Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In which we learn about my obsession with shopping, Oprah, and bad teenage dramas. [Stop PIPA and SOPA!]

[I promise, after this post, I will step down from my pedestal and return to regular blogging!]

I’m a Black Friday shopper. I’m one of the crazy ones standing in line hours before the stores open, and in recent years, I’ve recruited my sister and her best friend to my Black Friday team. Last year, we made Black Friday music videos, where we re-wrote lyrics to popular songs like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” and videotaped ourselves singing the new lyrics overtop of the original recordings. We had a blast, and everyone thought the videos were hilarious.

When Oprah’s talk show aired it’s last episode this past fall, I cried my eyes out. Then, because I’m a huge fan and a dork, I dedicated my Facebook profile to Oprah by posting a beautiful photo of her that I found on Google as my profile picture.

Recently, I took a dive into the world of SmartPhones and butt dials, and more importantly, fancy ringtones. I was sixteen when I got my first cellphone, a flip version with a long antennae and no texting allowed according to Dad’s rules, and now, seven years later, I have a slim little rectangle of a phone that can not only text, but surf the net, load games, show movies, play music, and basically read my mind. It also has a free Android market app that allows me to download popular songs and edit them into clips to make ringtones. I’ve downloaded several of my favorite songs that I first heard on albums I bought either in stores or through Itunes, and now, if you were to call me, I’d do a little dance while singing along with Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country”.

As a angst-filled teenager, my favorite show was Dawson’s Creek. I would watch as Dawson and Pacey fought for Joey’s love, and I’d wish a boy would love me as much as either of them loved her. I cried along with Jack as he was bullied throughout high school. I wanted to be badass Jen, not caring what anyone thought and living life to the fullest and craziest. And even though I’m twenty-three and should be a little more mature, sometimes I go online and look up (all six) YouTube clips that make up the two-part finale of the entire show. You know, the episode where Joey chooses Pacey, Dawson talks to Spielberg, Jack loses Jen to cancer, and he and his boyfriend agree to raise Jen’s daughter as their own. I watch this last episode on my little Macbook and I cry and cry and cry. And then I go back to pretending I’m a big girl again.

PIPA and SOPA would make it so that YouTube could potentially be shut down for featuring pirated clips like Dawson’s Creek episodes, even though the show went off the air almost a decade ago, even though no one’s making money off that YouTube page, even thoughI only watch it once in a blue moon to relive the feelings I was flooded with as a teenager.

PIPA and SOPA would mean that my cool new Android ringtones are illegal because they were not purchased, even though I paid good money for the albums those songs were released on, even though I have bought every album Jason Aldean has recorded, even though I support the artists singing my ringtones by going to their concerts even if they are over three hours away.

PIPA and SOPA would force Facebook to shut down my account because Oprah’s photo is still in my Profile Pictures album, and unless these acts pass, there it shall remain. I love you, Oprah!

PIPA and SOPA would allow any of the artists on our Black Friday playlist videos to sue myself, my sister, and her best friend. Now, Taylor Swift seems like a nice girl, but if Elton John sued my sister for changing the lyrics of “The Circle Of Life” to “The Day After Thanksgiving”, there would be nothing we could do about it.

I am a blogger. I am proud of the things I write. My words are my babies, and if someone wants to share them with the world, not only am I okay with that, but I would LOVE that! I only ask to be credited as the author. I understand the need for better piracy and censorship laws. Stealing someone else’s work, passing it off as your own, and especially generating income from that... that’s wrong. We learned it in church, we learned it in kindergarten, we signed pledges against it in college. But my ringtone? Harmless. My secret, late-night rendezvous with Dawson’s Creek? Not gonna hurt anything but my own little heart. My Oprah picture? Completely appropriate. And our Black Friday videos? Not only was no harm done, but I bet if The Lovin’ Spoonful heard my re-written lyrics to “Do You Believe In Magic”, they’d be calling my cool new SmartPhone begging me to record with them.

[As an aside, think about just how often we use popular search engines that could potentially be shut down by PIPA and SOPA. I just Wiki’d The Lovin’ Spoonful to see if all the members were even still alive, and then I remembered... Wikipedia is blacked out in protest. And good for them. But holy cow, I use the internet a LOT without even thinking about it.]

Watch these videos. Sign the petitions. Contact your rep. If you’re as plugged in as I am, if you can’t imagine life without posting pictures of what you had for dinner last night or writing about how your boyfriend’s cousin’s sister saw Hulk Hogan’s daughter at Walmart last week, if you love your internet, act now. Stop PIPA and SOPA.

For better explanations of PIPA and SOPA, check these out:

The Funny Version

The Educational Version

And voice your protest!

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