Distractions, distractions

12 05 2009

As if it’s not enough to have all of the end-of-semester stuff due, I’m also planning my wedding, which is to take place in 11 days. Holy moly!

I seem to be getting distracted from my schoolwork by wedding planning, and distracted from the wedding planning by the schoolwork, so I’m kind of beginning to feel like I’m getting nothing done at all! Argh!

Anyway, having said that, I have read last week’s and this week’s readings, so I’m thinking this might be quite a long blog post.. steel yourself.

Firstly, I think it’s completely ridiculous of Fairfax to try and protect their headlines with copyright – really, as the article points out, stating the facts can hardly be considered an original literary work. What will we do if we can no longer write ‘Sam Newman is a tool‘, or ‘Swine Flu panic more dangerous than flu itself‘? It’s a ridiculous idea, as these themes are likely to come up quite often. This exact issue is why we have the fair use policy in place – so people can report on current issues without having to check every single word for originality (good luck with that, I say!).

The second article from week 9, ‘The Poachers and Stormtroopers’, raises some good points about cultural appropriation, and to be honest it’s not an issue that I can comment on particularly confidently. Being a (sometime) writer myself, censorship is something that I disagree with quite strongly, and the fans who appropriate certain material to create something new are surely benefiting personally from the process of creation, as are the people who read and enjoy the new material.

Having said that, I understand that the issue of poaching and misrepresentation of a brand or product is something that needs to be monitored in terms of a company or franchise’s reputation. Even though Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy had a romantic relationship on a PG show, we wouldn’t want to see them in a sexual clinch, would we? That’s not how they exist in the minds of the purist fans.

To sum up, I’m not sure where I stand. It’s a tricky one, but I’d say that in the end it should come down to whether the original artist/producer feels that the misrepresentation of their product will be detrimental to the company as a whole.

I guess Lessig is of the opinion that creativity is the most important aspect of cultural commentary and creation, and demonstrates this by making his book free for all to appropriate to their hearts’ content. And this is really the crux of it – he issues prior consent, and although it works for him, I doubt that it will be  a concept that takes off within the creative industries. He makes a good point, but a lonely one.

I also had a read of week ten’s articles, and have been trying to think about how best to apply them to our chocolate website. See my ‘Project’ link for more details.

I also found a great design blog called Vandelay Design that lists 50 websites with ‘gorgeous naviation menus’. It’s worth a look! There’s also a list of sites that display creative navigation. The examples are really cool, but I think it might be a bit much for my simple tech-brain to figure out for our site.

Finally, I found the article about writing headlines to be pretty useful, because I write articles for a few of our magazines at work, and the headline is always the part that I struggle with the most. I tend to fall into puns very very easily (I attribute this to my awesome sense of humour, naturally).

Well, that’s it for me for now. Off to plan some essays/last minute dress fittings/class presentations/paper lanterns and alcohol delivery.

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