When a piece of legislation so serious it has the potential to undermine free expression as we know it comes to the forefront, you can count on the Internet to make fun of it.
And so Wednesday, as Wikipedia, Reddit and others went black in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (scheduled, along with the Protect IP Act, for voting in Congress Jan. 24), web users did what web users do: They made a joke out of it.
#FactsWithoutWikipedia began trending almost immediately, as Tweeters offered up their own free (mis)information to fill the void left by the protesting free encyclopedia. Favorites of these include:
"Rebecca Black, Jacob Black and Sirius Black are relatives." (via @TheHogwartians)
"the text in any issue of SkyMall can be rearranged to form an exact copy of the King James Bible" (via @zefrank)
"In 1983 Sweden changed the colours of their flag to Blue and Yellow after the phenomenal success of the IKEA brand." (via @davidgate)
and our favorite,
"The GOP 2012 field is full of competent, rational candidates for President." (via @dmataconis)
And at least one Twitter user, @herpderpedia, amused the rest of the more-informed endlessly by exclusively retweeting people who were outraged at the Wikipedia blackout and had either no understanding or no regard for its political implications. Best of those (all [sic], it should go without saying):
"What does Wikipedia have against SOAP?" (via @daRealTimPorter)
"this new internet ban bullshit is going to shut down wikipedia and craigslist WTIF??!!!! FUCK YOU OBAMA!!!!!!" (via @lushi_dia)
"WTF!!!!!!!!!!!! Wikipedia and this blackout!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I have to read this shit in another language!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (via @LoveRhonda)
and the ultimate,
"RIP wikipedia you had a lot of words about buttholes and now the government deletes you" (via @cyberbully42069, whose handle alone betrays his insightfulness.)
Tell us: Are you protesting SOPA today? Do you know what it is? Do you care?