In spite of the fact that the current debate over net neutrality is one of the most important issues facing America right now, it’s not easy to get people to give a damn about the topic because it involves incredibly dull, complicated regulatory minutiae. Perhaps this calls for a rebranding.
In the above clip from Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver makes an impassioned — and occasionally profane — case for why Americans should care about neutrality… and why they don’t.
It starts with the phrase “net neutrality” itself.
“The only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are ‘featuring Sting,'” says Oliver. “I would rather listen to a pair of Dockers tell me about the weird dream it had last night.”
The problem, he explains, is that both those who want true neutrality — in which Internet service providers treat all data equally, without regard to its source or destination — and those who support the pending changes that would allow ISPs to charge content companies for better access to end-users, employ language that is so incredibly dull that people tune out.
“The cable companies have figured out the great truth of America,” says Oliver. “If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.”
Oliver suggests that advocates stop using terms like “protecting net neutrality” and go with something a little more to-the-point.
“They should be calling it ‘preventing cable company f*ckery,’ because that is what it is,” he offers, “And it might compel people to actually want to do something.”
Click here for information on how to contact the FCC to let your voice be heard on
net neutrality the proposed cable company f*ckery.
Some other observations from last night’s neutrality piece…
• On Internet Fast Lanes:
“If we let cable companies offer two speeds of service, they won’t be Usain Bolt and Usain Bolt on a motorbike. They’ll be Usain Bolt and Usain Bolted-to-an-anchor.”
• On the Rare Cooperation Between Consumer Advocates & Major Tech Companies:
“What’s being proposed is so egregious, activists and corporations have been forced onto the same side. That’s basically Lex Luthor knocking on Superman’s apartment door and going, ‘Listen, I know we have our differences but we have got to get rid of that asshole in apartment 3-B.”
•On the Appointment of Former Cable/Wireless Industry Front Man Tom Wheeler As FCC Chair:
“The guy who used to run the cable industry’s lobbying arm is now running the agency tasked with regulating it. That is the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo.”
• On the Notion that the Comcast/TWC Merger is Okay Because the Companies Don’t Overlap:
“You can’t reduce competition when nobody is competing. You could not be describing a monopoly more clearly if you were wearing a metal top hat while driving a metal car after winning second prize in a beauty contest.”