6-22-04One of the more callow things that's come out of 9/11 is this valuation of human lives. This is totally separate from peoples' life insurance and savings and whatnot, remember that. The government in all their wisdom has decided that people who made more should get more money from the victim's fund. So, basically, if you were successful in life, your life is worth more, and the subsidy from the American people to the victims should be greater. So the firefighter who died trying to help, or the janitor who was just unlucky, get much less than the stock trader. Of course the stock trader's widow is accustomed to dining on the brains of the poor and buying handbags made from endangered species, it would be quite a horrible unjust shock to her if she had to live on less than $300k a year. Isn't that what America's all about?
One of the myths about the people of the world is that the mass market really wants crap. That's just not completely true; people are very easily cajoled and carried along with trends, but they usually come to their senses eventually and go "wow, that was crap" (while, of course, jumping onto the new crap-wagon). So, people will say, wow I can't believe we liked New Kids on The Block, that really was shit, but this Nickelback, it's good stuff. Occasionally you see shining exceptions, like the success of Radiohead, or Amelie, that show you interesting, intelligent stuff really can have a pretty wide appeal; there are a lot of people with good taste out there. It's the producers and marketting goons who are really dominated by short-sighted small-minded people. They can't tell quality from crap themselves, so they go with what's easy. The thing that saves the music industry is that you really can still make a record very cheaply; you may not be able to get it distributed, but you can record it, and then shop it around and try to get some money for disribution with a finished product. With games and movies, it's hard to have much of anything to shop around before you get some big money commitment.