Of the many, many comments received by the FCC, some stood out as diamonds in the very rough. Kudos, web warriors, kudos.
The FCC currently has over a million comments on net neutrality. They range from touching, to weird, to apocalyptically angry. We've plucked out a few superlative comments to highlight here, but the FCC extended deadline to September 15th so there's still time for you to send a profanity-laced response.
If you haven't already.
Top image: pond5 / ia_64
Whether they were answering John Oliver's call or felt the need to comment on their own, people went above and beyond the call of duty responding to the FCC. Net neutrality is an important issue and what the FCC chooses to do is going to have a huge impact.
It's gratifying that so many people, so many people who aren't lawyers or professionals submitting long, researched comments, showed up. So we're going to give awards to some of you. Because, man, you deserve it for being so dedicated.
As a user who already suffers slow internet due to geography and income, I say that keeping the internet an equal opportunity environment is essential to the proliferation of the thing itself. If some users benefit from a change that causes many to suffer then it is a step in the wrong direction. It would be easy to say that this proposal is a shameless grab for wealth and power, but I choose to say what is difficult: there is a critical moment coming; one that will be of vital importance to the human race for all time to come, and there are individuals in a position to raise up humanity to a height inconceivable. However, those individuals are also in a position to drive a wedge between themselves and the remainder of humanity permanently, not unlike the morlocks of Wells' dystopia. Choose the righteous path. Choose the path that leads to a strong, unified humankind. Thank you.
Most Personal Description of What an Open Internet Has Done
This is only a small portion of this comment, but the whole thing is well worth a read, just for the sheer honesty of it.
The Internet I've grown up with has allowed me to hear from people of color, people of other religions, people who self-identify as LGBT, all of whom share my hobbies and interests but whose lives and experiences differ greatly from my own. Thanks to the Internet as it exists today, I've learned about women's experiences in the geek subculture I enjoy, and how they often face misogyny, sexism and threats of rape and violence from other fans and even some creators whose works I've enjoyed in the past; I've learned about how a Black girl the same age as me grew up being drawn to the same creative works and cultural phenomena (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.), but hada radically different experience as a fan because all of these works were about White people, while people like her were rarely, if ever, portrayed at all, much less as protagonists; I've learned that while our core doctrines are at odds with each other, I share a great deal in common with an Islamic girl than I ever thought I would as a Christian male, and that her identity as she chose to present it onlinewas far, far different than the caricature I've received of Muslims from mainstream news and entertainment media; I've learned that I am able to relate to and understand someone who identifies themselves as gay, or a transwoman, or asexual, and connect with them on an interpersonal level that I don't think would ever have happened if I had been forced to rely solely upon my daily offline experiences and interactions with others. All of these things might not have happened if my online browsing experiences were shaped by some websites being less easily accessed than others.
With Net Neutrality, I am enabled to indulge my curiosity about sites I might not normally visit, and thus, I'm able to learn about other people and better understand them. This has considerable value to me as a creative artist, as a citizen living in a democratic, pluralistic American nation and a human being in a global community, and it absolutely has an impact on my real life.
Another personal anecdote: as ridiculous as this may sound on the surface and without context, I feel as though my life might have been saved by the discovery of a simple video game on the Internet. I was suffering from depression and contemplating suicide when I happened by chance to discover an independent video game (a "visual novel") collaboratively created by a number of people who met on an online forum. This game was life-affirming, with a story and characters that inspired me to want to be a better person and to live my life despite adversity with more passion and thankfulness. If there were no Net Neutrality, is it possible that I would have ever discovered this game? If my browsing experience had been determined by EA, Microsoft, Sony, or any of the other big name game companies, would I have found anything other than first person shooters and sports games?
Despite its high quality, the game of which I'm speaking has never really become well-known enough to have been featured in mainstream video game review sites; it's remained kind of an underground cult classic sort of thing, which has generated a kind and encouraging community around it, but remains well below the radar. And this game was made by volunteers and is given away for free. Monetary investment and profit are not necessarily indicators of quality, but in an Internet without Net Neutrality, such a thing would go unnoticed in favor of yet another Modern Warfare, Call of Duty, or Madden clone.
Most Poignant Description of Resignation to Defeat
Allowing internet service providers the opportunity to provide different websites with different delivery speeds is a terrible idea. There is little to no competitionbetween ISPs and this will lead to disasterous consequences far beyond what you can imagine. But since its going to happen anyways, lets watch the house burn together, but I will do so knowing that at least I raised my voice and tried.
Best Invocation of Harry Potter to Describe the FCC
This comment makes some good points, but the early comparison between the FCC and Lord Voldemort is the stand-out moment:
I am prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt: I do not believe the FCC has proposed these changes with a sense of malice towards the American people. Nobody is a villain in the sense that they know they're in the wrong and embrace it, and even Lord Voldemort was motivated by his fear of death and his belief in the necessity of purity in the Wizarding world. However, the fact remains that villains exist and their actions are real and harmful, and in this case, that is exactly the role you are fulfilling. I know that you are not bad people, and believe that what you are doing is for the best, but these rule changes are in no one's best interests except for Time Warner Cable and Comcast.
Most Honest Reason For Supporting Net Neutrality
This goes to the college student who loves being able to stay in touch with his parents. And also porn:
My name is james midas and I live in nunya, NY.
Net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all data that travels over their networks equally, is important to me because without it ISPs could have too much power to determine my Internet experience by providing better access to some services but not others.
A pay-to-play Internet worries me because new, innovative services that can't afford expensive fees for better service will be less likely to succeed.
The Internet is important to me because, as a college student living abroad, I need to keep in touch with my parents half the world away and wikipedia and porn are also a must from me and my fellow college students. If the ISPs takeover, it's like giving sauron his ring back or killing harry potter right from the start sorcerer's stone. my point is that if they to over the wild free internet that we know today will be a thing of the past. and the sith would win
Extra double points for you, Mr. Midas, for including Harry Potter and Sauron in your plea to make sure you can get to Wikipedia and porn.
Most Severe Change In Tone
This commenter is my hero. She starts off with a calm, reasoned argument. Then she remembers that it's the FCC she's writing to. And, well... :
My name is Tanya Strontzer and I live in West haven , CT. Net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all data that travels over their networks equally, is important to me because without it ISPs could have too much power to determine my Internet experience by providing better access to some services but not others. A pay-to-play Internet worries me because ISPs could act as the gatekeepers to their subscribers.
YOU REPRESENT ME. I SAY NO. FUCK OFF YOU DOUCHE PRICKS. YOU INCESTOUS POLITICAL CUM DUMPSTERS NEED TO CUT THIS SHIT OUT.
This very angry person is very angry:
Keep net neutrality or face the wrath of millions if not billions of angry Americans, Africans, Europeans, Asians and Australians. You are the biggest evil orginasation since the Nazis. Not in my lifetime have I ever seen a force so evil itcould unite the whole world against it. I mean at least Hitler had alies, if you destroy net neutrality then even Google will start fighting you. Go back to your death star concentration camp you sith nazis.
A very angry person (one of many)
Most Extensive Invocation of Star Wars:
My name is Greg Belle and I live in Cape Coral, FL.
Net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all data that travels over their networks equally, is important to me because without it users may have fewer options and a less diverse Internet.
A pay-to-play Internet worries me because ISPs could act as the gatekeepers to their subscribers.
The internet grows like outer space. Outer space is infinite. Therefore, the internet is infinite. Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye the science guy don't have to tell you this.
The internet is ever growing and ever expanding and if you try to stop that growth and expansion... People will find a way to have work arounds and build technology that will bypass what will be put into place if this these regulations are to be put into place. You will spend years fixing these loopholes costing you $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Please leave the internet as it is now and let it go from there.
remember the words of Princess Liea...
"Princess Leia Organa: Governor Tarkin. I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought onboard.
Wilhuff Tarkin: Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your life.
Leia: [sarcastically] I'm surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself.
Tarkin: Princess Leia, before your execution, I would like you to be my guest at a ceremony that will make this battle station operational. No star system will dare oppose the Emperor now.
Leia: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
Tarkin: Not after we demonstrate the power of this station. In a way, you have determined the choice of the planet that will be destroyed first. Since you are reluctant to provide us with the location of the Rebel base, I have chosen to test this station's destructive power on your home planet of Alderaan.
Leia: [shocked] No! Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can't possibly?
Tarkin: You would prefer another target? A military target?! Then name the system! [stepping closer to Leia and pinning her against Darth Vader] I grow tired of askingthis, so it will be the last time. Where is the Rebel base?
Leia: [looks at Alderaan for a moment, then, resigned] Dantooine. They're on Dantooine.
Tarkin: There. You see, Lord Vader? She can be reasonable. [to assistant] Continue with the operation. You may fire when ready.
Leia: [panicked] What?!
Tarkin: You are far too trusting. Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration, but don't worry. We will deal with your rebel friends soon enough.
[The Death Star destroys Alderaan]"
"Darth Vader: Your powers are weak, old man.
Obi-Wan: You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
you would be wise to follow these words! because the people will become more powerful than you ever imagined. Strike them down and they will become stronger and you will waste your time and money trying to shut them down.....
If I were the FCC I would leave the internet as is and let it be.
Trust me, you have no idea what in the damn fuck you're doing....
So the FCC is Tarkin? And Alderaan is Net Neutrality? Or did Mr. Belle just want to quote the foul stench thing because he doesn't like the FCC? The Darth Vader/Obi-Wan Kenobi quote is much clearer.
Best Invocation of the Devil
Hieronymus Bosch wishes he evoked such a bizarre Hell as this guy.
The apocalypse is knocking at the door. The devil has found his steed. Lucifer has named his nightmare and he hath dubbed it the FCC. Cable providers plan on riding over the internet taking what they please leaving nothing but chaos in their wake as they sit atop their thrones. This is an attack on us as a lesser people, as an american unawakened to the world around them. Well the mistake has been made, the gong sounded, and you have awoken the rage of the cretins at the bottom of the internet. A rage so unsound it meshes with the organized civil disobediance of established members of society. This is not a subtle attempt to grip the only thing we have keeping our society, our country from tearing apart at the seams. Our internet. Dont pretend you dont know what i am speaking about. Do not make this mistake. The lions are at the door. We are NOT taking orders from snakes no more.
Weirdest Invocation of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
This person seems to have lost the plot (and that's saying a lot for a Flying Spaghetti Monster comment):
WAT IF I TOLD YOU WAT. "IF THE FLY SPAGHETTI MONSTER DOESNT EXSIST THEN WHY ARE ARE PLANETS PERFECTLY SHAPED LIKE MEATBALL."
Best Use of TL;DR
This comment asks the important questions:
tl;dr: Stop doing this shit or you'll have a bunch of angry revolutionaries fucking up your website. Also, do you guys have to ruin everything? Is it necessary for you? Are you witches or something?
To summarize how I feel about any change to infringe upon net neutrality, I would like to quote Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
"A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!"
Seriously though, do we really want to do anything that gives ISPs any more power than they already have?
Most Confusing Use of the Lord of the Rings
This person just posted the entire script to the Fellowship of the Ring.
Best Alternative Solution Proposed
Jimmy Rustles has found a way to turn his NC-17 Gladiator fanfic into reality.
I propose an entirely different solution. This solution, though less cost-effective than the current "ignore the majority of people asking you not to do something and then do it anyway" strategy, will yield better results in a twofold manner: it will provide the public with a single event with which to placate themselves, offering plenty of opportunities for the live entertainment America craves while at the same time pushing your required agenda of a deneutralized web. It's a twofer!
The two competing cable companies, Time Warner and Comcast, should each be allowed to choose one champion who best exhibits the strength and cocksuckery of their respective companies. These two champions will be given an arsenal of dildos of various size and girth, from which they may choose up to two that best fit their own personal specifications.
Once these two champions have been armed and lathered in cool oil so as to pronouncetheir masculine features and harden their nipples. Remember—sex sells! We then place these two champions into a large open arena with plenty of spectator seating and one of those fancy tether-cameras you see floating over NFL fields between plays. The two champions will grasp each other in a firm Greco-Roman embrace, and then at the sound of a large bell commence jamming their dildo-weapons into the other's exposed anus. The two will writhe and tumble about, rabidly fornicating eachother to the applause of the crowds. Whichever champion falls to the ground in the throes of orgasmic bliss first is considered the loser, and the company of the remaining champion wins the internet and all its disgusting splendor to do with as they wish.
This event can be played across the nation on televisions and whatever internet sites survive the massive purge that will inevitably occur once net neutrality is ended. As an addeed bonus, instead of commercials the two champions will chant the words, "America is ready for a privatized internet!" periodically as they spar. The slogan will be ingrained in the hearts and minds of at least a few dozen Americans viewing the program.
A few dozen may not seem like much—but it's more than you've currently got convinced.
Okay, hands up: Who'd watch this? Don't lie. This is the Internet, we accept all things.
The "Think About It" Award
Please keep the playing field level. America has already lost so much please don't ruin the internet too. If you do, I will pray for Theodore Roosevelt's zombie to eat you in the apocalypse. Think about it.
Widest Net Cast for a Call to Arms
Hey, I like the internet. I think you like the internet, too. I think you remember fond memories of searching the net, indiscriminately. Don't take that away from others, from fresher generations. The internet is a tool for expression and social change. Okay, mostly it is for adorable cat photos with captions. Don't take the catout of the meow! Or the meow out of the cat?
Free porn for all who fight to protect our internet!!! For Aslan! For Steve Jobs! For Bill Gates! For for! For for for! FOR FOR FOR FOR
At the end there, this one turns into experimental poetry.
The Godwin Award
This was the hardest. A search for "Hitler" brought up 114 comments. And "nazi" brought up 172. And the commenters were perfectly happy with their comparisons.
From the weird:
Are you fucking kidding me? Selling broadband to companies to sell it to the highest bidder? That couldn't be more morally fucked up if Stalin and Hitler made a test-tube baby, and then set the blender to "Puree", Net Neutrality must continue, the internet is fine as is. And a final fuck you to all of these broadcasting corporations trying to rule our lives
To the insanely offensive:
This is probably the worst idea I've ever heard of, and I HAVE heard of Hitler thinking it'd be awesome to kill all the Jews
But, the winner here is the purest expression of Godwin's Law. A straight-up description of Hitler's rise to power:
How did Adolf Hitler rise to power? By using German Secret Service to take over communications, literally making laws making it illegal for Jewish people to work in the news and entertainment industry. Hitler and the German Secret Service made it illegal to even make jokes about Hitler.
Having a free and open internet, with internet users' privacy protected is crucial to having a free, safe and prosperous society.
This is but a small sample of the comments sent in. And while others have drawn conclusions about the more rational arguments made, mostly what comes across in these documents is that people are angry about the possible loss of net neutrality. And they are angry in a very personal way. Even if they're not the most articulate, they know that this will change the Internet for the worse.
Whether this outpouring of disapproval means anything to the FCC has yet to be decided. But, just this week, the FCC announced that it's new chief technology officer is a net neutrality expert (although not one who is strongly pro an open internet). And the deluge of comments has made the FCC extend the commenting period to September 15th, so if you have a whole script or book you want to send the FCC, there's still time.
Let us know how it goes.
Additional reporting by Ryan Plummer