Readers often send me news items that they think I should blog about.
Serious newshounds like Allan and James often send stories I haven't heard about, or interesting takes on a story I've already seen. Most emails, though, come after I've heard about the story myself, but they show me what people are interested in, or how they view this blog, so they're always valuable. Plus, it's fun to receive email from readers and to know people are thinking of wmtc.
Two stories that I didn't blog about - and wasn't going to blog about - are being emailed to me by so many readers that I finally must acknowledge the outcry.
The first is the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) trademarking phrases from "O Canada". If you haven't heard, VANOC has trademarked the lines "With glowing hearts" and "Des plus brillants exploits" to use for merchandising and promo material for the 2010 winter Olympics. Pretty outrageous, and depressing.
However, this BoingBoing story, where many people appear to have heard about this, says that the trademark was taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). I don't think that's correct.
Olympic Organizing Committees are companies formed in the host city to put on the games. After the Olympics are over, they wrap up business and dissolve. The IOC is the international governing body of the entire Olympics. To my knowledge, they're separate entities. Organizing committees sign complicated contracts with the IOC listing all their rights and obligations, but the IOC isn't involved in the daily goings-on of organizing committees.
I certainly agree with Cory Doctorow's assessment of the IOC as "a corrupt, bullying, greedy, hypocritical organization", but I don't think they're the ones behind this.
The trademarking itself is certainly an example of the increasing privatization and commercialism of our entire world. "O Canada" is in the public domain. We all own it. No one should be able to legally own it - or any part of it - for profit, or sue anyone else for using it.
I'd love to see a campaign where millions of Canadians would use "with glowing hearts" and "des plus brillants exploits" on homemade t-shirts and signs, daring VANOC to sue vast numbers of us for using our own national anthem. I'm not going to organize it, but I'd gladly join.
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For the second story, the number of emails I've received far outstrips any previous send.* I wish I had been counting how many emails I've gotten about this, but I don't save every email and I lost count.
All I can say is: Yes, I do know that when Sarah Palin was mayor of the town of Wasilla, Alaska, rape survivors were billed for the cost of hospital rape kits and forensic exams.
That is very bad.
I didn't blog about it for many reasons.
- I'm not blogging about the US election campaign. The elections are fixed and I want nothing to do with legitimizing any of it on any level.
- When a blogger criticizes the Republicans, it's usually assumed she's a Democrat, and I'm just totally sick of explaining that I'm not.
- Rape survivors have a huge amount of crap to deal with, and I don't know that this is the worst of it in the US. In New York State, I was involved in the fight to mandate that all rape survivors be offered emergency contraception in all hospitals. That battle took at least three years; I don't know how long it was going on before I heard about it, so possibly much longer than that. And that was in New York, considered a progressive state! (Although that perception is not always accurate.)
- I have a huge list of topics to blog about and can never get to them all.
- The story was covered extensively - it was covered beyond extensively, it was everywhere - and I didn't feel I had anything to add except "this is bad".
But, dear readers, you have worn me down. Now I've blogged about it by telling you why I didn't blog about it.
* Probably not a fair assessment, because wmtc readership continues to grow.