Singing in a dialect and "Authentic pronunciation" (UNCLASSIFIED)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 19 01:11:16 UTC 2010

On Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 4:30 PM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
> There are so many levels of sociocultural weirdness involved in this
> question that it's hard to disntangle them.
> Let's suppose I'm a twentysomething white guy who's trained himself to wail
> like Muddy Waters. Â Not even an oscilloscope can tell our recordings apart!
> Is it weird if
> 1. I secure performance rights to Muddy's _oeuvres_ and make millions more
> than he ever did because so many people want to hear me for whatever reason=
> ?
> 2. I preface all my performances by saying that Muddy was one of the
> all-time great talents in American music and I'm nothing but an imitator,
> and I still make a fortune?
> 3. I start writing my own original songs and perform them with my Muddy
> voice and guitar style? (Needless to say, I grow richer.)
> Is there anything unethical about any of these practices? Â Anything just
> weird? Â What if instead of making millions I'm pretty much ignored? Am I
> bad? Â Or am I "baaaaaaaaaad"?
> What would Socrates say? Â Jesus? Â Muddy Waters? Â Muddy's heirs, who are
> getting a cut of my profits?
> A puzzlement.
 A similar problem has come up elsewhere. An amateur used-book dealer
tells of using library barcoding plus Web-based cataloging information
to determine the rarity and, thence, the probable selling-price, of
books that he cops at yard sales and such, before he puts them up for
sale on eBay. That way, he never makes a mistake, such as the guy did
who let me cop a $500 Tiffany bracelet for a mere $80.

He wonders, given that what he's doing is perfectly legal, why it is
that, nevertheless, he feels not so fresh... down there.

Even here on ADS, someone wrote of saving a buck by waiting until HDAS
had been remaindered.

I myself have saved a bundle on such books as the micro-editions of
the OED merely by joining, then quitting, the right book club at the
right time.

Widener Library's collection would be larger, were it not for the fact
that, for a long time, the fee for a lost book was a mere thirty
bucks. Of course, if you had to pay that for a lost 50-cent pamphlet,
you were screwed. But what if you reported a $350 tome as "lost,"
thereby "buying" it for less than 10% of its bookstore price? In a
case like that, paying thirty bucks is only trivially distinct from
outright theft.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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