Change V2 at SXSW Interactive: Lessig IRL vs. The Political Machine
Like every other happening, no matter how minute at SXSW, the Lessig talk was documented like nobody's business. L.A.Times writer David Sarno got into the twitgeist so hard that he structured his entire coverage on how many people where using their experience as a form of status update, culminating in the almost fatalistic comment: "All that's left to do is make a meta-comment on all the commenting."
The best thing about Lawrence Lessig is that he has the ability to explain to the most unaquainted audience members the poignacy of the very complex subjects he attempts to deconstruct; he presents his material in away that someone who enters the room having no experience with the subject (like me and politics for example) matter that Lessig presents end up leaving the panel with more than just a cursory knowledge.
The talk he gave at USC four years ago was on Intellectual Property and had the honor of introducing me to the Internet, and now that Lessig has had some success with Creative Commons, he's ready to take his philospohy of actionable change to the next level and launch Change Congress. With some of the most effective powerpoint and presentation skills I've ever seen at a panel, Lessig argued for a donor strike with the eventual objective of establishing publicly funded elections so that people would begin to regain trust in the government and the democratic process.
Lessig is currently concerned with "king cash" where the desire for money (in the case of lobbyist contributions) has taken precedence over the desire to do a good job. The mechanics of campaign funding was never the sexiest subject, but when the talk finished I had achieved real clarity on the subject and a definite curiosity to learn more - the same curiosity that inspired me to become an Internet/tech journalist. Not wanting to let the opportunity go, I introduced myself to Lessig and let him know (personally, not through an e-mail, a tweet, a text, or even a phone call) that he had deeply affected my life and I wanted to give him the most humble of podiums, this blog post, to affect the lives of those not fortunate enough to hear this talk. He used his 140 characters to implore politicians to "worry about voters, not funders." Simply put, by one of the world's most expert communicators.
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