Lamar Smith Moves for Another Committee Meeting on SOPA Just Before Christmas

Mike Masnick writes on TechDirt that the adjournment of the Judiciary committee marking up SOPA might be pulling a fast one to get this bill on the floor as soon as the congressional recess is over:

Update…. Or not. Despite the fact that Congress was supposed to be out of session until the end of January, the Judiciary Committee has just announced plans to come back to continue the markup this coming Wednesday. This is rather unusual and totally unnecessary. But it shows just how desperate Hollywood is to pass this bill as quickly as possible, before the momentum of opposition builds up even further.

via SOPA Markup Runs Out Of Time; Likely Delayed Until 2012 [Update: Or Not…] | Techdirt.

Cory Doctorow adds on BoingBoing:

If you followed my tweets from the markup session for SOPA in the House of Representatives, you know how frustrating it was to watch: you had these lawmakers blithely dismissing the security concerns of the likes of Vint Cerf, saying things like, “I’m no technology nerd, but I don’t believe it.” In other words: “I’m a perfect ignoramus, but I find it convenient to disregard the world’s foremost experts.” Another congressman from Florida kept saying things like “No one can explain to me how this bill harms political debate or academic freedom.”

The markup hearing ended early yesterday, surprising many who concluded that the early adjournment meant that SOPA was off the table until Congress reconvened in 2012. But committee chair Lamar Smith quietly announced that there would be a special session on the 21st of December (when the press and opponents of the bill are likely to be distracted by the impending holiday) to finish up the bill’s markup.

via WTF is Happening with SOPA now? |

I call this political maneuvering the rhetoric of refusal and it frustrates me beyond belief. It is kind of like someone stands outside a burning building with a fire hose turned off. They look at the burning building and they say, “I don’t see a burning building.” Bystanders yell at the person, “turn on the fire hose! Put water on the burning building.” The person with the hose replies to no one, “I don’t hear anyone telling me that a building is burning.”

I suppose the rhetoric of refusal arises from the deep seated anti-intellectualism that has hijacked the political discourse, or I should say that anti-intellectualism that isn’t financed by deep pockets. It is almost if an intelligent individual won’t be heard unless there is corporate sponsorship. It increasingly seems as if American politics is a new form of NASCAR, and this is bad. I like NASCAR, but I don’t like my government and the political process to be like NASCAR.

Even if you have already contacted your representative about SOPA, you have to do it again. We can’t stop voicing our concerns about this until it disappears again. And then when it comes back, we will fight once more.


Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.