This is incredible:
An American author and broadcaster claims Canadian border officials questioned her about whether she would discuss the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games at a speaking engagement Wednesday evening in Vancouver.
They began to search her notes and computers and those of her two colleagues, Ms. Goodman alleged. They then photographed the journalist and gave her a stipulation to leave the country by Friday night. They were delayed over an hour.
Now, there are two explanations for this. One, is that free speech no longer exists in Canada, which is news to me. I can't imagine even the most zealous border official was really trying *in principle* to restrict Ms Goodman's general right to talk about anything.
The other possibility, seems much more likely: that this was another epiphenomenon of the Olympic trademark insanity, whereby ordinary words are suddenly forbidden to lesser mortals - unless they pay.
In other words, it is precisely the privatisation of language that is used as an analogy for the patenting of algorithms - something so manifestly absurd, that no one would ever do it. Except that in the case of anything touching the Holy Olympics, we are already there.
If it's got to the point where border officials are checking people for "prohibited Olympic words" that they may be about to use without permission, perhaps it's time to call a halt to this corporatisation of language by abolishing the Olympics in their present, hypertrophied form. How about going back to basics: a competition in Olympia, for amateurs, with none of the commercial superstructure that has accrued: just pure sport?
Too much to ask? Yes, probably, until the widespread assumption that intellectual monopolies like copyright, patents and trademarks are in some sense *good* for us, despite all evidence to the contrary, is preceived to be the con-trick it really is.
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27 November 2009
This is incredible: