Bill Maher must read this blog

I hope he does, anyhow.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece on The NFL and Socialism. Two days ago, Bill Maher wrote on the same thing, but maybe with a bit more cleverness, here.

9 Responses to Bill Maher must read this blog

  1. Charles Platt says:

    Marc, I would guess that his joke writers read your blog, plus about 1,000 other blogs, on their tireless mission to rip off anything they can find online.

    I used to watch Maher but he has a list of “safe targets” like any other monologuist and thus his opinions are predictable. He goes for easy-reflex laughter, and his pose as a “cerebral” host is bogus. When TV writers went on strike, Maher’s show (and many others) went off the air.

    They all do it. Rush Limbaugh read something out loud that I had written about Wal-Mart. He was reading it, word for word, for 20 minutes, which went way beyond fair use. The whole thing was then archived on his web site. To his credit he named me as the writer and named The New York Post as the publisher. But of course he never PAID me, or the Post. When I complained to the Post, they told me I should be flattered. When I complained to my literary agent, he suggested suing Limbaugh in small claims court.

    So–welcome to the club of unpaid scribes who unwittingly provide free material that writers who work for “professionals” are happy to steal.

    • Meh, in all fairness, it isn’t as if my work was so original that he couldn’t have come to his piece independently. Indeed, mine was based on another previous work.

      That said, your Rush Limbaugh experience sounds like pretty clear copyright infringement. When did this happen?

  2. Charles Platt says:

    Marc, it happened about 2 years ago. Limbaugh still has the full text of his broadcast on his web site:

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_021109/content/01125104.guest.html

    It is quite flattering, but still, thievery.

    Hey maybe I can get the RIAA to go after Limbaugh as a notorious content thief and scofflaw!

    No wait–I am not a paid-up member of shakedown organizations such as RIAA and MPAA. They are not like the ACLU which takes cases of people who haven’t paid them anything. They wouldn’t give a damn if Limbaugh stole my stuff.

    • Mike says:

      I just Googled your name to find the piece at the NY Post. Nicely written and smartly argued. I can see why Rush ripped it off.

      Based on my friends’ experiences as writers in H-wood, it seems that Wal-Mart is less exploitative.

      • Charles Platt says:

        An interesting comparison. Yes, I would much rather deal with Wal-Mart than with Hollywood (having done a bit of both). In my experience, Wal-Mart did exactly what it said it would do, and there were even some surprising bonuses. Of course the hourly wage was low, but actually higher than minimum wage in Arizona, and the root problem is that Wal-Mart employees lack skills that would make them more valuable. They emerge from high school with a few bits and pieces of half-remembered information about topics such as world geography (maybe), at which point Wal-Mart has to give them remedial education, using very nicely developed interactive courses that you take while you are on the clock as an employee. And when you finish a course, your hourly rate increases by 25 cents. Or it did when I was there. Personally I would put Wal-Mart in charge of the nation’s public school system. Yes I don’t expect anyone to agree with me.

        Meanwhile the anti-Wal-Mart sites really are owned and operated by unions that want to rake in huge amounts of union dues by unionizing the world’s biggest retailer. And journalists pick up stories from the anti-Wal-Mart sites without ever mentioning that the sites have an ax to grind.

        I didn’t believe any of this, initially. I went to Wal-Mart out of sheer curiosity. On my first day of training I found that the majority of people had already worked at Wal-Marts located in other areas, and now that they had moved to Northern Arizona, they wanted to continue working at Wal-Mart, because they liked it. This confusing discovery led to a lot more discoveries and realizations. I would have liked to write a book, but the sad fact is, very few people want to read or believe a book saying that Wal-Mart is an enlightened employer. They’d rather read “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich, who went to Wal-Mart knowing in advance that it was an exploiter of the poor. Her book is an appalling exercise in prejudice and shows no understanding of the people she worked with (she regards them, in a typical liberal-elitist way, as “deluded,” instead of considering that they may know more than she does about their lives). But her book has found its way onto school curriculums, even though it is full of misinformation.

        Sorry…I digress.

        • Mike says:

          I worked for Mendard’s Hardware in my late teens. I earned $8.25 with an extra $2.50 on weekends. After two years, I was earning $10(ish) as a regularly hourly wage. To the extent I had problems with the job, it was because of my misanthropy. It wasn’t The Man holding me down. It was dealing with fucking idiot customers that drove me crazy.

          As to why people don’t earn more… People are stupid. 50% of the population has an IQ below 100. How exactly are these people supposed to add value to the economy? Wal-Mart gives these people a living wage – at least if you don’t consider the an iPad as a birthright.

          In a state of nature, these people Wal-Mart exploits would be dead or living in outright slavery. A fair assessment of Wal-Mart requires looking at the labor pool, and then asking: What are the alternative for these people?

          Incidentally, I had applied for a job at Wal-Mart in 1999. They gave an employment test back then, too. I didn’t get the, since I answered “no” to the questions asking whether a person could have an identity while working for a corporation.

          • Charles Platt says:

            Sorry you didn’t get through the Wal-Mart employee test–but not surprised, because you do seem to have rather a negative attitude!

            In my not-at-all prosperous part of the world, people who have a skill such as carpentry or the ability to rewire a home without burning it down routinely make twice as much as their friends at Wal-Mart. I don’t think this is a matter of intelligence. I think some people like to have a stable job with a very large, predictable, protective employer, even if the job is boring. My supervisor in the pets department had been there for more than 10 years, and was able to tell me precisely why. From his point of view, he was maximizing the positive attributes that were important to him.

  3. Charles Platt says:

    I should add that my comments above are based on a communication from the New York Post in which I was told that they received no inquiry regarding the reuse of my work or subsidiary rights to it, and received no payment either.

  4. Mike says:

    I dunno…Conversations like this always make me wonder about a guy’s background. Did you grow up around stupid people? If you grew up around poor people (as I did), you also grew up around a lot of stupid people, too. Most people at Wal-Mart and Casey’s General Store were not frustrated physicists or skilled tradesmen. They were barely-functioning morons who, in a more primitive society, would have been murdered or enslaved.

    And I’ve shopped at Wal-Mart and know the people who worked at the local Superstore. These aren’t people who could be doing much else. Sure, they’ll tell you that they “could’ve been a contender,” but having lived with and attended school with these people in K-12, I’d disagree.

    Anyhow, your points about Wal-Mart are well taken. I suspect we’ll have to agree to disagree about the capability of Wal Mart’s labor pool. (Though it is true that there are some bright people, and it is also true that Wal-Mart does a fantastic job of promoting those people.)

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