Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mentors and Kooks

Mentoring is important in the lives of those benefiting from the experience and knowledge of others. My son and I stopped at a drive-in we like on the way home this afternoon. We ordered our slushies and his mozarella sticks and proceeded to the drive-thru window instead of using the park and carhop service. Today it seemed the service was slow. I made a joke about it to my son as we waited. When we were home and he took his food out of the bag, he showed me a note that was included. "Packaged Especially for You by Special Services Students of a LIFE Skills Class", then named the high school participating in the program. My son said, "You feel guilty for joking now, don't you?" Yes, I did. Note to self: patience is a virtue.

I came across an article on Investor's Business Daily's website, "Another Odd Guru", introducing a mentor of Barack Obama's described as a "trendy left-wing law school teacher who doubles as cybergeek." The article suggests current Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig may be Justice Lawrence Lessig in an Obama administration.

The two were colleagues at the University of Chicago Law School. Today he is an undefined member of Team Obama, having campaigned for Obama in Pennsylvania (where Lessig grew up and went to college)and he explains Obama's positions on Internet law to the press. According to the article, on Lessig's own Web site is a nine-page campaign document detailing Obama's technology policy. A former Harvard Law School professor, Lessig is leading the charge for what is known as "free culture movement" which "insists that the age of the Internet should mean the abolition of intellectual property rights."

"British-American Silicon Valley entrepreneur and "Cult of the Amateur" author Andrew Keen has called Lessig an "intellectual property communist." Lessig says piracy of copyrighted material is a "concept that has at its core...an extraordinary idea that is almost certainly wrong." Yet, Lessig says the age of the Internet has made stealing as a wrong act obsolete. Lessig sees ownership as a constriction imposed on the masses, according to the article. Lessig's goal is to replace a "permission culture" with "remix culture", rejecting the existence of copyrights and intellectual property.

The article claims appointing Lessig to the Supreme Court or even a lower federal court would help make a "Marxism of the Internet". It would have destructive consequences for the U.S. and global economies.

Oh yeah. The article begins by describing a short video Lessig likes to show audiences, which in the past have caused audience members to leave in disgust. Lip-syncing to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", Jesus Christ strips down to a diaper and struts along a city street, "effeminately", before getting run over by a speeding bus. While doing the keynote address at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco in 2006, he showed the film and audience members exited in disgust. Recently he showed the video to Google employees.

Now, that's entertainment.


Incognito said...

Abolition of intellectual property rights... thems are fighting words!!

Jess said...

That first paragraph about the drive-in restaurant--touching, really it is. You're right. Patience is a virtue.