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CatherineFitzpatrick (@catfitz)

Parking my answer to Business Insider here, because I noticed my comments are often deleted from that website after they appear.

I wish all the insights that you and Tom Nichols have had that help undermine the cult of Snowden really were the net effect of this interview with John Oliver.

But they aren't at all.

In fact, I find it rather sinister that Oliver, under the guise of making Snowden "squirm" is in fact merely making a more credible argumentation for gutting or removing the Patriot Act. That, after all, is the purpose of this episode -- in case you thought it was just "comedy".

I don't think Oliver is in fact hard-hitting at the end of the day, but is simulating it -- and it's worked to get Snowden's critics impressed, and that worries me. So take another look.

He never mentions "Why Russia" and he never asks a single question about Russia -- the choice of Russia, the conditions in Russia.
Instead of getting an admission that it is reckless to give such classified documents to journalists for precisely the reason indicated -- that information is leaked that harms our ability to protect nationa security - what you get instead if a robust "journalism gets a pass even when they make mistakes because mistakes are the hallmark of democracy."

Really? But there isn't just one mistake like that. There's hundreds of documents leaked that have nothing to do with privacy and everything to do with relations with our allies or the security of countries like Norway -- and yet those areas have been damaged. That's more than a journalistic mistake; that's a deliberate anti-American and indeed anti-Western agenda shared by not only left-wing journalists like Greenwald and the Guardian but WikiLeaks and the Kremlin.

Yes, Putin is "nailed" as not really knowing what he stole. But you see why that was such a chimera to chase? *It doesn't matter*. Eventually they will all get read and published.It's good. There is absolutely no condemnation here. Oliver can simultaneously nail him for not knowing what's in these documents AND show that it doesn't matter because he still thinks we need to change the Patriot Act because....

...the government has pictures of your junk.

So, mission accomplished. And if you don't want to hear it from me, read TechcCrunch -- this is how you know that John Oliver didn't nail Snowden, so that now people will think twice about listening to his ideas about national security. Instead, the take home is "get rid of the Patriot Act because privacy has to trump security."

Read more:


Are you mentally ill? Because reducing network neutrality advocates to "young men and middle-aged techie men who loved Monty Python" who only agree with John Oliver's fake news show because of his English accent and are so powerful that "few people can get in its way without suffering not only withering scorn but actual sexist attack and harassment" seems like something that comes from the mind of a delusional, paranoid woman with a persecution complex.

And as far as reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 goes, if you actually understood the '96 Act and the concept of the Congress delegating rule making authority to independent regulatory agencies staffed with and led by subject-matter experts with terms staggered so at least some of the time so not all might have been appointed by one President, for example the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (do you see the pattern here?) and yes, the Federal Communications Commission, you'd understand that by making and enforcing regulations, which includes classifying and/or reclassifying services under different parts of the Act, the FCC isn't "making up the law" -- it's carrying out its responsibilities under the '96 Act which date back to its founding with the Communications Act of 1934.

Is that difficult for you to understand?

CatherineFitzpatrick (@catfitz)

I've completely NAILED the demographic for "net neutrality" -- either older techies who were Monty Python lovers who are radical libertarians/technocommunists on Internet policy or younger techies, some of whom also love Monty Python re-runs, who want "freedom" i.e. anarchy to do what they want on the Internet -- plus Google bosses and engineers whipsawing these campaigns who fit in these demographics.

It's not soccer moms. It's not black urban female teenagers. So let's not be children here. It's a certain male demographic for sure. And of course this male demographic howls miserably when calls out and begins snarling idiocy like "you're mentally ill" or "paranoid."

John Oliver's shtick is EXACTLY from the Monty Python accent/culture/ethos and also appeals in general to Americans who are suckers for British accents period.

No, agencies don't get to do "rule-making" which in fact change the nature of property and the social system, turning it into a socialistic system. It will be interesting to see if the courts overturn this, as they have before.

The FCC has really overreached its historic parameters and furthermore has done this by flashmobbing -- having Google, EFF etc. and other lobbyists sic hundreds of thousands of tech males on to the web site for "open comments" -- that in fact made the site unusable for days at a time.

Reclassifying services is just a kind of jiggering to get find another way to do the same socialist gambit that failed in other attempts, that's all.

I hope the telecoms and other interested content industries will gather together and challenge this because it's not only a blow for tech anarchy and Google hegemony, it's a blow against democratic government and separation of powers.


Reading you from across the pond. Any 'socialist' tag which encompasses John Oliver and, whadafaq, Monty Python must include almost every Brit and certainly every political party, including the Conservatives, given the NHS. Am I right? We're all 'socialists'?

In Brit terms (and having listened to Oliver's great podcasts with Andy Zaltman for Murdoch's Times), Oliver is actually a bog-standard social democrat, a Labour Party supporter I would guess. Which, from New York translates as 'socialist'. Is that right?

I'd love to hear more on what you've got against Monty Python itself, and not just those you're pointing out are its fans. MP was part of the great anti-establishment satire boom in the Sixties which produced other institutions like
David Frost and the satirical magazine Private Eye. Is it that movement which you dislike or just Monty Python? Do you also dislike Fawlty Towers?

Genuinely intrigued!

CatherineFitzpatrick (@catfitz)

Paulo - you're all socialists, by comparisons to Americans, sure. But you have particularly deep socialist leaders throughout history and ingrained socialist pundits who keep causing havoc in the world.

Bog Standar social democrat? That *is* socialism, dude. Labour Party *is* socialism. That you think it isn't is what is HILARIOUS. I never get that. Of course it's socialist! And why are you ashamed/reluctant to admit it!

There's a built-in hate of business, a belief in government programs that keep people dependent, there's an aversion to capitalism, there's a belief that social programs fix thing like terrorism -- this is all part of the Labour Party of course and IS socialism.

I don't care for any of these British cultural artifacts that are descendents of Monty Python.

Why don't I like Monty Python? Because it is the crafted, jaded sensibility of people who don't believe in anything, wrapped together with ridicule of those who do (like Catholics). I found many of their skits tedious, wearing, overly-hysterical at times, overly precious and pompous. I could never go on a marathon watching Monty Python - I could barely tolerate a show or two now and then if I had to because friends were watching it.

This is heresy, of course.

There's always the feeling from Brits of this type that they are culturally more sophisticated than Americans and smarter too, and that we're all just shoppers at Wal-mart still keeping the plastic on our couches. My response to that attitude is -- fuck you. You couldn't even keep your own empire properly intact, you twits, who the hell are you knocking. Seriously.

I do admire some Brits -- for example C.S. Lewis and Edward Thompson.

But then so many others offset those I admire -- Bertrand Russell and Ken Livingston.

Then there's Amnesty International -- awful.


That's me told! Well I did ask!

Miliband actually did call himself a socialist just the other week. But no Labour person has done that since Tony Blair in 1993. Was Blair a socialist do you think? On every point of division you cite (business, capitalism etc) I wouldn't think he was but that's through our lens.

Of course I think Labour is socialist - I think the real division in politics is to do with redistribution - but you're right to think the party shies from the label. In our terms the socialist left is fairly small but obviously that looks different from NYC!

On Python, each to their own on what makes us laugh but a point. Python was upper class rebellion. All the people from that era came out of Oxford/Cambridge with few exceptions (Michael Palin). They were rebelling against their stiff parents, the hangover of wartime austerity and greyness, that's what lots of their sketches are about. Same with Life Of Brian.

There was a rebellion against what you're identifying as 'Pythonism' in the 80s with what was known as 'alternative comedy', which followed on from punk rebelling against people like the Rolling Stones. Python the TV show now, of course, looks dated although the films still work very well.

The irony (?!) now is that comedy is a huge business and very little is political in the slightest.

"There's always the feeling from Brits of this type that they are culturally more sophisticated than Americans and smarter too,"

Maybe, but Brits have always sucked in American culture and, famously, projected back black American culture at white America. I can remember growing up and being glued to the American Chart show on BBC radio and, later, scouring record shops for the latest US imports and reading US magazines, mainly from your town. That's a common experience. We've for as long as I can remeber always gushed over any Brits who've 'made it' in America and taken a while to stop aping Americans and develop our own styles (I know this from rap music for example).

So don't go thinking that the notion that someone else, in another country, is 'culturally more sophisticated' is entirely one way.

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