Usually when a burning issue arises, I feel compelled to squeeze every last drop of my own phrasing, logic and wit into this limited space.
One would think that would be the case with President Obama’s recent campaign to treat broadband companies as common carriers and protect the consumer from “slow lanes,” power-mad monopolies and a trampling of the traditions that have made the internet such a success.
Instead, I’ve graciously chosen to dip into my mailbag at random and share with you a letter from one of my anonymous readers. Here goes:
What’s all this stuff in the news lately about PET NEUTRALITY?
Have we lost the hard-won right to recognize that there are differences between species and between individual four-legged (or however many-legged) companions? Do we have to treat the pets that just eat and sleep and throw up exactly like the ones that make use of their time to frolic for our amusement, fetch simple objects or herd sheep? In the name of so-called “fairness,” are we on the verge of having SOCK MONKEYS draw a disability check because they can’t, well, do anything?
Other presidents recognized the differences between pets. Then-vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon singled out Checkers for a 1952 speech, instead of giving a “shout out” to all the other mutts in town. LBJ knew beagles were the best for holding up by their ears for photographers. Surely Ronald Reagan had favorites among his horses. (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall - so I can build a bigger stall for Old Paint. And keep Nancy’s astrologer out of the sugar cubes.”) Bill Clinton let Socks the White House Cat get all the attention, dooming his littermates (Support Hose, Odor Eater, Shoe Horn, etc.) to obscurity.
The president’s actions pose alarming threats to our free speech. Don’t you want to be able to discriminate and ask your pet, “Who’s a good boy?” instead of pussyfooting around and blandly inquiring “Who’s an indistinguishable, cog-in-the-machine boy?” I know I do.
Why is the Federal Communications Commission involved in this, anyway? Are silent dog whistles and bird calls and whirring can openers really part of their bailiwick? Taxpayers demand to know.
Why do Comcast and Netflix keep getting mentioned in this discussion? Don’t tell me they’re planning a lot of touchy-feely propaganda programs like “House of Vaccination Cards” or “Orange Is The New Color That, Like Black, Doesn’t Make One Cat Any More Special Than Another”?
Why is the president so worried about “common carriers”? If he can carry pets on Air Force One, why should he begrudge anyone the choice to transport a pampered pooch in an UNCOMMON carrier?
Just wait for the Politically Correct crowd to intrude further upon our language. Instead of “dog years” we’ll be forced to talk about “camel years”. Instead of “as the crow flies,” it’ll be “as the tarantula crawls.”
What’s all this technical talk about “ISPs”? My favorite ferret Omar is currently sleeping on my dictionary, so I’ll have to use my own wits to figure out the acronym. Hmm. So, why is the president so concerned about Iguana Striping Perverts?
Excuse me...my nosey neighbor looking over my shoulder is trying to tell me something. What? They’re talking about NET neutrality, not PET neutrality?
Note: This column is dedicated to the memory of the late, great Gilda Radner (1946-1989).
Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”