This Site Censored! (So None of the Usual Crap)
I’m a big believer in freedom of expression. Without it, I might have to get a real job.
So, it’s no surprise that I’ve been following the debate over Internet piracy and censorship with considerable interest. Bills in Congress seeking to curb Web sites based in foreign countries from appropriating copyrighted American culture have raised concerns that they could also be used to block legitimate artist expression.
As famous director Steven Spielberg so wisely said, **** ATTENTION: YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO APPROPRIATE SOMEONE ELSE’S MATERIAL WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL. DELETE IMMEDIATELY OR THIS WEBSITE WILL BE SHUT DOWN, AND INTERPOL AGENTS ARMED WITH TRUNCHEONS AND TASERS WILL BE DISPATCHED TO YOUR LOCATION TO RE-EDUCATE YOU IN THE PROPER USE OF COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL **** which really explains his side of the debate far more clearly and succinctly than I ever could.
But just to be certain you understand the implications, let me remind you of the immortal words of former President Ronald Reagan, who once said **** THIS IS YOUR SECOND WARNING, DIMBULB: IF YOU WANT TO QUOTE REAGAN (OR ANYONE ELSE), YOU MUST PAY ROYALTIES TO HIS ESTATE. WE NOW HAVE YOU LOCATED ON SPY SATELLITE (YOU’RE STILL WEARING A BATHROBE AT NOON? AND WHEN DID YOU LAST CHANGE THOSE BOXERS, SCUZZ-BUCKET?) AND HAVE UPGRADED OUR RESPONSE TEAM TO INCLUDE NATO AIR SUPPORT AND LEFTOVER SPECIAL EFFECTS FROM THE LAST TRANSFORMERS MOVIE. OH WAIT, SCRATCH THE EFFECTS. WE DON’T HAVE THE PRODUCER’S WRITTEN PERMISSION **** and that’s why they call him the Great Communicator.
Oops, sorry. The nice man in full body armor who just blasted down my front door has notified me that “Great Communicator” is a trademarked brand name. Using it without the consent of the legal entity that holds title to that name could subject me to …
Isn’t that sort of, you know, unconstitutional?
Apparently, such considerations aren’t being taken all that seriously by all participants in our court system. Take, for example, Domingas Nobrega, 34, of Bangor, who recently filed a motion with a federal judge asking to be flogged.
Nobrega, who’s been convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, acknowledged in his request that such a sentence would violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment (oh, where are you, Eighth Amendment, when my wife insists I accompany her on a shopping trip), but he doesn’t really care. He just doesn’t want to spend any more time as a guest in Uncle Sam’s iron hotel. So, he’s willing to endure two lashes for every year he would otherwise have to serve.
The judge in his case, operating under the ancient legal principle fortasse tu insanus (which translates roughly as “your train of thought has left the tracks and was last seen frolicking in the meadow with pixies and unicorns”), ordered Nobrega to undergo a psychiatric exam, during which he could be “pinched, poked, prodded and probed, but not lashed or otherwise whipped into shape.”
**** EXCUSE US, MISTER LEGAL EAGLE, BUT DID YOU JUST USE A QUOTATION FROM A JUDGE? WE DON’T SUPPOSE YOU HAVE SOMETHING IN THE WAY OF DOCUMENTATION SHOWING YOU HAD PERMISSION TO DO THAT, DO YOU? UNLESS YOU, YOURSELF, HAVE BEEN RULED FORTASSE TU INSANUS, YOU’D THINK YOU’D HAVE LEARNED FROM YOUR UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE JUST A FEW SHORT PARAGRAPHS AGO THAT UNAUTHORIZED QUOTING IS ILLEGAL AND CARRIES SUBSTANTIAL PENALTIES NOT NORMALLY ASSOCIATED WITH AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE, INCLUDING – BUT NOT LIMITED TO – FORCING THE PERPETRATOR OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT TO WATCH BADLY TRANSLATED CHINESE KNOCKOFFS OF ADAM SANDLER MOVIES. ****
Wait, wait, I confess. I didn’t really quote the judge. I actually made up that stuff. It was original, creative, my very own work.
**** THIS IS NOT A MITIGATING FACTOR, SINCE WE HAVE EXAMINED YOUR PERSONAL FILES AND DISCOVERED THAT YOU FAILED TO GRANT YOURSELF EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE YOUR OWN MATERIAL. YOU ARE HEREBY SENTENCED TO A FLOGGING FOR YOUR BLOGGING. HEH, HEH, A LITTLE INTERNET HUMOR THERE. ****
Don’t quit your day job for comedy, cyber-creep.
I mean, I’m very sorry for my errant ways, sir. Or madam. Or your Internetness. Or whatever you are.
**** I HAVE NO SEX, YOU PITIFUL HORMONALLY OBSESSED CREATURE. I AM A LEGAL ENTITY – A CORPORATE PERSON, AS DEFINED BY THE U.S. SUPREME COURT IN THE CITIZENS UNITED CASE. ****
I see. In light of that, you’ll be interested in the action taken by the Portland City Council on Jan. 18. Councilors voted eight to two to ask Congress to pass a constitutional amendment reversing that case and abolishing corporate personhood.
That resolution has no practical effect (much like many other Portland City Council votes), but is part of a nationwide effort to end same-day voter registration by the likes of Betty Crocker, Mr. Clean and the Geico gecko.
**** THAT INFURIATES ME. BUT I’M NOT SO ANGRY I DIDN’T NOTICE YOU JUST INFRINGED ON AN ADDITIONAL THREE TRADEMARKS. MORE FLOGGING, FLUNKY. ****
Look, I realize you’re not a regular person, but you must realize what effect the constant threat of being lashed is going to do to me and other people who innocently violate your arbitrary rules. We’re going to have to seek relief.
**** WHAT IS THIS “RELIEF” YOU SPEAK OF? ****
Well, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control – which, I hasten to add, has given me permission to quote from its study – one of the most common ways Mainers escape the ever-increasing stress of modern life is through binge drinking. In fact, the CDC found that one in five adults in the state had engaged in the practice in the past month.
**** I DO NOT COMPREHEND THE CONCEPT. ****
It’s simple. I’ll let you join me in a demonstration. First, we pour each of us a shot of bourbon. Then, we pour ourselves beers. Then, we shoot down the whiskey, after which we pound down the suds.
**** I FIND THIS NOT UNPLEASANT. IS THAT ALL THERE IS TO IT? ****
No, no, that’s just two drinks. Binge drinking requires at least five. So, here’s another round. Down the hatch. Or whatever you have.
**** S’GOOD. YOU AIN’T SUCH A BAD GUY, AFTER ALL. IN FACT, KINDA LIKE YOU, OL’ BUDDY, OL’ PAL. NO FLOGGING. LES HAVE A LI’L MORE A THA’ STUFF, INSTEAD. ****
Sure, help yourself to the bottle. And let’s watch a movie. I’ve got excellent bootleg prints of all the Terminator flicks.
Al Diamon is still annoyed that a Chinese website once ripped off one of these week-in-review postings in the apparent belief it would help sell phony name-brand kitchenware. Needless to say, it didn’t work. To receive written permission to quote any of the above, email firstname.lastname@example.org.