Derek Khanna Tweets “Don’t Read Gatsby”

When it comes to new ideas about copyright, Derek Khanna is a very good looking person. In fact I’m reasonably sure this particular tweet was actually composed by his perfect hair. For the uninitiated, Khanna is the new poster boy for conservatives against artists’ rights, a career he effectively created for himself when he wrote a thoroughly uninformed memo for the RSC (Republican Study Committee) on revising copyright.  The memo was retracted and Khanna was fired from his position, but I suspect that was the plan.  After all, the memo was his public application to the Holy Anti-Copyright Empire, and he’s been on the lecture/article-writing circuit ever since.  Also, he was voted one of DC’s best looking young republicans or some damn thing, so I’m not kidding about the poster boy reference.

Anyway, in case any readers were concerned that vapid and cute were on the wane in America, you need look no further than this tweet by Khanna suggesting a follower NOT read The Great Gatsby because it is not yet in the public domain in the U.S.  Yeah, it’s one of those things that are so stupid they defy comment.  I suppose I shouldn’t pick on Derek. After all, Fitzgerald wrote in this hard-to-find novel that yearns to be freed of its legal shackles that “Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.”  I guess I just don’t have infinite patience.

As for Khanna’s response to the follower’s question, I welcome any and all interpretations of what it might possibly mean.

Khanna Gatsby


© 2013, David Newhoff. All rights reserved.

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  • Heh heh. “Still Don’t Read”

    Here’s my interpretation:

    In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon!”

    • David Newhoff

      Funny. Is he really saying reading literature is an act of rebellion, so don’t do it? It’s one of those statements that creates an interference pattern in my head. Just as a response forms to the premise, one is socked with a conclusion that causes temporary aphasia.

      • I also feel that interference pattern blurring my reading comprehension when I try to process that tweet. Obviously, something is being lost in the translation. The syntax–let’s say ‘creative’ grammar–is a little confusing to say the least.

        No matter how I try to correct it, another part becomes fuddled.

        Perhaps, “in a time of mass conformity… — [NOT] reading becomes an act of rebellion” is what he meant? But that’s a bit anti-intellectual… actually, coming from a libertarian, that does make sense.

        You know what, I see it now. It’s nothing more than vapid “takeaway talk.” He jams rebellion into the tweet because that’s ‘kewl.’ He conflates mass conformity with reality TV, which for the life of me is a line of reasoning I cannot follow. I don’t watch much reality TV, but what does it have to do with mass conformity? He sounds like a machine that knows which words people like to hear, but has no idea how to string them together in a way that communicates thought coherently.

        I will assume he meant to say that not reading The Great Gatsby because it isn’t yet in the public domain would be an act of rebellion*, by some tortured stretch of the imagination.

        That being said, I always always always take my advice on when and how to rebel from sheltered, well-to-do white guys with ties to the Republican Party. That’s a no-brainer, right? And I always heed warnings against conformity when they come from a guy in a business suit.

        * Well, I suppose it would be someone’s definition of rebellion, maybe not mine or anybody else paying attention to the real rebellions transpiring all over the world right now.

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  • “As for Khanna’s response to the follower’s question, I welcome any and all interpretations of what it might possibly mean.”
    I doubt even Khanna himself even knows what he means half the time, including this abortion of a coherent thought.
    In fact, going from his track record of statements, i would be very surprised if he can tie his own shoes without help.

  • I’m going to read my copy and skip the movie. A great book, and one that says a lot about our current times, probably not the things Khanna wants to hear.

    And frankly, what’s wrong with Fitzgerald’s descendants owning his work? Unless Khanna has a problem with inherited wealth in general, which would probably upset his republican friends…

  • As a conservative I’m glad Khanna was fired. There are many of us who are diligently fighting to protect our copyrights. I know of NO right wing movement to change the laws. We are all in this fight together.

    • David Newhoff

      Thanks for commenting. I believe preserving copyright is fundamentally bipartisan, although it will be my fellow dems who threaten it first without realizing what they’re doing. Still, folks like Jerry Brito and Tom Bell do position themselves as conservative academics arguing to roll back copyright to 1789, etc.

  • I figured it out!

    It’s an [poor] attempt to be right no matter which side you fall on.
    Kinda like saying “I’m for martians invading and enslaving the human race, but we do need to build up our martian defense system.”

    • David Newhoff

      I think you’re onto something. It fits Mr. Khanna’s transparent opportunism. He may quickly prove to be a liability for any cause he joins.

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