Thursday 19 January 2012


Lots of fun yesterday as Wikipedia went offline for a day. Oh my; for the kids (ages 11-25) it must have been like a day without homework. How can you expect school pupils and college students to produce finely wrought work on their own without the assistance of this world-renowned source of opinion posing as fact?

Twitter seized on it with glee, hash-tagging "daywithoutwikipedia" and "wikiblackout" with some fine examples of how we would all just as easily waste our time unaided by the worldwide, do-it-yourself, collidge-of-knollidge. I reproduce a few tweets below:

Apparently it was all in protest about the potential for Internet censorship embedded in something called  SOPA - the Stop Online Piracy Act. The trouble is, the Internet is a copyright pirate's wet dream, with software, text, soundbites, video clips and the like all there for the taking. Protecting your original work has never been harder.

But haven't we always copied, albeit at a slower pace? Homework was always grafted from library books, they say there are only seven plots in the whole of literature and where would the world of music be be without imitation? I listen to a lot of radio and right now every female pop release sounds excruciatingly like the eternally plastic Katy-fuckin-Perry. (Grayson  Perry, now that would much be more interesting!)

Of course, there will always be those who earn their crust by unscrupulous graft, forgery and deception, all of which are aided by the anonymity of life on the web. We are not always who we say we are - who has never represented themselves online under an assumed name?

But for some of us a day without using the Internet was a chance to do something meaningful, something physical. I spent the day moving an electrical consumer unit for a colleague and friend and rediscovered the simple pleasure to be had in real, physical work. Such a shame that a goodly proportion of those kids copying their way to a worthless college quali-wiki-fication will forever be denied the chance of making their living via simple hard graft.

Talking of which, have you noticed the three principal meanings of the word 'graft' used in this post? Look it up in Wikipedia - it's back on now.

1 comment:

  1. O no - does that mean someone can nick my lovely Ode to Marmite and pass it off as their own?!