

"The Founding Fathers:"
In the first chapter of Fast Food Nation, entitled “The Founding Fathers,” Schlosser depicts the origins and rise of fast food chains, while simultaneously presenting their eventual corruption of the American dream. Through Carl Karcher’s tail of fast food grandeur, pioneering the business and eventually heading the popular chain Hardee’s, the reader is presented with the harsh realities of the shift in American culture. His focus on Karcher’s rags to riches tale provides a foundation for the information concerning the social problems, corruption, pressures, and economic growth surrounding the era of transition from drive-in restaurants to fast food industries. This method is very effective, because it engages the reader’s attention in an unusual and interesting story, rather than approaching the subject in a more dry, facts and figures method. Schlosser coupled his clear opinion on the worth of fast food industries with an account of real life events that supported his opinion, without stating so. His opinion throughout the essay is not vicious, but rather mournful, which draws sympathy from the reader. This is effective, especially since he couples our sympathy to a well recognized idea of the American dream. In my essay on file sharing, the American value of freedom is very much at stake. Schlosser’s use of this universal understanding of patriotic values and symbols may fit into my paper nicely.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Journal: Why a humorous arguement fits my paper.

Making money by suing one’s own consumers? It’s just crazy enough to work! I think a humorous argument could go a long way in deciding a better course of action for the RIAA. Many circumstances surrounding online file sharing can be broken down into humorous, counterintuitive, or even absurd situations. The less serious topic of file-sharing eases the risky aspects of humor, such as overstepping boundaries that offend readers. I do not believe many people would protest to an image of the RIAA hauling off an old lady for downloading her favorite N’Sync tunes. Illegal network users are essentially threatening the bully and then playing a game of hide and seek when sought out for revenge. A humorous argument also seems more logical for this topic compared to causal arguments or Toulmin arguments. A causal argument would repeatedly lead back to advancing computer technology and corporate greed. The Toulmin argument might be a little confusing, given the length of the paper. Therefore, I am leaning toward describing little Annie Warbucks being viciously dragged to a cop car, while “All You Need Is Love” plays on her computer.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Abrasive Rant

I am single and, no, this isn’t a personals ad.
I decided that I needed to write a piece praising “singledom” for all you clingers out there. Having a boyfriend/girlfriend is all well and good, but let’s face it, half the bullshit I hear in a day is about relationships going awry. This would be remedied if everyone realized the benefits and potential of singledom. Being single is a time for reflection and personal growth. Only the truly worth-while relationships include these characteristics. Our immature promiscuous drunken college minds most likely wont find these relationships. So, at the end of the day, when you are unhappy with your frat boy relationship, fueled by shots of vodka chased with beer, re-evaluate your situation. Maybe it’s not just them. Maybe your last relationship didn’t work out because of something that is also affecting your current relationship. The problem is that you didn’t take a breather to think what went wrong before switching mouths to stick your tongue in. Do yourself a favor and reflect. You might just learn something about yourself. It’ll benefit both you and your future flame. Further more, you can find time to do something you love instead of always going out to PMS all over your man about what someone did to you after science class today. Stop leaping from person to person and chalking it up to college life. Yes, I just told you to break up, hold your tongue, and emotionally support yourself for a while. Shocking!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Lesson Seven

Concision
Concision clears up unwanted information in a piece of writing. The five principles of concision are the elimination of meaningless words, repetitive words, redundant words, wordy phrases, and unnecessary negatives. The deletion of these words and phrases enhance the meaning of the piece for one’s readers. Metadiscourse, while often considered redundant, has a certain amount of value in one’s writing. The trick is not to over-use it. Some necessary metadiscourse can guide the reader or hedge your certainty. Insufficient experience or knowledge of a topic or audience can lend one’s writing to redundant metadiscourse. Narrating one’s thoughts can also add redundancy to a paper. The ultimate theme for concise writing is to not confuse it with terse writing.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Inherit the Wind

Inherit the Wind was a moving film that recreated the drama that took place during the "Scopes Monkey Trail." I was shocked to see the strong opposition of the townspeople to any sort of logical reasoning, even the judge was biased. Only Mr. Drummond seemed to realize the ridiculous nature of the “trail.” The jokes told in the movie and arguments of the lawyers both entertained and made a point.
However I do have some criticism of the movie. I agree with Christopher Null in saying "the only real weakness of Inherit the Wind is that it takes an already outrageous case and makes it even more outrageous." For example, William Jennings Bryan died six days after the real Scopes trial and in the movie Matthew Brady dies while making an intense speech at the closing of the trial. I realize Hollywood needs to jazz things up, but some of the events were overly dramatic.
One aspect of the movie that was exceedingly annoying was the changing of the characters names. I feel that the movie would have more effectively taught the actual historical event, had it stuck to the names of the actual participants. A school teacher named Mr. Cates (John T. Scopes) broke a law that stated that the teaching of evolution was banned. The prosecution, a bible thumping politician named Matthew Brady (William J. Bryan), argued passionately for the creation story of the bible to be upheld against Darwin's theory of evolution. The defense lawyer, Henry Drummond (Clarance Darrow), powerfully argued for the rights of the thinking man. A source of comic relief throughout this intense movie is the cynical reporter named Mr. Hornbeck (Mr. Mencken) that provides a helping hand to Mr. Drummond. In the end, as in the real life story, Cates (Scopes) is found guilty, but it is a small victory in that some of the townspeople have come to realize their mistakes at the very end and the fine is only set at $100. Otherwise, "As a film, Inherit the Wind is well crafted and can entertain even the most jaded of modern audiences.”