Hot Take From Idiot: We Must Destroy Net Neutrality Because Internet Destroyed ... Blockbuster Video?

There are a lot of takes on this here internet. So many, in fact, that some get past hot entirely and become glorious conflagrations of sheer absurdity. It's a lot of bad news and depressing things lately, and so for your reading enjoyment we bring you: the Internet's worst take on Net Neutrality! Was it this?


No, it is from The Week.

Net neutrality is dead. This is a good thing.

This is an auspicious start for a wonderfully awful take! Contrarian, short, has all the hallmarks of a strong contender. Let's see where it takes us!

Even if there were no other compelling arguments in favor of killing net neutrality (though there are), the end of net neutrality would be welcome because it will frustrate the hopes of the largest group temper tantrum thrown by non-toddlers in recent American history.

I had really started to like this trend of MAGAmericans owning the libs by destroying their own expensive consumer goods or dressing up in diapers in public, but I am worried that we have encouraged this a bit too much. They are already at "shut down the internet to own the libs" which was frankly a quicker escalation than we had expected!

Has this country ever seen a more simperingly childish mob than the one responsible for the outcry over this boring prudential question concerning the allocation of hertz?

Some people dress up like babies when other people tell them to play nice. Yes, we have seen more simperingly childish mobs than the people who wanted to keep net neutrality. Hell, there were the Great Pumpkin Riots of 2014, or sports fans generally.

But this is Wonkette and it's a bit pot/kettle for us to complain about anyone's can't miss hyperbole, so let us consider the question of whether the allocation of hertz is in fact merely a boring prudential question!

Language is a funny thing, in that you can describe your oven catching fire when oil spills out of a pan in many ways. You could say HOLY FUCK THERE IS A FIRE! FIRE IN THE KITCHEN! Or you could say that due to the nature of liquid substances and the existence of gravity, a physical reaction has occurred near a heating element. Both would be, kind of, correct! But, insofar as you are interested in not having your house burn down, we think you can agree that yelling fire is a better way to properly describe the situation.

Whether or not banks should be required to keep enough cash on hand to stave off another financial apocalypse is a "boring prudential question." Whether we keep the ACA is a "boring prudential question." For someone who was just complaining about other people being juvenile, this guy sure doesn't seem to understand that most very important policy questions are boring and prudential!

Has so much canned emotion ever been spilled over so bland and technocratic and uniquely prudential an issue? Having strong feelings about net neutrality — which essentially mandates that your internet service provider treats all internet traffic and data equally — is like getting upset over a public-access TV debate on the generic ballot or the proceedings of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs.

We here at Wonkette would like to point out that the Fisheries subcommittee is also in charge of some pretty critical things! Like, you know, all the fresh water in the country, which we think you all can agree is kind of important. Oh, and all the forests. And the animals. And the public lands. And the ocean, which might not have any fish in it left soon. Of course we know this is all kinda, what's the word, boring.

If nothing else, ludicrous statements like the one from the heads of the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens Public Library systems calling the proposed change "appalling" and the gravest threat to education this country faces do the helpful work of reminding us that, like public schools, libraries in this country are now little more than transmission centers for digital entertainment.

Okay but without the library where'd he get the thesaurus that he looked up "ludicrous" in because we tried to diagram this sentence's irony and we got lost towards the end when the ludicrous thing about this paragraph is the assertion that libraries exist to provide digital entertainment. This guy should have asked one of his friends who's written a book about their sales numbers at libraries.

Meanwhile, Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has received death threats against his children. A man in Syracuse is facing federal charges after leaving a voicemail at the office of Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.). "Listen Mr. Katko, if you support net neutrality, I will support you. But if you don't support net neutrality, I will find you and your family and I will kill you all. Do you understand? I will literally find all of you and your progeny and just wipe you from the face of the Earth."

Okay, so I'm not saying death threats are ever ever ever ever a good thing in any context for a lot of reasons, but the fact remains that I get them for saying things like "it sucks to be poor" and just last week our very own Evan got them for calling the redneck lady that's Trump's mouthpiece a redneck, because he is a Coastal Libtard Cuck and whatnot from his place in Tennessee, and also they death-threated Evan's dog. So it's not like it's out of the social norm these days to get death threats, especially when one is nearly singlehandedly forcing through policies the Internet hates. (You may have heard, but the FCC apparently has not heard, that there are people online that are not very nice sometimes!)

The FCC hearing itself had to be briefly evacuated Thursday after someone apparently called in a bomb threat. The only difference between the hordes of fideistic pro-net neutrality campaigners and the #GamerGate movement is that the former have been officially sanctioned by right-thinking liberals, who never miss an opportunity to shill on behalf of capital.

Is this opposite day? I have just this morning finished explaining to the New York Times that actually, they were advocating for the overthrow of capitalism, and now it is the libtards who love capital? Listen, I am as pissed about elitism as the next girl and probably more by a factor of about 50 but we are not going to run around saying that the GOP is the choice for economic populists.

On the other hand, it's possible that there never was a thesaurus involved here, because I am suddenly having flashbacks to the three first dates I have been on with men who spoke at length about either Hemingway or Bukowski and also shared a strange affinity for explaining all the different kinds of libertarianism.

Indeed, from Teen Vogue to The Washington Post to, liberal opinion is united in its support of net neutrality.

This is what we call disingenuous. (I have a thesaurus that I got from the library!) More than one Republican has come out against this, as well as a whole bunch of libertarians and techbros. In fact, the only people who like it are folk who are pretty bought into this whole kleptocracy already!*

*That last line was pure spurious hyperbole. But this is fucking Wonkette and we will not lose a spurious hyperbole battle on a matter of policy to a dude who can't even simile!

But on its face, net neutrality is absurd. The idea that internet service providers should be forced to provide unlimited access to content transmitted indiscriminately whether it is old episodes of Sesame Street, pornographic videos of simulated rape, or a column at The Week, makes as much sense as saying that a brewing company should be able to suck up all the water in a river so long as people like drinking it. We do not force bookstores to stock certain volumes or restaurants to prepare every conceivable dish.

See, now he's not even bothering with similes, he's just implying them. Wonkette is a content provider. The people you pay for your Internet access are your service provider. Those are different things that are not comparable. It's not like a fucking bookstore, because an ISP is the owner of the strip mall the bookstore's in.

We are not sure what's happening with the brewery thing unless, and we are not throwing stones here, this piece was written at the end of the brewery tour, on an ipad, overlooking the river and drinking a bourbon flight. Because it's nothing like that. It's more like saying that a municipal water system isn't a brewery, and that's as un-tortured as that metaphor gets.

The prospect of a segregated internet in which much of the crap now gumming up the works remains legal but available only to those willing to pay a premium to access it is a welcome one.

One imagines this paragraph being written in a swelling crescendo of self-satisfaction, having come finally to the main point with such fervor and gusto. One also imagines that the person who could write this sentence thinks that Starbucks is honestly top-range coffee and that Olive Garden is the best Italian food out there, because "I would very much like for one of a few media companies to decide what I should be able to see and how much I should pay as compared to now, when breweries are not municipal water systems" ... sorry, I keep trying to think how that metaphor was supposed to work, and I am just not getting it.

But there is another aspect of this debate that is rarely mentioned, one that deserves a certain amount of consideration. In the last decade the internet has changed every aspect of our lives in ways that we have largely accepted without a moment's hesitation.

*puts chin on hands, blinks*

As but one example: Was it a good thing — for people, commerce, or art — that Netflix destroyed the video store industry? As Matt Novak observedrecently, the replacement of Blockbuster by online streaming has not meant that we are all allowed to watch whatever movies we like all the time. Say what you want about the musty old Family Video where the only thing more remarkable than the number of cigarettes the middle-aged woman behind the counter smoked was her apparently endless ability to enjoy Ben-Hur on VHS; at least it had Citizen Kane and Seven Samurai on the shelves in addition to the latest Hollywood garbage. Meanwhile, what about all the people who used to make $35,000 a year managing their local corporate video franchise, to say nothing of all the teenagers and 20-somethings who used to stand behind the counter? Was it worth it so that a much smaller number of programmers and executives could make a good deal more money and you can enjoy Wolfcop without putting on clothes? What was wrong with going to the store and picking out a CD (and songwriters making money from the sale) instead of letting a YouTube algorithm decide what song you stream next?

Also, what is WITH those weaving machines, we ask you? It's like nobody appreciates a fine Yorkshire homespun anymore. We're not sure whether we're meant to blame millennials for killing the weaving industry or whether we're supposed to explain that actually, it's kind of way better for the environment to download a song than it is to drive to the store and get a CD, and the fact that music companies are ripping off songwriters is the moral problem of the music industry, not the guy who knows what netflix and chill means. (Who has to ask what the benefit of watching a movie without pants on is, seriously?)

I rather like that "throttle," a good old-fashioned strong verb that meant "strangle or kill" before it was an engineering term, has become the word we use to refer to the practice of internet service providers hindering the transmission of pornographic videos, online shoot-em-up games, and HBO reruns. These are all things that deserve to be throttled. Throttle away.

OK we think maybe thesaurus after all because he's pondering the meaning of words like he's Barthes.

Also stay the fuck away from the porn, man, plus the HBO reruns because they're basically porn, and oh by the way, the reason we are all freaking out about net neutrality is that we have enshrined in our Constitution the basic principle that the ruling class -- whether government or giant corporations -- has no right to tell you what you can and can't believe or enjoy as long as you break no laws. We, the mewling children who think things like interior policy are perhaps mundane but nonetheless important, don't want a handful of private interests given the power that we have never entrusted our government with. The Internet is not any more perfect than the society that communicates on it and while we've got serious work to do in the way we self-govern online, the answer is not Newscorp.

[The Week]

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