Weekly Wide Web

Mr. Editor, Tear Down This Paywall!

As I'm writing this, the last minutes of totally free online browsing of The New York Times are ticking away, and already, the outrage over the idea of paying for the 21st article is growing online.

It might seem counter-intuitive for people who create content for a living to complain when others try to find a way to get paid for their work—yet people complain nonetheless.

Cory Doctorow of popular blog Boing Boing has a deep anti-paywall sentiment. Doctorow seemingly belongs to the "everything desires to be free" school, but his predictions on why the paywall will fail start at strange and work their way to simply absurd.

His concerns include: What if you can't remember how many links you've followed to The New York Times? What if you're following those shortened links that are so popular, and you go to the same article twice? What if people start cheating the system, and the Times does something to fight back, and that hurts innocent victims? Perhaps what is strangest is Doctorow's outrage that the Times might upset someone in the link-sharing business—like himself—in an attempt to pay people to write stuff for The New York Times.

How dare they!

Considering The New York Times couldn't pull off a functioning paywall once before, it may not work this time, either, but I'm sort of cheering for them to pull it off—just to stick it to Doctorow and his ilk.


We followed the ongoing investigation into whether the Glendale Elementary School District was loaded with Hispanic kids who dreamed of being gang members and hated America, after Republican lawmaker Lori Klein read a racist letter on the state Senate floor; noted that U.S. Sen. McCain sure seemed chummy with Libya's Moammar Gadhafi a couple of years ago; were saddened to see Congressman Jeff Flake abandon reasonable immigration-reform ideas to placate conservatives as part of his U.S. Senate run; and hosted a mini-dorm mini-debate between Tucson City Council members Steve Kozachik and Karin Uhlich.

We brought you other dispatches from the Arizona Legislature, including an alert about the proposed flat tax that would complicate your tax return and raise taxes on nearly nine out of 10 households in Arizona; highlighted the damage that the GOP budget passed by the Senate might do; and offered details about the latest threats to state parks.

We brought you photos from the fabulous Festival en el Barrio Viejo; celebrated the Wildcats win over Duke and bemoaned the loss to UConn; showed you pictures from the spring training benefit game between the D'Backs and the Dodgers; let you know that Charlie Spillar is still working on creating the Cactus Drive-In movie theater; and highlighted the paintings of Chris Broduer, whose work is on display at Stone Dragon Studio.

We alerted you to an upcoming appearance of the Blue Man Group; and interviewed Fish Karma about his new rock opera, which just debuted at the Fringe Festival. We told you about the app that can erase the last 24 embarrassing hours of your life; celebrated NBC's wise renewal of Parks and Recreation; shared a streaming link to the new Strokes album; noted the passing of Elizabeth Taylor; and enjoyed a little video sex with Planned Parenthood.


"You have to admit it's a nice world, what with all the unicorns and donut trees."

Two-time commenter of the week Erica Lira reflects on a world without the intrusion of college basketball ("Festival en el Barrio Viejo Update: Now With More Basketball!" The Range, March 25).


Like many other Tucsonans, we were at the Festival en el Barrio Viejo on Saturday, March 26, enjoying the music, the incredibly nice day and the collection of local-food vendors. Considering the fine performances by Calexico, local legend Al Perry, the Baseball Project and a ton of other great bands, if you missed the festival, you probably should reconsider the decisions you're making life-wise—but we did capture performances by Pueblo High School's Mariachi Aztlan and local girl group R&B revivalists Kiss and the Tells for you to watch. Also, we have a photo slideshow from the event, featuring the work of Josh Morgan and Keith Hickman-Perfetti.

Learn from your mistake, and be there next year.

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