If you visit John McCain's MySpace page (as of 9am PST Tuesday morning), you will notice an interesting announcement from him. He's apparently reversed his position on gay marriage as well as revealed a bias towards attractive lesbians.
Why would a presidential candidate make such an important announcement on his MySpace page?
The answer? He wouldn't.
But I would.
You see, John McCain's people commandeered my world-renowned MySpace design template and did a few things wrong:
- They did not credit me for the template, even though the template explicitly requested credit.
- They used my own unmodified imagery, specifically for the "Contacting John McCain" table.
- As if #2 wasn't bad enough, the McCain crew is actually pulling their image directly from my server on each page load. So every time someone visits the McCain MySpace page, my bandwidth is being used to deliver part of the page! Bad McCain!
Numerous people have written me over the last few weeks to tell me that McCain has been using my code, but up until I realized he was pulling images from my server, I didn't really care. A lot of celebrities including Ryan "Van Wilder" Reynolds and the beautiful Nelly Furtado use my code and I'm totally cool with it.
But then I read the article in today's Newsweek about how politicians are all setting up MySpace pages in order to "connect" with younger audiences. McCain's MySpace page is listed, as are the pages from several other candidates. I think the idea of politicians setting up MySpace pages and pretending to actually use them is a bit disingenuous, so I figured it was time to play a little prank on Johnny Mac.
Luckily, I had already set up a special .htaccess rule on my server which served my real "contact me" image if the image was referenced from my own MySpace page, and served up a sample image if it was served from anywhere else. This is the whole reason I even figured out what was going on. I had my real image in cache and upon loading McCain's page, the real image showed up (including my special note that said "NO REQUESTS FOR DESIGN HELP PLEASE"). Thinking it was weird that McCain would get any requests for design help, I immediately realized what happened.
So, the only thing necessary to effectively commandeer McCain's page with my own messaging was to simply replace my own sample image on my server with a newly created sample on my server. No server but my own was touched and no laws were broken. The immaculate hack.
Abortion? The Iraq War? Probably too heavy to joke about. Gay marriage seemed like a more of a non-lethal subject to center the prank around.
So with a few minutes in Photoshop and a quick FTP, a new John McCain was born...
...and The Straight-Talk Express isn't just for straight people anymore.
Note: Before McCain fans comment on this, let me reiterate that this was a prank. I'm not politically inclined, I'm not anti-McCain, and I'd have a beer with the guy anytime. Election season on Newsvine is sure going to be fun though.