Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The blame game ...

It's soap box time again people.  Strap in and hold on tight.

So, apparently now it's possible to be threatened with suspension or expulsion if you file an official complaint about having been raped.

Horrifying, isn't it.

A girl in North Carolina has been told by her university that by filing an official complaint with the Department of Education claiming that the university failed to uphold their duty of care with regards to her attack, she was in breach of the school's code of conduct.  Their reason?  She was accused of "disruptive or intimidating behaviour".

Things like this just set my blood boiling.  How is it that putting in an official complaint through official channels is a breach of anything?  No, I can tell you exactly what it is, it's an intimidation tactic, one which I can't believe is still being used in this day and age.

But what can I expect, given the way our society views rape and rape victims.

We're living in an age where the message is don't get raped rather than don't rape.  Where people are told that by modifying their behaviour they can stop it from happening, but no one ever seems to address the issue itself.

Don't get me wrong, I think that teaching people these things is important, I just don't like the implied message that if you are raped, then it must be because you did something wrong.  Because you dressed provocatively, or drank too much, or walked down that dark street on your own.

Want to prevent rape?  Well here's a novel idea, how about not raping people.  Seriously, it's that simple.  The idea that it's the victim's responsibility to make sure a crime doesn't happen is both insulting and horrifying.  No one would accuse a murder victim of being responsible for their own death.

"Oh, if only he'd gotten out of the way of that knife, it wouldn't have happened.  It's his own fault, really."

No one has the right to rape another person, I don't care what their supposed excuse is.  And if victim blaming isn't bad enough, to then intimidate the person by threatening them if they have the audacity to officially complain is perhaps the most disgusting thing I've ever heard of.

Okay, I'll put the soap box away now.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Because second click-clack player is quite impressive...

From the second to last row of the theatre.

Bob: Look at that piano! That's one hell of a big piano for such a small stage. 
Me: I know, and they've got a trumpet, and a clarinet, and an oboe. Ooh, and a piccolo! How cute! 
*orchestra starts to warm up* 
Bob: I was in the band in school, did I ever tell you that? 
Me: Really? Me too! What did you play? 
Bob: The click-clack. 
Me: The ... huh? 
Bob: You know, the click-clack! That hollow bit of wood on a stick that you hit and it went click, clack, click, clack. 
Me: I see ... it wouldn't have happened to be the percussion band, would it? 
Bob: Yeah, how'd you know? I was pretty good too, I even worked out how to do the click, clack, clickclick, clack. 
Me: So were you first click-clack or second click-clack? 
Bob: Shut up! I was brilliant! 
Me: I'm sure you were. Best click-clack player around. 
Bob: Damned straight! So, what did you play? 
Me: (blandly) Second clarinet. 
Bob: Oh, well don't feel too bad. Not everyone can play the click-clack. 
Me: I'll try not to let it make me bitter...

NB.  The name Bob was randomly selected as a generic substitute for all my cohorts.  I'd say to protect the innocent, but then I'd spend the next twenty minutes laughing uproariously over the idea of anyone I associate with being innocent. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Westboro Baptist Church helping to raise money for The Trevor Project ... oh sweet, sweet irony...

So, it seems that those reprehensible people over at Westboro Baptist Church have decided to announce another protest, scheduled for the 28th February outside Vassar College to protest ... well, to be honest I'm not sure exactly WHAT they're protesting.  Something to do with it being an "ivy league whorehouse" and "devoted to the homosexual agenda".  Wow, vague much?

Oh Westboro Baptist Church ... when are you just going to wake up and realise you're a bunch of dick heads?

I know I've mentioned my disdain for this group before, but I really don't think you can overstate something like that.  Anyone who protests at a funeral deserves a special and particularly vicious brand of vigilante justice, as far as I'm concerned.

But rather than take the route that most choose when Westboro Baptist Church decide to come knocking, ie. open mocking or calling the cops, Vassar opted to try something different.  Why not turn it into a fundraiser and try to collect some money for the very issues they were protesting?

So they spread the word around the college and set a goal of raising $4,500, a hundred bucks for every minute that the Westboro Baptist Church would be protesting that would be donated to The Trevor Project.  An ambition sum to be sure, but it only took days for them to have raised TEN TIMES THAT AMOUNT!  Hell, with a week still to go, their total is currently sitting at over $84,000!

I love when people gather together to shit all over the plans of bigots.  Vassar College, you guys get my Official Seal of Awesomeness!

And Westboro dudes?  I'd say sucks to be you, but at this point I'm not even sure if you have the mental capacity to understand just what happened and how you contributed to almost a hundred thousand dollars being donated to a charity that supports LGBTQ youth.

Oh sweet irony.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A question of censorship...

I was browsing through some second hand books the other day at an op shop when I came across something I just couldn't pass up. Not because I desperately wanted it or it was something I'd been keeping an eye out for, and not because it was valuable. It was just some ratty old paperback with a grotty cover. No, the reason I bought it and took it home was because I just COULDN'T leave it there for someone else to buy.

"Escape from Witchcraft", that was the title. Of course it caught my eye just from that, but once I'd read the blurb I was ... I guess you could say conflicted. Being a witch myself, I was both amused and horrified.

The story was an autobiography, published in the early seventies and detailing a girl's experiences with the occult. Biased of course, as all biographies are, but I admit it riled me up more than most. Here's a bit from the back page.

"Witchcraft is not a thing of the past. Satan is not dead. Young people by the thousands are probing seriously the mysteries of "The Other Side", from seances to satan worship ... most American high schools have their campus "witches and warlocks."  While the drug problem occupies community attention, another epidemic - far more insidious, far more elusive - is spreading among young people ... That is why this book had to be written."

I suppose it's ridiculous to be insulted by a book that was written before I was born, but I acted on instinct.  I didn't want someone else to buy that book. To read it. So I bought it myself to take it out of circulation.

But afterwards when I got it home, I started to feel the twinges of my conscience. Sure I have the right to my beliefs. Sure I have the right to abhor what this stupid little book says. But do I have the right to think I can stop other people from reading it? Isn't that a bit like censorship?

I'd intended to throw the stupid thing away as soon as I got it home, but now it just feels wrong. A bit too much like book burning, if you know what I mean. But it leaves me in a strange situation. What to do with it? I could donate it to a charity, but that doesn't feel right either. Maybe I should just leave it somewhere and let the fates take their course.

I know that in the grand scheme of things my buying it isn't going to make any difference whatsoever, but that's not the point. It's the fact that I THOUGHT it would make a difference. As much as I hate to admit it, it's a difference I don't have any right to make.

Damn, I hate it when I'm being a better person.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Conversations with a feline dictator...

Kellie:  *getting up from the couch*  I think I'll just grab something to drink, Gypsy.

Gypsy the Feline Dictator:  *jumping onto the couch and stretching out the length of it*  At last!  I've waited an eternity for my chance, and finally it has come!  

Kellie:  *returns from the kitchen*  Hey, that's my seat!  Up you get, cat.

Gypsy the Feline Dictator:  *mewling warningly*  I don't think so, pitiful human!  I've claimed this couch as my own.  

Kellie:  I'm not kidding here, Gypsy.  Move!  

Gypsy the Feline Dictator:  If I don't move for the great roaring beast you called "Vacuum", then I'm certainly not giving up my rightful place for you, worthless mortal!

Kellie:  *attempts to lift  her off the couch*  There's a cat bed right over there!  Go sit on that!

Gypsy the Feline Dictator:  *digs claws into the throw rug and refuses to be moved*  I will not stoop to sit on that ... thing!  It's bulky, uncomfortable, and it clashes with my fur!

Kellie:  Oh ... forget it.  I'll go watch TV in the bedroom instead.  *muttering to self*  I swear, it's like she thinks it her apartment or something...

Gypsy the Feline Dictator:  You're right, puny creature.  Perhaps you should consider renting a second dwelling.  You've abused my hospitality for far too long.

I'm pretty sure my cat thinks that this is her place and she's just very nicely letting me stay here.  She's certainly become very territorial about the couch.  I knew she'd be upset when I got rid of her couch (I had two, one for me and one for her) back when I redecorated, but I didn't realise it was going to start a battle of wills over who got to sit on the new one!

Luckily there's no jurisdiction disputes over the bedroom, it's all mine ... at least not yet...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me...

I love reading advice columns.  Seriously, if you want to feel like your life is flowing along swimmingly, just read about other people's problems.  Never fails to make you feel normal!

So during one of my brief jaunts through other people's dilemmas, I stumbled across this little jem.  Oh boy, when I read the opening line "My neighbour walks her girlfriend on a leash, what do I tell my kids?" I knew I'd hit the jackpot!

I read on, looking forward to all sorts of juicy details, but that sentence summed it up pretty well.  The mother who'd written the letter lived near a woman who liked to walk around the neighbourhood with her girlfriend on the end of a leash.  Both parties seemed okay with the situation, so there wasn't any question of consent, but when asked by her child what they were doing, the mother could only come up with "Oh, the lady's pretending to be a dog".

Apparently the mother was concerned, and more than a little angry, that at some point in the near future she was going to have to explain the concept of kinky sex to her li'l 'un.

"Well, sweetheart, when two people love each other very much ... and they both love whips and chains ..."

I personally wouldn't have any problem with it.  It's not like they were doing anything explicitly sexy in public ... just something that hinted at the type of sex they had in private ... but I can see why other people might get a bit antsy.  Some people have a higher threshold for this sort of thing than other.

But it does seem as if this woman was doing it more for the attention factor than anything else.  There are lots of things we'd all like to do in public, things that aren't necessarily forbidden or frowned on, but we don't because we don't want to make other people uncomfortable.  It's just a courtesy thing.  Hell, I don't scratch my breasts in public when they're itchy because some people might be made uncomfortable.  Equally, I'd be uncomfortable if someone was having a dig around in their crotch.  It's just manners.

But this woman is not just doing something that makes other people uncomfortable, she's obviously flaunting it.  It's a crusade to her, she wants a reaction and is probably hoping she gets one so she can get righteously indignant.  So my advice to this mother would be let it go, you're not going to win this one.  She's not going to stop just because you ask her to, so you might as well just sit back and enjoy the show.  I know I would if I were you.

Friday, February 15, 2013

And the new leader of the geeks is...

Well today's the day, my little geeklets!  The guesses have been tallied and only one person was able to identify all of the items and name all four areas of geekdom ... and that winner is Pickleope!  Congratulations Pickleope, and here's hoping you pick something fun with your gift voucher!

A lot of people said that they saw something Lord Of The Rings themed in the picture, but to my knowledge I don't have anything from that fandom.  Do I have random geeky things sneaking their way onto my desk now?  Anyone want to fill me in on what it is that's convinced everyone I'm a Hobbit lover?

For those of you who are interested, the four categories of geekdom that you were looking for are as below.

  1. Doctor Who:  Nothing makes hot chocolate taste better than drinking it from a TARDIS mug!  And yes, for those of you wondering, it IS bigger on the inside!  There's also a wee little picture of the TARDIS in the silver frame, which was what I got out of my cracker two years ago at the work Christmas party.  Well, what else was I supposed to do with a one and a half inch frame!
  2. Nerdfighters:  The quote that's printed on that poster is by John Green, one of the founding brothers of Nerdfighteria.  It's one that pretty much epitomises what it means to be a geek, and why that's an awesome thing.  If you want to read it in it's entirety, you can here.
  3. Harry Potter:  Yep, I have a wand.  I like to pull it out when someone asks me to do something impossible and tell that that I'll get right on it as soon as I remember the spell to perform miracles.  Also, it's very handy for pointing to things on the computer screen.
  4. Star Trek:  That mouse mat was a gift from a friend years ago.  Although you can only sort of see it, I'm photoshopped into the picture standing next to Tuvok.  There's also a very small group shot of them in the purple frame, but I thought that was probably too small for anyone to make out.
Yeah, I know.  That's an awful lot of pure geek for one desk, but what can I say.  I'm hard core.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Dating Market: It's a bloody minefield out there...

I quite like being single.  I enjoy the freedom to do what I want, the whole "lone wolf" lifestyle.  But like most of us, I do enjoy taking a dip in the dating market, testing the waters, so to speak, and looking for the person who might change my mind.  But since I hit my thirties I've noticed that the types of guys out there have changed.  Or maybe they're the same guys, it's just their behavior that's so different.

Of course we've all come across the usual personality types when we're dating.  The types that we've been familiar with ever since we were in school and pigtail pulling was the epitome of flirtatious behavior.  We've all gone out with The Bad Boy, The Narscissist, The Clinger, but as I've gotten older and the men I've dated have too, I've discovered that there's a whole host of personality types I've never seen before ... and some of them aren't very attractive.

Take the last few dates I've gone on for example.  Each of the Mr Paramour's listed below are people I've actually gone out with sometime in the last few months.

The Liar

I'm hardly a saint.  I lie about plenty of things, both big and small.  But why, Mr Paramour, would you choose to lie about something as obvious as your age?  Why tell me you are in your early 40's when you're obviously in your mid to late 50's?  And worse, why back that up by sending me a photo of yourself that's got to be at least ten years old?

Surely you must have realised that I'd notice the difference when we met up for coffee.  Hell, your hair is freaking white!  In the photo it was brown!  Tell the lies you can get away with, not the ones that you'll get caught out on in the first thirty seconds of a first date.

The Security Blanket Seeker

So you sit down for your first date with this Mr Paramour, and he lets it slip that he has kids.  No problem, you like kids and there are plenty of divorced or separated guys out there on the dating market.  Then he lets it slip he still lives with his ex-partner.  Huh ... well sometime people have to do that, you rationalise.  For financial reasons.  You're sure it's just that.  Then he intimates that the ex-partner may not be currently clued in on the fact that she is, in fact, an ex.


You have an unhappy marriage?  I'm sorry to hear that.  You want to use me as a security blanket to work up to leaving your wife because you're terrified of doing it without having a back up?  Well fuck you very much.

The Oedipus Complex

I kid you not, this has actually happened to me.  I went out with a Mr Paramour once who, during the initial "getting to know you" talk, kept bringing up his mother.  How important she was to him, how influential she was in his life, what a wonderful woman she was.  At first it was sweet ... for about a minute.  Then it started to get creepy.

But he really outdid himself when, about fifteen minutes in, he asked me if I'd like to see a picture of his darling Mummy.

Needless to say, the date ended there.  There wasn't a second one.

And people wonder why I'm still single.

By the way, don't forget to go enter my Geeky Competition.  Unless you're not a geek ... in which case, no judgement here.  It takes all kinds, after all.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The time suck that is computer games...

I had a lot of plans for this weekend.  I was going to clean out some sorely neglected kitchen cupboards, shampoo the carpets, wash all the linens, and clean out the fridge.

So, naturally, I spent most of it sitting on my ass playing The Sims.

My god, that game is a time suck!  One minute you're thinking "Hmm, I'll just put it on for an hour or so, kill a bit of time before I have to meet the gang for brunch", and the next thing you know six hours have passed and you just spent the last two of them trying to convinces a couple of very reluctant computer generated people to take proper care of a toddler.

But it's not like I can just leave the poor little digital dears to their own devices!  Who will help them cook so they don't burn the house down?  And remind the kids to get on the school bus so they don't get sent to military school?  And make them go to the bathroom when they're doing that funny little crotch-grab dance that reminds me so much of my three year old nephew?  Hmm?

No one, that's who, unless I sit there and direct them like the benevolent dictator that I am.

But seriously, why do I play these games?  They're complete wastes of time, and I know that, so why do I keep loading them up?  The Sims, Diablo, Farmville, Bejewelled, World of Warcraft, Tetris, they're all the same.  I get nothing from them, nothing to show for my hours of investment.  Sort of like high school.  (Just kidding kids, stay in school)

Really, I should just take a stand and reclaim my spare time. Make a clean break, uninstall all the games from my computer and start afresh.  I am the mistress of my own fate!  I can choose how and where to spend my time!  I don't have to be be controlled by these digital forces who are out to suck up every free second with their seductive graphics and mildly interesting storylines!

I'll do it next weekend ... or the weekend after.  Definitely by Easter ... maybe ...

By the way, don't forget to go enter my Geeky Competition.  Unless you're not a geek ... in which case, no judgement here.  It takes all kinds, after all.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Apparently treason is now the cure for a broken heart...

There are many responses that would be considered appropriate to finding out that your wife is having an affair.  Marriage counselling, trial separation, divorce.  Hell, even completely unhealthy emotional manipulation and toxic co-dependency.

One option that never occured to me, however, was committing military espionage.

But that's what a Canadian Naval Officer did though when he found out in 2007 that his wife was cheating on him.  Rather than throw all her clothes into the front yard while screaming about what a whore she was, he walked into the Russian Embassy and offered to spy for them.  That's right, he just walked right in there and offered his "espionage services".

Damn, dude!  Couldn't you have just posted a questionable add in Craigslist with her phone number and a comment about how she's looking for "someone who likes lazy Sunday lie ins and watersports" like a normal person?  Nothing eases the soul like causing irreparable damage to a cheating spouses reputation.  Or you could have called your mates and got them to take you to a strip club!  I hear some of them have pretty nice counter meals, and you could have had someone named Candie McHooters lap dance your cares away.

Still, getting a happy ending from Candie, while satisfying in its own way, wouldn't have been as lucrative as the option he chose.  Apparently he was paid about a hundred and twelve thousand dollars over the past five years for his services.

You know what gets me though?  Since when does Canada have secrets worth a hundred and twelve thousand dollars!

I always imagined that Canada was a bit like here in Australia.  We're the harmless, likeable souls who never actually do anything of significance and just stand near the big guys saying "Yeah, what he said!" whenever serious shit is going down.  We don't have secrets.  We don't even know HOW to have secrets.  So when did Canada start having them?

*looks suspiciously over at Canada*

So ... anything you'd like to confess, Canada?

By the way, don't forget to go enter my Geeky Competition.  Unless you're not a geek ... in which case, no judgement here.  It takes all kinds, after all.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What it means to be a grown up...

*Pulls out a soap box and adopts a Martin Luther King Jr accent*

When I was a child I had a dream.  I dreamed of all the things I was going to be able to do when I grew up.  I was finally going to be out from under the parental thumb!  I would be the ruler of my own kingdom, the Mistress of my own destiny!  They wouldn't be the boss of me anymore and I'd be able to do whatever I wanted, thank you very much!

*The audience murmurs and a wave of "amen" spreads across the crowd*

Of course, now having reached the grand old age of thirty-mumble, I know now that it was just an illusion.  No one really gets to do whatever they want, when they want to.  Responsibilities and bosses and bills all get in the way.  Common sense and people saying "act your age, damn it" all stop you from finally getting to live your dream.  

Damned common sense ... always ruining my fun.

*A cry of "preach" is heard from the back of the crowd*

But today ... today I realised something.  Why can't I do whatever I want?  Why can't I eat cake for breakfast?  Or build a pillow fort using the good sheets?  Or eat dinner in front of the TV?  What or who is stopping me?

*A roar comes from the assembled masses*

That's right, no one!  No one but my own insistance to conform to societal expectations!  

So, as a manifesto against dragging childhood restraints into adulthood, I've compiled a list of things I can now do freely and openly that I couldn't as a child!  Read them, study them, and prepare to put them into action, my minions!

  • I paid good money for my nice clothes, the ones I keep in the wardrobe in preparation for an event or function that will probably never happen.  Why, exactly shouldn't I wear them for no good reason?  Just because I couldn't wear my "nice" dress whenever I wanted to as a child, why should I continue to constrain myself?  If I want to wear my nice green dress every damned day, I'm gonna!  
  • Here's a funny little one that took me a few minutes to get my head around.  No one is making you go to work!  We were all so used to "having" to go to school that most of us just transferred that concept to work.  Of course you might choose to go, given the fact that they probably won't pay you if you don't, but that doesn't change the fact that it's completely in your control. Freaky, huh?
  • One day, and that day may not be very far off, you're going to realise that you really are able to eat whatever you want just like you said you would when you were a kid.  Don't believe me?  Tomorrow, eat a box of after dinner mints for lunch.  Seriously, just go ahead and do it, no one will stop you.  
  • I am thirty-mumble years old.  Why, exactly, can't I stay up all night if I choose to?  All the arguements for going to bed early as a child, such as growing children needing sleep, should be null and void by the time you're an adult.  If I'm tired, I'll sleep.  But if I want to stay up to 2am on a week night, trawling through the internet looking for convincing McKay/Sheppard Stargate Atlantis photo manipulations, then I damned well will!

In order to remind myself that I'm the head honcho in my own life, I think I'll make sure to do the following things on a regular basis (some more regularly than others).  And of course the only reasons I have for doing them are altruistic and completely not self indulgent.

No, seriously!  Stop laughing!

By the way, don't forget to go enter my Geeky Competition.  Unless you're not a geek ... in which case, no judgement here.  It takes all kinds, after all.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Many geeks enter, only one leaves...

Most of you, my darling readers, have cottoned on by now to the fact that I'm a geek.  But I'm a bit curious to see which of you out there are also geeks.  Closeted perhaps?  Hiding your love for all things nerdy from your significant others out of fear of them finding out that you know all the words to The Element Song?

Well hide your geeky light under a bushel no longer!

The other day when I was look at some photos in one of my folders, I noticed something that I hadn't realised before.  Apparently my geekiness is much more apparent than I'd realised.  Huh, how did I miss that?  I mean I try to be all professional at work (SmashGirl, stop laughing), keep it all above board and accountanty, but somehow a few teeny little clues to my geeky nature have snuck their way onto my desk.

Here, take a look for yourselves.

But while I was shocked to realise how many geeky things had found their way to work with me over the years, it did give me an awesome idea for a giveaway!

There are, by my count, four distinct geek categories hidden in the stuff on my desk.  And by geek categories, I mean that there are large numbers of people who consider themselves fans of that particular TV show, movie, book or concept, and each of those groups of people have special names for themselves. 

Some of them are easier to see than others, but that's the point, isn't it.  To see who out there knows their geeky shit!  

Every person who gets them all (or every person who gets the highest number guessed if no one gets all four) will go into a draw to win a $20 gift voucher to ThinkGeek.  I'll draw a winner on Thursday 14th February at 11pm AEST, which is 8am New York time.

Good luck to you all, and may the best geek win!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I much preferred colouring to Religious Education anyway...

Hmm, I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to be opinionated.

Consider yourselves warned.

So, I'm just going to come out and say it.  There's no point beating around the bush any longer.

I'm an evolutionist.

Yep, that's right, I believe in survival of the fittest, that we descended from apelike creatures called Australopithecus, and that Darwin was right when he put it all together.

I still remember the exact moment I decided that I believed in evolution rather than creationism.  I think I was about seven years old and I asked my mother how it was possible for Adam and Eve to be the first people if they only had two sons.  Uncertain how to answer that, she did what any responsible parent would do ... sicced me onto my religious education teacher who happened to be in the same shop that we were having the conversation in.

So I asked the Rel Ed teacher my question, probably completely blind siding her given she was just there to grab a tin of soup, and was given the answer that Adam and Eve had more than just two kids.

Huh, well that didn't sit well with my seven year old self.  Did that mean brothers and sisters got married and had kids?

Oh no, she said.  There were other people too, in other towns.  The children probably married them.

Okay, hold the phone!  So first I'm told that Adam and Eve are the very first people ever.  Then I'm told they have two sons.  When I question that, I'm told they had other kids too.  When I question THAT, I'm suddenly informed that there were a whole hoard of other people there, conveniently living in another town?

So which was it, were Adam and Eve the first or weren't they?

At this point my Rel Ed teacher felt a sudden need to get home.  She left with her soup, and I left with the realisation that I didn't believe a word of what I'd been fed.

The next semester when the Religious Education classes were put together, I found myself in the one where all the "non-religious" kids were put.  We got to colour.  It suited me just fine.

I don't think I'd even thought about that in years, but today I was reading an interesting news article about a 19 year old boy who has been fighting against the Louisiana Science Education Act.  The act, which was passed about four years ago, allowed teachers to bring their own material in when the science classes were teaching "contentious" topics like evolution and global warming.  Soon enough, that led to the teacher getting rid of the normal science texts altogether and using their own creationism based alternatives.

This kid fought, and won, the right to keep the pure science texts in the science classes.

I know it's a bit of a delicate topic for a lot of people so I'm not going to even touch on my opinion of that, but I just had to say ... from one childhood rabble rouser to another ... respect, dude.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism...

As a library employee, copyright is always a big issue around here.  Nothing like bringing up the 10% rule to get those librarians all twitterpated!  But something I don't know much about is copyright as it relates to music.

Which is a bit of a shame, given that over the past week a lot of the social networking sites I visit have gone insane about this particular issue.  Specifically, about whether copying the arrangement of a cover of a song is wrong if you have permission from the original artist to use it.

So here's the story.  The show Glee, which I'm a huge fan of, used the song Baby Got Back in its last episode.  But not the rappy Sir Mix-A-Lot version we're all so familiar with, instead they went with a soft ballad arrangement of the song.  It's really quite beautiful ... at least for a song about a guy expressing his appreciation for voluminous rear ends.

The thing is, that particular arrangement was actually created by a singer called Jonathan Coulton who is, quite understandably, upset that his work was used without his permission, without financial compensation, and without any acknowledgement of it being his work.  I mean, wouldn't you be?  You created something, albeit a cover of a song, and then a huge TV company goes and just uses it without so much as a by your leave.

The problem, however, seems to be that JoCo doesn't actually have any legal recourse.  He made a cover of a song, and when he bought his licence it was clearly stated that he couldn't copyright his modifications.  It said so in the contract.  That means that it's up for grabs to whoever else is willing to buy the licence.  It's clear cut, Glee didn't do anything legally wrong.

But what about morally?

Would it really have been so hard to just let the guy know it was happening?  To make sure when it was announced that credit was given to him for the arrangement?  That's what all the JoCo fans are asking right now.  Why didn't the people at Glee, who I'm sure know this copyright stuff backwards and forwards, give him the credit he was due?  Were they even allowed to, or did their contract prohibit them from doing it for some reason?

We don't know, because Glee have refused to comment so far.

I'm finding it all very disturbing.  As I said, I'm a huge fan of Glee.  Hell, anything that's essentially a teen soap opera where they break out into song and dance at every emotional climax gets a thumbs up in my books.  It's like Dawson's Creek meets The Sound of Music.

But I'm also a big believer in respecting the right of the creator.  We're all creators, and if someone took our stuff and used it without our knowledge and without crediting us, even if they were legally allowed to, we'd be gutted.

Ugh, I hate moral dilemmas.  Can't I just go back to thinking Darren Criss is cute?