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Appropriately Greeted Easter

I didn't know any practicing Christians when I was growing up, which perhaps accounts for the fact that I'm not sure what one is supposed to say on Easter Sunday. Is it a "happy Easter" sort of thing? The resurrection, I assume, is supposed to be a happy event, so I'll stick with that. But if it's wrong, consider the holiday appropriately greeted. At the moment, my roommate for my first three years of college who I haven't seen since graduation is in town staying with me. He works on Morpheus out in Southern California, and the company is one of the parties to the MGM v. Grokster case which is going before the Supreme Court on Tuesday and where he's going to try and see the arguments. The case, as I understand it, is about whether or not the companies that make peer-to-peer file transfer software can be held liable for the fact that some of their users deploy the software in question in an illegal way. The defense argues, successfully so far, that based on the Sony v. Universal precedent, as long as the software has legitimate non-infringing uses, it's perfectly legal and only people who actually misuse it can be held liable, just as the fact that I could use my kitchen knife to kill somebody doesn't make it the knife-makers fault if I do.

Suffice it to say that I'm massively non-expert in the issues at stake here, but it's a big relief to me personally to think about this stuff and to see an old friend after the past week or so of the national Schiavo-fest. The Schiavo case has a certain amount of personal resonance for me, and not in a very pleasant way, so I've been feeling pretty shitty (though not, I supposed, depressed like this) reading, thinking, and talking about it.

At any rate, I'm certainly hoping Grokster prevails in this case. At the same time, it's sort of too bad that the issue needs to play out in this way without a discussion of the deeper issues that are at stake. Beyond the fact that P2P services do, in fact, have legal uses -- the Decemberists are using BitTorrent to distribute their new video and want fans to download it -- there's a larger issue at stake of what kinds of copyright policies the country should have. Clearly, a lot of the people on the Grokster side of this case believe that we're getting intellectual property policy in this country badly wrong, not just that the result MGM is trying to produce would be an improper implementation of existing policies. I while back I downloaded (legally, and for free) Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture and read it on my computer over the course of a couple of train rides and found it very impressive.

For now, instead of discussing the topic at hand, let me just note that the case has produced an interesting split in the conservative movement. On the side of the movie studios and record companies they normally love to hate, you can find a brief (PDF) filed by a coalition of cultural conservative groups. On the side of the property-hating file sharing companies, there's a brief (PDF) by the American Conservative Union and the National Taxpayers Union. Cultural right on one side, economic right on the other. Except Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform -- a front for corporate lobbyists that likes to masquerade as a principled libertarian outfit -- is with the content producers and the cultural conservatives. Meanwhile, thanks to the growth of large media outlets, some companies, like Sony, are basically on both sides of the case, with different trade associations they belong to filing briefs for the different parties.

March 27, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

You're supposed to shake someone's hand and say "CHRIST IS RISEN!" and hold onto their hand until they respond "CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED".

At least, that's how we always did it.

Posted by: Jaybird | Mar 27, 2005 10:45:03 AM

Happy Easter works just fine.

Posted by: Ono | Mar 27, 2005 10:49:22 AM

Cool post. I'd look forward to a discussion on IP policy in the blogosphere. It seems appropriate, anyway.

I hope the court rules for Grokster, too. I would say it'll be a hard case for the Court, since the law is not on the side of the richer party, but unfortunately, they don't seem to have much trouble getting around that sort of obstacle.

Posted by: Julie | Mar 27, 2005 11:18:45 AM

My source on the Easter greeting question is the late '40s musical movie Easter Parade, where "Happy Easter" is a theme song that runs throughout--written, of course, by a Jew (Irving Berlin). So that's the phrase I'd go with.

Posted by: Haggai | Mar 27, 2005 11:27:28 AM

A similarly interesting split came in December when the Court heard arguments about whether states can effectively prevent the interstate shipment of wine. On the one hand, you've got your prohibitionist conservatives; on the other, there's your conservative fetishization of small businessmen (the ones most hurt by the laws were small winemakers).

Arguing on the side of Bacchus?...Ken Lay.

Posted by: J.C. | Mar 27, 2005 11:34:42 AM

The appropriate use for a kitchen knife at Easter is to cut your ham although if relatives are visiting you might want to murder somebody.

Are you always this sunshiny at holiday times? Your post is refreshing proof that blogging is the anti-media.

Posted by: bullhead | Mar 27, 2005 11:42:34 AM

You do have to be a bit careful about these greetings. Someone once wished me a happy Yom Kippur.

Posted by: Bernard Yomtov | Mar 27, 2005 12:27:10 PM

I'd look forward to a discussion on IP policy in the blogosphere.

It would mostly go like this: "I want less draconian IP restrictions. My party favors more. But the other party is worse!"

Posted by: digamma | Mar 27, 2005 12:35:01 PM

I don't usually think too deeply about intellectual property issues, as it tends to take time that would be better used in downloadng.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Mar 27, 2005 1:02:15 PM


In Japan knives have, in fact, been blamed for crimes committed using them. Right now knives with blades longer than 6" can't be brought into the country, and one area registers their purchase. I've read that after an attempt to knife a prime minister, the situation was worse than that.

A href="http://www.calgary.ca.emb-japan.go.jp/english/customs/">Japanese Custons


Registration

Posted by: John Emerson | Mar 27, 2005 1:03:21 PM

http://www.calgary.ca.emb-japan.go.jp/english/customs/


http://omoroi.blogspot.com/2005/02/objects-dont-kill-people-people-kill.html

Posted by: John Emerson | Mar 27, 2005 1:05:13 PM

In the Orthodox Church the Easter Greeting In Christ is Arisen. In Greek Christos Anesti. Here is a link to a bunch of translations of the term.
http://www.monachos.net/pascha/common/paschal_greeting.shtml

Posted by: fallenmonk | Mar 27, 2005 1:28:03 PM

Izzee bak? works as an Easter greeting too

Posted by: David | Mar 27, 2005 1:31:49 PM

I can't understand you guys. You get bent outa shape over the "Merry Christmas" greating but it's OK to say "Happy Easter" to someone? Guess it must be that whole "Christ" thing in "Christmas," wheras you probably associate Easter with a long ear animal who supposedly delivers eggs...

Posted by: Jesus Freak | Mar 27, 2005 2:12:09 PM

Ah, Jesus Freak. Wrong on so many levels.

It was the religious right that got bent out of shape over "Happy Holidays," which nobody really pushed, so much as people adopted it to be ecumenical. I'm not a Christian, but I've never been offended when someone wished me a Merry Christmas. I just take it in the spirit with which it's intended--a warm holiday greeting--and wish them Merry Christmas back.

As for Easter, it's Happy Easter. But what's the proper greeting for Passover?

Posted by: Jeff Fecke | Mar 27, 2005 3:26:58 PM

Since the US has nearly fully integrated the Christian celebration of Jesus's resurrection to life from death (and some more items as faith as well), with the european paganism's spring celebration of the return of life and fertility to nature (eggs, bunnies, etc), perhaps some other greetings are appropriate as well:

- happy resurrection! (for Christians)

- happy erection! (for pagans, mostly males)

- happy sex! (for pagans, and gays/lesbians, bi's, str8s, )

- happy babymaking! for all bi's and str8s

- happy holiday! (for all)

(cross posted at Political Animal)

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Mar 27, 2005 3:40:27 PM

"You're supposed to shake someone's hand and say "CHRIST IS RISEN!" and hold onto their hand until they respond "CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED".

At least, that's how we always did it."

What church did you belong to? I haven't heard this one. We always said, "Happy Easter."

Posted by: susan | Mar 27, 2005 3:52:17 PM

In an earlier existence, I was a small town Southern white boy, and the phenomenology is happiness. As an early reader of Gibbon, it did not escape my notice that flowers, eggs and bunnies are fertility symbols incorporated from pagan sources. Nor that the Osiran cycle has resurrection (of father by son) with the intercession of a divine dove.

Posted by: Roger Bigod | Mar 27, 2005 4:29:16 PM

In an earlier existence, I was a small town Southern white boy, and the phenomenology is happiness. As an early reader of Gibbon, it did not escape my notice that flowers, eggs and bunnies are fertility symbols incorporated from pagan sources. Nor that the Osiran cycle has resurrection (of father by son) with the intercession of a divine dove.

Posted by: Roger Bigod | Mar 27, 2005 4:29:16 PM

Matt, you might be too young to know this Russian joke, dating from 1993, but you seem interested in things Russian, so here goes.

In April of that year there was a referendum intended to resolve the standoff between President Boris Yeltsin and the parliament. There were four questions on the referendum, dealing with things like "do you want early parliamentary elections," "do you want early presidential elections," and so on. I don't remember the order of the questions, but the Yeltsin regime engaged in a massive propaganda campaign to get people to vote the way they wanted, which was "da, da, net, da." It was everywhere on tv, radio, billboards: da, da, net, da.

In Russia you greet friends on Easter by saying, Christ has risen (khristos voskres), and the friend replies the same. But according to the joke, a man greets his friend, "Khristos voskres," and the friend replies, "Da da net da."

Posted by: desmoinesdem | Mar 27, 2005 5:21:07 PM

"Arguing on the side of Bacchus?...Ken Lay."

Surely you mean Ken Starr? Ken Lay is the Enron guy, not even a lawyer . . .

Posted by: rea | Mar 27, 2005 6:53:09 PM

I didn't know any practicing Christians when I was growing up,....

Have you become George Bush. Regular readers know you attend Grace Church School as a child. I'm guessing you met more than few practicing Xtians at that time.

Here it is: "I started out at the Grace Church School which, while private and quite tiny, was also a school of the old school along Episcopal lines derived from the harsh discipline of merrie olde England."

And here is their web site that YOU linked to:Grace Church School

Posted by: Jake | Mar 27, 2005 7:00:13 PM

Hey, he said 'practicing Christians'- that lets the Episcopalians out.
Speaking in jest as an ex-Anglican, I hasten to add, though it is a Church where an Archbishop (of York?) once referred to the Resurrection as a "conjuring trick with old bones".
Old joke: why do they call it the CofE? It stands for Christmas and Easter, the only time anyone actually goes to Church (and Easter is just to check out the new Spring bonnets)

Posted by: MikeN | Mar 27, 2005 7:27:18 PM

Matt,

That is such BS. I went to Brearley; everyone knows it's "Happy Easter".

Posted by: sofia | Mar 27, 2005 8:25:23 PM

"It stands for Christmas and Easter, the only time anyone actually goes to Church (and Easter is just to check out the new Spring bonnets)"


And at Christmas we get to sing beautiful carols.

Posted by: susan | Mar 27, 2005 8:42:58 PM

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