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Day 3, Entry #3 with David Allen discussing the Daniel Moore controversy with the University of Alabama.
Living in Tuscaloosa, I feel that I’m well and truly part of something larger than myself. No matter how far I may be from Bryant-Denny, I have a hand in every victory. Alabama is my team, and they are the team of every crimson-clad, beer-swizzling compatriot I see on our blessed game days.
Facepaint, homemade signs and, sure, even that malformed Saban portrait by the McFarland ABC Store are a part of our culture, our heritage and tradition. But UA disagrees, and their treatment of Daniel Moore puts it in no uncertain terms: this is their team, nor ours. Be wary lest you purchase an unlicensed product.
I love Alabama football. I don’t want to feel that our team is a commodity. I want to print and wear my own Crimson Tide Jerseys, or buy them off Joe Casual at the gas station, not purchase them from Nike. I want to support Alabama, dammit, not a conglomerate.
What does U.A. stand to gain by strangling Moore’s freedom? Symbolically, Moore’s paintings do nothing less than celebrate and glamorize Alabama Football–hardly a bad thing.
UA’s motive is one driven entirely by profit, and a very marginal increase in profit, at that: Daniel Moore is one man, not a major corporation. How slight could this possibly enhance their gain–could it possibly be enough to justify the complete eradication of a man’s living?
Let’s be clear. Daniel Moore is not DaVinci. He paints for a living, not for the sake of painting. Ultimately, this is not a question of artistic freedom, but of liberty in entrepreneurship. Framed as a question of artistic freedom, suppose I painted nude pictures of Paul Bryant and uploaded them to the Internet. What could UA, logistically, do? Cut off my hands? Delete the Internet?
U.A. has no power to limit artistic freedom. It does, however, have the ability to make an ass of itself, and to make clear its priorities: boatloads of cash, and nothing more.