Thursday, May 29, 2008

Musings for Memorial Day

I was away in the mountains for my first time for this year's memorial day. I had a hard day reconciling going out and having fun on a day that I should have been remembering the veterans that have fallen protecting and serving our country. Many of you who know me personally, know that I am not extremely patriotic, but that my research deals with America and how we grieve. I am patriotic in the sense that I love everything the United States stands for, but I am not proud of of the current state of government (which to me, makes me even more patriotic).

On Memorial Day, one of my favorite radio shows, To The Point, dedicated their show to a critical look at how memorial day came about, what memorial day means and how that meaning is shaped due to the current war. It is a very moving, smart and fair look at what Memorial Day means for us, a public torn between political views on the Iraq war and the value of human life.

One of the commentators (from Shreveport, ironically), Michael Sledge, mentions that in America we have lost national grieving, that is public grieving. I disagree slightly, as I believe we miss regular, healthy, productive and active public grieving. As I discussed in my master's thesis, spontaneous shrines for example, are very public methods of grieving that respond to public tragedy by becoming an amalgamation of private meanings. Immediately after a tragedy, the public creates these metatexts, but often these sites and tragedies don't retain their monumentality long term. The solution I think, is to build memorials that can reflect current collective memory of tragedies and can be responsive to the public needs. Unfortunately, our typical methods of materializations don't foster healthy remembrance, much like how Memorial Day has become a day for barbeques, and in my case, escapism to the mountains.

I could probably go on and on about why dedicating days to the memory of public tragedies and public figures doesn't work, but for the sake of brevity, please listen to the Memorial Day edition of To The Point.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Japan proposes a pay once royalty structure for mp3 players

Japan is considering levying a fee on manufacturers of mp3 players and HDD recorders. Such a fee already exists for devices with hard drives or other storage methods such as mini-disc recorders, DVD recorders and other digital devices:

While digital portable music players and HDD recorders face new levies, personal computers and mobile phone handsets designed for general purposes will be exempted, even if they contain recording functions, according to the plan.

The specific rates for the royalties will be determined through deliberations between the agency, copyright management groups and the manufacturers.

They are expected to be several hundred yen for each device, totaling several billion yen a year for the makers.

At Thursday's meeting, representatives of the manufacturers are expected to voice opposition to the plan because they do not think they can pass on the additional costs to consumers.

More about the proposal. Thanks _akira_

Doesn't seem like a bad idea, although its kind of like putting a big band-aid on a larger issue. While it would frustrate me to see these devices get even more expensive, it would be glad to know that no one's going to knock on my door and try to sue me.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I has a master's thesis

I haven't been blogging much because I've been completing my master's thesis, Digital Memorialization: Collective Memory, Tragedy, and Participatory Spaces. I'm defending it next week on the 7th at 2pm in Sturm 434 at DU. I know pretty much anyone who reads this probably knows that already, but feel free to come by if you're a stranger looking for some knowledge.

Keep an eye on this space for more information. I'll also be continuing my research here.