The Null Device


The Presidential campaign of the US liberal blogosphere's favourite tool of the lesser evil, Howard Dean, has now spawned its own MP3 mashups. Mind you, following an apparent setback in Dean's campaign, they seem to be more the work of jeering right-wingers (anti-idiotarian fisker/retro-kitsch connoisseur Lileks seems to have started the meme) than zealous cheerleaders of the Dean revolution.

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It looks like there have been some interesting films at this year's Sundance:

The provocative CSA: The Confederate States of America is an odd hybrid, a sci-fi mockumentary that poses as a BBC (renamed BBS) production from an alternate universe. Film-maker Kevin Willmott takes a simple, daring conceit and pushes it to the max.
The idea? The north lost the civil war, the south won - simple. Framed as television programming, with fictional commercials and newscasts alternating with the BBS history programme, CSA sucker-punches its audiences with poisonous hilarity. Take the shot of the first astronaut on the moon, for instance, planting the Confederate flag. Or the story of Abraham Lincoln trying to escape to Canada with the help of Harriet Tubman, founder of the underground railroad. Besides Willmott's brilliant history lessons, his film's pleasures also derive from the spot-on parodies of documentary form and television marketing. Slave-shopping network, anyone?

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In the US, Microsoft are suing a student named Mike Rowe for running an outfit called MikeRoweSoft (find the URL yourself; every angry penguin has linked to it); however, here in Australia, a pillow-maker is using the trademark "Microsoft", and there's not a thing Darth Gates' minions can do about it, as it's quite legal under Australian trademark law.

"Accordingly, I cannot accept the opponent's assertion that purchasers would be confused or deceived as to the origin of the two marks in question. The two sets of goods of interest to both parties are most certainly not, in my opinion, goods of the same description. I cannot agree that the opponent's undoubted reputation for computers and the like extends to the materials which are the subject of the present application."

Though I wonder whether this state of affairs would survive a US-Australian Free Trade Agreement.

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