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Jennifer Nelson

Coming soon to a city near you: Disney’s Stars on Ice, featuring the music of Kelly Clarkson and a special, breakthrough performance by … Keiko the Killer Whale?

Cirque du Soleil never sounded so good.

And yet, sadly enough, this scenario is not entirely unbelievable.

All three of these “American Idols” made headlines in recent weeks: Disney for its highly debated and publicized attempt to protect its copyrights, Clarkson for her rapid ascent of the pop music charts, and Keiko for, well, when isn’t Keiko in the news?

The lady next door is donning a pink Mickey Mouse Club sweatshirt, eating not-so-dolphin-free tuna and downloading Clarkson’s No.1 single “A Moment Like This.”

Truly, what a moment it is.

Forget obesity. America is suffering from a new affliction: hyper-idolization.

While the symptoms of hyper-idolization are easy to identify, the cause is not. There are several theories: drugs, ignorance and television top most lists.

But new studies reveal that hyper-idolization can be directly linked to a more likely culprit.

Somewhere not in Kansas, the man behind the green velvet curtain is turning the key that starts the engine to the mind (singular) of the masses (plural). He is hindering the promotion of “progress of science and the arts,” as Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig argued last week in Eldred vs. Ashcroft, the same case in which The Walt Disney Co. and AOL Time Warner Inc. are so intimately linked.

Not that he’s opposed to sciences and the arts, they just don’t serve much purpose if they’re not turning a profit.

Neither does Keiko.

Neither does Kelly.

Neither do we.

Poor, poor pawns.

Perhaps this explains why he is so afraid of some Robert Frost poems popping up on the Internet. But the Internet, Lessig argued, is not the problem. The problem lies in the fact the Internet has brought about a “fundamentally important changed circumstance” in copyright law, one which forces us to question the extent of the government’s interference in the distribution of creative works (upon copyright expiration).

Under original law, copyrighted works were only protected for a 14-year term, which could be renewed for another 14 years. Only then was a work available for public use. This was roughly the mid-1800s, so I’m sure people were taking full advantage.

Just think how much money isn’t made because of the Internet (better yet, just think of all those ideas), because we have access to so many ideas that “the man” says we must pay for?

Are we paying for the story of Keiko? No, but we could be if the Miami Seaquarium ever gets its way. Sure, the Seaquarium is mildly concerned with Keiko now living in free waters, but it’s more concerned with the fact that Keiko is living free. As we’ve already established, free means no profit.

So what if it’s dangerous? So is getting up every morning, where we run the risk of having to hear Clarkson spread the word of, as one critic put it, “the new American dream.” Funny, I didn’t realize the old dream had died.

Kelly Clarkson, Amy Barnett, editor of the women’s lifestyle magazine Honey, was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “has managed to capture the cultural zeitgeist for the MTV generation [that’s us] in that she embodies the new American dream.”

The new American dream. It’s an odd concept when we consider the players, which is why “the man” thinks it’s best left to the professionals.

Calling all Mousketeers! Mousketeers to center stage.

Free thinkers need not apply.

Keiko, it’s time for your head shot. OK, we’ll do a profile.

Free thinkers need not watch.

Kelly, cue music.

Free thinkers need not listen.

And the man behind the velvet curtain whispers, “Action.”

– Jennifer Nelson PSU senior in English