Archive for June 4th, 2010

Our berserk copyright laws…

Friday, June 4th, 2010
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The “Spy vs. Spy” battle between the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal continues.  At the Fishbowl today:

The New York Times has sent the Wall Street Journal a cease and desist letter after the latter used the slogan “Not Just Wall Street. Every Street.” in their new “Greater New York” section. The problem? The New York Times had used the same jumble of words in a recent ad campaign meant, it is assumed, to act as a dig at their rival.

The New York Times has a trademark “pending” for the slogan.  What I’d like to know is … which particular word do they think they own?

Best Fishbowl comment to date:

Here’s my definition of a frivolous lawsuit…high priced lawyers on both sides will spend millions on this ‘who’s got the bigger club’ issue disguised as ‘copyright infringement’ right while the publishers and editors on both sides complain that no one wants to pay for news anymore….priorities, guys…we don’t want to pay for lawyers racking up hours on your vanity…. get over yourselves & back to work…

UPDATE 6/6:  The New York Times said today it will drop its claim.  And the Wall Street Journal has returned snottiness with snottiness.  Its letter begins:  “We half-expected to hear from you. The other half thought you might have more important things to worry about. … Our lawyers tell us that we were within our rights to use the tag line to compare our two offerings.”  The Journal claimed that it never intended to run the ad for long.  “We think we’ve made our point. And to get a rise out of you is just a special bonus.”  Stories here and here.

In a word, “blarf!”

Friday, June 4th, 2010
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New York Times article yesterday on “flarf”: “A novel form of digitally-inspired poetry, often generated from the results of the Internet search engines.”

Here’s the description in the Wall Street Journal:

Oooh yeah baby gonna shake & bake then take

AWWWWWL your monee, honee (tee hee)

If those lines sound like utter nonsense, it’s because they are. They belong to the world’s first “flarf” poem. Penned a decade ago as a lark, it has spurred an experimental poetry movement that’s become surprisingly popular.

Marjorie Perloff

While it started as one poet’s attempt to write the worst possible poem he could manage, flarf has since been published in that preeminent arbiter of tastes, Poetry. Fifteen flarf books have been published, and a 400-page anthology is due out soon.

One lit critic appears to be taking it seriously:

“Flarf is a hip, digital reaction to the kind of boring, genteel poetry” popular with everyday readers, says Marjorie Perloff, a poetry critic and professor emeritus of English at Stanford University. “You used to find it only in alternative spaces, but it has now moved into the art mainstream.”

I didn’t know that any kind of poetry nowadays is “popular with everyday readers,” so I guess that’s good news.  But so far I have to agree with the sole comment on the New York Times blog, from Laura in Santa Barbara:  “Blarf!”