Navel Gazing: The Price of Free Food and Drink

Last night I went to the release party of Remix by Lawrence Lessig. For those not in the know, he’s a guy who’s written a lot of books and various academic dribbling about the internet, digital culture, and the like. But, he’s an academic, so I think extremely little of what he has to say. Instead, I was there to freeload on the free food and booze.
This party was put on by Stanfurd’s Law School. To be honest, I could generally give a rat’s ass about all of this, except that I went to another book release at Hotel Vitale with a massive spread that the freeloader in me was very impressed with. Given that foreknowledge, I felt that another party from the same type of people for an even bigger name would be an even bigger to-do. I wasn’t let down. They poured out great wine, beer, and mixed drinks along with an endless supply of tasty food and an excellent DJ. Sure, we had to watch a painful video that kissed Lessig’s ass to no end and then we had to listen to him read a chunk of the book as opposed to offering analysis (this ain’t a book of poetry Lawrence), but we got to stuff our faces when we weren’t being annoyed by the presentation. Overall, I’d say that the whole gig was around $10,000 and probably much, much more.
This is the part where I have to say, “This is gross.” $10,000 or $20,000 or whatever it was to promote a guy’s book solely because they have the money and they want to make sure that any other books get drowned out by doing this. I mean, if the book was really that great, this kind of party would be unnecessary. A small conference at a bookstore like the almighty Stacey’s would be more than enough and draw all the people who were actually interested in the book itself instead of a bunch of freeloaders like me and my friends.
And this is my new mission in San Francisco. I am going to descend on every ridiculous event like this with a load of Spaniards-in-training and actual Spaniards in order to drink all the drinks, eat all the food, take all the freebies, and then not buy a book or whatever they’re selling. I want this crap to end. I want the money spent on these parties to go to something else. Just about anything else would be better than aimless, wasteful promotions. But hey, while these things keep going on, I’m all over them and if they end, I’ll be thrilled to see some monetary excess channeled away from academia.
Navel Gazing: The Price of Free Food and Drink