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Internet Impersonation

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It appears that H.B. 2004, proposed by Dist. 23 State Rep. Michelle Ugenti, which would have made it a felony for people to impersonate people using social media accounts - though the language of the bill was noticeably unclear regarding parody accounts, despite claims from Ugenti that parody accounts were not her chief concern - has died.

This is a good thing, if only because it means that ridiculous parody accounts (@rubbingugently, @fakeazdailystar, @fakeseanmiller, etc.) can still exist without fear of reprisal—though in @fakeazdailystar's case, they might want to continue watching their back for fear of Lee Enterprises not appreciating the joke.

Still, as much as I love good parody accounts, novelty social media accounts and Tumblr pages focused on absurd things (such as my recent Tumblog idea, "Reviews of Inanimate Objects on My Desk"), some of these things are getting...weird.

I kinda hate to keep picking on it, but the Twitter account @thehistorybook (and its parodic brother, @yaboybillnye) is among the worst goddamn things I've ever seen that didn't involve graphic depictions of violence. It features stupid, crass, racist tweets from historically important human beings - because what's funnier than Martin Luther King Jr. ripping off Lil Wayne lyrics?

And things are only getting more concerning, with the advent of lemmetweetthatforyou.com, which creates a near-facsimile of what an embedded tweet looks like, using the name and profile information (picture included) of real Twitter accounts, making it appear that someone has published something that they didn't actually publish - and in a media world in which people tend to post first and ask questions later, that's a hell of a way to not only assassinate character, but a way to generate hoaxes like California wildfires.

That said, I don't believe that H.B. 2004 should still be kicking around the chambers of the state legislature - but the fact that these things do tend to roll around makes me so damn sad.

Parody is great when it's smart, funny and calls attention to an actual issue - take The Onion, for example - but so much of what is considered parody and satire these days is nothing more than ham-fisted vulgarity draped in a veil of humor.

That's not parody. That's trolling. And like Abraham Lincoln once said, trolls fucking suck.


The Week on our Blogs

On the Range, we continued coverage of our Celebrity Showdown; followed the resignation of TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone; wondered why the Oxford English Dictionary would add "friend zone"; got melancholy when Yoko Ono republished an image of John Lennon's blood-stained glasses; realized that America is practically Duke University; went running in Oro Valley; tracked the ultimately fruitless search for a gunman prowling the UA campus; chatted with Jordan Ingram, the Internet-famous UA Pep Band dancer; and so much more!

On We Got Cactus, we previewed the hell out of the spectacular Festival en el Barrio; we bid farewell to our SXSW coverage; gave props to Carly Rae Jepsen for sticking to her scruples and ditching Boy Scouts for White Weekend in Palm Springs; listened very carefully to snippets from the new Queens of the Stone Age album; reviewed The Mavericks performance at Fox Theatre; and more!


Comment of the Week

"Dr Funkenberry is a known insider to the Prince and NPG camp. He does not post or leak rumors; only solid confirmed information. Your snarky frustrations with the purple one shouldn't drag Dr Funkenberry's name down."- TucsonWeekly.com commenter "Courtney Tavernit," who takes her inside sources to Prince and the New Power Generation very, very seriously. ("It Looks Like Prince is Coming to Tempe," We Got Cactus, March 21).


Best of WWW

People, if you ever happen to see Weekly columnist Tom Danehy out on the street somewhere, buy him a drink of some kind, or some sort of snack, or perhaps let him tell you about his high school girls basketball team. He just finished his tour of duty reviewing HBO's Girls, and he's only mostly broken inside as a result. Take care of him next time you see him around - or at least comment on his mostly-weekly TV blog, "Tom Goes to the Chair."

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