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February 23, 2012
Is Wanting to Pay for Content "Entitlement"?
Fantasy author Jim Hines takes issue with the Oatmeal comic I discussed yesterday
In a brief blog entry titled "Oatmeal, McGuire, and Entitlement", Hines relates the story of fellow author Seanan McGuire who was apparently subjected to a great deal of abuse because readers were disgruntled that the e-book version of her latest book didn't appear until two weeks after the print version.
Hines avers that he is no fan of DRM, and agrees that HBO is making a mistake with their marketing. However, he takes umbrage at what he sees as entitlement on the part of fans: that sense that they ought to be able to acquire what they want, when they want it, in the formats they desire, so long as they're willing to meet the stated price. Err, um, yeah. And no.
Hines is right - nobody is entitled to buy anything, and certainly there's no cause to attack someone who isn't even at fault for your inability to make an instantly gratifying purchase. But he's also wrong, in that entitlement, or instant gratification, is the major motivating force behind virtually all electronic commerce. The vast engines of marketing and media and expectation have been pushing for the last couple decades toward instant gratification, instant fulfillment, always-on, 24/7/365 shopping. We made of Mammon a god, and you are surprised when his thwarted worshippers rage?
People didn't just up and decide overnight that they were entitled; they have been trained into it over and over. It's not a unique attitude, it's a carefully cultivated outcome of the modern consumerist society. You may not like it but it's hardly surprising.
(h/t +Kee Hinckley for the original pointer)
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