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Toobin on Google in the New Yorker

Readers of this list may have seen the article by Jeffrey Toobin in the current issue of The New Yorker on Google's Book Search program. There is no new information in it, but the piece is accompanied by two delicious cartoons. Were these cartoons chosen to comment on the topic of the article or is their placement random?

The first cartoon has Death seated on a tiny, isolated island. Death sits in the sun, while all around him (her?) are the fragments of the shading palm tree he has cut down. A wry comment on Google, which is attacking the intellectual property industries that make its services valuable? Or a comment on the publishers who are suing Google? Or perhaps simply a broader comment on those whose very character damages their own interests.

The second cartoon shows someone stopped by a traffic cop. The officer requests not the license and registration but a "head shot" and registration. Head shot? Snippet? Or simply a satire of the encroachments of the PR industry into the commonplaces of American life?

If you skip the article, enjoy the cartoons.

Joe Esposito