Saturday, October 21, 2006

Reeducation Camps

Every good Cold War film or TV show had a scene set in a re-education camp. The one in Red Dawn was a drive-in movie theater, fenced in by barbed wire and with propaganda going non-stop on the big screen. Did the 1987 TV mini-series Amerika have one? I can't remember, but the thing was like 14 hours long, so I'll say it did and hope the percentages are right.

Why am I bringing this up today? Because Boy Scouts in the LA area can now get a merit badge if they study the evils of copyright piracy.

Officials with the local Boy Scouts and the Motion Picture Assn. of America on Friday unveiled the Respect Copyrights Activity Patch — emblazoned with a large circle "C" copyright sign along with a film reel and musical notes.

The 52,000 Scouts who are eligible may earn the patch by participating in a curriculum produced by the MPAA. To earn the badge, Scouts must participate in several activities including creating a video public-service announcement and visiting a video-sharing website to identify which materials are copyrighted. They may also watch a movie and discuss how people behind the scenes would be harmed if the film were pirated.

I'm all for badges for starting a fire with two sticks and skinning a rabbit and cooking its meat. These are the sorts of skills that allowed Patrick Swayze and a small group of high school football players to repel a well-equipped Cuban-Russian invasion force. "The invading armies planned for everything," the poster for Red Dan reads, "except for eight kids called 'The Wolverines.'" Yes.

But a badge honoring copyright protections? Why not just fly these kids to Iraq and have them surrender immediately to the Islamofascists?

"I think it's really good to get the message out that it's bad," said Redondo Beach Scout Rickie Farmbanger, 13. "You can see your friends doing it and tell them why it's bad. I think if you're a role model, you can stop people."

Rickie Farmbanger, I played with your name a little, but one truth remains: You are not going to have an easy time in high school. Why not take baby-steps. Go online and download Red Dawn.


Kevin McMahan said...


I heard that same thing about the merit badges for learning how to stop movie pirating. I thought it seemed strange too...

Thanks for the heads-up on "Red Dawn." I plan on checking it out...

Take Care,

Richard said...

I think a lot of miniature fascists might miss the point and not police themselves, but start calling the copyright police on their friends, and even their parents. I can hear the barbed wire being stretched around the drive-in as these words are being typed…

The Author said...

Kevin -- you're in for a treat if you've never seen Red Dawn. Enjoy it.

Richard -- you're absolutely right. It's always that way, isn't it?