Rad Geek People's Daily

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Co-optation of Liberation Movement Rhetoric by Marketing Hacks

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 23 years ago, in 2001, on the World Wide Web.

Oh my God, a Salon.com columnist has actually said something intelligent. Mad props to Andrew Leonard for, well, making the exact same point I was making: the kitschy appropriation of rhetoric and images from liberation movements, by foundering Internet corporations, is both outrageous and pathetic. As Leonard says (emphasis added), the Internet can have many benefits for democratic interactions between people,

But Napster, the company, is not about promoting democracy. Napster is about making a buck, or, to be precise, a whole lot of bucks, by exploiting a new distribution paradigm. The company’s use of ’60s rhetoric — such as its plan to hold a teach-in on April 2 to educate people on why it should be allowed to stay in operation — in the service of its commercial interests is repugnant and crass. And our personal right to be able to get stuff for free online? Come on, people. We’re not talking about stopping bombs falling in Vietnam, are we?

As a side note, it turns out that the Napster march will be on April 3–which happens also to be Michael Tchong’s self-declared Take Back the Net day. As it turns out, I’m not the only one that noticed the incredibly offensive appropriation of the name of Take Back the Night, one of the world’s oldest and most powerful marches against sexual violence. Tchong has quietly changed the name of his campaign to Back the Net Day. I hope he got to read some really nasty hate mail first.

Anticopyright. This was written in 2001 by Rad Geek. Feel free to reprint if you like it. This machine kills intellectual monopolists.