Tangled Up Tubes

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OK, I wasn't going to laugh. I really wasn't. I think, frankly, that moveon.org makes itself look a bit snarky when it mocks Ted Stevens, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee that just passed telecommunications legislation without strong network neutrality language.

Moveon.org is one of a number of groups that argue the network neutrality debate is for the very sould of the 'net, rather than between the pocketbooks of three Goliaths in search of a David. It has taken to making fun of Stevens for his fumbles and flubs, which entertains after a fashion but does not further the debate while sucking some of the gravitas out of the group.

The octogenarian Senator has a lot on his plate besides the bill, so he can't be expected to be an expert–that's what they have staff for–and most people at the hearing probably sort of understood what he meant when he started talking about the Internet as a series of tubes.

But, he also left himself wide open to mockery with the rambling explanation/not an explanation that had some journalists shaking their heads in amazement at the time.

Anyway. Moveon.org is circulating a technomix of the explanation that is "Steven Colbert " funny, to coin a new modifier for really funny stuff.

Check it out at http://www.freepress.net/docs/dj_teds_techno_tubes.mp3. That is a much faster link than the original, which got so much traffic it was going to take 50 minutes to download. That is just the sort of tube clogging, ironically, that Stevens was talking about in the argument against net neutrality that moveon.org is trying to reduce to self-parody.

If anyone else out there is reminded of the decades-old National Lampoon Radio Hour take-off of the Watergate Hearings–"Mr. uh butterfinger, uh Butterman"–let me know.

By John Eggerton

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