Friday, January 20, 2012

Bow Down Before The One You Serve

Everyone's still patting themselves on the back over the apparent defeat of SOPA, the anti-piracy bill that wouldn't have stopped a damn thing. Wherever you look, people are high-fiving and going on about how the internet has been saved and how we're all free to join fake communities online where members dress up like marsupials and jack off to children's cartoons.

But what you won't hear much of is the real reason SOPA got cut. What, you thought it was because your favorite webcomic put up some pissy banner? How stupid are you? See, SOPA was just broad and clumsy enough to be a threat to the bottom line of someone now much more important to Congress than Hollywood and the RIAA...


It's a simple matter of aristocratic in-fighting. SOPA angered Google and you do not anger Google under a president who received six figure "donations" from the web giant. Obama came out against the legislation over the weekend not because he loves liberty and all that jazz - he's a politician and he owes a favor.

"So what?" some of you are saying. "At least Google's on our side!" Seriously, I know there are people saying that right now and it hurts my brain. First of all, no they are not. Second, this victory betrays an ugly truth about the modern economic climate.

The Guardian and a few others have touched on this, though couched in happier language. "New Media beats Old Media." If you're unfamiliar with those terms then I envy you, because that's webtard dialect for "internet stuff" and "legitimate publications" dressed up to be as self-serving as possible. Though it does reflect a previous slogan - New Economy. Remember that? It was the e-everything craze that was going to let us all work from home in our underwear and make a million dollars by the time we're thirty.

And then it imploded. Mostly. New Economy - meaning fakey internet economy - outfits still exist, though in fewer numbers. Google and Facebook are the most prominent... and powerful. Powerful enough to face down another DC lobbying army and defeat a bill that would've hurt their own bottom line.

But here's the thing you should be asking - just what the hell does Google make, besides a search algorithm? 'Cause only 3% of their revenue comes from Chrome, Droid, and other stuff you don't use. They're an intermediary service with backdoor profits, not charging you when you search for "chinese restaurants" or "cartoon fetish porn" because they store those results and sell them to their own advertisers. You see the blinking GoogelAds everywhere and someone must be clicking on them because Google is a multi-billion dollar company. But again, what they hell do they actually produce?

Say what you want about the RIAA and MPAA - lord knows it's all true - but they still have a tangible product to sell. And they need people every step of the way to get the product from the drawing board to the customer's hands. Google just needs a server and a few nerds. That's what New Economy has always meant - making more money with less labor and material.

If that sounds like a bullshit house-of-cards system, that's because it is. And it's why you still can't find a job.

And you can bet SOPA will be back. Maybe with a different name, definitely with some tighter legalese, and the whole song and dance will repeat because another unspoken truth of the New Economy is it leaves the majority too poor to buy any Old Economy products. So if you want it, you have to pirate it.

Ain't the 21st Century grand?

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