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April 11-18, 2007

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'Battlestar Galactica'

War on freedom: Our brave defenders of humanity fight off Islamis--er, I mean, Cylons--after their colonies are destroyed.


What the Frak

By Paul Davis

BABBLE ON: America's best popular political analysis television show, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, has settled into an agonizingly long mid-season hiatus (one to last upwards of nine months), which makes this a perfect opportunity for anyone who has written the show off as merely a remake of a kitschy '70s sci-fi show the chance to catch up on what has become a refreshingly nuanced allegory for ethics, morality and politics in the post-9-11 world. Ratings remain low--perhaps due to the show's pedigree, the consistently grim tone and the show's political audacity--but there's really no equal in contemporary popular culture that offers a more trenchant look at the war on terror and its implications both here and abroad. If you can look past the fact that you'll get more insight out of a show on the Sci-Fi network than on MEET THE PRESS, you won't regret the choice.

MUZ REDUX PART 1: First off, we are pleased to announce that reports of Arthur's demise were overstated, and at the eleventh hour publisher Jay Babcock was able to resurrect the broadsheet for the new subcultural archeologist. It's been a tough few months for independent and underground publishing, what with a slew of nationwide magazines folding due to distribution issues, so this is one bright spot in an otherwise dismal period for the independent press. Not missing a beat, Arthur has relaunched its website by posting the aforementioned 12,000-word piece by Alan Moore about the history of pornography, and the print edition will reappear in early summer.

DON'T KILL ALL THE LAWYERS: A few weeks back, Muz, well, mused about the RIAA's predilection for suing old folks who have likely never navigated far from their AOL home pages for illegally filesharing music. The sad fact is that, in most cases, the folks fold and pay a reduced extortion rate to avoid the unpleasantries of going to court. Recently, however, Fresno resident Barry Merchant fought back against a frivolous lawsuit taken out against he and his wife for allegedly downloading gangsta rap tracks through file sharing--though they are described by his lawyer as "middle-aged, conservative clients." In a terse letter to the RIAA's lawyers written by the Merchants' counsel Merl Ledford III, their lawyer offers perhaps one of the most direct and compelling rebukes to the RIAA's slash-and-burn lawsuit-happy ways we've seen to date. Echoing sentiments made in these pages a few weeks back, Ledford notes, "Mr. Merchant has and had no more duty to respond to attempts to 'sell' him one of your clients' boilerplate, non-negotiable $3,750 settlements than he has to return cold calls from pushy life insurance salespeople." When we get hit up for downloading all those remixed Crazy Frog ringtones, we'll know who to call.

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