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Immortalizing Ted Stevens, Net Neutrality for Posterity

It's almost charming how little our legislators know about the topics they're writing into law. In recent memory, there is no greater example of this than Ted Stevens, Alaska's 82-year-old Republican Senator. In late June, he tried to explain the inner workings of the Internet during a speech against Net neutrality--the idea that all Web traffic, no matter how much bandwidth it requires, should be treated equally. "The Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck," Stevens snapped. "It's a series of tubes!" As soon as he delivered his speech, MP3's of Stevens' performance were widely distributed on the Web to those in favor of net neutrality. "The Internet is a Series of Tubes!" spawned a new slogan that became a rallying cry for Net neutrality advocates. They created T-shirts and satirical PowerPoint presentations, and sent them to friends. It even resulted in a MySpace fan club for the Alaskan senator. The Stevens' overly simplistic description of the Web's infrastructure made it easy for pro-neutrality activists to label the other side as old and out-of-touch. Consider, as another example, Stevens' personal anecdote about a recent experience with the Internet: "An Internet [sic] was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially." Stevens' speech has even inspired a dance remix. DJ Tubular's "Ted Stevens Techno Remix" takes three minutes of Stevens' address and sets it to a cheesy techno beat. To date, the remix has been downloaded more than 70,000 times from Tubular's own blog and more than 175,000 times from YouTube




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