FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is whipping out the memes in a last-minute effort to stir up support for his much-maligned repeal of net neutrality. Pai stars in a bizarre video released Wednesday, which features the former Verizon lawyer waving fidget spinners and lightsabers as he argues that his plan is totally cool, dude. He claims consumers will still be able stream HBO and use Instagram after net neutrality protections are removed, in a garish diversion from the actual reason everyone’s upset about net neutrality. It could very well be harder for the next HBO or next Instagram to start up, for one, if net neutrality protections that ensure that all internet content is treated equally are essentially erased.
To look at it another way, what if your ISP wants to start its own HBO or content-making company? It could throttle speeds of HBO or offer faster-load times for its own streaming service. This isn’t just a hypothetical; major ISP Comcast owns NBC Universal. Verizon owns content-makers AOL and Yahoo!
When you know that, Pai doing the nearly five-year-old “Harlem Shake” in a video released by conservative website The Daily Caller just seems insulting to the intelligence of anybody who cares about the future of the internet or has bothered to become an informed citizen.
“Recently there’s been quite a bit of conversation about my plan to restore internet freedom,” Pai said in a Daily Caller video. “Here are just a few of the things you’ll still be able to do on the internet, after these Obama-era regulations are repealed.”
The five-member commission is set to vote on Pai’s plan Thursday, which would repeal the 2015 decision to classify the internet as a utility under “Title II” regulations.
To watch the vote livestream, click here to view the meeting on the official government feed. The meeting will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. Fourth on the agenda out of seven items is the “Restoring Internet Freedom” item, with docket number 17-108.
Opponents fear that without regulatory oversight, service providers will restrict access to certain sites based on package deals, ending the notion of fair access to all internet resources. Thirty-nine Democratic senators have written to the commission expressing their opposition, while a number of protests were held outside Verizon stores last week to draw attention to Pai’s former position as a Verizon lawyer.
Pai seems unfazed by this wave of opposition, as he Instagrams his food, dances the Harlem shake in a crowd, and holds up a selfie stick to take a picture of his dog.
“Yes! Got that bulk deal on fidget spinners,” Pai says while dressed in a Santa outfit, reassuring viewers that you’ll still be able to shop online after his commission repeals the right to equal internet access for millions of Americans.
Watch the video below:
As far as counter-arguments go, it’s an odd one. A video that shows Ajit Pai is aware of memes and sometimes enjoys them himself, the day before the commission makes its decision, seems like a fairly half-hearted attempt to actually persuade people that repeal is a good idea.