Students panic over Wikipedia's blackout: The best jokes

The treasure trove of sometimes-correct information goes dark to protest SOPA, complicating homework assignments for a nation of tech-dependent pupils

Wikipedia instituted a 24-hour blackout Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, providing a tough lesson for students who rely too heavily on the people's encyclopedia.
(Image credit: CORBIS)

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."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Old school

"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."

Pretty please

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."

Wake-up call

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."

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us