Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything

After much study and thought, I believe I may have found it. Last night as I sat guard on my bedroom floor, spray bottle in hand, ready to squirt my kitten in the face the second she pounced at my poor hamster's cage, I realized that this was the answer to all things that ail us -- a spray bottle.

My ever-curious kitten has a never-ending agenda of pestering my other animals, primarily my anti-social geeky little hamster, Kyle. Many a night is spent lying awake, waiting for her to pounce at his cage, so she might learn the lesson of pouncing Kyle's cage = wetness right in her furry face. After a spritz or two in the face, she's usually learned her lesson for the night and retreats peacefully to her spot between our pillows, consoling herself by lapping at her damp fur. Last night as I sat there, finger on the trigger, I realized this: Life would be infinitely easier with such a concrete form of reprimand and punishment for those that act out.

I started invisioning myself sitting at work, spray bottle at the ready. My assistant asks me a stupid question that he's asked 10 times before? No problem, spray him in the face. The dim-witted slackers that sit several seats down from me start guffawing at another of their off-color jokes? Easy fix, spray them in the face. A client calls and yells yet again about something that really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things? Send a spray straight through the phone and right into their gaping maw. This could really turn things around.

Then I began to ask myself: why isn't this sort of thing acceptable in society? Wouldn't peace abound if we were all able to spray each other in the head whenever the other needed it? Not to mention the thought of a squirt to the face first thing in the morning is enough to quiet just about any off-color or inappropriate thing you may be about to say. I think it would add an interesting dynamic to the work place, as well as serve to head inappropriate behavior off at the pass.

Note to self: pitch to manager at next meeting. If she declines? You guessed it. My trigger finger is at the ready.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Maybe Little Pinch?

The problem here is simple: the world revolves around consumers. As advertising becomes more convincing, consumerism becomes more rampant. As consumerism becomes more rampant, the companies more avidly involve themselves in drawing in said consumers. It's a vicious, pathetic cycle. I'd love to say with the wisdom I've acquired over the last 24 years that I have not been ensared in the endless parade of money and must-haves...

But then I'd be a liar.

I'm one of the most rampant consumers of them all, and to make matters worse, I married another such as myself. We are dream customers; if you are enthusiastic about your product, we're likely to whip out the debit card faster than you can say purchase-protection-plan. Thankfully we've been smart in our saving and investing, and have jobs that amply support our consumerism, so it's never been a problem...

Until now. What happens when your consumer impulses battle it out with your moral objections?

Before I get further into this, I should explain something. I was born into the car business. My grandfather is one of the most well-know Ford salesmen in the state. My father writes trainings and presentations for General Motors products. I live and breathe American-made cars. I've always been taught to turn up my nose at the inflated prices of the imports. After attending a university where ever girl's daddy bought her a Honda Civic (complete with Roxy sticker in the rear window) I came to loath Hondas most of all. And then I saw this:

What is a consumer to do? My husband and I have been in the market for a new car lately, passively perusing our various options. After seeing this commercial, we began to feel a strange draw toward this goofy SUV that can only be described as resembling 1970's tupperware. We both vehemently detest Honda with every fiber of our beings, and yet the idea of owning this vehicle keeps sneaking its way into our minds. Could we too hold casual conversations with crabs were we to purchase aforementioned car? It's true, it would be useful in holding the surfboards (that we don't have) and going to the beach (which is 12 hours away). What to do, what to do!

To ease our consciences and perhaps talk ourselves out of it, we confessed our temptation to my dad. He, GM Guy of all GM Guys, proceeded to confirm that while it was overpriced, it was a decent little vehicle. Not what we needed to hear!

So we've put ourselves on hold, not allowing ourselves to buy a new car for another year or so. Every consumer needs a cooling off period, especially when the consumer is about to make such a detrimental purchase.

Notwithstanding, and quite against my will, I look with longing every time I see one pass me on the road. I keep thinking to myself, maybe someday. Maybe little pinch.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Of CleanFlicks and Other Tragedies

I've been thinking a lot about the court ruling that puts companies such as CleanFlicks out of business. Although I have a very definite personal opinion on the topic, I've been trying to openly read arguments from both camps, and I've come to realize that both camps are right to some degree.

Fans of CleanFlicks are correct in saying that there is public policy that can be interpreted to support the CleanFlicks endeavor. I also agree that it's absolutely bogus to imply that the sale of edited DVDs hurts the producers and companies monetarily -- these sales are made primarily to those that would never have bought the movie in the first place, thus broadening the market for that particular film.

However, at the core of it all, this is not a question about copyright law, money, or corporate power as the case is being made out to be. This is a question about a piece of art being altered without permission and distributed for a profit. There are arguments that a movie is a public posession and does not constitute art or creative property, but all cinematic connoisseurs will agree with me that this simply is not the case. A movie is a work of art, and the creative property of those who created it. This claim of creative property is not just in terms of moral reality, but by copyright law as well. Art should be viewed as intended by its creator. Removing part of the art, no matter the purpose, destroys it, leaving it incomplete and changed. Allowing a company to destroy (and profit from the destruction of) works of art, in order to show the art to a broader audience is not doing the artist a favor, but rather undermining what the artist was attempting to portray.

Before I am flamed, I want to clarify that I do not believe art should be forced on those who may find the content uncomfortable. People are completely free to choose what art they do and do not partake of. By all means, avoid seeing or participating in something that you find morally objectionable at all costs. But here's a simple concept: If you don't like what's in the movie, don't watch it. No one is forcing you to watch the movie. The choice to view a particular movie or work of art is yours and yours alone. This is not a concept that this lawsuit is challenging. The lawsuit is merely attempting to protect an artist's right to publish their art without the threat of the art being destroyed and used for another's personal gain.