“Save the ant-blue butterfly! Sign this online petition to protest the destruction of mangrove trees in Australia!” Sound familiar? You’ve probably stumbled across stuff like this on social media or been emailed petitions by pals concerned with everything from environmental to consumer issues. Chances are, those tweets, emails, and heartfelt Facebook posts probably contained a link to Change.org.
The website has hosted campaigns to support animal rights (The Barenaked Ladies cancelled a performance at Seaworld last November after a Change.org petition drew attention to the accusations of animal cruelty faced by the park), human rights (large numbers of people voiced their opposition to the Sochi Olympics and Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay legislation via Change.org), and to raise awareness and effect change when it comes to dangerous consumer goods (who knew that sports drinks contained flame retardant?).
However, anyone with an internet connection and a bee in their bonnet can launch a petition on Change.org and other sites like it. As you might have guessed, these sites have been home to some really useless — and often downright ridiculous — petitions.
In March of 2013 President Obama was petitioned to change the American national anthem… to R. Kelly’s ‘Ignition’. Thankfully, the ‘Ignition’ petition (hot and fresh out the kitchen) only received half the signatures it needed to get the government’s attention, saving the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ from being thrown over for a younger tune. We assume the song will get to keep its gig for years to come (or at least until it’s proved that Francis Scott Key peed on a minor).
More recently, online “activists” have started petitions demanding that Beyoncé comb Blue Ivy’s hair, that Family Guy bring back Brian, the dog character the show killed off (for a whole two episodes) in 2013, and that Justin Bieber be deported from the United States.
“Justin Bieber is a menace to America,” wrote the petitioning non-Belieber, “He is a Canadian born ‘Entertainer’ who is using The United States of America as his own personal amusement park and hookah lounge.” That particular petition has a mere 876 supporters. The one that beseeches Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson to leave Bieber in outer space has 2,240 signatories. (It helps to think big when you want people’s attention.)
There are petitions pleading for networks to pick up beloved shows for additional seasons, petitions protesting the sexualization of Disney princesses, petitions begging J.J. Abrams not to cast Kim Kardashian in Star Wars: Episode VII, and petitions asking Miley Cyrus to twerk… specifically on Syrian President Bashar al Assad (we think Assad may have started that one himself). What Change.org hasn’t yet hosted is a petition to stop silly petitions. That is one we could get behind!