Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas

I love Christmas!

Irrespective of the actual birthdates of prophets and sons of God, today is a really cool day! Personally, I follow the teachings of Christ and consider myself a Christian, so today does hold dramatic spiritual significance for me, and then there's the fun of it all, too.

I am a reasonable human being and I know that today is a holiday in America not to promote Christian love, but so that the retail industry can realize an amazing boom in sales at the end of the year. As soon as the working-poor becomes the working-totally-bankrupt, and can no longer afford to spend a small fortune on Christmas presents, we will likely be working on December 25th if it falls on a weekday and the phony celebration of the birth of Christ will be swept aside like so much social justice.

I love Christmas. I love Winter, and I really love when (unlike this year) they happen at the same time. This year, the New York Christmas is warm and damp. Oh well.

Mrs. Mac and I decided to have a more frugal, toned-down Christmas this year, because we are planning to move and between the expense and the logistics, a big Christmas is just not feasible. We have a ceramic tree, not a real tree. We have fewer presents, and are hosting no big parties. We are having a little family Christmas of our own.

Yesterday, I found the No Milk Please blog and it included an article about the music industry. The recording industry is now almost as heinous as energy, banking, insurance, and electoral politics. Unlike those other big businesses, though, we consumers have a chance to fight back against the recording industry and their evil leg-breakers, the RIAA. It is a Downhill Battle and we can win it!

No Milk Please included a link to What A Crappy Present which explains how CDs are really crappy presents for kids. Adults know how to buy CDs for other adults, but we never know what kids would like.

I wish someone had told me about this when I tried to buy CDs for my niece last year. I gave her three big releases from 2002: Moby 18, David Bowie Heathen, and Bruce Springsteen The Rising. She hated them. Well, she liked the Moby CD, but had no interest in Bowie or Springsteen. Oh well. I learned that lesson. This year, she got a gift card.

The whole music industry mess is depressing. We have the RIAA telling us that we can't copy songs because it hurts the artist. Just in case you don't know: This is a lie! The RIAA represents big labels. The big labels are owned by big conglomerates. They charge you $18.00 for a CD. It costs less than $1.00 to manufacture, and the artist gets about the same amount. That leaves $16.00 to go to service the debt assumed to acquire all the record label and pay the over-compensated executives more money than they deserve. The amounts of money paid to music industry executives makes vulgar seem humble, and the debt service the boards of directors must maintain would make a corporate raider blush. The artist gets almost nothing, so when you download a free song, you are not hurting the artist. In fact, you are probably helping the artist by spreading his or her work to new ears.

It's important to work against the RIAA and speak out against the corporate homogenization of the music industry. So, learn about it and ignore the apologists who will tell you can't change things. You can. You can change the world.

Still, I love getting CDs at Christmas, because it is often music of a band or artist I have never known. So, when you want to get me a CD, get me something by an obscure artist I have never heard of! Preferably on an indie label.

I like getting books and DVDs, too.

Damn, I just love getting gifts!

Send me a gift!

Or send me money!

Go ahead!

Get in the spirit of giving and give to ME!

Besides that: Have a blessed and merry day.