Drowning in stupidity
The best bit of news I've read in ages is that people actually fell for this iPhone prank (ind.pn/1fm5tv8) which claims that the new update has "a smart-switch that will shut off the phone's power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone's delicate circuitry."
Apparently some sharp people dropped their phone in water to test it. The iPhone is a pretty incredible technology that isn't just something our grandparents couldn't have ever dreamed of, but something that the average citizen couldn't have dreamed of about 10 years ago. And now the average citizen, with just about the same brainpower as before, can apparently drop their little miracles in the toilet and go scream about it on Twitter.
What use is screaming about anything on Twitter anyhow? Isn't that just a place where moron racists go to mistakenly -- and offensively -- lob Muslim insults at the new Miss America (huff.to/1fCt3kZ) even though a) she's not Muslim and b) that behavior is obviously not acceptable, even anonymously.
It's amazing to me that in a world where newspapers and periodicals are routinely shutting down their comments section because we've all realized that they're mostly of use to people who want to stir up nonsense -- Popular Science is the most recent to turn their back on the web fixture -- we haven't yet recognized Twitter for what it is, a comments section with no blog attached. The actual information or entertainment is not there, just the responses. Of course horrible people lob racist hate on Twitter -- they're running out of comment sections to do that on.
Just imagine, without Twitter, all these public racist comments would have been confined to the private living rooms of idiots and none of us would have to listen to it. The idiots would know that if they're going to say something like that, they need to keep it in their living room and out of our public space.
But without Twitter, no one would be able to live-tweet the Emmys, and what a loss that would be.
Universal, it was really nothing
For all its influence on our culture, I think a lot of people still don't quite understand the Internet. Certainly Universal Music Group doesn't, as proven by their recent effort to shut down a silly Tumblr blog called This Charming Charlie (bit.ly/1h0eh5o).
The site takes images from Peanuts cartoons and puts in snippets of song lyrics from the 1980s band The Smiths. It's gotten a lot of attention -- so much so that Universal had their lawyer draft a takedown notice for copyright infringement. Just to clarify, these comics consist of a line or two from complete songs and they are shared for free. As with anything that becomes a sensation online, the amusement will fade and people will move along to the next thing.
Perhaps a few people might read a lyric and say, "I forgot I loved that song," and make a purchase. Perhaps a few more teenagers who have no clue who The Smiths were will be amused enough by the comics to make a Smiths purchase to see what the deal is. It's an easy thing for a big corporation like Universal to step back from and wait for it to end. If the people who make the site try to sell the cartoons, that's an easy out, too. Wait for the Charles Schulz estate to sue, they have a much better case.
Universal could have come out of this looking like the good guy, but as well we all know, the music industry is evil and shallow, so they are required by law to behave like villains whenever given the opportunity.
John Seven is the Transcript's arts and entertainment editor. He blogs at blogs.thetranscript.com/arts.