Comedy Central Send An Omen: South Park and the Upcomming FCC Hearing (spoiler alert!)

As an inveterate procrastinator, I cannot complain too loudly that the Commission only just published the witness list for tomorrow’s (today’s) FCC hearing at Standford. Happily, it looks like I am the only lawyer on the panel. I am also amused to share the panel with George Ford, who took me to task after the last time we both testified in front of a federal agency about broadband — the Federal Trade Commission in February 2007 — for making my First Amendment arguments at the FTC under the guise of economics. My turn to remind him that we are in public interest land now, baby, where the Red Lion still rules the Jungle and maintaining the diversity of information sources is, according to Turner a government purpose of “the highest order.” Come to think of it, I’ll remind some of the Commissioners of that as well.

Meanwhile, on the flight in, I received an amazing omen from Comedy Central (which is why you should always fly Jet Blue if you can, so you can get 36 channels of omen potential). Tonight’s episode of South Park (spoiler alert!) had the internet getting “used up,” with the government rationing the internet for the internet refugees who came to Silicon Valley. But then Kyle, the little Jewish kid, shows them a better way. Rather than rationing users, you can just reboot the internet (which is kept by the federal government in an underground bunker) and try again. In the end, Stan’s father explains to everyone that it is the responsibility of users to manage their internet use respopnsibly rather than rely on others to ration it for them.

I choose to take this as an omen that I, the Jewish kid on the panel, will be sucessful in rebooting the Commission to get them to understand that it’s about the users, not about letting people in the middle ration the internet. Granted that Ben Scott actually looks more like Kyle, and I look more like Cartman. So perhaps I will just limit myself to making wise ass remarks and let Ben reboot the Commission. Either way is good.

Off to write some testimony.

Stay tuned . . . .

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One Comment

  1. John says:

    Harold,

    First, if Wetmachine is South Park, then I’m Cartman and you’re the Jewish kid. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

    Congratulations on being on the panel. It’s a fitting acknowledgment of your contribution to the discussion thus far.

    Your public interest arguments are of the highest importance. If I may be presumptuous to give you advice, here are two points from my writeup of the FCC hearing at Harvard that you should keep in mind:

    1) When I talked to Kevin Martin at the reception afterwards, I told him that Net Neutrality, at its core, was about preserving the internet as an engine of democracy. Absent regulation, it would be subsumed by corporatocracy and plutocracy. Martin said, (paraphrasing): “That’s a very good point. Tim Wu said that. I wish more people had said that.”

    2) In his testimony, Daniel Weitzner from MIT said,

    “What’s at stake is everyone’s ability to communicate with everyone else.”

    Give ’em hell, Harold!

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