Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo

The conservative news organization Newsmax published an article on their website yesterday, in which one of their regular columnists, John L. Perry, advocates a military coup to solve “the Obama problem.”

I wish I was kidding.

They have since taken the article down, but other sites grabbed copies of the column, so you can still read the full text.

I knew that the far right would lose their fucking minds when they lost the election. I remember the Clinton years, when they tried to subvert the will of the electorate with impeachment and behaved as if they lived in enemy-occupied territory… and that was during a *great* economy. Add economic instability to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for assassination and coup attempts.

To the libertarian/economic/intellectual conservatives reading this — this is what happens when you don’t disavow the fringe elements. You people need to start shouting, NOW. You need to email Beck, call Limbaugh on-air, and flood the inboxes and voicemail of conservative media commentators and politicians, voicing your outright objection and horror at this sort of thing. You need take your party back from the nutjobs, before they throw this country into another Civil War.

Because, believe me — that’s what will happen if they carry out their little masturbatory fantasies. If the line is crossed into coup and assassination, there will be reprisals — because you can no longer ‘debate’ with people who are willing to foment a coup. The political divide in this country will become a *real* Culture War — which is exactly what these crazies want.

…and they’ll get it. So stop them now. I’m begging you.

New Product, Old Retail

A few folks have asked what I think of the recently announced Catalyst RED program (where Catalyst games makes their PDFs available through games retail shops), so rather than answer a bunch of emails and tweets the same way, I figured I’d sum up here:

I wish them success, but I suspect that the program won’t grow much past the Alpha Test stores.

After literally YEARS of beating my head against that particular wall in conversations and seminars at the GAMA Trade Show, talking with the best and brightest in the retail field for this industry, I’ve come to the conclusion that, as a rule (with the usual exceptions), games retailers don’t want PDFs.

They don’t want them affecting their bottom line (which is the common complaint — PDFs are “stealing their business”) — but, strangely, they don’t really want to SELL them either. Too different from their current model, too much of a hassle to implement, too much of a change in approach, whatever — they’re just not interested.

The Alpha Test stores for Catalyst’s program are members of the Exception category to that, of course — just like the one or two retailers that I’d find every year at GTS who were willing to consider it. Which is why I suspect that the program will not expand much beyond those stores, and why I think that similar attempts to include games retailers into the electronic-delivery supply chain are not worth pursuing.

To put it another way: Apple isn’t trying to figure out how to sell iPhone apps in electronics stores, and Netflix isn’t spending time working out a way to cut Video Stores in on the internet streaming of films.

New Product doesn’t fit into Old Retail, and it’s a waste of time and energy trying to make it do so.

I still think the best way to approach this is Apple’s iTunes model. They know that people are moving from CDs to mp3s, but that it’s not anywhere near total yet. So they offer iTunes Gift Cards, sold at stores that offer CDs. This is a product that Old Retail can sell (which makes them happy), but which brings the customer to the iTunes store online, and gives them their first experience with downloaded product. When they come back for more (which most will), those sales are all Apple’s. The cards are sold, essentially, to move customers online.

THAT is what OneBookShelf, the largest PDF vending company, should be doing, in my opinion. Offering Gift Cards through distribution. Yes, they’ll end up eating costs, and will end up paying out more earnings to publishers than they made on the discounted-for-distribution Gift Cards. But those costs are directly creating new customers, which makes the entire Gift Card program a marketing expense for future sales from those new customers.

Not exactly Rocket Science. And yet…..

Friday Music

Hey there.

A bunch of us went out for drinks with China MiĆ©ville last night, and the conversation ranged over a wide array of subjects. At one point, China was talking about Grime, the current Next Big Thing raging in London, so I figured I’d post some examples.

For those unfamiliar, Grime is a UK-specific brand of hip-hop that comes into the genre through electronic music (specifically Garage) and Caribbean Dancehall, rather than the US path of Soul and Funk.

Two artists specifically mentioned by China:

Wiley – “Wearing My Rolex.”


Dizzee Rascal – “Dance Wiv Me”

The track that I mentioned (which I’ve posted here before):

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – “Thou Shalt Always Kill.”

Moving on–

One of my favorite bands of my high school years, Echo & The Bunnymen, have a new album, The Fountain coming out in October. This is the first single, releasing next week. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it yet. On the one hand, it definitely has the unique Echo sound, but on the other hand, Ian McCulloch’s vocal sounds… I don’t know. Like maybe he’s trying too hard? I’m not sure. Echo & The Bunnymen – “I Think I Need It Too.”

I’ve been playing the hell out of the new Muse album. I’ve already shared my favorite track (“United States of Eurasia”) and my second-favorite (the current single, “Uprising.”). This is my third. Muse – “Unnatural Selection.” I cannot get over how good this album is.

Lastly, a track from 2002 which is still one of my favorites — propelled forward by a great vocal from Kelis paired with a Theremin sample from “The Day The Earth Stood Still”: Timo Maas – “Help Me (feat. Kelis).”

There you go, kids. Enjoy.