Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Many industries develop a certain reality distortion field that applies to people who work in them. Even if the basis of the particular industry is to feed customers' grandmothers to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, most of the people who work in this industry will manage to convince themselves that what they are doing is perfectly moral and that they are the decent respectable people. If you attempt to question this, they will simply tell you that "This is how this industry works", as if this was a pronouncement from God.

Which is why this is interesting to read this.

Jack Valenti, the president of the Motion Picture Association of America, has decided to take the battle against Internet piracy to a higher moral ground.

Mr. Valenti has long raged against the illegality of the swapping of unauthorized copies of movies by students on college campuses. But in a speech to Duke University law students today, he plans to shift his emphasis to more basic principles: "duty, service, honor, integrity, pity, pride, compassion, sacrifice," according to a preliminary text of the speech.

"If you treat these words casually," it continues, "if you find them uncool, if you regard them as mere playthings which only the rabble and the rubes, the unlearned and the unsophisticated, observe and honor, then we will all bear witness to the slow undoing of the great secret of America."

Almost certainly, Valenti actually believes this. In his eyes, the music and motion picture industries are almost certainly great paragons of morality and honour.

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