I took these photos yesterday at New York Tech Meetup group's #SOPA, #PIPA protest rally. I couldn't believe how many people showed up. There was easily over a thousand people there. The police kept having to widen the barricade. People were standing on sewer grates we were so far into the street! The speakers were excellent. Intelligent people making intelligent points.
Morning of the Blackouts, Protest
Was it weird to see people on my Facebook wall suddenly giving a shit about SOPA and PIPA? Very yes. Was I a little ticked off about it? Yeah, my first thoughts were, "Where were you guys in September? I've been telling you about this for MONTHS! Now you care? Now you show concern?" It seemed disingenuous. But that was the little hipster inside me talking. The moment didn't last long and frankly I'm glad more people are aware of this. Perhaps despite my constant yammering I didn't convey the urgency of the situation enough.
Don't Chastise Your Friends
My one passive-aggressive tweet aside, I'm actually overjoyed at yesterday's turnout! I salute everyone who participated in yesterday's big awareness campaigns: the online blackouts and protests, the New York protest. Don't chastise your friends for only finding out about SOPA yesterday. The truth is it's not their fault! Here's a two paragraph quote from that Media Matters article *I tweeted and posted on my Facebook wall in early January that you totally ignored.
The legislation also has powerful supporters. As Carr laid out in his article, "Virtually every traditional media company in the United States loudly and enthusiastically supports SOPA." This includes the parent companies of the TV news outlets now ignoring the fury over the bill during their primetime broadcasts, as well as two of the channels themselves.
ABC and CBS are listed as supporters of the bill on the House Judiciary Committee website, along with Comcast/NBCUniversal (which owns MSNBC and NBC News), Viacom (CBS), News Corporation (Fox News), and Time Warner (CNN). Disney Publishing Worldwide, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Corporation, which owns ABC, is also listed as a supporter, as are other Disney properties such as ESPN and Hyperion publishing.
You can't tell people to "follow the news" if it's something that was never discussed on the news, you dig? No, don't chastise. Don't give in to your inner hipster traits. Instead welcome them into the fold. Remember how alarmed you were when you first found out about this? Their reaction is the same. There's no honer in knowing about this before anybody else because obviously we couldn't fight it on our own. #SOPA and #PIPA are still looming! There is much work to be done and the more people we have fighting this cause the better. It really wasn't their fault, despite your efforts to raise awareness. Google and Facebook was the nuclear option and despite our small efforts we were no match for them.
* Okay, that's my second passive-aggressive statement. I might be a little bitter. Though I really shouldn't be!