A 2009 study found that people tend to interpret ambiguous political satire according to their own views and self-image. This has enormous implications for satirical programs mocking democratic behavior, produced by media conglomerates that support Internet censorship. (The following is an essay that I was not able to place with a magazine, but still wanted to share with the world. Feel free to re-post on your blog or website, in accordance with the Creative Commons license. Just give me credit and link back here.)
“The revolutionaries of any decade will become the reactionaries of the next decade, if they do not change their nervous system, because the world around them is changing. He or she who stands still in a moving, racing, accelerating age, moves backwards relatively speaking.” – Robert Anton Wilson, Prometheus Rising (1)
On Thursday, December 1, 2011, Stephen Colbert addressed the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill currently under consideration in U.S. Congress, on his late-night political satire program The Colbert Report (pronounced “Cole-bare Ree-pore”). Fight for the Future, a group coordinating the push against SOPA and Protect-IP (a similar bill being considered; the “IP” stands for “intellectual property”), says that such a bill would allow the government to shut down websites for any copyright infringement, while making it a felony to stream copyrighted content without permission. (2) According to PCWorld, the government could also restrict access to foreign sites with the help of Internet service providers (ISPs), or block advertising and payment services from working with the sites. (3) The result, as anyone with a cursory understanding of the issue can predict, would be a drastic reduction our free speech rights and possible damage to the DNS system upon which the Internet depends.