Thoughts On Ownership and Compensation

This post is part of the ongoing Sentry project along with my peers, Bryan and Brandon, whose blogs can be found here and here, respectively. The general idea is that each one of us will create a post on a subject of our choosing and the other two will write a response within a week concerning the post. Of course, we also invite anyone to share their own opinions and thoughts as well. The more the merrier, after all.

Like many of you reading this, I am a huge fan and user of the Internet. For research, entertainment, work, or just wasting a few minutes of time, I have come to use and rely on my computer and online access more and more with each passing day. Even when I do ever so infrequently turn on my television, it is usually just acts as a bigger screen for whatever I am streaming or working on. I am fairly certain that I watch more original content on YouTube now than I do on actual television. While the comments section always devolves into a cesspool of human thought and interaction, there is one particular topic that annoys the crap out of me; the discussion of revenue, advertisements, etc. on the videos being watched.

There appears to be this idea that everything on the internet is/should be free. “It’s all information. Information belongs to the masses and should be free.” I don’t understand or know where this concept came from, but the lack of logic behind it is absurd. Information has always been available but it has never been free. Before the age of the internet, television and radio was the major form of entertainment and information. Unless you were watching/listening to Public Access, advertisements were usually paying for what you were viewing. Before television/radio, people relied on books. These books, unless you bought them, were available for ‘free’ at your local library. Guess what? These libraries, and their contents, were paid for by donations, taxes, drives, etc. Sensing a pattern?

Information/entertainment has never been free. It has always cost something to create it. Perhaps it did not cost you, the consumer, directly but it still required some cost to come into fruition. This is what I find frustrating about these conversations about compensation and advertisements, in particular, going on concerning online viewing. There is a sense of entitlement as though people are deserving of what they view/stream and are annoyed/perplexed that the creators would allow advertisements on their content. I am not talking about random cat videos or idiots harming themselves because frankly no one should be paid for that. I am referring to individuals that actually take the time and effort to at least attempt to make something of quality. Creating such things is not cheap and the people involved deserve some compensation for their efforts.

This should be pretty self explanatory. I mean, if someone even slightly aided in building an edifice, they are compensated for their work. Yet, maybe that is the true crux of the issue. Artistic/creative work has rarely been appreciate or valued beyond the few exalted ones and within select circles. While people are entertained or inspired by the art they hear, see, taste, there is seemingly a sense among the public that it is ultimately a ‘hobby’ and not actual work. I understand this idea to some degree since there is often little physical labor involved and not much of an end result for the hours of labor and effort. However, artistic creations are work. They may not be as noticeable or require the same type of labor as other jobs, but they are work and are no less deserving of compensation. Whether that is through direct payment from the customers/consumers, advertisements, banners on the side of a page, etc. is up to whoever created what you are enjoying.

I don’t know if I will ever have the drive, talent, opportunity, or balls (metaphorically speaking) to ever publish one of my stories. I hope to someday have that privilege and if that day ever comes I would like to make something from it. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy writing and the act of creating people and worlds and narratives and will continue to do so, but at the end of the day a guy’s gotta eat right?



The Sentry Gathers…


TV Rant!!!

Okay, so this might not be so much a rant as an observation or critique…actually, you know what screw it, it’s a rant. Don’t know how many Castle fans there are out there, probably at least a few considering the success of the show, but I have watched the show since its pilot episode (I love Nathan Fillion). As with any other show, it has had its ups and downs but the last episode really bugged me. Obviously, we could discuss the plot cliches, story structure, characters, etc. and the various ways to improve them, but that is not what irked me. No, what truly irritated me was the development in the ‘Alexis’ character or more specifically the change in her relationship with her father, the titular ‘Castle’.

In case it is not apparent at this point, SPOILERS ahead.

I will try to not bore you with too many details, but the overall situation is that Alexis returns from her study abroad trip with a new boyfriend who basically lives at her father’s place during the entire summer. Castle, already frustrated with the situation, finally tells Alexis how he really feels about her boyfriend after she states her intention of moving in with him. Also, the boyfriend in question is a pseudo-intellectual, new age hippie archetype without any plans, goals, etc. Just the kind you want to bring home to meet the parents. As is to be expected, the boyfriend overhears Castle and Alexis is not too pleased with her father. Now up to this point, it is a basic television narrative and to be completely honest I am a little bored because I have seen this before in other programs, but whatever. Where it turns for me, though, is the end of the episode where Castle goes to Alexis to apologize for what he said. What The Actual Fuck!?

Seriously what the fuck? Castle apologizes to Alexis for… Ok, I understand that perhaps Castle hurt the boyfriend’s (whose name I think is Pi, maybe) feelings and for that maybe he should apologize but beyond that I have no freaking clue what he is sorry for. 1. He is her father and still very much supporting her. As her father, he will always be concerned for her well being and worry about her. It is kind of in the job description. As well, he is footing the bill for pretty much her entire college experience so he has at least some say in what she does with his money. 2. The boyfriend is a pseudo intellectual, new age hippie with no prospects or plans who she has known for all of about six months. Of course, Castle thinks it is a bad idea  to date, much less move in with, him and every other adult cognizant of the situation agrees but does not believeit is a good idea to tell Alexis.

Now, I know that a large part of growing up is leaving the home and finding your own way in life, but when did that idea take on the idiotic notion that I must break ties with my parents and prove them wrong because that is the only way to mature. Really? Don’t get me wrong. I disagree with a lot of what my family does and believes in, however, I don’t break away or disown them because they are my fucking family! We don’t talk about certain things now, but we also recognize how important we are to each other. Why is it that a teenager on television/film has to be an annoying twat that must disagree with the adults until the awkward moment of clarity where they realize that the adults were kind of right the whole time? Can there be even one teenager who maybe is not such a twat from the beginning, understand that maybe their parents know what the hell they’re talking about, and maybe try/do something new or different?

Still the most annoying aspect of the ending was the comparison that Alexis made between her situation and her father’s. Basically, she says that she got together with her boyfriend secretly and wants to move in with him and that is exactly what Castle did with Beckett, his fiance, as he got engaged with her at the spur of the moment without consulting/telling anyone. A. This is even worse because it makes Alexis seem even less mature and doing some stupid passive aggressive bullshit to get back at her father by making an obviously stupid choice. B. It is not at all the same thing! Yes, Castle got engaged at the “spur of the moment” to a woman whom he dated for at least a year and that he has known for at least four years. Also, the same woman that Alexis trusted to seek advice and council and who has saved Castle’s life a few times so you know exactly the same thing as that random guy you’ve dated for a few months. C. if it was a similar situation and your father is telling you how bad an idea it is, then shouldn’t you heed his advice considering he has already gone through it?

Look, I know television thrives off contrived drama, but can’t teenagers have some new material especially considering that most of the time the supposed situation with their families is particularly contrived and idiotic and usually makes the teenagers in question come off as annoying, superficial, moronic idiots.

Alright rant over. Needed to get that off my chest.

Anyhow, to all those participating in NaNoWriMo, I salute you and as I also plan on attempting the difficult feat, hopefully I’ll see you on the other side. To those participating in Movember, hahahahahaha, you look like newborn babes with your fresh faces. Itchy, huh?