6 Stupid Reasons Actual People Are Scared Of Net Neutrality
According to the most popular British talk show host on American premium cable, net neutrality is one of the most important regulations for the future of telecommunications (and, by extension, all of humanity under the age of 50). Net neutrality is about making sure your ISP can't control what you view on the Internet and how fast you view it -- or, as the aforementioned talk show host put it, "Preventing Cable Company Fuckery." How could anyone possibly be against something as basic as that? The answer, as the following reactions to net neutrality prove, is "by being hilariously stupid."
An Anti-Net-Neutrality Group Made A Pseudo-Porn Parody
Protect Internet Freedom is a group of concerned folks, not cable company lobbyists / possible reptilians, trying to raise awareness of the evils of net neutrality. How? For starters, by making an anti-net-neutrality porn parody ... parody. For real:
The video (which is safe for work, unless your workplace bans cringing) starts with a woman going to her door and being greeted by a buff cable guy. Just as the porno grooves indicate that boning is about to commence, the cable stud is brushed aside by a bunch of nerds in suits, representing the government. The "Department of the Internet" officers then go into the young horny lady's home and start rifling through her shit. They inexplicably make her replace her webcam, ask her about listening to music in the shower, and then make her sign a contract which is intended to look unnecessarily confusing, but actually looks pretty similar to what you really sign with an Internet provider.
But minus the blowjob, which is bullshit.
The woman begs for the hunky cable guy to stay, but he dejectedly tells her that the government is in charge now. The pesky Department of the Internet returns in another video, in which a woman calls them to complain that her bill has gone up (something that has zero to do with net neutrality) and has to deal with an unhelpful government employee who would rather be throwing darts at the Bill of Rights. Literally.
At least he's using patriotic darts.
Once again, the problem here is that no wacky fantasy these people can think up comes even close to the Kafkaesque nightmare of dealing with a cable company in the real world. Nothing in these videos is based on anything resembling a valid concern, but they manage to fail even on a metaphorical level. Is the hunky cable guy supposed to represent Comcast, Verizon, and the like? If so, we really have to wonder how no one involved with producing the video caught the far more literal interpretation of their message: "So if I support net neutrality, the government will stop cable companies from fucking me?"
There Are Already Insane Net Neutrality Conspiracy Theories
What would any controversial debate be without some tinfoil loonies stopping by to throw their two crazies in? So what will it be this time? Is net neutrality a sordid anti-American censorship plan by Obama? Is it a way to take away your guns? Is ISIS involved, somehow? All of the above, actually.
We weren't familiar with that laptop brand.
Field Marshall Logic (aka Rush Limbaugh) announced on his radio show a labyrinthine conspiracy that probably took a lot of pushpins, yarn, and lead paint chips to come up with. Exhibit A: On February 25th, three men were arrested in New York City on suspicion of trying to join ISIS. One day later, the FCC announced new rules to try and preserve net neutrality. COINCIDENCE?!? Impossible.
The third triangle in this Triforce of Stupid was an ATF proposal to ban armor-piercing rifle ammunition (which was quickly shot down). So clearly, Obama was using the cover of the ISIS arrest to enact net neutrality laws so that he could ban the sale of one specific type of ammunition. How any of these things are related is only known to the hamster on the wheel in Limbaugh's head.
We're starting to suspect he makes this stuff up just to Photoshop himself in action poses.
Another conspiracy comes from the fact that the FCC hasn't released the official regulations that are being proposed, and critics were declaring this evidence of a cover-up less than 24 hours after the initial announcement. The turd in this conspiracy's punch bowl is that it's standard procedure for regulations like this to be unavailable to the public until lawmakers have had a chance to read it over and make their objections. The only difference is that, until now, nobody gave a shit about all the other boring-as-hell telecom regulations they couldn't read. But rest easy, gentle reader, for when they are released to the public, you will have several weeks to read and not understand the official regulations before they're added to the Federal Register.
"Net Neutrality Is Totally Communist!"
The western world and the US in particular enjoyed a solid half-century of being able to blame everything that was wrong with the world on those dirty communists. Then the Berlin Wall came down and we spent a decade waiting for our new boogeyman to come by, which turned out to be terrorism (the '90s tried blame their ills on El Nino, but it just wasn't the same). Unfortunately, terrorism isn't terribly advanced in terms of economics, so when trying to sway public opinion on matters like, say, regulation of a telecommunications industry, you might find yourself falling back to blaming Stalin's followers.
Or fuck it, just blame Stalin himself.
"What key do I press to see the little magic horse cartoons?"
Last August, a conservative think tank called American Commitment began bukkaking people across America with anti-net-neutrality emails in an attempt to start a grassroots campaign to stop Obama from "destroy American capitalism altogether" and allowing the FCC to initiate a "federal Internet takeover." These emails are, of course, totally absurd, and show that American Commitment has forgotten that the administration they believe to be masterminding a takeover of the most powerful communications service in history couldn't even make a functional website on the first try.
Pictured: two dangerous hackers, apparently.
But they're far from the first ones dusting off the old Ruskie standby. In 2011, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee declared that by implementing net neutrality, the FCC would be drawing an e-Iron Curtain across the Internet -- because there was nothing the USSR loved more than protecting free speech. She was a bit hazy on the details, but remained quite adamant that the FCC was attempting to nationalize the web. At least that was an improvement from her earlier attempts to paint net neutrality advocates as leaping vampires coming for your Wii:
The intro for the lamest Tales From The Crypt episode ever.
If there's any more damning single piece of evidence that net neutrality is the work of communist shadow people, just read this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, which claims that Putin likes net neutrality so much that he wouldn't even have it killed or sent to a gulag. Of course, the communism link breaks down there, since Russia is no longer a communist state (closer now to a fascist khakistocracy), but you make the best of what you're given.
Congressman Claims Net Neutrality Will Make The Internet More Prudish
As you've probably noticed by now, anti-net-neutrality advocates don't have a whole lot of rational-sounding arguments on their side, so a few of them have decided to appeal to our emotions. And what could make the Internet more emotional than telling us someone's gonna take away our precious porn?
"Get ready to become intimately familiar with this technology, kids."
According to Congressman Darrell Issa, if the FCC is able to oversee the Internet like it does TV, "we go back to Leave It To Beaver times," and not in the erotic sense. During a House Judiciary subcommittee on net neutrality, Issa seem to suggest that your Bulgarian sneeze fetish porn would be distilled down to nothing but two women in dresses playing bridge while canned laughter plays, mocking your pitiful masturbation. It seems odd that a Republican would take up the noble cause of protecting our spank material, but he is from California, and despite the fact that they have since converted to a kale-based economy, porn production is still an important industry there.
Of course, there's also the distinct possibility that the good Congressman is full of shit, or at the very least is wildly inaccurate. Oh, and then there's the fact that a bunch of major porn sites have come out in favor of net neutrality. There's even a video with real porn stars explaining why net neutrality is important in the most effective way possible:
Barring some weird corporate suicide pact, why would all these sites, who by and large otherwise want the government to stay the fuck out of their business, willingly submit to a regulation destined to destroy them? They wouldn't, and of course net neutrality wouldn't cut off the lifeblood of so many horny teenagers and adults. The FCC is only able to censor and regulate broadcast television; it can't do shit to cable TV shows, or else Game of Thrones would have racked up enough fines to pay off the national debt by now. Indeed, if unfettered access to the most depraved ugly-bumping available is what your junk desires, net neutrality is happy to let you keep on keeping on.
Verizon Creates A Tech Site To Combat Net Neutrality (For One Month)
It's not easy being Verizon. Sure, they make hundreds of billions in revenue every year and they're running a monopoly in everything but name, but they also have to put up with people saying mean things about them -- such as "Hey, stop spying on us" or "Don't kill net neutrality, you buttholes." So, perhaps inspired by the words of a famous fictional drunkard, Verizon decided to "change the conversation" by bankrolling a tech news site that simply didn't talk about such unpleasant topics.
"Wait, we're not ... behind Hungary's taxes, are we? OK cool, just checking."
Verizon's SugarString (we don't get the name either) was intended to compete with sites like Wired and Gizmodo, with one teensy caveat: the reporters at ShoeString were forbidden from writing about the spying scandal or net neutrality. Which, what do you know, happen to be the two biggest controversies that Verizon is wrapped up in. Shockingly, not all the journalists that were offered jobs at SugarTits were OK with those conditions, possibly because they could imagine the list of acceptable topics getting smaller and smaller as Verizon continues its descent into a Bond villain organization.
So rather than downplaying their current controversies, Verizon ended up creating a whole new one. Verizon responded by throwing SillyString's editor under the bus, claiming that he basically made up that whole bit about not being able to write about spying scandals and net neutrality, which seems like a logical thing for an editor of a fledgling news site to do. It was apparently just a magical coincidence that a site about technology news literally didn't mention one of the biggest Internet-related stories ever.
"Perhaps you misspelled 'Verizon is awesome and can do no wrong?'"
But alas, like New Coke before it, Verizon's grand experiment was disregarded in its time, and the site failed miserably. Only a month after its launch, Verizon called it quits and shut down TamponString for good. Buck up, Verizon. You honestly tried your hardest to create a crappy website with a stupid name, and that's something nobody can ever take away from you.
Politicians Come Out Against Net Neutrality Despite Not Knowing What It Is
We've had plenty of fun making fun of people who evidently have no idea what net neutrality is all about. But it's time for some real talk, people. What exactly is net neutrality, and why is it important? Hey! Maybe we should ask the Congressmen and Senators who are actually voting on the thing!
For that, we go to Senator Ted Cruz, who came up with this clever zinger ...
... which makes no fucking sense. We get that you're trying to compare the glacial pace of the government to the data rates of electronic signal, but you're really herniating the metaphor, Teddy. Instead of taking the time to look up what words mean, Ted doubled down on his Obamacare comparison in a stream-of-consciousness op-ed in The Washington Post. Even Republicans found themselves groaning at Cruz's case of Stupid Mouth, eventually telling him to please stop.
Finally, we've found the one cause to unite us all: free access to titties.
In a close second for the title of Least Informed Person with Scary Amounts of Power, we have Lindsey Graham, a Republican Senator with almost 20 years experience in Congress who is currently on the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. In those 20 years, Graham claims that he has not sent a single email. He has, however, sent at least one letter about net neutrality to a concerned citizen. This brings up two disturbing questions: 1) How can a person so disconnected from technology have influence over Internet-related legislation? And 2) Holy shit, what does this dude do all day?
You know what, never mind.
Finally, we come to Florida governor Jeb Bush. People don't expect much from a man named Jeb, but, incredibly, he still manages to underachieve the compassionately low standards America has set for him. Speaking to voters in Iowa in preparation for his possible Presidential bid, Bush responded to a question about net neutrality by saying that it was bad news, and that attempting to regulate the Internet with a law from 1934 (referring to the 1934 law which created the FCC) was crazy. Indeed it is crazy, Jeb; the current rules are unclear and insufficient as to how they apply to the Internet. That's why we're trying to update them.
Despite what media presentation of the issue has led you to believe, this is actually a pretty non-partisan topic, with the overwhelming majority of both parties supporting neutrality. But if you still want to ensure Republican support for the regulations, be sure to email Senator Graham. He's eager to read your missive and get back to you as soon as possible.
Probably by showing up in your room while you sleep.
When he's not objectifying cable companies, Chris writes for his website and tweets.
Also be sure to check out The 5 Weirdest Ways the Modern World Changed Human Behavior and If The Internet Was A High School.