Thus far in my career I have not done a lot of work with traditional publishers. This is not because of any principled opposition to them, but mostly because thus far in my career I’ve consistently looked at manuscripts I’ve had and thought “I can make a couple grand off this right now or I can…
“Next, Kay asks me a handful of deeply personal questions. “Please be truthful,” Kay implores. Why? Will made-up answers result in a more generic experience? Will I get a more interesting result if I answer honestly? For reasons I’m still trying to parse, I’m fairly candid in my replies. But it turns out that Kay’s a little glitchy, so she starts reflexively posting my responses on Twitter and, worse yet, sometimes reverses what I said. Example: I list “gluttony” as an answer to “what disgusts you?”; Kay tells Twitter “@philnobilejr loves gluttony.” At one point she credits me with a statement that I never even said! The effect is like watching a virus take over your computer and start sharing your secrets with the world in real time. I was expecting a stupid viral video and instead I was actually feeling a little scared!”
"Companies like Google actually embody a particular notion of progress rather than populism, one that involves advancing their technology solutions as universal ones. Evil is vicious because it inhibits this progress. If Google has made a contribution to moral philosophy, it amounts to a devout faith in its own ability to preside over virtue and vice through engineering. The unwitting result: We’ve not only outsourced our email hosting and office suite provisioning to Google, but also our information ethics. Practically speaking, isn’t it just easier to let Google manage right and wrong?”
I think my favorite thing about this Silk Road Deep Web “Dark Internet of Crime” story in the news is that… Some people were buying and selling “Musical Instruments” on the “Dark Internet of Crime.” Musical instruments? Somewhere there’s a paranoid libertarian cyberwarrior learning how to play In the Aeroplane over the Sea on a ukulele. ”Dear Dark Internet of Crime, check me out rocking this uke! They’ll never catch me alive! Twink-twank-twank-twonk.” (Cyber-hacker-crackers not a big fan of Sporting goods either by the look of it? Well, color me surprised, color me badd). This is what happened to those cypherpunk people, huh?
The internet got so vanilla. If you’re old enough to remember, like, BBS’s, there was that whole mix of annoying libertarians and people who were super into ecstasy and “the government’s taking over” paranoid freaks that were just super-dominant. And they’re still out there but they just all got kinda-drowned out by, like, websites where you can buy books and selfies and videos of kittens or whatever…Part of this story makes me kinda homesick, but, like, homesick for an issue of Mondo 2000 and a modem that goes “SQUEESQUELCHSOUNDYOUHEARWHENYOUDIE-cooooooo” and squinting at scrambled porn. We didn’t have Vine or vlogs; we had stories about Captain Crunch, the hero who used a Captain Crunch whistle to rob long-distance phone calls from the Evil telephone company… the Captain Crunch whistle was an elegant weapon for a more civilized age…
The nerdy man behind Silk Road, the biggest cyber black market ever, has been arrested. Find out the story behind the guy who called himself Dread Pirate Roberts.
“Above all, this glittering ideal of digital distribution as a cure-all magic potion for the industry’s problems is the product of remedial fantasy. A digital market won’t free publishers from their obligations to clueless investors who demand all of the money at all times. It won’t stop companies focus testing the shit out of their games as more and more products appeal to audiences spread thin by such saturation. It won’t stop ludicrously excessive development and marketing budgets. I’m a big believer in digital distribution, but I don’t believe in sorcery, and as such I don’t think digital’s going to solve everything rotten in the game industry. The big budget market is too far gone for that. “
Apparently my mentioning of self-censorship yesterday was even closer to reality than I thought.
So, not only do we have to continue eyeing Apple, but now Comixology, the current lead-by-a-wide-margin source for digital comics, is to be forevermore scrutinized on this front.
As a follow-up to today’s Apple trouble, I must remind us that this sort of thing has happened before. (This also shows the legion of “but but but” types in the comments sections that it isn’t just the explicitness that matters to Apple).
Of course, that situation was ultimately rectified…after people started complaining. Which it shouldn’t have taken in the first place.
There also seems to be a general misunderstanding of the chilling effect corporate censorship has on art. It’s entirely true that retailers have a choice in what they carry…however, when we’re dealing with what is essentially THE primary retailer of its particular medium, things start getting sticky. Apple’s model for digital purchases is repeatedly touted as the future of retail, and is especially important to the future of comics retail. So, the decision to not sell certain comics based on these kind of content calls IS a big deal, because although there are certainly other options for Vaughn/Staples/Image, not being available on the Apple iOS cuts them off from a potentially large number of customers. This kind of thing can shape how things are made - be they comics, movies, games, or what have you - so they can avoid the Apple banhammer and lose money. We saw the same thing happen over a decade ago with Blockbuster and Wal-Mart, equally image-conscious “family friendly” retailers whose decision to send back magazines with “objectionable” covers and albums with “explicit” lyrics sent publishers and record companies into a panic, and led them to self-censor in order to appease them.
So yes, this is a big issue, and yes, we should all be pissed.