g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
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Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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 3/28/2005 -   4/3/2005
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12/27/2004 -   1/2/2004
12/20/2004 - 12/26/2004
12/13/2004 - 12/19/2004
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11/29/2004 -  12/5/2004
11/22/2004 - 11/28/2004
11/15/2004 - 11/21/2004
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10/25/2004 - 10/31/2004
10/18/2004 - 10/24/2004
10/11/2004 - 10/17/2004
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12/29/2003 -   1/4/2004
12/22/2003 - 12/28/2003
12/15/2003 - 12/21/2003
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11/24/2003 - 11/30/2003
11/17/2003 - 11/23/2003
11/10/2003 - 11/16/2003
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10/27/2003 -  11/2/2003
10/20/2003 - 10/26/2003
10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003
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12/30/2002 -   1/5/2003
12/23/2002 - 12/29/2002
12/16/2002 - 12/22/2002
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11/25/2002 -  12/1/2002
11/18/2002 - 11/24/2002
11/11/2002 - 11/17/2002
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10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
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 7/29/2002 -   8/4/2002
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  6/3/2002 -   6/9/2002
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 5/20/2002 -  5/26/2002
 5/13/2002 -  5/19/2002
  5/6/2002 -  5/12/2002
 4/29/2002 -   5/5/2002
 4/22/2002 -  4/28/2002
 4/15/2002 -  4/21/2002
  4/8/2002 -  4/14/2002
  4/1/2002 -   4/7/2002
 3/25/2002 -  3/31/2002
 3/18/2002 -  3/24/2002
 3/11/2002 -  3/17/2002
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 2/11/2002 -  2/17/2002
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 1/28/2002 -   2/3/2002
 1/21/2002 -  1/27/2002
 1/14/2002 -  1/20/2002
  1/7/2002 -  1/13/2002
12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Saturday, November 25, 2006
18:13 - Fifty ways to leave your laptop

(top)
Joel Spolsky has discovered that there are fifteen ways to shut down his Vista laptop.

In response, Microsoft developer Moishe Lettvin offers some insight into the Microsoft development culture, which makes it sound as though we ought to be amazed that Microsoft ever gets anything out the door at all. We're talking Mythical Man-Year here.

Spolsky's original point, though, is worth some pondering. Anyone reading through his proposals can come up with rebuttals; but as he says:

Inevitably, you are going to think of a long list of intelligent, defensible reasons why each of these options is absolutely, positively essential. Don't bother. I know. Each additional choice makes complete sense until you find yourself explaining to your uncle that he has to choose between 15 different ways to turn off a laptop.

This highlights a style of software design shared by Microsoft and the open source movement, in both cases driven by a desire for consensus and for "Making Everybody Happy," but it's based on the misconceived notion that lots of choices make people happy, which we really need to rethink.

A little while ago, Aziz was taken aback by the dichotomy of the Mac having "one way" of doing things, while at the same time billing itself (or, more appropriately, being billed by its users) as the platform that best fosters creativity and individuality. Doesn't make too much sense, does it?

My response was this:

Well, there's a bit of a schism... a lot of people assume that the creativity that Apple fosters is the kind of "creativity" that leads people to mod their cases and skin their OS. It's really not the same thing.

What Apple's design ethos is is that the interface fades away into the background, because what you're creating is the media that comes out of apps like iMovie and iPhoto, not the tweaks of the environment around it. To borrow the "car" metaphor, many people sink hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into adding spoilers and decals and stereo equipment to their cars, whereas I would prefer to spend that time and money driving to Alaska.

With that in mind, it ought to make more sense that the customization options of Mac OS X are more limited than in Windows—because you're supposed to not have to think about the interface. It gets out of your way. People who fixate on the twiddly details of the interface and spend hours trying to make it behave like Windows does, like this article's author apparently did, are bound to be stymied and then they'll complain about things like Word not having a "File > Delete" menu option. If he were a Mac user, and used to the idea that file operations are supposed to take place in the Finder and not in random applications, he wouldn't have been so surprised by this.

A Python-programming friend of mine often chants "TIMTOWTDI Must Die!" (There Is More Than One Way To Do It.) Yeah, it makes things less flexible to give you fewer ways into some action. But it also means you spend less time thinking about it and more time thinking about getting work done.

People aren't buying iPods because they were the first such products to market (they weren't), or the flashiest (they aren't), or even objectively the best (that's debatable). They're buying them because they do the best job of projecting that they are the definitive solution that people need. When you use an iPod, you feel like you're in good hands. You feel like the features you need are being provided in a straightforward, no-fuss manner, without more focus than is necessary on gratuitous flash or features that aren't useful to more than a small minority. It's reassuring to think that you're using the thing that everyone else is using—because you know that you're going down a path that everyone else has gone down already. It's the same critical-mass advantage that Windows has long enjoyed. These technical gadgets are every bit as mysterious and alien as the stuff under your car's hood, and if your goal is to listen to music, you don't want to have to worry about wrestling with the technical details of your MP3 player, just as you don't want to spend your road trip worrying about the innards of your engine. There are sights to see.

People using the iLife apps on the Mac likewise find it reassuring that the free programs provided by the computer's manufacturer serve their needs so well. It's great to have that kind of support for one's creative pursuits built right into the computer; it means we don't have to spend our time testing out different applications, installing and uninstalling, worrying about spyware, dreading Registry conflicts, paying license fees, or what-have-you. We just plug in our cameras and keyboards and off we go. That is what makes Macs the "creative" choice: as perverse as it sounds, the lack of choice encourages one to be more creative with one's content, because we're not sinking our creativity into choosing our tools. There's even an element of wanting to be led down a certain path, of being told what to do—because if our infrastructure is being dictated to us, then it spurs the old creative juices and the desire to break free and express ourselves. If the company doing the leading is actually competent, then we might actually enjoy the position we're in. Like the sensitive artist who lives in a sterile, corporately Imagineered quaint tourist town: it's all so fake, maaaan, but at least it's pretty, and it does inspire one to paint.

The problem with this line of reasoning is when you look at a platform where the free, built-in applications are woefully inadequate to the task. If that's what you're used to—if your presumption is that the basic tools are there merely to fill checkboxes, but nobody actually uses them—then your "natural" condition is the one where you do have to do all that preliminary experimentation just to find a system that works. And what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another; so you end up being an App A user whereas your friends might all use App B or App C, and you find yourself lacking the community of support that you would otherwise hope to enjoy. That's the downside of choice: fragmentation of the community, and all the additional overhead associated with making those choices.

Too much choice, itself, is really only a problem when choosing is necessary in the first place. If you find that the system has been designed for usability and dependability, and that the built-in technologies are sufficient to your needs, then the lack of choice of competing tools doesn't bother you. It doesn't mean it restricts you to only using certain unimaginative functions; that's hardly what iPhoto or iMovie demand of you. They're not video games. They're creative apps. The real content, the real game, is what you provide. Any lack of imaginativeness one experiences on the Mac, then, is one's own fault. It's a poor artist who blames his tools, as the saying goes.

It's awfully easy to smirk at how Mac users have all succumbed to the siren song of Steve Jobs' One True Way. The really damnable thing, though, is that it works. What can we say? The proof of the pudding, and all that.

When CNN says things like "Why don’t [Microsoft] get some decent design people that can make things look better?", sometimes what they really mean is "Get some autocratic control in there to break the logjam of developmental bureaucracy". Because if what Lettvin is saying about Vista's development model is true, that's pretty much their only hope.

Friday, November 24, 2006
02:34 - You can't embarrass someone without a sense of shame
http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/147048,CST-FIN-Andy23.article

(top)
My brother Mike sends this review of the Zune by Andy Ihnatko, which has so many quotable bits I can't pick one. Just read it and get 'em all.

Well, okay, one:

On the Zune Planet there's no operation so simple that it can't be turned into a confusing ordeal.

Of course, this doesn't stop the employees in Best Buy from sidling up to you and leering, "Oh, the Zuuuuuuune, huh?" like feather-capped pimps. I guess that's why I don't normally shop in Best Buy. Hell, their iPods didn't even have any music on them. No wonder Apple pulled out of there...

UPDATE: Doug M. writes:

After reading that Ihnatko Zune review I decided to check Amazon's top sellers in electronics:

1. iPod Nano 2g 2GB Silver
2. iPod 30GB Black
5. iPod 80 GB Black
6. iPod Shuffle 2g
7. iPod Nano 2g 4GB Pink
9. Sandisk Sansa M240 1
11. iPod Nano 2g 4GB Blue
14. iPod Nano 1g 4GB Black
15. iPod Nano 2g 4GB Silver
16. iPod Nano 2g 8GB Black
18. Sandisk SDMX4-2048 Sansa e250
19. iPod 30GB White
20. iPod Nano 2g 4GB Green
27. Creative Zen Vision:M 30 GB
45. Machspeed Trio 1GB MP3 Player Voice Recorder
48. Sandisk SDMx4-4096 Sansa e260
58. iPod 80GB White
68. RCA RD-2763FM Lyra 5GB Micro Jukebox
75. Creative Zen Micro Photo 4GB
82. Zune 30GB Black

What this shows is that the Zune had utterly failed. Period. I mean, they're being beaten multiple time over by a company known for making CF and SD cards with products named "SDMX4-2048 Sansa e250".

This is not to say MS won't nail this in a few years, but even the XBox managed to establish itself as a viable (if money losing) challenger to Nintendo and Sony from the beginning. Zune is no XBox.

Ow. That stings.

Look at that gap between the black and white 80GB iPods, though. That's bound to cause some fluttering at the next Apple board meeting.

But Microsoft only wishes it had such problems...

Thursday, November 23, 2006
03:12 - I Heart Western Civilization

(top)
You know what the modern convergence of "fun" and "cruelty" is?



Putting a piece of meat on top of a running Scooba and seeing how long it takes the dog's fear of the weird noisy moving thing to be overcome by his love for delicious turkey.


15:44 - Meow
http://biteycastle.com/main.html

(top)
The "30 days: 30 shorts" are beyond awesome.

The first one is probably the best.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
03:38 - I could do that... and that's not good
http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2006/11/only-superhumans-qualify-as.html

(top)
John Kricfalusi has an interesting take here on what separates today's entertainment from yesterday's.

Only people who have amazing ability should be entertainers, not just average people who live next door to you, like we have today.

Nowadays we have cartoons by people who can't draw (or write), "voice actors" by people who don't have distinct voices or acting ability, "songs" where people talk instead of sing and tell you how great they are without having to prove it to you with skill and talent.

Imagine if the people who run entertainment today took over sports?

We'd have basketball teams with short fat bald white men, Ultimate Fighting would pit skinny little emo cartoonists against each other, people who can't swim would be water sports heroes having female fans screaming at their drowning contests.

We'd also have random people writing blogs that accomplish cool feats of journalism. But that aside, I can certainly relate to his plea for, er, insanity.


18:48 - He even used the word "beleaguered"
http://www.danaquarium.com/article.php?story=2006112116433221

(top)
Boy, I can't wait to read John Gruber's riposte to this little time-capsule of an article about Apple being dooomed, doooooomed:

I don't see bright times ahead for Apple. Since the early 1990s and a market share already dwindling down from 20% to under 3% today, a reversal of fortunes looks unlikely even in what seems good times. Unless the beleaguered Cupertino company can spring a magic goose from its hat, it would seem this Apple is cooked.

What, did he copy this paragraph from the Big Book O' Tech Pundit Clichés About Apple, © 1997? Is this guy for real?

Hmm... perhaps not. Gruber's take will probably be a lot shorter in this event...

Via evariste.


11:17 - Wii like to move it move it
http://www.short-media.com/review.php?r=345

(top)
Sounds like Nintendo has really scored with this thing.

Via Chris.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
13:22 - That's what Bilbo Baggins hates
http://www.comcast.net/news/entertainment/index.jsp?cat=ENTERTAINMENT&fn=/2006/11/21

(top)
Lawsuits, that's what.

In a letter posted on Theonering.com., Jackson and partner Fran Walsh said an executive from New Line Cinema had called to tell them the studio was moving ahead with "The Hobbit" without him.

...

The announcement came amid an ongoing dispute between Wingnut Films and New Line Cinema over the amount Jackson was paid for "The Fellowship of the Ring," including DVD payments.

While Jackson hasn't said how much he believes he was underpaid, The New York Times last year quoted his lawyers as saying it was as much as $100 million. He is suing New Line Cinema over the shortfall.

The Dominion Post newspaper quoted Jackson as saying that because he and Walsh didn't want to discuss upcoming movies "until the lawsuit is resolved, the studio is going to have to hire another director."

That's a dang shame.


11:32 - SMASH THE iSTATE
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15818852/site/newsweek/?nav=slate

(top)
I'm no fan of the record label cartel. But could this Newsweek story (via InstaPundit) have any less perspective?

DRM, as it’s known, is encoded onto downloadable digital content so that copyright owners can prevent piracy. But it also prevents people from transferring downloaded content as they might like. Since different companies use different DRM technologies, an iTunes-bought song can’t be moved to a Zune, Microsoft’s new answer to the iPod, or even e-mailed to a friend. Since the vast majority of online music is sold on iTunes, “Apple has a stranglehold,” says Benenson, 23, a graduate student at New York University’s interactive telecommunications program. “There are some musicians who I like who will only offer music on the iTunes store.”

Oh, boo freaking hoo. The Beatles and Led Zeppelin are still so paranoid of the technological world that they won't release their music even on iTunes. The only reason why anybody else ever agreed to be part of a legal online music store was—that's right—DRM. Does this article deign to point that out? 'Course not. It's all about how the poor little consumer is being tromped all over by evil greedy Apple. If only they allowed people to download unrestricted MP3s—or better yet, lossless CD rips! Then everything would be wonderful! And nobody would have reason to complain! Nobody who counts, anyway!

John Gruber's "Pinprick" article yesterday makes a point on an unrelated subject but that is absolutely germane: You can’t set a price low enough to please the cheapskates.

Pricing any product is difficult; pricing software particularly so, because the cost of goods isn’t a significant factor: it’s all just ones and zeroes. Of course you can set too high a price — but far more budding indie developers fail because their prices are too low than too high. Aim for high quality and set your price accordingly. If you want users to treat your software like it’s valuable, you, the developer, need to market it as though it’s valuable.

What applies for indie software also applies for music: people might complain about your prices being too high or your terms being too restrictive, but they're not your target audience. They wouldn't have given you any money anyway, so don't waste a thought on them. Friggin' cheapskates.

Back to Newsweek:

But content providers claim DRM is essential to protect the work of artists, labels and studios. A spokesman for Apple would only say that “we don’t generally talk about FairPlay,” the name of Apple’s DRM. In a statement to NEWSWEEK, the Recording Industry Association of America called DRM technologies “no silver bullet, nor were they ever intended to be. They are one component of a larger effort to protect our works and give fans the experience they expect and deserve.”

That's the extent of Apple's and the labels' side that they present. Essentially "no comment". Howzabout a little analysis, then? Maybe some explanation of why DRM is there, what it has made possible, what the music industry's digital ventures would look like without it? Huh? Nah, didn't think so. I suppose it's way beyond the realm of possibility, then, to point out the differences between Apple's DRM and other companies', as I've done so often before:

Many of the subscription-based online music stores, such as Napster and Yahoo, for example, work on the basis not of counting playbacks, but of a Blade Runner-esque time-to-live feature, usually a month. You pays your monthly fee, you links up your MP3 player to re-validate your account, and you keeps playing your music for another month. Stop paying your fee, stop linking up with the mothership, and your music sighs, "Time to die," and you can't play it no more. But this means you get to freely download anything you want from the store as long as you keep paying your money. This method doesn't track your listening habits, though it certainly could be so used without the consumer's knowing; and as for restricting your enjoyment of music, it's true that it makes you keep paying the rental fee, but the tradeoff is that you get unlimited access to the whole library, which some music lovers might think is just grand. As for prevention of piracy, though, Napster-style DRM definitely has its glaring and unaddressable weaknesses.

But the form of DRM used by Apple, and by most of the WMA-based online music stores, doesn't work like that. You buy your music, you don't rent it—and this means you pay your dollar for each song at the time you download it, so a would-be pirate would have to actually buy the songs before even getting access to them to transcode them. But the price is so low, and the access and quality are so good, that pirates to date have been disinclined to even try to abuse the system the way they would with a booby-trapped CD they had to slog home from the record store. This system doesn't track any playback, because you never have to phone home—the only transaction you make with the mothership for any song is at the time you buy it. To unlock the downloaded music for your computer (and up to four others that you might own), you just make a one-time transaction with the server that is entirely unrelated to any of the music you own—it just authorizes your computer on the basis of its unique hardware ID, incrementing a number-of-authorized-computers counter they've got stored with your account, and once you've unlocked your download account on that computer through the iTunes/QuickTime architecture, you can play any and all music you've ever downloaded using that account, forever. You can then drop off the face of the earth and go live in a Unabomber cabin—the music store never has to hear another word about what music you're listening to or what hot new artists or albums to try to sell you. The transaction's over and done with. You own your song, they have your dollar. That's the end of it.

What's more, Apple—more than the other companies in its position—has actively negotiated with the music industry to win more flexibility for its customers and less onerous DRM intrusiveness. In a deal struck with the labels in 2004, Steve Jobs managed to raise the number of computers that could be authorized to play downloaded iTunes music from the original three (desktop, laptop, work machine) to five. The tradeoff? iTunes was modified to make it so you could only burn seven identical copies of a playlist of downloaded music to CDs, down from the original ten. Now, I ask you, who but a pirate needs to burn more than seven copies of a purchased CD or playlist? And that feature has never been more than a speed-bump in the way of piracy anyway: if you really want to burn more copies of that CD, you just modify or re-create the playlist and keep on truckin'. As "intrusive DRM" goes, that's pretty tiny potatoes.

The upshot is that if you're getting your music from iTunes, you never run up against the DRM in your daily listening life. Never. You just don't. You don't even have to think about "phoning home". Apple never hears a word about your listening habits. And if you're a pirate, well—Steve has this to say:

He confirmed his belief that illegal digital sharing of movies is taking place, but stressed: "There is some evidence that shows people downloading movies illegally wouldn't have bought them anyway."

Jobs believes the best strategy to deal with such problems is to create better legal alternatives to help keep honest consumers honest, and prevent them getting into the habit of stealing: "Hollywood has some time to put in place legal alternatives," he said.

Trust your customers, in other words—just don't make them want to take advantage of you. That'll make fewer otherwise law-abiding listeners into disgruntled pirates in the first place. And by gum, it seems to be working. Besides, hell, you can't pirate an iPod.

But hey: if you're the market leader, in the eyes of Newsweek, it's obviously because you're exploiting customers, not because you're providing the best solution. Well, sometimes that is the case. But you know... it isn't in this one.

But that's not all:

But does DRM give fans the experience they expect? Fans who buy a CD can assume that it will play on their Sony car stereos as well as their Panasonic sound systems at home. They cannot expect that a song that they purchase from iTunes will play on anything other than their computers or iPods, nor can they store it on an unlimited number of hard drives.

Aaawww.

Music lovers can burn the iTunes track onto a CD--but unless they’re techno-savvy, the resulting file will be of inferior quality.

Ooooo, Mr. Newsweek Reporter Man provided a link to Wikipedia! How Journalism 2.0 of him!

Though it should be pointed out that it doesn't matter how "techno-savvy" you are; you can't start from a compressed AAC file and produce a lossless-quality CD. Which goes to show that this guy can link to Wikipedia all he wants—it doesn't mean he comprehends the technical concepts involved.

Look: if you don't like the lossiness of AAC, buy a bloody CD. Nobody's stopping you. 'Course, CDs have rights management too: you get a physical object when you buy one, so apparently the rules are all different. And never mind how if you rip it to MP3s and broadcast it all over the Net to express your wondrous digital freedom, a) that's lossy too, and b) it's as illegal as cracking DRM. But hey, don't care.

Lawrence Lessig, founder of both Creative Commons and Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, points out that DRMs don’t expire even after copyright does.

Okay, that's fair, but remember that you're not just paying for the content—you're paying for the guaranteed delivery mechanism, which is what DRM protects as much as it protects copyrighted content. (Just because The Odyssey is in the public domain doesn't mean they print books of it for free, nor am I allowed to steal your copy of it.) Part of the whole iTunes package is that all the music is available for you to download at any time, without having to go searching KaZaA for a copy of "White 'N Nerdy" that isn't all full of clicks and pops and other digital crap, like in the old days. But hey, that was the Golden Age, wasn't it? No guarantee of quality, and you're part of the reason why Canada taxes CD-Rs, and that Madonna song you download might turn out to be a monologue of Madonna lecturing you about piracy, but hey, no DRM!

And he argues that DRM hampers amateur artists who would remix pre-existing content or even try to put a song into a home video.

Oh please. If you own the song, you can remix it all the hell you want, to the extent that copyright law has always allowed. Where's he getting this?

“DRM is the content industry trying to replicate the business model for the 20th century in the 21st century,” he says.

Brilliant. Then I guess you might as well keep breaking the law the good old-fashioned 20th-century way.

Music industry observers agree that once the public catches on to the limits of DRM, it will either be abandoned or a dominant technology will emerge across all players; this is what happened when VHS beat out Betamax. “Give consumers a file that will play in any device and consumers will be willing to pay for it,” says Steve Gordon, author of “The Future of the Music Business.” Until then, they’ll just have to settle for DRM-encoded music. No hazmat suit required.

Yeah. Funny about that, huh? They seem perfectly content to pay for it right here and now, don't they? As long as the DRM is non-intrusive, most customers don't even know it exists until they run into a gang of sign-waving EFF'ers outside the Apple Store, telling them "You're not as happy as you think you are!"

And that's never been a winner of a slogan.

UPDATE: Dave points out a similarly germane argument written back in 2000, on the subject of book piracy, but making similar points about how to price a market for a non-tangible good whose only real value is its intellectual property.

Monday, November 20, 2006
21:04 - I like stories

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Last night on the History Channel, they showed "Desperate Crossing", a badly-acted but well-written dramatization of the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims. They billed it as "the untold story" of the first Thanksgiving, something that struck me as rather odd—while I remembered learning plenty about it when I was a kid, nobody really says anything about it anymore. Maybe it's because it's only a children's story these days. Or maybe it's because people try to hush it up. I don't know.

But after it was over, and it concluded with an upbeat and optimistic message about how cultures at odds can make use of their common interests and learn to make good things come even from tragic and misunderstood beginnings, what occurred to me was that there's probably a large part of the nation that would label this show as being hopelessly biased Eurocentric propaganda simply because it did not depict the Pilgrims as monsters or dwell for the last half-hour upon the fate of the Indians in subsequent centuries.

Well, y'know, I enjoyed it, and I learned a great deal. Just as with the makers of the public-service films we all learned to mock with 20/20 hindsight, like "Duck and Cover", I find myself thinking of how I'd have gone about simplifying the story for easy and effective consumption—and I can't think of too many better ways to do it. The pith of the Thanksgiving story as I learned it, back in the 80s, with rosy-cheeked paper-cutout characters winking at me from some storybook, was apparently true enough to the facts that the History Channel's version served mostly to fill in the gaps, not to explode any deeply-held myths. I'm sure that's precisely the problem some people would have with it, that it paints too rosy a picture of an event that was probably steeped in bloodshed and intolerance and diabolical Calvinist piety. But you know, it wasn't a whitewash. It portrayed all the actors as human beings, each muddling along as best he could, according to impulses and desires we all can relate to. And at least for a while, the result was a mutually beneficial inter-cultural alliance the like of which has seldom been seen again.

If the message they want to leave us with is that regrettable misunderstandings between alien groups can actually be resolved with enough patience and mutual honesty, then I'm prepared to consider it one worth finding some inspiration in.

UPDATE: Related thoughts from Brummbar a year ago. Definitely worth revisiting. In fact, remembering it and the article it discusses is probably why I was so taken with this History Channel show in the first place.

UPDATE: That the reason why the Pilgrims were allowed to settle was due to the fact that the local tribe at Plymouth had in the past five years been depopulated by a European-derived plague and needed allies against their neighbors was indeed a major plot point in the History Channel show; but what wasn't was the angle that the Pilgrims spent the first year in Massachusetts being communist. With all the success that usually comes from it.

Via Anthony and Bernadette.

UPDATE: Don't people ever get tired of saying stuff like this? I mean, doesn't it ever get old? Doesn't it occur to people that maybe they just might be saying something they might have already heard somewhere before? Like in a million fourth grade science fair projects and supervised neo-history reports?

Aren't people like this supposed to be the creative and original ones?

Gaah!

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© Brian Tiemann