The American WAy
Having just acquired Guitar Hero III for my son (I've yet to play it) and being a local musician for over 30 years, I read with interest the article that portrayed poor musicians not getting their piece of the pie ("Gaming Ghetto," Jan. 2).
I was actually feeling guilty for buying the game until the next day when my issue of Guitar Player magazine arrived in the mail. It had a similar story, yet this article quoted, by name, musician after musician who raved about how fun and rewarding it was for them to have worked on the game. The jobs the musicians took were no different from mowing a lawn. You do this work, you get this much money. It's your choice to take it or leave it. That's kinda the way it works here in America, or is that the inequity the writer was really trying to point out?
When do you think the last time Chevron gave money to their mini-mart employees for the "banner" year they had? I also don't recall Jimmy Page or Glen Campbell crying sour grapes when the Monkees or Billy Joe Royal had a million-selling hit using their guitar tracks in the '60s. If the writer really wants to help out starving musicians, then take on the RIAA and folks like Clear Channel who are really screwing the artists. You think it was tough getting musicians to talk bad about Guitar Hero, wait till you try to get anyone with (or hoping to have) a recording contract to talk on record about that.
I think it's time to plug in the game.
J. M. Berry
In yer head
Re "Gaming Ghetto," I'm having difficulty having sympathy for a group that can't even figure out what their time is actually worth. "Sweatshop" implies slave labor, which is not the case here as these musicians were free to do the work or not. Nice effort creating a problem where there is none.
The workers got the pay they negotiated for. Not the pay offered to overseas musicians who don't exist. Should companies work toward zero profit, dividing up all the money made off of projects to their employees? If a black van kidnaps musicians for forced labor, then I'll lend an ear. Until then you might want to focus on reality instead of the high-tech "sweatshops" that exist only in your head.
Just Glad to Have a Bloody Job
In "Gaming Ghetto," you forgot one very important issue regarding the "sweatshop" laborers: supply and demand.
Not only are we as creative types pressured from overseas competition, but also right here at home. "Media Arts" schools like Expression and Full Sail are churning out far more entry-level media arts grads than ever before. Are there real jobs for all these grads? Of course not.
So for the few of us lucky enough to actually have a job in the video-game profession, you'd better bet your ass that I'm not jeopardizing my job. Considering that there are probably a thousand qualified artists ready to take my job if I leave, the idea of asking for better pay, fewer hours (60-plus per week) or royalties (ha ha ha!) is pretty absurd.
A Musical Sweatshop Worker
While the efforts to bring green awareness to the North Bay are highly commended, it would be nice to have satisfaction in personal efforts to follow up on the information given (Green Zone, "Green Housekeeping," Jan. 2). It could be my lack of computer illiteracy, Luddite that I pretend to be, yet I could not access www.recyclenow.org through either google or yahoo. I have also discovered that the www.sonomacompost.com site only accepts organic compost. While I try to buy organic as much as I can afford, not all foodstuffs are available or affordable in organic form. I also wonder how the company itself validates the organicness of its received garbage. Is their a certification program for used vegetables?
Ikes! Editing Error Alert! We apologize. Recyclenow is a dot-com, not a dot-org.
Regarding the organic purity of one's compostable trash, we just say thanks Mister Mushroom. Gianna de Persiis Vona is looking into that for an upcoming Green Zone column.