Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lessig on Colbert

Perhaps the only thing more daunting than squaring off in front of the United States Supreme Court is having to go head-to-head with Stephen Colbert on his television talk show. Lawrence Lessig handles things beautifully in discussing his latest book, Remix: Making Art & Culture Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (Penguin, 2008). Bravo, Professor Lessig.

Be sure to check out Lessig's Blog for some creative remixes of the segment.

P.S. Happy 2009, y'all!


Anonymous said...

Colbert is a comedian. The Colbert Report is a comedy show. Lessig missed this point. He relentlessly pushed his book, failing to realize that his book was not the focus here. The comedy is first; book second. He had practically zero sense of humor. He missed the entire point.

Ted Striphas said...

I'd disagree completely. Lessig's purpose on the show was precisely to pitch his book in 5 minutes or less and not to be a comedian. The latter is Colbert's job, period, and practically every author who tries to outshine him goes down in flames. And besides: in any good comedy troupe, doesn't someone need to play the "straight man?"

Anonymous said...

Hey Ted, its the anonymous Greg Elmer here. Lessig did get frustrated don't you think? You're right, it's not Lessig's job to crack jokes, but he also should expect Colbert's faux right wing jokes. So, I think your previous "anonymous" has a point. Lessig was irritated, but at what? At Colbert's predictable political parody/humour?

Ted Striphas said...

Hi Greg,

My sense was that Lessig was more nervous than frustrated (hence the left leg tapping as Colbert takes his seat), but I see your point. In having reviewed the clip, I do think Lessig might have conveyed his position on copyright and shared ownership better--and perhaps with better humor. That said, I take his earnestness about a war on (file-sharing) kids to be deeply felt. Perhaps Colbert isn't the right forum in which to express that level of sincerity.

Thanks for the comment, Greg, and I hope you're doing well.