On the flight over from Fresno to SLC I read the July issue of “Atlantic Monthly” cover to cover. The masthead article was a serious deconstruction by former Obama/Clinton staffer, Marie-Anne Slaughterhouse, of whether women in this and eras to come can ever manage to successfully fulfill whatever goals of self and family realization with the given issues of biological imperatives that seem not to inhibit men in professional career advancement and achievement. As I drove to check out the Madeleine, Ms. Slaughterhouse happened to be being interviewed on NPR, as a happy coincidence. But, of course, neither in the essay nor the interview did the question of what is meant by “having it all.” But actually, I digress.
The current issue is also the annual “Ideas” fest, where the “Atlantic” culls and publishes their little social Nostradamus predictions as the “next, big or important idea.” This one, by someone named Elizabeth Burletz caught my attention.
Of the Founders’ genius ideas, few trump intellectual-property rights. At a time when Barbary pirates still concerned them, the Framers penned an intellectual-property clause—the world’s first constitutional protection for copyrights and patents. In so doing, they spawned Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Motown, and so on. Today, we foolishly flirt with undoing that. In a future where all art is free (the future as pined for by Internet pirates and Creative Commons zealots), books, songs, and films would still get made. But with nobody paying for them, they’d be terrible. Only people who do lousy work do it for free.
Only people who do lousy work do it for free.
I worked the registration tables today. I saw a parade of saints with smiles that one day might be depicted on some future cathedral tableau as is the Litany at Our Lady of the Angels in L.A. I saw the new generations of torch-bearers for the restoration of rites that are by nature and by nurture sacred, sacramental and that have tangible and everlasting benefit to humankind when shared and then brought out to the world in missio
Does Elizabeth Burletz know Jeffrey Tucker? Is she aware that among his accomplishments thus far lies an extensive body of study and education to students that lays bare the nakedness of her cavalier assertion about creative commons and its proponents? Didn’t think so. Can she see passed the reading glasses on the end of her nose to recognize that prior to this nation’s founding, the economy of thought was governed by its owner, not the government? Those folks comprise another litany: Palestrina, Bach, Monteverdi, Mozart, Beethoven and so on until nationality and division of wealth became political footholds. This earlier list of people didn’t work for free, far from it. But they capitalized upon their genius by their choice, theirs alone eventually.
So here we are, all together as we sing our songs….and her faint words of prejudice and rank dismissal wouldn’t earn her a passing grade in an Ethics 101 course, and we’re in the midst of not only working folk who’re talented, but they’re also geniuses. But even that is not what makes the women and men (indistinguishable before Christ’s judgment) of the calibre of Arlene Oozt-Zinner, William Mahrt, Richard Rice, Kathleen Pluth, Jeffrey Tucker, Richard Clark, Paul Ford, Aristotle Esquerra, and literally countless other folk who have realized that the medium, download or hard copy, is NOT tantamount to the message.
And back to having it all? I enjoyed Ms. Slaughterhouses’ POV’s. But whether she’s reached the ceiling in academia, politics, business while nobly efforting to tend to what calls her home to child-rearing and companionship with her husband, pales by comparison to what we will see this week in the conjoining of heavenly hosts and a people on fire who took Jesus at His word to live life, and to the fullest, through our rituals and the arts that adorn them. Thus endeth this opinion piece and “new idea.”