Net Neutrality

I have been so painfully ignorant of this issue for the past few years that I didn’t even know it WAS an issue. I mean, I knew back in 1994 when I was first really on the internet playing slingo and the extent of my HTML abilities was Geocities, that one day the internet would be co-opted by either the big businesses who allowed access, or by the gubment who’d censor content. The problem with it is that it is both a network and a form of media. Like a telephone service, neither the providers nor any gubmental agency should have a say over what it is that you say. You can print your own leaflets, write to your penpal, and tie two cans to the ends of a string and talk to the girl next door with it. As a network, there should definitely be a hands-off ruling, except of course in cases of presidential assassination or sedition.

And therein lies the problem: because on the internet, you CAN, for all intents in purposes, get away with those things, either in or out of context, for example: “Man, I sure would like to kill the president of the United States of America! Gee golly. I have to wonder, when I kill the president of the United States of America, if it will actively bring down the government of the United States of America. Man, I sure would like to actively bring down the government of the United States of America. Bomb Bomb Bomb, communism, bomb bomb Al-Qaeda, terrorism, social reform, bomb bomb, Oklahoma, bomb bomb bomb, anarchist’s cookbook, Tyler Durden, Weather Underground Organization, bomb bomb bob-omb, Che Guevara-wear, bomb bomb, Cindy Sheehan, bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb.” The FBI has now bookmarked this page. Right between Albinoblacksheep.com and the .gif of that dancing fat kid on ebaumsworld.com

As a form of media, the internet is a pretty overwhelming force to be reckoned. Offensive, salacious, subversive, damaging, insulting, expansive; the problem presented it just that there are no rules, no boundaries and no guiding force for the youth of today. It would be the role of a responsible government to stop internet predators, and it seems entirely warranted that your ISP can allow you to filter results that you may find abrasive to you or your child’s fragile little mind. Ultimately, however, a damn *liberal* would argue that it is in the hands of each and every individual to follow the written rules and unwritten social mores, that each website have their “Code of Conduct” and “Terms of Use.” But we all know that people are stupid, lascivious, ignorant, lecherous, greedy and horny. If they’re not the bastard trying to sell you kiddie porn, then they’re the bastard trying to buy it, or the ignaramous who spends twelve hours a day on WOW, or worse, Yahoo Games. Better still, with today’s technology, you can chat to a fifteen-year-old girl while you play Chess. And I remember from when I was sixteen, there are plenty of innuendos available there.

Now we are presented with the grimy decision of allowing the gubment to regulate our precious Strong Bad, which I’m sure is first on their list, or letting the big businesses restrict our access to hotwivesinaction.com, which I’m sure is on their list. I don’t even know if that’s a real website, and I’m sure the school computers won’t let me check.

I knew this was going to fucking happen, but I let it slip into the back of my mind like so many Darkwing Duck episodes, or the name of the guy who owned the general store on Petticoat Junction, or Ghost Rider’s real name. SO… having ignored the progression of this situation over the years paying attention to silly things like… I don’t know… the refinement of nuclear components in the Middle East, presidential debauchery, my education, girls, terrorism and war… such that the issue sort of sneaked up behind me. This is frightening, because if the message boards at Somethingawful.com, and the Askaninja are just now talking about it as well, enough to bring it to OUR attention, whilst Tim Wu is shaking his head, then this sort of attack on our civil liberties has been in the works for some time prior, maybe even in the works from the internet’s inception. CURSE YOU ALBERT ARNOLD GORE, JR.!! CURSE YOU!! Not only that, but if we are so easily distracted with terrorism and wars and pop divas, that something like this is going on in the background, imagine what other wheels are turning, and in what other dirty pies the dirty fingers are. Perhaps the internet is just a ruse so that Karl Rove could convince Guy Montag to burn all the books? Maybe it’s a vast desensitization device, to program us into a certain way of thinking? Could it be that between the time that “Bye, Bye, Bye” came out to when Arnold Schwarzenegger took gubernatorial office, we lost a few constitutional rights we were entitled to, and were so taken by surprise that we can’t even remember what they were to argue?

I have other theories, but all facts considered, it would be pretty stupid to put them on the internet.

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