A friend at Playahata.com just sent me an open letter written by Davey D. In this critical letter to the hip hop community, he laments the passage of Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act by Congress and calls for hip hop heads to stop paying attention to nonsense and write their senators. It was a great letter. A long letter. Followed by an article -- almost as long as yet much less accessible than Davey's letter -- about the attacks on net neutrality and the increasing dangers of corporate control of the media.
I copied the letter and sent out a bulletin to my network on MySpace. My network of 350+ "friends" consists mostly of fans -- current and potential -- of my novels. Many are hip hop heads and are rather young. Too many, I realized, will take one look at that long letter and not read it all if they even open it. As well-written as it is, it's too long. This angers than saddens me. And then I decide how to be part of the solution.
So I followed up with another bulletin. The title: 4 Easy Steps to Defend Your Right to Affordable Internet. Until now, emails have been circulating the 'net about proposed legislation to impose charges on email. To date they have been untrue. But for all intents and purposes, COPE is a real threat as it will give massive control of the internet to telephone and cable companies. With all the urban legends and internet hoaxes that get past folks, my hope that this title does the trick and gets people to open the bulletin. Then I write:
I promise this will be brief so please read this.
I recently sent out a bulletin with an open letter from Davey D about the danger of the Internet falling into the control of telephone and cable companies. I realize it's a long letter followed by an even longer article that many of you may not read. Allow me to break it down simply and give you four easy steps to follow.
The breakdown: If the legislation known as COPE passes the Senate, kiss affordable internet services good-bye. The internet will essentially belong to only those who can afford it. You think there's bias and misinformation in the media now? Imagine what happens if people like you and me cannot afford to send bulletins, write blogs, conduct research, etc. because we're not cable and telephone company moguls.
So what do you do? Four easy steps. So easy there's no excuse to just do it NOW!
1. Copy this simple paragraph:
Please do not give into the lobbyists of the multibillion dollar corporations and vote AGAINST the disingenously named Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement. It is an assault on the First Amendment as well as the principles of a free-market economy to enable telephone and cable companies to shut out competitors. Furthermore, it is against the interests of working-class people to support any legislation that hinders net neutrality and makes the internet a domain for only those who can afford to pay the tolls and rig the field. I will be watching your vote on this critical issue, and I hope you will do the right thing and defeat COPE. If you know more about this issue, and want to go off in your own words, do. It's actually better to personalize your letter. But if you can't for whatever reason, this will do. Better to cut and paste than do NOTHING AT ALL.
2. Go to this site:
And find your senator. If you've got more than one choice, don't worry. Trust me, you'll know who it is from whatever name sounds familiar from your local news.
3. Complete the form, paste the paragraph you wrote in the box, and hit SEND.
4. TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DO THE SAME. REPOST, FORWARD, EMAIL. If you want to be able to send polls, surveys, jokes, etc. on MySpace tomorrow, you'd better take two minutes and complete this action TODAY!
Thanks for reading this through and doing the right thing.
I hope it'll work.