TCLP 2011-11-27 Digital Scofflaws

This is a feature cast, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

There is no hacker word of the week this week.

The feature this week is a conversation I had with my friend and friend of the podcast, Chris Miller, about digital scofflaws, inspired by Ken Burns’ “Prohibition” documentary.

Update: My guest, Chris Miller, assembled some more in-depth notes on our discussion when he re-shared this episode on his blog.


View the detailed show notes online. You can grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

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4 Replies to “TCLP 2011-11-27 Digital Scofflaws”

  1. Props for an evenhanded technical discussion.

    However the very nature of the discussion also got me thinking about some of the underlying cultural phenomenon that inform the growing discussion on the technology itself.

    In essense there is this dichotomy, there is a love of big corporate cultural content, yet there is an undying hatered of those creating institutions. This creates a dilemma, as you cannot separate the art (commissoned or otherwise) from the artist and still have “unadultered” content.

    This is the space in which the technical discussions take place as they search for balance. Yet left unspoken, on both sides of the debate, is the fact that viewers of big content, by seeking such institutional reforms, are admitting that they are still beholden (on the cultural level at least) to these institutions.

    Not that this is a very deep insight, but its all I could think about during your discussion, and its an area that receives no discussion, there is a deep irony in an anti-corporate crusade broadcast (as in tweeted) over corporately held media platoforms, a sidelong admission that the anti-corporate rant is in reality only a half-hearted play agianst certian targeted corporations.

    This to me hits at the very center of much of the current politics in both its “traditional” (ie like your work at your think tank) and “extreme” forms (ie OWS), and perhaps too close to the center as this seems to be a touchy issue for both sides, as if neither side wants to admit how much they actually need the other. So to outside, mostly off the grid, observers like myself this all looks like a couple rabidly fighting out their tense marrige in public.

  2. Just a follow up:

    Link to an article on slate on the rising “Geek lobby” , but what I find most interesting isn’t the article itself, but some of the push-back in the comment section. Many of those commenters (many of them claiming to be artists or filmmakers, most indie at that) are making much the same point I was earlier, that technologists as a whole aren’t “anti-corporate” so much just “anti-traditionalist”.

    And perhaps before long, perhaps with the establishment of a well-to-do (middle class to upper-middle class at least) technologists we be witnessing the birth of a new sort of techno-conservative, around this new technology (indeed many commenters on slate put Sergy Brin, Zuckerberg, and the other tech giants into this category now) but there is no reason to not see this also as extending down into the information worker “mid-level”.

    In fact I would go so far as to argue that many who still have jobs here in America are in these sorts of jobs, and from their self interests and demands for job security we will see this new conservatism grow.

    For what those comments are worth and how they might inform the discussion, here’s the link:


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