Wikipedia's self-imposed shutdown Wednesday, meant to encourage U.S. users to protest the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), has sent students conditioned to using the online encyclopedia into a frantic panic. Many have taken to Twitter to express their concerns: "I'm tryna tell y'all if they take away Wikipedia, I'm going to fail hella classes. No Bullsh*t," reads one tweet in Buzzfeed's roundup of "25 angry kids who can't do their homework because of the Wikipedia blackout." Of course, bloggers are cracking wise about a generation that has, apparently, never heard of a library card or Encyclopedia Britannica. Here, some of the best jokes:
Today is an important day, and not just because it's the day that "a number of huge internet properties band together in an unprecedented show of unity to defeat a common foe," says Jon Bershad at Mediaite. It's also apparently "the day right before that big History test."
"One of my senior colleagues has informed me of something called Encyclopedia Britannica, which seems to be some sort of paper book (I know!) containing all sorts of facts," says Patrick Kingsley at the U.K.'s Guardian. The downside: It was published in 1989. "What is tattooed on the back of Megan Fox's neck? I couldn't tell you. Where was Arthur Scargill born? Now we're talking."
Drastic times, drastic measures
For today's high school students and college undergrads, the Wikipedia blackout means hearing a generation's most dreaded phrase, says Slate: "You may want to dust off your library cards."
Wikipedia, sometimes plagued by misinformation, is banned by many teachers. But it's still the most plagiarized website in high school papers, says Cynthia Boris at Market Pilgrim. It's "kind of ironic," then, that students are resorting to "begging teacher for an extended deadline on those book reports" in Wikipedia's absence.
A fine example
It's not just students who are distraught, says Max Read at Gawker. Depressingly, a Twitter search has "found a bunch of teachers — teachers — whining that they couldn't do their lessons without Wikipedia."
Well, this settles it, says Jeanne Sager at The Stir. Our "kids are useless in the face of adversity." Why on Earth are these tech-dependent "brats" freaking out over one little website? For heaven's sake, "Google is still up and running."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Sorry, we will not all be having sex with robots in the future
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- The culture war finally comes to the Catholic Church
- How to live a long life, according to science
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
Subscribe to the Week