If you’re the kind of person who was pissed off by Dylan’s Cadillac commercial, or that they used “that track by The Who” as the theme tune to CSI, then you’re going to be royally pissed off by the news that another cultural icon has decided to sell their soul to corporate America.

This time the sell out son of a bitch in question isn’t a musician or a film star, but a sportsman and YouTube sensation who, in many ways, is the voice (or at least the balls) of our generation. His name is Billy “Balls” Marks and with just a plastic cup, a ping-pong ball and far too much time on his hands he single-handedly changed the way people thought about throwing stuff into things.

With his hit series of videos including the stirring “Billy’s Balls” and the imaginatively titled “Billy’s Balls 2″, Billy “Balls” Marks quickly won fans across the globe, and in every bounce of his balls was an implicit message of equality and the triumph of imagination. Billy proved that all you need to be extraordinary is a plastic cup, a table tennis ball and ingenuity. By bouncing, throwing and, on occasion, blowing balls into cups he did more than a thousand guidance councilors or a hundred stern talks from your father about “getting your act together”. He send his viewers a clear message and that message was, ‘with skill, imagination and persistence you can achieve anything’.

If you’ve not seen Billy “Balls” Marks at work, here he is doing what he does best…

No one can deny that Billy “Balls” Marks was an ambassador for the everyman, a hero that even the masturbating bedroom shut-in could relate to. Or at least he was until a few weeks ago when adverts started appearing for a familiar looking ball and cup based gamed called ‘Cuponk‘ - a polished corporate remaking of Billy’s original idea - with none other than Billy “Balls” Marks as its spokesperson.

The game, according to it’s maker Hasbro, is ‘so simple… it’s impossible’. Baffling taglines aside, I find it impossible to believe than an idea so simple could ever be patented. Do Hasbro now hold a patent on cups and balls or only when the two objects are brought together? Do I now have to store my cups and balls separately, and if I don’t will a man from Hasbro bash down my door demanding royalties? If, by the way, this Hasbro royalty enforcer does exist I hope he looks at least a little like this.

Despite the attention grabbing title of this article I’m not mad at Billy “Balls” Marks for selling out. Who wouldn’t do the same in his position? I’m just disappointed because he was one of us, maybe the best of us. He was noble and pure and his message was good. These days Billy “Balls” Marks sends out a very different message to the world, and that message is ‘with skill, imagination and persistence you can achieve anything, but only if you spend $14.95 on the official Cuponk cup first’.

I’ll leave the last word to another Bill, one who had more stringent morals when it came to this sort of thing.