For Operation Black March: 31 entertainment ideas without Big Content

Operation Black March is Anonymous’ campaign to boycott Big Content, as punishment for the entertainment lobby’s unrelenting sponsorship of new “copyright” bills and deals that censor the Internet and kill civil liberties. Hence #OpBlackMarch: no buying – or downloading – movies, TV, music, or games, during March 2012.

Boycotting Big Content for a month poses a quintessential #FirstWorldProblem: it seems absurd that you couldn’t easily go without entertainment products for a month; but could you actually go without them for a month? If it seems like a challenge, then it’s also an opportunity: to rediscover the diversity of leisure; to redefine “entertainment”; and maybe to reassess how we, in the overdeveloped first world, spend our downtime. We’ll get through this. And if enough of us commit, we’ll let Big Content know they’re not the last word in entertainment, so quit it with the endless torrent of digital doomsday plans.

Here you go, then: in no particular order, thirty-one entertainments that don’t profit Big Content. Something to occupy a free hour (or two or three), every day in March. If you’ve got another good idea, leave a comment below. These ones weren’t hard to come up with, and they’re all pretty low-effort, low-impact (no home reno projects, no GTD). The point is basically to use your imagination – I know you’ve got one. Imagine the message we could send by boycotting Big Content for just a month…or maybe longer…

#3. The mild winter makes for good walking, even if you're not in Stanley Park.

1. Read this post and plan your month.
2. Bake cookies.
3. Go for a walk. Yes, outside.
4. Read a book you’ve been meaning to start – or to finish.
5. Make a home video and post it to Youtube. (Come on, you know this project could take a few nights, if you put in some effort.)
6. Make the business! (You know what I mean. This could also take a few nights, if you put in some effort.)
7. The public library is your friend: sign out a new book, or a not-so-new book, or an old movie, or a foreign movie.
8. Open Culture is your friend, too. Check out this site’s extensive curation of open-access and public-domain movies, music, and more.
9. Call your mother.

#10. Culture jamming for beginners.

10. Get out there and culture jam! If you’re a beginner, see the picture at left. Advanced culture jammers might consider upping the ante. For instance:

“At Lake Worth they got a traffic ticket for using the horn and Gnossos took up an hour collecting as many stubs as he could find on the windshields of other cars. He mailed them all to the local fuzz, in a large manila envelope with no return address.” 1

11. Yoga. No, really.
12. Make a mix CD – okay, an iPod playlist – for a special occasion – or a special person. Presto, you’re fifteen again! Or an amateur DJ! Woo!
13. Play a board game or a card game.
14. “Would you like to own at once the smallest and most disturbing book in the world? Have the stamps from your love letters bound up and weep – in spite of everything, there is good reason to do so.”2
15. Go to a local cafe or bar, for some random peoplewatching. Or try this: “What a wonderful pursuit: go into a cafe and ask for sugar, again for sugar, three or four times for sugar, continue with great concentration constructing a mountain of sugar, center of the table, while indignation swells along the counters and beneath the white aprons, and then spit, softly, right in the middle of the mountain, and watch the descent of the small glacier of saliva, hear the roar of broken rocks which accompanies it, arising from the contracted throats of five local customers and the boss, an honest man when he feels like it.”3

#16. I'z not nappin I'z transcendentralizin

16. Meditate.
17. Go out dancing.
18. Walk or drive out to where you can see the stars, and make up some new constellations.
19. Get fit: sign out an exercise video from the library (it’s your friend, remember) or search up a Youtube exercise video, and try working out instead of vegging out.
20. If you have a social app account, browse through past posts to catch up on links or videos you meant to check out but didn’t have time for at the time. If you don’t have a social app account, try one out – see who’s out there.
21. Pyjama dance party!
22. Re-read a book you only read once, and not recently. You’ll be amazed.
23. KARAOKE. You can’t even say it without agreeing to it: OK!
24. Go to the theatre. Whenever you mention this, be sure to pronounce it “thea-TAH.”
25. Origami: it can be frustrating at first, but then it gets really contemplative. (FYI, it may get frustrating again if you actually try to make a thousand cranes.)

#25. Origami (not for beginners).

26. Somewhere nearby, someone is bound to be playing music for no cover charge. Go find them and dig on that scene.
27. Youtube party!
28. With a partner and/or friends, read a classic play or story, each of you taking on a certain character’s role and voice. (I know somebody whose family does this with Dickens’ Christmas Carol over the holidays. I can only assume copious amounts of heavily spiked eggnog are involved.)
29. Fancy supper party: candlelight, wine, vaguely porny background music; you know the drill.
30. Find a really old album or forgotten mixtape that you haven’t listened to in years. Play it start to finish, perhaps with a drink in hand.
31. Invite friends over and talk about how you’ve spent your month. You 1, Big Content 0.

1. Fariña, Richard. Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me (1966). New York: Penguin, 1996. 279-80
2. Breton, André and Paul Éluard. “The Original Judgement.” The Immaculate Conception (1930). Trans. Jon Graham. London: Atlas P, 1990. 118.
3. Cortázar, Julio. Cronopios and Famas (1962). Trans. Paul Blackburn. New York: New Directions, 1999. 59

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