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07/14/2003 Archived Entry: ""

I just returned from four days in Washington D.C. where I did a presentation at the National Press Club for the National Coalition of Free Men, after which Brad and I haunted Smithsonian museums and indulged in a guided tour of the major sights -- mostly memorials to wars and to dead Presidents. Brad was most "affected" -- I won't say "impressed" -- by the Vietnam War Memorial which overwhelms you as the blocks with 58,000 engraved names grow in size like a wave cresting. I was most affected by the Korean War Memorial...perhaps because I did not expect it to be moving. It consists of 19 life-sized statues of individual soldiers in varying postures as they cross rocky terrain that is meant to depict a Korean field. Both the Vietnam and the Korean Memorials had real impact because they focused on the individual soldiers -- many of whom (in the latter) looked frightened, grim, or confused -- rather than focusing on the glory of war, the nobility of sacrifice, or patriotism. As I stood by the Vietnam Memorial, I remembered the words a Smithsonian guide had spoken the day before. She described how people left flowers, stuffed toys, photographs, medals, and other "gifts" at the wall every day. She explained why: "They want to say 'thanks for giving your life'." I winced then; I wince now. H.L. Mencken once made a toast that was meant as a tongue-in-cheek put down of a friend with whom he constantly exchanged insults: "May you die for democracy..." It will take a few weeks for that toast to seem humorous again.

Returning home always gives me a fresh appreciation of the farm, my bucolic lifestyle, and peacefully boring Canada. So, even tho' I feel more exhausted than before our mini-vacation, it is back to blogging and slogging through work for me!

Cartoons of the day: Healthcare and Big Government by Dick Wright; The Commander-in-Chief Speaks by Tony Auth; He Won't Bite by Bill DeOre; Never, Ever Again (Guantanamo) by Ted Rall; and, Dang, I Can't See by David Horsey.

Fav email of the day: "You may be interested in the following remark by writer J. Michael Straczynski
on the proliferation of media-corporation-owned copyrights, the Berne Convention (which apparently attempted to secure an author's right to their own work), and the media corporation's response to it:
Here's the great irony of the whole situation, as it relates to TV and film. The Berne Convention was put together to protect the rights of writers, to secure for them, by international convention, a piece of the final film or tv series. The studios responded by insisting that any writer who works for them must sign an agreement which stipulates that -- as you will see on endless movie credits -- 'for purposes of the Berne Convention, Universal (or whatever studio) shall be considered the author of this work'. Cute, eh? One sidelight to this thing...most writers working at a certain level these days incorporate, and all their works are owned/copyrighted by the corporation, not the individual. So all" my works "are (c) Synthetic Worlds, Ltd. Which means that the works are copyrighted for 'the life of the corporation' not my life.
(I am unclear on whether Straczynski considers this to be a Good Thing or a Bad Thing...)

Best to all,

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