Lord, I can't leave you people alone for a minute. I let slip I'm out of town and presumably letting the privacy thing fend for itself, and right away Slade Gorton loses his mind and accuses Maria Cantwell's staff of "hacking" his campaign Web site to deep-link to that silly picture of him and the guy in the fish suit. The mainstream media, who will not be getting any souvenir NYC shot glasses from me if they keep this up, let this go relatively uncorrected in the press. Just before I crawled into my suitcase and attempted to ship myself to Kuala Lumpur, I saw Cantwell's crew and Gorton's crew slapping each other around like schoolgirls. Please, people, please!
OK, let's clear this up. Slade, linking to a picture on someone else's Web site is not hacking. It's not even stealing the photo. If you didn't want the picture to be seen on the Web, you shouldn't have put it on a Web server, capisce? Better yet, try not to get your picture taken next to protesters in salmon suits; you're pretty heavy into the fish sticks as I understand it and the possibilities aren't pretty. But you, Miss Maria, your Web site rules (and the deep-linking thing is legal, yes), but your hands aren't clean. RealNetworks, that well-known company of which you were a vice president, has a terribly troubling record on privacy. Linking to Slade and the salmon wasn't a violation of anything but my poor tired eyes. Building RealPlayer with the capability of sending your company information on every track I play—that's a violation. As I write this, your mailing list is bickering about whether RealNetworks' privacy problems ought to be considered part of your record. The answer is yes. I don't like Slade on any issue, but I don't like you on this issue. But how do you like the cushy seating on the privacy bandwagon? I'll enjoy watching you and Slade try to out-do each other on this issue; I'm a sucker like that for overacting.
Of course, I'm one to talk about running amuck, having spent five hours in a New York emergency room last week after Sonic Youth tried to kill me. Yes, there I was in the crowd, enjoying the show, and suddenly something in my ear decided it didn't love me anymore (and attempted to depart through the other side of my head). The overnight shift in a trauma-care center on a full-moon Saturday night is a high price to pay for music appreciation—reminiscent of a live, multilingual taping of Jerry Springer—but it was worth it to see Kim Gordon live. In these Britney Spears- addled days, you've got to worship your rock goddesses whenever you can.
Which is why it becomes a painful but necessary duty to inform you that Courtney Love still rules. I'm not saying the last Hole album was worth listening to (oy), but Ms. Love handed the music industry its butt in a public forum last week, and I think you should read her thoughts on why Napster ain't the enemy—or at least not the biggest enemy. Check out the Salon transcript of her speech to the Digital Hollywood conference at www.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love. It's a kickass combination of hard industry statistics, extremely well-informed opinions on the nature of government-enforced record company copyright arrangements with artists (I believe the term "sharecropping" was deployed), and a whiff of the I'm-an-artist-dammit rhetoric Love does so convincingly, kind of. It won't bring Kurt back, but I might be able to forgive her for "Malibu."
UPDATE: Several months back, I told you about a couple of interesting voter initiatives being prepared for the fall elections. So you know, JR Baker, the author of I-735 (the more extensive of the two initiatives), has recast his proposal as a petition to the state Legislature. The substitute proposal, Initiative 243, will be appearing on petitioners' clipboards at a store near you by the end of the month. The change in strategy (the two initiatives are very similar) allows him more time to collect the necessary 179,248 signatures; since Olympia shut down fairly late this year the additional five-plus months should help him accomplish that feat. If he succeeds in collecting those signatures, the Legislature can either adopt the initiative or put it on the November 2001 ballot with their own, probably weaker, alternative ballot option. If I can keep my head from exploding long enough to find a pen, I plan to sign. You should too.