Sunday, September 26, 2004

iPod: entre the dark side

iPods, international copyright law, and downloading communism. Learning I am not cut out for the dark side.

I think I am the last person on earth to get an iPod. My sister sent me one as an early Christmas gift. I suddenly found myself plunged into the dark world of MP3s, Limewire, and various other download sites, curling my lip at RIAA and wanting to chant "Death to suits." It did occur to me that I was probably old enough to be everyone's mother on those sites. That realization sort of took the gothic edge off being nefarious.

It also occured to me that I am probably the only person with only 3 GB's used on an iPod. The rest is just gleaming white space on the little harddrive. That got me thinking about music and how I suddenly transformed into my older cousins. When I was a kid my cousins would kidnap me, take me places, and force me -- during the ride -- to listen to 1950s "Golden Oldies." I was less than enthusiastic since I was a child of the 60s, the last of the Baby Boomers. My idea of good road tunes were CSNY, Melaine S., Joan Baez. Sorry but hearing about someone wanting to cry because it was her party left me monumentally uninterested. I mean, where was the social commentary and demand for change?

So almost all the music on the iPod, excepting Counting Crows and Nora Jones, is at least 20 years old. I have oodles of CDs I listen to at work, and the kids come into my office and roll their eyes. (A few of them, the ones with ex-hippie, commune-dwelling, tofu-swilling parents were raised on this. Do you know how deflating it is to hear "Hey, my mom and grandmom love that song.") So I have slowly become my cousins, abusing children with tunes like Helpless, Joe Hill, Blinded by The Light. And they, like myself as a teenager, roll their eyes at my choice of music. I guess its only karma.

There were things that I found just plain weird. One was that you can find almost every Johnny Cash song on Limewire. Can't find certain modern day singers, but I found tons of Patsy Cline. There was even some Neil Diamond! Jimmy Buffet, come on in. The other funny thing was that, given the nature of Limewire, finding bible study software listed right next to porn passwords documents/pdfs. The internet makes for strange bedfellows. I mean, come on, that has to boggle everyone's mind. What would an uber-born-again Christian in need of bible-study software be doing in Limewire? What's next, selling crack to buy bibles for Russia? Anyway, I think I am just too old to enjoy the vicarious thrill of warez and stealing software, ebooks, and music online. But I am not too old to find some of the content just funny as Hell!

(And the downloading of communism? There was a gif floating around the internet a few years ago. A kid at an iMac downloading warez/mp3. Behind him is this menacing dictatorial type, drawn in Russian poster style. The caption said: "Everytime you download MP3s you are downloading communism. It still makes me laugh.)


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