Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reading Dangerously

So did you try to look something up on Wikipedia yesterday? What about postsecret? How about trying to read something on Reddit or Something Awful?

Couldn't see it?

Annoying huh?

Still have NO IDEA what I'm talking about?

Imagine you own a restaurant. You decide to serve macaroni and cheese among many other things. Well one day Kraft decides your mac and cheese is actually Kraft Dinner. Now they don't investigate, they don't verify whether or not you're actually passing off KD as your own and they don't even ask you to remove the offending menu item. Instead, they just have your restaurant shut down. Your windows are shuttered and everything you've worked for is gone. Yeah, that's SOPA/PIPA in a nutshell. Except with the internet. 

My husband very honestly told me yesterday he found me talking about internet politics and quoting bills (if you're Canadian have a look at Bill C-11, our own version of SOPA) kind of sexy. He also admitted that he had no idea I knew as much as I did about this whole thing. In this relationship he's the one with his ear on the pulse of internet policies and politics not me. I explained to him very succinctly that I'm a blogger (not just a chick with a blog there is a difference), with a blog hosted on an American blog site (even though I'm a Canadian living in Switzerland) and if these bills go through I could potentially wake up one more and no longer have access to my blog. I've been blogging since 2003 and I can honestly say that the notion of internet censorship affecting my blog makes me angry and belligerent because it goes against EVERYTHING I was taught.

I was brought up in a home where anything was fair game in regards to reading. I was reading well above my age level by the 2nd or 3rd grade (coincidentally so was my husband) and my parents never censored what we read (I say we even though my brother hates reading...yes it's a deep dark family secret...we don't like to talk about it.) I was allowed to read basically anything and everything I could get my hands on. There were certain things that my parents withheld until I was a certain age because they believed in books being a right of passage (Are you there God it's Me Margaret for one) but other than that I had one of the most used library cards of any kid my age.

There were books they didn't LIKE me to read such as Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Goosebumps, Fear Street but it had nothing to do with the content of these books, it had everything to do with the fact that they were poorly written. But I was welcome to read them. I never did. Scratch that, I read the chapter of one Babysitters Club once...hated it and didn't see the point. Yeah I was a hit at sleepovers. But the fact still remained they didn't believe in not allowing me to read things. They didn't believe in Censorship. Hell they didn't even believe in self-censorship. There is no such thing as bad words, just bad intentions.

Further more I was taught with freedom of information and freedom of speech comes a certain amount of responsibility. You can just be all, "well I can say what I want thanks to freedom of speech." Well yeah, you can. But in turn you need to take responsibility for the fall-out if there is any.  And you need to own your words because once you say them (or write them) they're out in the universe for the rest of forever.

This is ALL why things like SOPA/PIPA and issues of censorship bother me to the core. It's not fair. It's not right it usually back fires. How many copies of "To Kill a Mockingbird" have been sold now? What about "Go ask Alice"? "Alice in Wonderland" anyone?

In closing, thank you Mom and Dad for letting me read whatever I damn well pleased. Pin It Now!

2 comments:

  1. Re: even though I'm a Canadian living in Switzerland

    Now I'm really confused. I thought you were a German occupying Switzerland.

    ReplyDelete