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Late Night: Jon Stewart says SOPA would 'break the Internet'

January 19, 2012 |  9:56 am

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On "The Daily Show" Wednesday night, Jon Stewart turned his satirical gaze to the Stop Online Piracy Act under consideration by Congress.

Critics contend the bill, known as SOPA, would fundamentally alter the nature of the Internet. To protest the proposed measure, several heavily trafficked websites, including Wikipedia, went dark Wednesday, creating panic among thousands of lazy high school students across the country.  

Echoing the sentiment felt by millions of Americans yesterday, Stewart remarked upon the horrors of a temporarily Wikipedia-less world: "What do they expect us to do, go to the library, like a common masturbator?"

As for SOPA itself, Stewart labeled the proposed bill "draconian." Although it wouldn't, technically speaking, allow the U.S. government to take down a website, he argued that SOPA would make some websites virtually impossible to access. "It's sort of like coming up with a plan to prevent teen pregnancy that includes filling penises with cement," Stewart quipped. "Your penis is still there, it's just nobody can get at it."

According to Stewart, the bill has other "somewhat troubling issues," like a provision that makes someone who illegally streams copyrighted materials subject to a 10-year prison sentences. To illustrate his shock, Stewart responded by playing "Dramatic Chipmunk," a viral video that captures the spirit of a free and unregulated Internet. 

But for Stewart, the worst thing about SOPA is the apparent ignorance of the representatives supporting the legislation. "Does anyone understand how this Internet stuff works?" he asked, cutting to a montage in which at least a half-dozen members of Congress spoke disparagingly about "nerds."

Wondering when so many of our representatives had turned into Ogre from "Revenge of the Nerds," Stewart issued a correction: "I think the word you're looking for is 'experts' to enlighten you so your laws don't backfire and break the Internet."

RELATED:

The Internet flexes its muscle with blackout 

SOPA blackout: Bill loses three co-sponsors amid protests

Late Night: Stewart and Colbert push limits of 'not coordinating'

— Meredith Blake 
twitter.com/MeredithBlake

Photo: Jon Stewart during a taping of "The Daily Show." Credit: Brad Barket / Associated Press.

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